The Driven Life: Jose Castillo on your secret recipe for success

This is the latest in a series of self-improvement/motivational-themed podcasts (also transcribed for those who prefer to read) involving people in the racing world sharing insight into successful habits. Up next: Jose Castillo, host and emcee of NASCAR Trackside Live and the video boards at Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks.

We talked about finding things that you’re good at, and you seem to feel like that’s a secret to success. You have this crazy stat about people in their jobs not being happy, necessarily…

Yeah, and it all starts with the problem: Why are people unhappy? Why are they going through a life they don’t feel like is successful? And most of the time, the stats show that 70+ percent of people are unhappy in their jobs.

That’s amazing.

It is, and they get up every day, they go to work, they slog through it — and I know people (reading) right now, you’re going, “Man, that’s me.” And then you look at a successful person, right? That could be a race car driver, it could be a celebrity, it could be a business person, and you go, “Why is that person a success? What is it about them that they’ve figured out this magical formula?” And a lot of times, people turn to a book or something like, “If I just do this, I’ll become successful.”

I think it’s pretty simple: It boils down to people that are successful found out what makes them unique, what makes them different — and then they’ve been that person, and they’ve leaned into it, they’ve worked hard and they’ve very clearly defined success for themselves.

When you see that, a person that finds out what they were made to do and then they lean into it, you can see change — whether it’s change in the world or change in the people around them. I believe people can find that. They can find their own success.

So let’s say somebody reads that and they’re like, “That’s all good, but where would I even possibly start either looking for something else or finding what I’m good at? I don’t know what I’m good at.” How would someone even begin that process?

I love the Mark Twain quote where he says, “The two most important days in a person’s life are when they’re born and when they find out why.” And that, I think, is a critical moment for successful people when they figure out what’s their own unique piece they’ve been given. What are their gifts? What are their talents?

And part of that is an exploration project. You’ve got to find out what makes you different, and everybody’s different. That’s the other thing — I think a lot of people look at a successful person, they’re like, “Well, in order to be that, I have to be exactly like them.” And it’s not true at all. Most successful people are unique in their own right, they’ve figured out something that makes them different and they’ve leaned into that.

So the first thing you need to do is figure out what your own secret recipe is, and I like to do that by looking at history. A lot of times, we’re a blend of that nature vs. nurture, where some of it is genes from our parents, some of it is our surroundings that we’ve grown up in. But it’s a blend of that, and we need to explore that.

So the first thing you can do is find out your history. Where are you from? Your parents, your grandparents, your family, your lineage or ethnicity, your heritage, all of those things play into what makes you unique. And I think a lot of times, people shy away from that. They’re nervous about where they came from or maybe they didn’t grow up with money or maybe they didn’t grow up with the best family life or whatever that may be, and they’re shy or nervous about digging back into the past or the history.

Once you find out who you are, the second thing is you have to embrace it. You have to be like, “You know what This is who I am. This is where I’ve come from and this is what I’m going to be.” And I think it takes time and effort to do that, and that’s why I love history and why I love old photos and going back and talking to family members. I think any time you do a deep dive into your history, you start to find more about what makes you you.

I’ll tell a quick story. So I’ve been doing emcee hosting in NASCAR going on my 14th season. I had never been in NASCAR before that, and if you go back and listen to the podcast we did last year, you can hear some of that story. But I found out just a few years ago that my grandfather, who I never met and passed away in Mexico City, had announced a big baseball game. He had owned an arts studio and they had found out and it was like, “Oh, Joe Castillo’s big personality, we should get him to announce this game.” So I found out after being in NASCAR for years announcing and emcee hosting, that my grandfather had done that years ago — and that made that connection even stronger to me of why I am the way I am, because of the things that have happened in my past and my legacy and the people who have been a part of my life.

So your grandfather, it seems like was a big personality — your father (Joe Castillo) was on America’s Got Talent, is that correct?

Yeah, that’s right.

And he was very successful.

Yeah, he was.

And so obviously the performance aspect of being up on stage also runs in the family. So it sounds like you look back on that toolkit and you’re like, “Maybe this is something I’m inclined to be good at.”

Definitely. And I love telling the story about my dad just because a lot of people aren’t patient. If you’re not a follower of Gary Vaynerchuk, you need to be. He’s a friend of mine, we met years ago, and one of the most important things he says is to be patient. Nowadays, everybody wants everything now, and sometimes it takes time to develop and it takes dedication and hard work to get to where you want to go.

So my dad, world famous, was a finalist on America’s Got Talent, came in fifth place overall. Sand story artist Joe Castillo, you can search his name and find out about the sand artist. He didn’t become a star worldwide on America’s Got Talent until he was over 60 years old. Spent his whole life very successful in his own right — had an advertising agency and did commercial art — but his moment of success and becoming this worldwide celebrity wasn’t until later in life. He had kind of gone out and retired a little bit and all of a sudden, boom, this thing happens and his whole life had led him to that.

So patience is required. I think for a lot of people, they want it right now. But sometimes you just have to go, “You know what, I’m just going to work hard, stay the course, and if this thing happens, it’s going to happen.”

Once you’ve gone back and maybe researched a little bit about yourself, where would somebody go from there?

So once you find out what your secret recipe is, what I love to do is write it down. Write it down, put it on a piece of paper, and then judge it — take it to your friends, your family and be like, “Hey, here’s what I found out, I am these three or five things. This is who I am: I’m dependable, I’m reliable, I’m humorous, I love to be around people” — whatever it is, write it out, test it with people, and then put it in front of yourself so that you’re reminded every day when you do something, here’s how I should act.

And if you’re not acting in those ways, then you’re probably not in the right fit with your job or your life because if you really test and go, “OK, I’m this type of person, but man when I do this thing over here, I don’t feel like myself, I don’t feel like I’m getting any gratification from this or any joy” — that’s when a lot of people say you need to work in your passion, you need to find something you have joy in. And I think that’s true to a point, but I also think you can have joy in any of those moments if you’re following those principles that you’ve laid out for yourself.

So come up with your secret recipe, write it down, share it with people and then make sure that you’re playing it out in everyday life and in work that you do and your home life and your community. And when you start to recognize that and then see it played out, then you’ll kind of be able to know, “Oh, I’m in the right place, I’m doing the right thing, I’m doing what I should be doing.” Or, “I’m not, and I need to change.”

It sounds like for a career,  if things come easy or natural, that’s probably the right fit — but if you’re fighting it or it’s forced or something, you’re maybe not doing the right thing. Is that what I’m interpreting here?

Exactly. And you see people, you can spot them a mile away, that are trying to be something that they’re not. And you see somebody who’s either pretend or fake or they’re trying to put on airs and be someone they’re not and you can spot them a mile away. And then you look at people who are passionate in what they do and they love what they do, and it’s genuine and honest and you can tell. You can just look at somebody and go, “Man, they are doing what they were made to do.” And that’s what I love to see, is people who have found that and who are able to pursue it.

I would add a note in there that defining success is really important. Success is different for everyone. It could be money, it could be providing for their family, it could be success from a legacy standpoint of leaving something behind. So you need to make sure that you’re careful with how you define success. For most people, it might be, “I want to see somebody’s life changed” or “I want to make a million dollars.” Whatever it is. But if you don’t define that for yourself, then anything that comes along can kind of change your vision and move you around, so you have to be really focused on that.

Let’s say you have this written out and you’ve talked to your friends and they go, “Yeah, you are a kind-hearted person who would be good at this,” or something, right? How do you even get the courage to start saying, “OK, I’m going to start doing something about it.” Because it’s one thing to say, “I’d love to do this, maybe I could do this,” but people who’ve been doing something for a long time, it’s hard to get the courage to make a change.

The number one killer of dreams is fear. People are afraid of what if, what will happen. And we all experience that fear in our life at some points. I think one of the most important things is to think about experience. So you look back on your life and you’re like, “OK, I was really afraid of this moment.” And then when it happened, did it really turn out as bad as you thought it did? Most of the time, no.

Our brains are amazing at coming up with these stories that are never going to come to light. You sit there in your head and you’re like, “OK, I’m going to go ask my boss for a raise.” And you’re like, “No, he’s going to say no, and he’s going to yell and scream.” And then you go do it, and he doesn’t. You’re like, “Oh, I made that out in my mind to be bigger than what it was.” So first is recognizing that your brain can trick you, and you need to not be afraid in those moments and step into it and see, “OK, what will happen on the positive side? What good things could happen out of this?” to step over those fears.

But the other thing to do is surround yourself with the right people. I tell people all the time that you will become the average of your five closest friends. And when you say that to some people, their eyes kind of light up a little bit and they’re like, “Oh no. Who am I hanging out with?” Because you really will become the average of those five people that you hang around with.  So if they’re successful in what they’ve done, a greater likelihood is that you’re going to be successful. If they’re not successful, guess what? The greater likelihood is that you’re not going to be successful. So surrounding yourself with the right peer group and making sure that they’re cheering you on and they’re helping you get to the next level, is probably one of the most important things that you can do.

That’s such a great point because when you’re around cynical people or negative people, and you tend to want to join in and be like, “Yeah, that’s right, that sucks,” or something. And when you’re around happy people or positive people, who like you said are cheering you on and encouraging you, you’re like, “Yeah, maybe I can do this!” You know what I mean?

One hundred percent. And that’s what I love about a good team, is that you see it being one that works well together, that functions on a high level — and 99 times out of 100, they’re encouraging each other. They’re cheering each other on. They’re being humble and serving each other and helping each other out, and that’s something that is opposite of what most people think about when they think about being a successful person or successful teams. They think, “Well they’re out for themselves. They’re out just for number one.” But that’s not true. You look at the really good teams in life, and the really successful people, and there’s that level of humility and service that’s a part of the group that makes that person successful.

Let’s go back for a moment to the act of writing things down, because you mentioned that was important to write down your goals. Why do you think the writing part in particular, actually having it on a piece of paper and looking at it, why is that so important?

Well they did a couple studies, one of them in the Harvard Business Review, where they took a bunch of students and they said, “We’re going to feed them information and then give them a test to see how well they remember it.” And so first they said, “We’re just going to put them in a room and listen to a talk and see how well they remember that.” Then it was, “We’re going to put them in a room and have them listen to a talk and we’re going to have them write down on their laptops this information.” And the final one was, “We’re going to put them in a room, have them listen to information and then have them write it down with a pencil and paper.” And all the studies across the board showed writing things down with a physical pen to paper was vastly more effective for remembering and retaining information.

So first of all, the studies show that if you write something down with a pen and paper, you will remember it better. Step One is just being able to remember it, because this stuff flashes through our brain and it’s gone. The second thing is, when you do that over and over again, you start to tell your brain, you start to train your brain that these things are important to you. So finding out those things of who you are — some people call it a mission statement or a vision statement or whatever — but it’s really just who you are and how you should treat others. And when you write those things down again and again, those things start to become a pattern in your brain and your brain goes, “Yeah, this is who I am, this is how I need to act.”

It’s one thing I always do and you’ll see me — if anybody’s running around (at the track), come up to me and say, “Jose, I want to see your notebook.” In my back pocket every single day I carry a notebook, one every month, and I write in it at the very beginning what my mission statement is and how I should act every day. I do that every month. I fill up one of these little notebooks and I’ll tell you, it helps. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, writing stuff down.

Jose Castillo shows off one of his monthly notebooks.

That’s so cool. I’ve actually wanted to do something like that for myself but I need to take the step to do it because it’s a reminder to yourself to do it.

It is, and it’s something where if you do something again and again, you’ll start to see patterns and things emerge with it that you’re not catching yourself, because you will. You’ll start to go down a path and you’ll wake up one day and be like, “This is not who I am. This is not who I set out to be. Why did that happen?” So that ritual of just writing things down can be really important for you.

Another thing, to go back to give people a couple more resources, is taking personality tests. We all take them when we get a new job or whatever, but they’ve become really popular. There are multiple personality tests out there that I could encourage you to go take, and that can really help you with finding out what your mission is, your “why”statement.

The hot one right now is Enneagram, and it’s a personality test, you go and it gives you kind of your strengths and how you should be acting when you’re in the right place, and how you’re going to act when you’re not in the right place, etc. Another one is StrengthsFinder 2.0, which is done by Gallup research, it’s another great one.

But taking those tests, they’re like $20 bucks online, you go take it, it gives you a nice, little eight, 10 sheets of paper that basically tells you your personality, who you are. And out of that, it’s very easy for you to kind of write your mission statement and be like, “Here’s who I am, and here’s how I act.”

When you write that down — and again, you want to make sure you test it — ask your friends, your family, your wife, your kids, “Hey, is this me?” “OK, yeah.” “Great, well then that’s how I should act.” And you start writing that down and it helps you stay on track.

What else am I missing as far as this journey that I didn’t ask you about that could help people on this road to changing their life?

The end goal is so important, and it’s that secret recipe that I believe everybody is unique and different. I really think that no one else has ever existed in the history of the world just like you. And if you think that’s the truth — and science backs it up — then why are we going about our life unhappy? If you’re the only one who has ever existed just like you, then you are super rare, and that’s something that needs to be shared with the world.

And so when you find out what your recipe is, the fact that you’re totally unique should inspire you to go, “Man, I need to share this with people,” because there’s nothing else like it! This is it; this is the only one that’s ever existed. So what better reason to share who you are than the fact that it’s super rare? Nobody else is going to see that.

So I think the encouragement that I would say to everybody listening right now is find out what makes you unique, find out who you are, why are you here, and then share that. And when you start to share that, and people give their information back, I think a lot of people are nervous about sharing who they are with somebody. It’s getting beyond that elevator conversation. Once you start to really dig in and you’re comfortable with sharing who you are with somebody else, that’s when it’s going to be really easy for you to define what success looks like, and you’re going to get there much quicker.

How I Got Here with Jose Castillo

Jose Castillo and co-host Amy Long on the NASCAR Trackside Live stage. (Courtesy Jose Castillo)

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to explain their career path and how they reached their current role. Up next: Jose Castillo, track emcee, “entertainment captain” and host of NASCAR Trackside Live.

First of all, why do you say, “Keep it spicy?”

It started years ago when I got a little habanero light bulb over my head as this logo. I love spicy food, first of all, but my friends were always like, “Jose, you’re always coming up with spicy ideas and everything.” So I just started doing “spicy.”

I love that. It’s your catchphrase, and every time I see you I’m like, “Yes. He keeps it spicy.”

That’s the plan.

So Jose, people are probably familiar with you from seeing you at the NASCAR Trackside Live stage and on the screens at a lot of these SMI tracks. What is your role right now in the NASCAR world?

So I’m a host for NASCAR Trackside Live, which we brought back last year — we’re going on a year and a half of that. And then for the last 12 years, I have been a host and emcee up on the big screen at a lot of the SMI tracks. I started at Bristol and went to Charlotte and then I’ve done Kentucky and Las Vegas and Sonoma. So I’ve been up on the screen being an interviewer, and my job is to help the fans have fun — which is why sometimes I go by “entertainment captain.” It’s a good role.

I like “entertainment captain.” That’s a very good job description. So obviously this probably wasn’t on your radar when you were growing up, to be an entertainment captain, I’m going to assume. So how did this all start out for you?

So it’s funny you say that it wasn’t on my radar, but looking back, I’m like, “This is totally what I’ve done my whole life.” I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. My dad is from Mexico, my mom is from Florida; I was born in Philly but grew up in the South. So I’ve lived in Tennessee pretty much my whole life, it’s where I grew up. In Knoxville, I would come out in front of the big plate glass window in front of the dinner table and I would fall over and make jokes. I’ve always wanted to be on stage and help people laugh. Like that’s my job. My job, if I can make people have a good time and help them enjoy themselves, then I’m doing what I love. And so it kind of progressed from there.

I gave my senior high commencement speech to 5,000 people, and I gave this talk and I remember it like it was yesterday. And at the end of the talk, I was like, “Wow, I may have inspired somebody to do something through this talk and I really like this. This is what I want to do.” And somehow I figured out a way to do jobs that involve that.

Jose Castillo interviews Luke Wilson at Sonoma in 2016. (Courtesy Jose Castillo)

So you get out of high school and you have this realization. Sounds good, but getting people to gather and listen is a whole different story. What was your next step?

It’s hard, because a lot of people see somebody on stage or up on a screen and they’re like, “I want to be that person.” So there’s a lot of people that want to do that.

I think there are some people who go through the “work hard” route — which somehow, I managed to do that route. Other people it’s the “you become famous overnight” (route) and I think a lot of those people don’t necessarily deal with it well. I have a lot of respect for the folks that work hard at it over a long period of time.

I went to Berry College for a very brief, glorious semester and did stand-up comedy. So I was the opener guy. I would walk up on stage and kind of warm up the crowd and then introduce the comedian who came out. And that for me was a job where I was like, “OK, I can’t be a stand-up comedian because that’s such a hard job to just bare your soul every night. But I like this idea of being an emcee, a master of ceremonies. The spotlight’s not on me, my job is to help other people have a good time, to help the event go well, to help the experience happen.”

So I think for me, it’s not about having the spotlight; it’s about making sure the event, the experience goes well and people are having a good time.

How nervous were you when you started out doing this kind of stuff? Obviously, you’ve been doing this long enough now where it’s normal for you. So how did it evolve over the years to where you’re comfortable enough to be in your position?

I think there are some people who are born with a natural ability to feel comfortable in front of a crowd. Jerry Seinfeld said it best, where he’s like, “The number one fear in the United States is standing on stage in front of a group of people. The number two is dying. So people at a funeral, they’d rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” That’s how most people view public speaking, having a microphone in front of a crowd.

And I think, for me, it was always very natural. Do I still get nervous? Sure, there’s times where I get butterflies or whatever. But I think it’s how you look at it.

I think a lot of people look at it and they go, “OK, I’m nervous,” or they can say, “I’m excited.” Guess what? It’s the same thing. Excitement is the positive side of looking at it, going, “What’s going to happen?” Something could happen, something cool, something bad, I could fudge a line, we could have a great moment — but I’m excited about it. Other people, they look at it in kind of a negative way and they go, “I’m nervous. What happens if I screw up, what happens if we fail?” So I think positive people that look at it that way are more likely to get up on the stage and be like, “This is exciting, we’re going to do something fun.”

So after college, what was your first step in the real world?

I’ve had a lot of different jobs over the years. Fortunately, both my dad, grandfather, and even on my wife’s side of the family, they’re all entrepreneurs. It was very hard for me to hold down a steady job working for somebody else. And so I always looked at things of, “How can I push out on my own and try things?”

Man, I had a lot of failures. I ran a commercial recording studio for a while that didn’t do well. I tried to do a speaking career very early on and I had no base to start on to do speaking. That didn’t go well.

And eventually through all that, landed on a blog. It was and I started this blog — this was maybe 15 years ago — and started doing some public speaking and some videos, recording videos of people and being the emcee, like the man on the street. And that was really kind of my first, “OK, I could get paid to hold a microphone and talk to people.”

So it started being successful enough where you were making somewhat of a living off of it?

No. I was not even close to making a living off of it. (Laughs) It was just one of those moments where I’m like, “OK, this is something I could do.”

It was really 12 years ago when Bristol Motor Speedway, they called me — I knew a couple friends there — and they said, “Jose, we’re going to do something a little different.” They were really the first track, I think, to do social media right and to do engagement with the fans right. And they said, “We’re going to make our screen something for the fans. We’re not just going to show country music videos, we’re not just going to show commercials. We want our fans to be up on the screen.” So they said, “Jose, will you come out to the track and interview?”

I’d been to one NASCAR race before that. And I liked it, but it was just kind of one of those things on the side. It was like, “Yeah, that’s cool.” But I had no idea what I doing. So they said, “Jose, you come in, we’ll give you somebody, and you go out in the campgrounds and just film people, hang out with them, and we’ll make them the stars up on the screen.” And I was like, “Heck yeah, I’m in.”

So I showed up to my first race 12 years at Bristol Motor Speedway. They had a camera crew, producer, a director and they’re like, “Alright, here you go. Go have fun.” And I’m like, “Alright, let’s go.” And so we jumped on a golf cart, went out to the campgrounds and started cooking with people, hanging out with them, showing them partying and having a good time, playing games with them up in the stands.

We filmed a lot of it, we did some of it live, and we started putting that up on the screen. And people loved it. People love seeing themselves up on the screen. That’s why we have Dance Cam, that’s why we have Kiss Cam, that’s why we show crowd shots. People love seeing themselves up there because it makes it part of the experience. So that was my job, was to come in and help those fans be part of the experience.

Were you essentially using some of your experience, whether it’s the stand-up comedy stuff or the speaking stuff you’d done or the man on the street stuff?

Yeah, and a lot of it was the fact that we had no budget, we had no script. We had some guidelines, but Bristol was so great about saying, “Jose, we trust you to just go have fun with our fans and make great content and tell stories.” And then it grew from there.

We started seeing other tracks going, “Wait a minute, there’s a guy up here helping fans have a good time. Can he come to our track and help us?” And so it really started to grow from that, but it was about taking all those things that I’d done up until that time and using them as part of that experience to help the fans have a good time.

And you’re right, it was kind of like, “Oh yeah, I learned this game over here doing this, we’re going to play this little game with these fans,” or “You know what, it’s OK to be relaxed and realize you’re going to say a wrong word. Yeah we’re live on the screen, but there’s only 150,000 people here, that’s not a big deal.” (Laughs)

So you mentioned other tracks saw what you were doing and wanted to be part of this. So because you’re part of the SMI family, was it easy for you to go about sort of on loan to these other tracks, or did they have to come to Bristol and ask permission? How does that work?

Here’s the deal. Bristol is always my home track. That’s where I started and they gave me the opportunity to be where I am today. And for a long time, I didn’t actively seek other tracks. I was like, “Bristol is special and unique and I want to stay a part of that.”

But there came a point where I was like, “You know, I could do this as a career.” Like at that point I was still doing marketing work, I was still doing other things and running my business, and I was like, “This is an opportunity that I feel like if I don’t step into, I’m going to miss it.”

And so it was really a combination of everybody. Basically, I’m a contractor — I work for myself — but the tracks hire me or NASCAR Productions hires me, whoever it is, and so I’d gotten enough calls that I’m like, “I’m going try this and see what it looks like.” But I definitely stepped out also saying, “I want to respect the people that brought me to the dance.” And we’ve been able to work through that and so far, it’s been really good.

Because here’s the deal: All the SMI tracks, they show each other love on social media, they’re helping each other out. It’s really one big family, and so it’s been fun to be a part of that. And even NASCAR on the bigger scale is this big family of people. I’ve never worked in something like this where everybody knows each other, and for the most part everybody’s like, “Come on, we want to help make each other better.” And that’s something cool. That’s part of the reason why I love doing it.

You mentioned a year and half ago I think now is when the Trackside Live stage started back up. It’s still at SMI tracks and you’re hoping to eventually expand to all the tracks. How did that start up? I’m sure that didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. And are you pleased with how it’s been going so far since it restarted?

First of all, it’s been amazing and I’m super humbled I got asked to be a part of it. Like when they asked me, I was like, “Really? Are you sure you guys want me to come?” And they’re like, “Yeah, we think you’d be a great thing for the fans.” And I wanted to make sure that I was going to be something that was a good fit and that the fans were going to have a good time. And so when they asked me, I was like, “Yes,” and so far there’s been an amazing response.

This idea of bring back NASCAR Trackside Live — it’s funny because it was four or five people and organizations’ ideas coming to the same realization at the same time. There were people actively inside NASCAR Productions who had said, “Hey Jose, we’re going pitch this idea for a show.” Then there was Marcus Smith and SMI going, “Hey, we need to give more to the fans beside the track.” There was NASCAR going, “Hey, we need to do more for the fans beside the track and do these experiences.” And so all that kind of came together at the right moment where they’re like, “You know what, we’re going to try it.”

It really was the ignition of Marcus Smith saying, “OK, I’m going to step out and push this and let’s see how it goes.” And so last year we launched it at Bristol. It was kind of our inaugural show, and it a little weather-y and there were some other things. But it was a great show. We had Goldberg up on the stage throwing stuff through a tire with his son, and the fans were up there playing games with the drivers and celebrities and guests, which that doesn’t ever happen.

So we’re like, “We keep making these little moments happen where the fans go, ‘Wow!’ and we’re going to win the day.” We had a couple sponsors come on board and we’re looking already on how this can grow and go to other tracks and we’re excited. I think it’s awesome.

When you’re up there, what’s the interaction with the drivers like? How does your relationship with those guys work? I feel like you’re able to draw a lot out of them when you’re up on the stage and I don’t know if it’s just your personality on the spot or because of relationships you have. How do you do it?

It’s a combination of things. So one is, and this is a note for anybody who wants to get into this, is do your homework on questions. Really digging in and finding out what’s going on in their lives, what’s unique, etc.

The second thing is being in the sport long enough. I’m not at every race every weekend, so when we started this, there were a couple drivers kind of like, “OK, I think I know you, I’ve seen you.” But now doing the show for a year, now it’s like high-fiving some drivers and saying hi, talking to each other at other events, on social media, etc. So there I think is a comfort level from the drivers going, “OK, this is not a journalism show, this is not a ‘Hey we’re going to get you with questions,’ this is just a chance to go have fun and play some games.”

And even some repeat drivers like Ty Dillon coming back on and saying, “Man, I’m looking forward to whatever game we’re gonna play.” Or Kyle Larson being like, “Dude, I’ve won every game I’ve been on the show, I want to win this game.” It’s hilarious. So I think they’re responding really well to it.

Let’s say there’s somebody out there reading and they’re like, “Man, Jose has a freaking cool job. I’d love to be on stage with these drivers, trying to bring the personality side out to the fans and having fun interacting with the fans.” What advice would you give to people who want to try to break into the industry?

We live in a time right now that is unprecedented for the amount of content and stories that you can tell with very little equipment, with very little money, with very little access. So if you want to do this, take out your phone right now and turn it around and hit the record button and start telling stories and start giving your opinion and start capturing things that are unique and different.

I think on the one side, anybody can do this. They really can. Does it take a special personality or a special gifts born in to help make it better? Yes, for sure. But I genuinely believe we live in a day and age where anybody can create their own show, anybody can create their own content and push it out there.

The other side of that is it’s got to be unique. It’s got to be something different and it’s got to be from the heart. People know if you’re trying too hard, and if you’re not having a good time, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing or if you’re trying to push it or you’re trying to make it into something it isn’t, they’re going to see right through it.

So I’ll encourage people, if you want to go watch this video…I did a TEDx Talk called “The Wheelbarrow Story.” It’s a story my dad told me about how you can have fun doing anything. And so much fun that it’s infectious, that other people want to come have fun with you.

That’s what I think is why people gravitate to myself, to other people like that, is because we’re having fun. The secret is, we’re just having a good time. So if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, then turn the camera around and help other people have a good time and enjoy it together and you’re going to be successful.

Let me ask a follow-up before we close out here because every time I see you, you’re always smiling, you have this energy, you’re super positive. There’s a lot of times when the world’s not so positive or maybe you wake up and you’re tired or something. What advice would you give to me or other people who sometimes you just feel like, “Ugh, I just don’t feel it that day. I wish I had the energy and felt more positive but I don’t.” How would you answer that?

First off, I have bad days. You can call my wife and daughter up right now and I guarantee they’ll tell you a time when I have not smiled. So I am not perfect. And nobody is.

But I think there’s a joy that comes from wanting to help others genuinely. If you look at the people who want to serve other people and who are genuine about doing that, there’s a joy. There’s a fun there that even if they’re having a bad day, it still kind of shines through.

My mom was always like, “If you’re having a bad day, go help somebody else.” And all of a sudden you’re not having a bad day because you’re helping somebody else. You’re focusing on serving somebody else and helping them have a good time and you start to forget about your own problems.

So I think that moment we get into, “Oh man, this sucks, woe is me,” whatever, find somebody else and help them out. It’s that simple, and I think you’ll find joy and you’ll find excitement in seeing other people having a smile on their face.