Jeff Leisawitz is an award-winning musician, internationally distributed filmmaker, photographer, writer, counselor, college professor, and life coach. He burns with a mission— to inspire and teach songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and every other creative human to amp up their vision, tap into the potential, and shine in the world. Leisawitz is the author of the books Not F*ing Around and Seven Summers.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in suburban Pennsylvania. Seeing a drummer rock my face off in the ’70s at summer camp pointed me towards a life of music and creativity. The raw power, the sound, the beauty, and the emotional impact were huge for me as a kid. And every moment since.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
To achieve your dream, you should probably shoot for sustainability, not a superstar. Playing the long game, building your skills, creating more and more work, failing fast, and trying again— these are the strategies that will always win in the end.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
At its core, creativity is a way for us to be seen, expressed, healed, and connected. When you know why you’re creating, you bring real energy, passion, and truth to whatever you do. Anything that creates the illusion that money, fame or power is the most important part of being creative dilutes the process and impact of whatever you’re doing.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
After being submerged by the dark waves as a college student, I learned that I could move through anything. By practicing meditation, visualizing an outcome, training my focus on a goal, and learning from my mistakes, I knew that anything was possible.
Since then I have won an international music award, produced a film, streamed my music a million (!) times, written a critically acclaimed book, and many other things. By embracing our weirdness and creating something valuable in the world, we become connected to something much greater than ourselves.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Stepping forward with passion and purpose. Always.
What is your morning routine?
Seven o’clock. Eight hours of sleep. Meditation, exercise, journaling, and my green smoothie. Then it’s time to rock forward with the day!
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Meditation with binaural beats. Binaural beats are an audio technology that helps to focus your brain waves. It works. Be intentional. Being grateful. And taking time to reset with meditation is an extraordinarily powerful (and free!) tool to help you become healthier, more productive, etc.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
As my dad taught me at an early age, make a to-do list. Prioritize it every day. Be sure to find a balance between what’s important for your long term growth and what’s urgent at the moment. The right balance will take you wherever you choose to go.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’ve read that book a dozen times, starting in my pre-teen years. Holden Caulfield, the main character, always felt like a friend. He could see through the BS of the world, spot the phonies, and focus his teen insight into his experiences. He was a dreamer, a philosopher, and a rebel. I could easily relate.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
Although it’s more of an acronym, that would be the title of my book… “NFA— Not F*ing Around”. It is a huge part of my personal and coaching philosophy. NFA is the passion, the power, the bang bang bang, that drives us to take real action to create a life worth living.
Where can we go to find out more?