Most everyone has big ambitions at one point in our lives. What if you had someone who could help you make those a reality? That's what Josh Shipp is trying to do.
Having been through more pitfalls and trials than most of us can imagine, Josh has devoted his life to helping other people get out of the doldrums and realize their dreams. He's recently partnered with Halogen TV for Jump Shipp, a new series bowing on October 21 (9/8c) that will show the world how he helps individuals get from the life they have to the one they want. Before then, though, he sat down with me to talk about how his unique background informs his career success, and how he plans to bring all that to a television audience.
It's your background that sets you apart from other advice-givers. You've been through much of what you're helping people on your show tackle. For the people who don't know, tell us about your history.
The nutshell of my background is that my biological mother was 17 when she got pregnant with me, and left me at the hospital. I've never met my parents, never met anyone related to me. By the time I was 14 I lived in a dozen or more foster homes. I've been abused, picked on, bullied - all these things that looking back on, weren't that great, but that was the catalyst that led me to commit my life to helping other people. Whenever someone's going through something difficult, what they want is a human being that has perspective, not a robot [or] someone acting perfect. It was that, that has led to these great opportunities to help people, particularly young people, who are highly skeptical.
What made you decide to parlay that into what you're doing now? Was there a particular moment that led you to realize this was your career ambition?
These are a couple different moments. People often do not make a change until it's less painful than whatever their current situation is. [Once] I had to spend a night in jail. My foster parents came and bailed me out the next morning. They set me down at home and said, "Josh, you can keep causing problems, but we don't see you as a problem, we see you as an opportunity." In that moment, sort of a rock bottom moment for me, met with a caring adult - that was a moment for me. I'd never viewed all the mistakes that I made as an opportunity.
Most of us as human beings don't do that. We have these regrets, these mistakes, challenges and all we do is we see the negative side. People are afraid to push through failure or afraid to risk. When you do push it to the edge like that, you have perspective. These are all very talented, capable, bright individuals, and [I] think "Why do you need me?" But it's that fear of the unknown. They freeze and they get paralyzed, instead of at least taking some sort of step.
Did you or do you have any particular influences? What impact did they have on you?
My final set of foster parents were enormous influences. Every individual needs some adult in their corner that believes in them. I don't care whether you're 30 or 50, you need someone who's more experienced and wiser than you, that you can pick their brains. I think it's hard for us sometimes to submit ourselves to that because we're told that we should have all the answers.
Expertise in one area doesn't necessarily lead to expertise in another. The thing that's great is our generation in particular is so great at sifting through all that information. We have all the information we could possibly want. It's almost like we're trained to sort through and find a source that we trust.
How did you get from that background to launching a television series?
I was naturally coaching people from sort of where they are to where they want to be. It was never that I wanted to do a television show - I was just passionate about helping people change their lives. I became friends with a couple of producers, and the more we talked about it, the more we thought that this would be an interesting concept. I was somewhat skeptical but through Halogen we really found a partner that matched up with the goal I had in mind. I don't want it to be some fake, overproduced show. I want it to be applicable and relatable to the average individual. I wanted to make a show where people could relate to it, because I think everyone has something.
What do you consider your standard for success with this project? Is it a certain amount of viewers, an issue you're trying to raise awareness of, or some other goal you'd like to reach?
For me, the show's airing on television, it's airing online at HalogenTV.com, and all those things are great. I'm going to leave those things to professionals. Ultimately, my goal is to help the person that I'm working with. When I'm at my best, I'm solely focused on "How can I help this individual go from working at a shipping company to his dream job of being a police officer?" By me helping that one person, that ultimately makes the show a success. My number one goal is to help that individual and by people looking over our shoulder during that process, I hope it inspires them.
What's one piece of advice that you could give to the young adults who are reading this interview right now?
I feel like so many people look at only the end result of what they want to do. They think about their Super Bowl moment. The truth is there's ten, twenty, a hundred steps between A to Z. If you're starting at A, everyone looks at Z, but what you really need to do is B. What is that small step that leads you one step closer? This can be the double-edged sword of admiring people who are enormously successful, because we look at the end result. We should study is where did they start. For any success story, you read story after story of failure and then hitting it big.
If our readers want to get involved with the youth community, what are your recommendations for the most effective ways they could help?
It all depends on what your passion is, and what area you feel like you fit into naturally. And then from there, there are countless organizations that would be more than happy to not only employ your help on a volunteer basis, but also give you tools and resources to really help.
With all that you have going on, what do you do on the rare occasion you're not working?
All sorts of things. I'm a part of a competitive marathon running team. I'm sort of psychotic in the sense that I get up at 4:30 in the morning and we run 40-50 miles a week for fun. I like to surf. My wife and I have a family. All of my career endeavors I'm 100 percent committed to, but I don't believe that your career defines you. Your career is obviously a big part of what you do but I also want to be a friend, a good dad, a good husband. Those things are just as important to me.