How Vishesh Chachra Left His Successful Career in Business to Pursue His Love of Acting
Ep. 167
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Vishesh Chachra

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On this week’s episode, I talk with MBA turned actor, Vishesh Chachra. Vishesh left a lucrative finance career to pursue his life-long dream of becoming an actor. And his passion coupled with his persistence and dedication to honing his craft has led him to success in an industry that is notoriously difficult to break into. Over the past 8 years, he has appeared in 13 TV shows and 8 feature films. He currently recurs on a CBS primetime sitcom.

While Vishesh is clearly talented, we dive into how his mindset has helped set him apart from so many others that pursue the same dreams.

In this episode, we talk about:

Show Transcript
What it was was, it was just another 10 years of having these daydreams and kind of realizing at 33 and being married and taking some of those conventional life steps that this is it. There is no second chance for this.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Welcome to another episode of Lessons From A Quitter. I am so excited you are here. We have such a treat. I love episodes where I get to interview people. It's so fun for me cause I don't get to do them as often, but I also think it's so valuable for you because I know when I was quitting, it was really important to see what was possible. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we only reach for the highest wrung that we think is possible for us. And oftentimes we need other people to show us what is possible. And I think that that is exactly what these episodes do, is to not only show you that you're not alone in how you feel and wanting to start over, but that it absolutely is possible to make your dreams come true. And I've had a number of you ask me to bring on people who have quit successful stable careers to pursue the arts and whether that might be acting or singing or a number of other things. I think a lot of you have these passions for the arts and are stuck in the mindset that you can't make a stable living or it's too hard or whatever the thoughts are. And so I'm so excited today to have Vishesh Chachra on the episode to talk about exactly that. Vishesh started his career like a lot of us in corporate America, he got his MBA and went on to be a very successful businessman. He was in investment banking on Wall Street for a number of years and then helped build up a company that they later sold. And he had a successful exit from that company. And it wasn't until he was 33 where he decided to drop everything and pursue his passion and his lifelong dream of becoming an actor. He will talk about what not only the process was to decide to quit and how those conversations went. And really, interestingly enough, for me, and I think a lot of people that come from immigrant backgrounds, as an Indian American, the conversations about leaving with his father and mother and wife, but also what it took to commit to move out to LA and how long it took to really learn the craft, learn what he's supposed to do, figure out the strategy and set himself up for the successful acting that he has had. Over the last six years, he has appeared on a number of hit TV shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Criminal Minds, Hawaii Five-O, Days of our Lives and on and on. And he now has a reoccurring role on a hit CBS sitcom, Bob Hearts Abishola. And we'll talk about really what that took. Obviously, we'll get into a lot of the mindset and I think why he's such a perfect guest is when you listen to this, you'll see how his thoughts are really what set him up for success. And I think we can all learn so much from the way that he went after it. And so I will stop rambling so you can hear more from Vishesh.

Hi Vishesh, thank you so much for joining me today.

Hi Goli, good to connect. It's often kind of unusual in these times, but I'm seeing your face and I'm hearing you loud and clear so thank you for having me.

My pleasure. And I had to apologize to Vishesh. I'll let you guys all know when he's saying, uh, connect with me over Zoom, but I'm sitting in a closet right now. So he has to look at me in this like darkened cave because we have construction going on at our house, but this story is so good that I didn't want to cancel the recording. Cause I know it's going to inspire so many people and help so many because actually I've had so many people ask me to have somebody on who has quit to pursue the arts, you know, and we've had, we've had some people on the show before we've had, um, some painters and other type of artists, but I've never had an actor. So I'm so excited to hear more about your journey. And I know a lot of people who have these deep desires to do things that are maybe unconventional or looked at as quote unquote maybe not as stable as other jobs are looking to see how other people did it. So I'm excited to jump in, but what we typically start with here is kind of your former life. So why don't you tell us a little bit about what your former career in finance looked like? Like how did you start that career? How did you get into it and what did that career look like?

Sure and before I get started, I would just like to share how much I have kind of admired following your journey.

Aw, thank you.

Yeah, a friend of mine, a friend of mine from business school, Liz, she turned me on to you. She was a big fan and that was about a year ago. And I started listening to your podcast and reached out and then we finally connected, and this is, it’s happening, I’m on the podcast. So really excited to share my journey.

Aw, thank you so much. That means a lot to me.

Of course, we've become colleagues and and at the beginning of our friendship here. So where did I start? So I, uh, I grew up in a small town, Southern Virginia, Blacksburg, Virginia. And, uh, I went to undergrad at Georgia Tech, followed in the footsteps of my dad as an engineer. And uh so I studied engineering in undergrad and I worked in technical sales for a couple of years. And then, uh, did my MBA at Vanderbilt. And my objective of all that I always wanted to be a New York investment banker. Around that time technology leveraged buyouts they were all really hot spaces. So got one of those coveted investment banking jobs in New York and, uh, was in a big leveraged buyout group at one of the big investment banks, what they call the bulge bracket banks. So we wear that we wear that with a pride of honor, a badge of honor, um, and did that for a few years and then moved into the technology corporate development space. And that job basically entails building up companies that are either getting ready for IPOs or strategic investments or mergers and acquisitions. So operated a business inside of one of their software businesses and had an exit from both of those in 2013. And I was left trying to figure out what I was going to do for my next thing. And, um, you know, those are very transaction-oriented type jobs and deal-making jobs. And when that was over in 2013, I really had a decision to make.

Yeah. Wait so let me stop you really quickly just to get an understanding of like what, what, because maybe not everybody may understand like what an exit means of like a company. So when you went from the investment banking, were you like a founder of a part of a company, or you just kind of had shares within that company that you were working and then they sold the company, which means that you guys all made the money from that sale. And then you were basically out of a job at that point and had to figure out what the next thing was gonna be?

Yeah, both. So there was an existing company and I, uh, developed a new part of that business, which yeah, which ended up combining with another business, which has now been bought a couple of times since then.

And when you were saying, so in 2013, you find yourself kind of selling that part of the business and having to make a decision. And I'm assuming, and from what I've seen, a lot of people in those roles or types of, you know, these types of startup founders and just in the tech startup world, it's like okay, onto the next business to build and sell, you know, it's like going continuously, like now you have that under your belt. And so you go to the next one and you build that and you try to exit or whatnot. So what was your mindset when you sold this and you were trying to figure out what's next?

So I'd always been a deal guy. So after that exit, my objective was to work on the private equity level, which are a group of companies that inject cash into businesses. They buy parts of businesses, build them up and eventually exit from those businesses. So the investment firm's mission is to get into attractive businesses, build them up, find synergies, cost-effective solutions, and potentially exit from those businesses. So that was a lot of businesses I just said.

Yeah, so you're still in the mindset of like staying in kind of the business world in, you know, in one way or another. So at what point do you start thinking about acting?

Well, I had been thinking about acting since I was 13 years old and it had always been in the back of my mind. I was in the school play when I was 13 in eighth grade. Funny, I was the only 13 year old that could grow a beard at that time. And so theater acting skill because I was the only one. And so the play was Our Town by Thornton Wilder. And I played like one of the dads in that, and it was so fun. It was, I was hooked, um, just the reaction from the crowd and working with actor and so from that moment I knew this was all, you know, I wanted to be, but I ran away from it for, you know, almost 20 years. Don't get me wrong, when I was doing finance and engineering school and MBA and Wall Street and finance, like I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I still love that part of my life. I get up, I read about the markets and businesses, but to answer your question, yeah, I had always wanted to be an actor.

I think it's like such an important thing to note because I think there's a lot of people who feel that. It's funny because I think as children, we're much more in tune with what we want or what sparks our joy or what you know, is lights us up. And then obviously the quote unquote real world gets ahold of us and we start thinking about what's safe and what's actually doable. And so I think a lot of people have that can fully relate to having that feeling in junior high or high school or whenever, and then walking away from it. But you had clearly created a successful career that would probably afford you a lot of opportunities to continue in that field. And so at what point do you decide like no, you know, now that I've spent this many years building this career, I'm going to walk away and try to build a career in Hollywood, which is notoriously difficult to do.

Yeah, well, you're, you're nicer than most people because most people would say throw it all away. Right. Have definitely heard that, or even some, some different choice words. They're just…

Yeah, exactly.

Yeah. It was, it was a moment. There was, I actually had a moment, one of the best memories of my life. It was the night after a party that my father and I had gone to and, and we came back and we had a, I don't know, one, 2:00 AM scotch conversation, you know, it just kind of the nightcap conversation. And in that moment I decided I was going to tell him that the only thing I ever wanted to be was an actor. And I did it. And you know, like I, I remember the thought coming over me the courage and he kinda, you know, he kinda knew. My mother and him had kind of always talked about it, but they, they figured that it was in the past. Uh, but I didn't know what his reaction was going to be. And without hesitation, no, no second wasted. He just said, what are you waiting on? Of course, he said it in his Indian accent, what are you waiting on son? You know, life is too short. And those were, getting choked up talking about it now. Uh, but those words changed my life, that changed the whole trajectory. And not only did he do that, but he asked, you know, like what he could do to support me. And, um, and that was a turning point in my life and the, in the days after that. And that was it, in the days after that, I spoke to my mom about it. And most importantly, I spoke to my wife about it and I set it in motion. I think within a week I, I came to Los Angeles and I started meeting acting coaches. And that was it. I started training as an actor.

That's so amazing. I mean, first of all, so many of us are looking for that support. And sometimes in the beginning, it's like a little bit of permission. Like it's so freeing when we get it. Oftentimes we don't. And I think what's even more remarkable is, you know, having an Indian engineer father, you don't typically hear that, you know, they're like yeah, go after your dreams. It's sort of, you know, I think for a lot of our parents who came here to give us a better life or whatnot, or it's obviously like wanting our wellbeing, there's a lot of emphasis on doing things that are stable and secure and thought of as you know, successful by society. So I think like the fact that you had a father that understood that and was able to support is really huge and must've been very freeing.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, uh, you know, both of my parents, that conversation just happened with my dad, but my mother is an artist. She's a singer. She grew up singing in the church her whole wife, uh, and she hit, always loves to make that part of her life. And, and I think she had always dreamed that she could pursue it at some point. So she loved that part of it. I actually knew that she would, but with my dad, I was surprised. I don't know what that conversation might have been like at age 23, as opposed to 33, but he did, you know, he had, he had different perspective himself and he also had seen some of the things that I'd accomplished and also just seeing glimpses of me performing at weddings and at this party that we had been to earlier that night. And, uh, he just kinda saw how happy it made me, you know?

Yeah. I think that's such a good point that you mentioned, you know, oftentimes like you were saying, because you maybe like have that success in that previous career or had created some kind of stability for yourself that oftentimes, like I feel the same way with my parents. When I left the law, my mother was very supportive and it was because she had gone through her own layoff in corporate America. Like she was a guest on the podcast and her story, uh, she talked about like you know, she'd always been in corporate America for like 30 years. And then when she was laid off, you know, when she was near 60, I think it really shifted her perspective. And I know if I would’ve had that conversation right when I was coming out of law school or if I didn't go to law school, it would have been very different. So it's interesting like watching their own growth as well and their progression of like changing some of the beliefs that maybe they held onto for a long time. And we were the lucky recipients, the beneficiaries of that.

I love that. I love that similarity about our stories because there is something very particular about the immigrant story and all of our parents, for the most part, have the objective of making our life better, easier than theirs. Opportunity, that's what we hear. And we're very grateful for that. But I think the journey that you're talking about is at some point they also see maybe that opportunity means being able to pursue something unconventional. And that's something that they did not have the opportunity to do.

100%. Absolutely.

Yeah. That perspective, understanding that about them has made me even more forever grateful than, you know, I was before, which was a lot.

Yeah, I love that. Okay, but even for yourself, I think even before having this conversation with your dad, obviously like this thought was probably, you know, circling around in your head. And I think for so many people, again, like they know deep down what they love to do, but I think for a lot of us who do have the opportunity to have lucrative careers or have a career where you're saying like you still like the banking side, right. You still, it wasn't as though you were like I'm miserable as an investment banker and so I can't stand it. It's like it was something that you enjoyed. It was something that you were good at. It was something that you had success in. And so I don't know if you had these moments or how you kind of got over these because I feel like we have these thoughts, but then even our own brain is like don't be crazy. Like don't throw away a good thing. You know, you can go on to make a lot more money or you can go on to have a really illustrious career. Like you could do acting on the side or you could do it as like a hobby, but like don't give this up. Did you have that?

Well, I'll answer that in two parts. So first of all, I have been a lifelong daydreamer. You know, I catch myself daydreaming about stuff all the time, and I hope that never changes because that is my creativity coming out. Um, so throughout my whole school and career, I mean, I spent a lot of time daydreaming, you know, be focused when I need to, but my mind wanders. And in those daydreams, I often would daydream about my acting career. What was happening over that time I see now was I had this perspective that next life, next chance, maybe something will happen. Maybe I'll do something, accomplish something and then I'll feel like okay, I've done everything I need to, now I'm going to go be an actor. Well, that never happens. I mean, I had those points. Looking back on it, now I had those points when I, when I took my first job out of college, when I went back to business school, when I took my first job after business school, you know, when I left New York, all of those were points where I could have jumped off and done what I was seeing in those daydreams, but they are never that fulfilling thing that gives you the all-in sign. That sign has to come from yourself. I don't know what happened in that moment, in that conversation with him. I think that what it was was, it was just another 10 years of having these daydreams and kind of realizing at 33 and being married and taking some of those conventional life steps that this is it, there is no second chance for this. Once I allowed that realization to come over me, it becomes real. It's like either you're going to do this or you're not. So that's the, that's the first part of the answer. The second part of the answer is, did I have the thought of, well, let's just dip the toe in and not give everything up. And of course, I had that thought. I thought about it and I considered, you know, um, to this day, even as my art has grown, and the artistic part of me has grown, I'm still like a very systematic thinker. The planning, the thoughtfulness of what does this look like? That's all part of me. And so of course I went through that decision process and I know enough about myself that like I'm just kind of all in on stuff. And so I suspected that when I went to my first class, that would be it, you know, that it was going to be all or nothing after that for me. But a lot of that came into form as I spoke to my wife about it, because I think she had always heard hints of like loving acting, loving film and TV. And funny enough, my wife before this, before any of this started officially, there's a thing that happens in every major city called the 48 hour film festival and people draw topics out of a hat. And then in 48 hours, two days, they make a little short film and it's in a film festival and they have awards and stuff. So in Nashville, Tennessee, where we were living, she met one of the guys who was going to enter that. And this was years before I started acting officially. And she like encouraged me like hey, you know, meet him. And he put me in this short film and it was so, I mean, I don't want to say it’s bad, but you know what it is. You like is just, it's hilarious, it's really funny. And that was like my first like adult acting thing, you know? And she was encouraging me, encouraging me. And little did she know if she pushed me in that direction, like I'd just take off, just run off the side of the mountain. The point is, is that talking to her, I feel like she thought this would be like a six month thing and I'd go get it out of my system. Maybe, you know, do another short film or something like that, a web series. And then I'd be like all right, that's good. Let's start this private equity job search again. But she encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do. And it lasted six months and then it lasted a year and then it lasted a year and a half. And then it was, if I'm ever going to see you, I better move to Los Angeles.

So at the time you are going back and forth between Nashville and Los Angeles. And in LA you were doing what, like the acting classes and trying to get a, I'm assuming like an agent or a manager, whatever it is that actors have to do.

You got it, that’s exactly what I did. So that was what we decided, was that we weren't going to like pick up and move to Los Angeles overnight on a whim. Got on a plane and I came out here to Los Angeles and I met acting teachers and classes and improv classes. And I kind of set a schedule that was almost like a, you know, like a college type schedule. I had classes every week. And, uh, I was fortunate enough that my aunt, not my blood aunt, but a very good family friend, my uncle and auntie lived, you know, in the Los Angeles area. And they just happened to have an extra room in the basement. And so I was very fortunate. I couldn't have done it without them. I crashed in their extra bedroom for a year and a half. And I came out here every week and went to class. And like I said, a year and a half went by and then my wife, uh Marissa, was just like look, if we're going to make this work, I'm going to have to move, aren’t I? And I was like yeah.

I want to just say though, like going back to, you know, what your wife was maybe thinking, I always try to encourage people to think like this. Because I think you also could have come out for six months and then decided like this isn't it for me, right. And the only way to know that is to do it, you know. I think a lot of times like we make taking these little like experiments, these little, you know, dipping our toe in, trying something so much bigger of a deal than it has to be, in the sense of like we make it such an existential crisis of like if I decide to do this, I'll never get another job or I'll never come back. You know? And it's like it's not that serious. And I think like for you, it’s great and we'll get into the story, you know, the rest of the story of how it turned out but I always encourage people to like really understand that you can never know until you’ve tried something. You can think something's going to be great, like you could have thought your whole life you wanted to be an actor and then you could have come out there and been like I hate it, right. And like I hate the audition process. I hate, like or it's just not for me, whatever reason. And then you know and then you don't have to keep daydreaming for the rest of your life. Then you go back and you like decide what you want to do next. So I actually agree with your wife and I do think like okay, maybe it'll be six months and then maybe it's not. Now at least you know for sure like you want to go all in.

Well, I agree with her too. That's why I married her. Both of the things you said are so true. One, we have to just give it a chance. We have to just try and two, it's not the end of the world.


It's not the end of the world. And in fact, before I was able to leave my job, there were things that I had to tie up with the deal and that conversation with my dad was in, in January of 2013. And I didn't leave officially until June I think. So in that interim time, when I was both coming out here and finding teachers, I just started taking classes in Nashville. So what I did immediately was what I could do, what was manageable and get into the classes, start learning what is this business? You know, what do I need to do? How do I need to train? How do I need to connect with people? So the momentum is not lost. So that is an important step. I understand and know that there are realities and there are limitations that people have, but what we can do is whatever we can do.


Well, that is, you know, what we call a first step and the first step leads to the second step. And then all of a sudden you've walked down this path. You don't even know the little steps that you've taken, but each one was a little step.

I think there's all these like different quotes, right? A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one or something like.. You can never know the whole path. It's just one step at a time. It's just the first thing and exactly what you said of like do what you can, start small. I think a lot of times we get so overwhelmed of trying to figure out the whole path or thinking like you can't go all in then there's like nothing. It's like very all or nothing thinking instead of being like what is one thing I can do?

I also want to make it clear that that's something that I, and a lot of people that I know, that never leaves. So even if this acting journey has come a a long way, there are still areas of my life that there I have interests and perfect example: right when I left my job to start acting, I had gotten really interested in piloting, in learning how to fly a plane. You know, my wife had actually for like Valentine's Day, she had done gotten me a ride and I learned about the plane and, you know, I had to prioritize so that stopped. Well now during the quarantine, everybody has a little bit of extra time, at least emotionally and mentally. And so I sat back and I thought like why did I stop? Well, it's really, really expensive to learn how to fly a plane. It's very time-consuming. But what I thought to myself is like why can't I just go once a month, learn about the plane, go with the instructor and fly. Now I may not be able to, you know, invest the money in the time that it takes to get the private pilot license, but I can go be in the plane and I can learn about the plane. So I got the book, I mean, it's sitting right here and I go fly, then that's it. That is the only expectation.

I love that so much. I can't even tell you, you know why, beyond the fact of like you doing these like things, the goals, first of all, like every one of us is so multifaceted and has so many interests and really realizing we have so much time, right? Like everything doesn't all have to happen right now, but you can start implementing little things and then do other things later. But the bigger thing is like the point of life in my view now is like to do the things that, you know, you're interested in, that you find joy in. And so even if you don't get to whatever the goal is, let's say your goal is, you know, to be a pilot at some point. That goal comes from the desire or the interest of like liking learning about planes, flying planes, being in planes or whatever. Right. So it's like just the infusing of a little bit of this, like brings joy in your life. And that's the whole point. Do you know what I mean? It's like ultimately whether you become a pilot or not is not the point. It's like it's like how many things that I like am I actively doing in my life instead of putting it off for some day, right? Like instead of like one day when I retire, maybe I'll have all these dreams.

And the thing that I can tell you is that something never comes. You just got to do it. And in turn making these things part of my life has made me a better husband and a father and a, and a family member. And I've noticed that. So when there are lulls and when there is time, um, try to be very thoughtful about like what am I going to do that's gonna excite me.

I love that so much. Okay. So you come out to LA, you're doing this for 18 months. Your wife ends up moving out there. You know, the reputation of Hollywood is that it's absolutely difficult to break through. I think there's even more, you know, thoughts that people have about like when you're older or when you're not a white, you know, male, or, you know, like there's conventional things that tend to break through in Hollywood. And so when you're coming out at like 33, spending the first couple of years learning, you’re Indian American, you’re… like how were you able to find so much success in Hollywood? Because like you have regularly found work, which is really difficult for actors. The reason I say that is because I think that so many people stop themselves because they think those things are like well, I'm already this old, or I'm not, you know, I don't look like the traditional male star or female star or whatever. So they just give up on it.

This is a big one because doubt and uncertainty is a wave and it, it occurs at every step of the journey. So part of what you were talking about was how difficult it is in Hollywood and, you know, being outside of kind of the norm of what you see on film and TV. And I didn't really think too much about any of that stuff in the beginning. I'll tell you what I did. I sat back and said I went to four years of engineering school and two years of MBA before I ever did a finance job. So that was six years of school, six, seven years of school. So the first thing I did was I have to give this new pursuit, this new profession, that kind of respect. I need to be studying. Now, I may not be able to apply and get into, you know, Yale theater school or NYU or UCLA or, you know, anything. But there was a path that I learned about for professional acting classes and comedy classes and improv classes. So I really focused on that. And before I even started looking for an agent or a manager, I did that regularly for almost two straight years. And then when I did get an agent and manager and I did start auditioning, I stayed in class. And so I was in class every week, regularly for five years.


And, um, you know, when I would book something, I would not be able to go. So time, some of the classes became a little bit less frequent, but my regular scene study acting class, my butt was there every week for five years. And that was a labor of love, a labor of joy, but it was really, really important because in this particular pursuit, a lot of people make the mistake of not getting the proper training and even people who do go to those prestigious theater schools, you know, there's a very different skill for film and television acting that they have an incredible, an incredible baseline for, an incredible foundation for, but you do have to adapt it for film and TV. It is such a competitive business that you cannot take the chance of not being as as well-trained as you possibly can be. So the next thing I'll talk about was being part of a community. And so my first communities here were my acting classes cause you meet people in Los Angeles who are in an acting class, and there's, there's varying degrees of seriousness of the students. As you can imagine, you know, some people are, they're just having fun, messing around, you know, they like the idea of acting. And then there's some people who you can just tell, I'm going to do this. Nothing's going to stop me. I'm going to be prepared every single week, you know, and you just see it, then, you know, I'm in that category, some people have described like you just seem like you're going to impose your will on the universe. You know like and that's, that's kind of the people that you gravitate towards in class. And so I started building my community that way and a very interesting thing happened to me in my classes. Was that people that I was in class with started booking big stuff and granted, some of those people had been doing it for 10 years before I had, but they had become friends. We had worked together and we were kind of at a similar level in training. And then all of a sudden, they were on TV, leading their own shows, you know, big recurring characters on TV shows, supporting leads in movies. And then you start to look around and you say, they can do it, they're sitting right next to me in class. Like this is now real. And when I was growing up in Southern Virginia and, and when I was living in Nashville and working being on these shows and movies might as well have been on the moon, there was no path there. It was just something imaginary, often the distance.


But when you were sitting in class and your friend sitting next to you is the lead of a series, you know, two months later, I mean, it's real, it's real. And the realization cones that you're here in Los Angeles, you're training around these people and they're making these movies, they're making these TV shows, somebody is going to be on them. It's either going to be you or it's not.

Let me just stop. Cause that this is the thing, obviously like if you follow me or you've listened to the podcast then you know, I'm obsessed with mindset. And I want to just like point that out about how gold that like the, the nugget that thought that you just had. Right? Because so many people could sit in that same exact situation and think like there's something wrong with me. All these other people are getting it. Maybe I'm just not good enough or believing like yeah, maybe because I'm not this look or because I'm not this age or because I'm not, like it's just not for me. And they discourage themselves more or they get, you know, a lot of people get really caught up in jealousy and envy, which I always think jealousy is such a beautiful sign to show you what you want ,because the flip side of jealousy, which like I really try to use now, every time I find myself wherever I am, if I'm scrolling and thinking like oh, I'm always thinking like how is this person an example of what's possible for me? How can I have that same thing? And I think you saying that, seeing like hey, this is all happening, all these people that have the same level as me are doing it, and someone's got to be on these shows, why wouldn't it be me? Like just having that thought is the reason that you created these results for yourself because you kept yourself in it. Like you kept yourself in this game of like going to auditions and trying or whatever, as opposed to, I think so many people count themselves out too quickly because they interpret the same exact situations that you were seeing in a very different way.

Well, well let me make something clear. The professional jealousy thing happens and it's real. So don't, you know, I don't want to pretend like that that all of us or that I'm not human and I don't experience that. Of course, of course. And the funny thing is, is that some of the people who I, I feel that feeling for are very good friends of mine and we laugh about it and we talk about it openly. And it's a beautiful thing because it's real. The thing that I'll tell you about about my perspective was the whole notion of allowing myself to be a beginner. So even though I was sitting in class with some of those people, I realized that I just started and no kidding, one of my friends, she had been doing this and had her ups and downs for like 12 years before she booked a series and she was in class with me. But what I saw from her was she would go be on a movie, supporting in a big movie and then she'd come back to class and then she would stay in class until she got her next thing. And then all of a sudden, she was the lead on this show and she had to move out of town. And it's just, her life has been a lot different since then, but she kept coming back. But I realized that was year 11, 10, 11, 12 for her. And for me, I just thought it was neat. I said well, here we are, we're doing scenes together. We're learning together. But I am on year 1, 2, 3, and she's on a year 11, 12 and so I am a beginner. So what can I do to frame my wins differently? So if I had come into this pursuit and thought I want to be a recurring character on a CBS show in year one, then I probably would have given up because that's not going to happen.

It's so good. It's like the way that you're thinking about this is so the right way. And that's what I'm saying is like it's not a surprise for me to see people that become successful because of the way you were thinking about it. Right. Because the thing is, is that that's absolutely correct. Like you've said it now twice. Like even in the beginning, like hey, if I'm going to do this and I have to put in the time to learn, but because I think like with social media, I think a lot of times we think things happen a lot faster than they do. Right. And so we look at someone when I say this jealousy or comparison, I always tell people because like obviously in my world, I deal more with people that are maybe starting online businesses, or starting, you know, they want to do something online. And like it doesn't happen in six months. It's like their first business. They've never started anything before. And they're like it's not working or like I don't know what I'm doing or whatnot. And they're comparing themselves to somebody else that has been doing this for years. And they'll be like this person blew up on Instagram, or whatever. And I'm always like instead of looking at their followers, go look at how many posts they have. Like it shows you the number of posts and you start seeing it's like that person has, the person that's complaining has like 36 posts. And the other person has 2000, like 500, you know? And I'm like they've been trying this for so long. Right. And figuring out what works and putting themselves out there. And, and it's like really just seeing that, like the fact that you have that perspective, the fact that you could see, like of course I'm not going to be the same place that somebody that's been doing this for 10 years is going to be. And so if, that doesn't mean I can't have it, it means that like I have to put in that work. I think that it's not a surprise that you've seen the success that you've had.

Thank you for recognizing that because you know, what I was saying is that, that goal, that recurring on a CBS show, for example, there's a reason why I say that specifically, that is not going to happen in the first year. It's not gonna happen in the second year. And you know, it could happen for somebody. Yeah, there's stories of these kind of overnight successes, but it's just, that's not the path. So what I started framing was, well, what am I going to improve on? And so there's those kind of improvement goals became artistic goals. They became goals in being relaxed in class and relaxed on the little web series that I was doing. And then all of a sudden, you know, a couple of years go by and I did book my three or four liner on the, on a network soap opera. I was on Days of our Lives and like that was like a big win, you know? And like all of my mother-in-law's friends back home like watch that show. And my mom has never seen that show in her life because she's an immigrant and she doesn't have time for that, but she watched it because I was on it and everybody was so excited. And that was like less than five lines on a, on a soap opera. And it took two years but that felt like bookin the lead in a show. And that felt like bookin the lead in a movie because I had put two years of work into it. And then all of a sudden, I got this little role and so little steps like that lead to the next one, lead to the next one, lead to the next one. And then all of a sudden, in year 2019, so year six and a half, I did book the recurring role on the CBS show and it happened, and it happened six years later, six and a half years later. But if that had been the goal in year one, it would have been a failure.

That's amazing. So all of that work, six years, I mean, I'm so glad that you say that because I think again, we love to glorify the overnight successes. And I think that oftentimes, uh, it's so much more helpful to see like no, you have to put in the work, you have to put in the grind and then it does pay off. So 2019, you get this recurring guest role and how did that feel after all that work?

That night, I knew that I would be going into the final audition the next day on July 31st. It was a Wednesday. I knew that I would be auditioning for Chuck Lorre, who is, uh, the biggest sitcom producer in the world by most counts. And so that's obviously I kind of, it just being in front of him and meeting him and working with them for those those minutes where it was going to be a dream of mine come true. And so of course, the night before the audition, the final audition, my baby, who was, uh, a year and three months at the time woke up every 90 minutes screaming the entire night. I got zero sleep.

Of course.

I didn't sleep. And so I looked at my wife, Marissa, in the morning and I said, well, Chuck's going to be there waitin for me, whether I'm, whether I go or not. So, uh, I better get up and do it. Uh, so I took like a freezing cold shower and I went into Warner Brothers and, you know, we, we got called in and I auditioned for Chuck. And there were so many magical things that happened in that audition. That that was just a wonderful experience in itself. And so when I left, I, I talked to my acting teachers and, you know, I just told ‘em it was just, it was nothing. If that had been the whole experience like that, that was great because he laughed. He thought I was funny, you know, he thought I was creative. I improved a little bit. I got to use an accent that I've been using for years and years at parties and at bars to make people laugh. And I got to do it for Chuck Lorre and he liked it. And that was it. Um, so I left Warner Brothers at noon and actually went back to my comedy acting class. I went back to class like after auditioning for Chuck Lorre, I was pressured to taking a nap, but I w- I went back to class. And, um, so I called my agent and just to tell him that it was an awesome audition. And when he called back, I thought he was just calling me back cause he was on another appointment at the time. And he said well, you should stop rambling about how great the audition is cause I got some news for you. And I said what? And he said well, you're, you're pinned in first choice, which in the entertainment business means they've reserved your dates and you're the first choice for this role. Now the network has their review. They kind of do a background check, whatever. But that means that if all that goes well, you're the guy. So I tried not to let myself get like too excited uh and I went back to class and I kinda like took the teacher aside and I told him and he was like well, why don't you just tell the whole class? Cause everybody's going to be excited. You know, I'd left Warner Brothers at 12. And then by three o'clock like they called me and everything had cleared and I was booked. And uh, I, I took it in the hallway in my class and I came back in and I was crying. Everybody kinda hung out and we had a drink after class and celebrated. And you know, I talked to my wife and she cried a little bit because we'd been on this journey together. And this was a big step.

I do have another question because I do think that with acting, it's uniquely an interesting media like industry, because I think with other things, when you put in the work, when you kind of learn the skill, you have a little bit more control over your destiny, right? Like if you learn how to build a business or whatnot, like it doesn't mean that you're never gonna have problems in business or that you may not have businesses that go south or whatnot, but you build a skill base that like you could likely ensure that you can make a living. If this business doesn't work, you can transfer those skills and maybe start something else or work with someone else or do something where it's like okay, I can ensure that I can make money. And I have, like one of my best friends has been an actor for like 30 years. And the problem with acting that I think like can be hard is that it's like you have that one role. And then when that's done, you know, obviously you build up a name and a reputation and a network and you know, you can get more work from that. But I know that like it can be still uncertain. Like we don't really know in the next year or when, you know, the next role is going to come from. And I wonder sort of for the other people that are in those types of roles, like how you deal with that kind of going forward.

Well, I mean, tell me about it. I booked my first recurring guest and then the pandemic happened and everything got shut down for all intents and purposes for an entire year, if not more. And, um, so that momentum was totally killed for me. And, uh, yeah, it was difficult. You hope that those things are a stepping stone and your name's out there a little bit and all of a sudden, the appointments are coming in and things are a little bit different there for awhile. And then for me, it just stopped because I started shooting that in the fall of 2019 and then we wrapped it right as a pandemic started. I mean, my last episode was the end of February and then two weeks later we were in quarantine. Then, you know, everything was different and it stopped. So that is a real thing. And that's the thing that you hear about and I certainly have experienced. And what I'll also say is that I experience it at every level. So when I first started auditioning, my first audition was unusual because I actually booked my first audition. It was that soap opera that I talked about. But then after that, it was like a year and a half before I booked the next one. So I booked the first one and you know, like I opened my window and I yelled, I got you Los Angeles. This is so easy. You know, it's all I gotta do is get auditions. Right. And then a year and a half goes by, and then I booked uh Hawaii Five-O in the summer of 2016. The point is, is that at every level you feel that I'm never going to work again. And I'm going through that now with the pandemic. And then I've had a couple offers that have not worked out, you know, from my end, I decided not to do them. But other than that, like I haven't been on a new show since I started in July of 2019. And, you know, I shot something in 2020 and 2021, but there hasn't been anything new since then, that is a new and unusual feeling for me. And so I have learned to manage that by being creative on my own, collaborating with people. And, you know, I have started writing and developing some projects myself. And then some of the other stuff that we're talking about, like how can you fill your life up? I always go back to class and classes unfortunately are not really happening in person and the online ones, you know? So I haven't been able to do that, but we go back to like we are creative. We are creators, we're artistic. Like how do I fill my life with that? And in turn, that makes me a better actor. Leaning on the community, the things that we talked about before, reframing what I want and what I have control over, those are all things that I try to practice to be able to deal with that uncertainty of like when am I going to book again? And, um, another thing that I've done is like and I encourage everybody to do is uh as I'm thinking about that stuff, I always try to keep it simple. So I actually have a list, it's right here. I have a list of things that I need to do every day to make my life better. And you know, for me, it involves kind of my fitness and nutrition stuff, my stretching, breathing, voice work stuff, meditation, and then stimulating my brain, either doing like a language or a dialect, uh, and then an hour of creativity and then some kind of industry outreach type stuff. And then time with my wife and my kid, like that's written on this list and they're all kind of manageable snippets of 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one hour. And it ends up being, you know, a couple of hours of things that I should be doing every day. And the more that I string those together, the more days that I string that together, my life just gets better.

Love that. I have a similar thing I posted about like a bliss list and just finding things that like bring you joy in your life and going to that list every day and finding stuff that you can do for 10 minutes to just like like you said, you know, go for a walk or meditate or, you know, really be present when you're doing the things that bring you joy in your life is a game changer. So I love that. And I really appreciate you being honest about like you know, even this kind of level that you're at, because I think that something that I constantly coach my clients on, something that is a topic in every one of, um, my groups is like it's always I think in any industry or just in life, new levels new devils, and there is always the same fear and doubt in different forms, right? And every level you get to, then you start worrying about different things. And that doesn't mean anything has gone wrong. That's like the way this, the human experience. And I think really acknowledging that and understanding like how are ways that I can kind of pull myself out of it or how, what are ways that I can keep myself level? Because I’ve experienced that same thing with every level of entrepreneurship, every level of doing, you know, building this platform. It's like you keep thinking once I do it, once I get this, then I'll feel so in control or accomplished or like I know what I'm doing. And then you get there and you're like oh, that's a whole new set of worries that I have now. So I think it's really important to understand that and to normalize it. Um, so I thank you for being honest about that.

We have to take a step back and realize that a lot of that are stories that we tell ourselves. So when you're in the downtime and things aren't happening and the momentum stops, I start making up stories of why and they are totally made up. And I know that they're totally made up because when the work comes back or I see those people again or I work with those people again, they don't have any of the perspectives that I was telling myself they were going to have and why they stopped. They stopped. They just, it just stopped for a little bit. And so the more we realize those are stories we're telling ourselves, why don't we replace those stories with positive stories.

My God, I feel like you should just teach my mindset coaching clients because I feel like it's like literally exactly what we talk about in every single call because you're absolutely right. It's, it's not the actual thing that's happening, it's the story we attach to it or that we make up and we all create so much unnecessary suffering. So I think like the fact that you can really see that and shift or reframe it for yourself to create more of a positive story will absolutely keep you motivated to keep going, which is what so many of us are looking for. And that's where it originates. So thank you for that point. And I mean, you've given us so many gems and so many things, but I would say like specifically to people that want to pursue acting who are kind of stuck in their nine to five, and they've always had the desire to have that creative outlet. Like what parting advice do you have for somebody that was where you were at in 2013 and doesn't know if it's the right move or not, but wants to explore it.

Again, I'll answer that in two parts. One is specifically for the aspiring actors out there and acting is such an unusual thing. It is such a weird thing to do, to explain to people. Everything is so weird, but I will tell you that there's a community of us out here that get it. We understand. We are your people. That's why actors love being around each other in class and the community. And so ,you know, go find those people, do something with them, create with them. That's the starting point is being in a place where people get it and share that love because people who have longevity in this business, there is nothing else that we can do. I mean, if there is something else you can do, if there is something else your heart allows you to do, go do it please because your life will be better off. You know, you will put yourself through so much less torture. So I say, take that first step. Get in that community class, have respect for the profession, for the pursuit and start cultivating those relationships. The biggest nugget for actors, that I can tell you that I've learned, and this is how I applied my business acumen to pursuing this, is I found three categories that are the common factors in the formula for why people get jobs in this business. One is image, two is connections and three is your art. So when I say image, that means that people, the way that you're viewed, the way you sound, the way you move your body, that doesn't mean being the best looking most fit person. Because a lot of times that's not what's required, more times than not that's not what's required to get a job. But honing in on what you are and how you're perceived. The second part is connections and that's just simply networking and building relationships, which I had a lot of good habits that I'd built over, you know, a previous 12 year career. And then the third is your art, which you can really control. You can get better and be the best artist that you can be. And what I found is that the people who get jobs either are pretty good at all three of those or they knock one out of the park and sometimes you can't control knocking one out of the park. Most of the time you can't. So what you have to get at is pretty good at all three of them. To those who are sitting at their desk right now and just thinking about how do you make passion part of your life. First of all, I want to congratulate you because if you've landed on this podcast, you are a Goli pupil. You are a Lessons From a Quitter disciple already. And so that means that without you knowing it, you've already taken a first step. So congratulations. I'm proud of you. And now I challenge you to every day just make your passion a little bit, a little bit of a part of your life. And so don’t negotiate with yourself, like accept no substitutes when it comes to making that passion part of your life. And I assure you, I assure you, if you do that, it will lead you to places that you never expected and just be open to that and make it part of your life and you'll get to it because that's the good stuff. And so that's what I always say. My tagline is get busy living. So just do that, get busy living.

And where can people find you if they want to learn more about you or get in contact?

The easiest thing to do is follow me on Instagram. I am at V_Chachra, V underscore C-H-A-C-H-R-A. Uh also have a website and my, my IMDB that I will put in the, that Goli will put in the notes. But please, yeah, hit me up on DM. Follow me on Instagram. We can share our journeys together.

Thank you so much for taking the time to not only share your story, but really inspire so many of us to go after that dream.

And I am happy to do it. And I'm inspired by you too. So get busy living.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.