Best known for a story that went viral, Jordan Axani of Impostercast.com talks about that episode in his life, the lessons he learned, and why he believes that purpose is a lie.
Jordan Axari was the focus of the most viral human interest story in the history of the internet. On a dare in 2014, he posted a simple message on Reddit offering anyone who shared the same name as his previous partner a leftover plane ticket for a trip around the world.
This simple deed of trying to pay it forward earned an unprecedented 4 billion media impressions, landing him on Good Morning America, CNN, BBC, ABC and 30,000 other press outlets globally.
However, the real story began when he ended up in a Hollywood cyclone of public and media pressure to fall in love with his new travel companion. This sent him into a downward spiral as he duked it out with media, often on camera, about how reality works.
Jordan set out on a mission to bring reality to the digital world. He focuses his time on helping people and organizations be raw. With a “Let’s cut the crap” approach, Jordan argues that imperfection is the gateway to profound breakthroughs, both personally and in business.
Jordan does consults with corporate clients on creating viral marketing strategies and is a keynote speaker focused on marketing strategy and personal development.
He is currently writing his first book, due out in mid-2017, about how technology encourages us to unwillingly fake who we are and what we want. And his life story is being turned into a Hollywood film, which he finds endlessly hilarious.
He lives in Toronto, Canada and Cincinnati, Ohio.
(02:10) When you hear the word successful, what’s the first person, or thing that comes to mind?
Success is very much as predicated upon the now, and how you’re feeling in any given moment.
(05:03) Jordan to Nick: With your football background, at that point in your life, did you feel like, was success about winning the game, or was there more to it than that?
(07:00) Let’s dive into your origin story.
(11:50) In these conversations I have, there seems to be these series inflection points that people have in their lives, whether they know it or not. And the people that are the most self-aware and introspective and higher performers are typically are the ones that grab on to those, and see those as opportunities at some point … I’m interested in this inflection point here. After the Reddit thing, and all the billions of impressions it’s had, what were the implications after the fact, and what happened?
(20:10) Going back into the “success” you had because of this PR, the virality that ended up happening because of this whole media thing that you did… So you ended up having all this external success… that ended up being an awful thing for you. But, if you did not have that experience, do you think you would still be going through the issues? Would you have been able to talk through and walk through the issues that you had without that experience? Or, are you a better person today having that experience, rather than not having that experience?
(23:57) We tend to focus on a lot of the negative implications of how we grow up. But, if we’re able to come to grips with a lot of the stuff… I mean, you have certain superpowers that other people don’t because of what you went through.
In a lot of the pain that we feel, there’s always going to be a bigger lesson. But I think, in much of the pain we feel, we can use that in a way to connect with others.
(27:46) Do you think a lot of this comes from the external expectations that come just from being a human being? The reason I’m asking this is because of the work you’re doing now around refocusing what purpose means and why everybody looks to find this purpose.… Can you talk about some of the work that you’ve been doing and how you came to those conclusions a little bit?
(33:06) Do you think that we don’t have any purpose, or that there’s multiple purposes that we have?
If you live by a certain value set and actually hold yourself to that, you will find meaning in everything you do.
I think those that experience failure and can move beyond it are those that haven’t put their whole selves, their whole identity, their whole meaning, everything that they find value in their life, in that one thing.
(41:56) I’d like to dive into the podcast here because this is all leading up to what you’re doing now, which is exploring and understanding people’s stories. Tell us what you’ve learned so far and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Feeling like an imposter is just part of life, but it feels like so much more than that.
In this world where we always, each of us send a press release version of ourselves everyday, that there’s something much deeper within us that feels we’re totally faking it.
(46:17) Can you let us know maybe something that you learned during the process (from the podcast) that maybe you didn’t expect?
Maybe it’s actually more the everyday things that are of true value to others.
(52:42) Are there any books that have most influenced you, and why?
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Nick’s book recommendation: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
(54:38) What about documentaries? Do you watch them? Do you have one that you recommend?
(56:06) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
US VP Joe Biden