A Church, a Gym and a Bar: The Unmistakeable Creative with Srinivas Rao Episode #82

Aaron McHugh

Srini keeping it real at church
Srini keeping it real at church

Srini called in for our interview from a SoCal seaside coffee shop between tides. He ejected on his busy life to detox for a few days by practicing what he preaches. During our interview you’ll hear trains pass by, seagulls cawing and Srini get fired up about why becoming UNMISTAKABLE eliminates any notion of competitors.

Over a quick beer in downtown Portland, I met Srini in 2013 at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit. He just released his first book, UNMISTAKABLE: Why Only Is Better Than Best by Srinivas Rao. You’ve probably listened to one of his near 700 episodes of his popular podcast The Unmistakable Creative. He interviews everyone from an FBI hostage negotiator to some of my favorites Bob Goff, Rob Bell, Tim Ferris and Seth Godin.

In this podcast he talks about his love for surfing and the metaphors for life he discovered between sets of waves. We chat about how UNMISTAKABLE uses the stages of surfing as the framework for his becoming Unmistakable.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Srini’s favorite surfing locations
  • How to avoid the “Mimic Epidemic”
  • How to approach hard to get to people
  • Why surfing is like going to church, a gym and a bar all at the same time
  • Why blazing your own trail is your best chance at being UNMISTAKABLE

CLICK to LISTEN to my interview with Srinivas Rao


From the publisher, Penguin Random House on UNMISTAKABLE: Why Only is Better Than Best

UNMISTAKABLE recounts Srini’s unique path to where he is today.  After earning his MBA, Srini secured a decent job but was still miserable—he did not fit in with corporate life and felt trapped. So he made a radical career move: he dropped everything and learned to surf. Surfing ended up opening more doors for Srini than any class or job ever could, and became the impetus to putting him on an “unmistakable” career path. According to Srini, “[Unmistakable people] know that trying to be the best leaves you chained to other’s definition of success. Unmistakable work, on the other hand, could have been created by only one person, so competition is irrelevant.”

UNMISTAKABLE uses the stages of surfing, from “the paddle out” (overcoming naysayers and getting started) to “the impact zone” (encountering and overcoming a challenge), to lay out a framework for anyone looking to strip away conventional expectations and blaze their own trail.

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