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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Jul 31, 2019

Have you ever had an idea so big that it feels impossible, too scary, too out of reach? If you have a calling that overwhelms you, join us to hear how Jeremy Cowart’s career has tackled all those questions and more. Jeremy has accomplished many wonderful callings including work as a humanitarian photographer, artist, author, and founder of The Purpose Hotel! We’ll discover the impact of Jeremy’s work and the mighty power behind the simple act of asking.

3:05 - The Jeremy 101

  • Jeremy Cowart is a man of many ideas and many callings. He’s an artist, photographer, humanitarian, fine art creator, public speaker, painter, and founder of Help Portrait and The Purpose Hotel.
  • Knowing how much Jeremy has accomplished would make you think it’s always been that way, but school did not come easily to Jeremy. He struggled thinking he’d never amount to much and thought his grades reflected his value as a human being.
  • In junior high, Jeremy fell in love with the arts and his parents encouraged him to pursue graphic design as a more stable career path.
  • In college, Jeremy jumped head first into graphic design and even worked for an ad agency after college. In 2001, Jeremy left the advertising world to pursue his own design agency and has worked for himself ever since.

7:47 - Follow Your Purpose

  • While working on a photography job, Jeremy found himself walking through The Standard (hotel) in LA. As he walked by the rooms, the thought randomly popped into his head that each room could tell a story.
  • Every aspect of a hotel stay reminded Jeremy of a cause that helps people. Each room could sponsor a specific child, keys could be linked to The Giving Keys, the art could come from humanitarian artists, the soap could come from Thistle Farms, and so on.
  • Like many of us with big dreams or entrepreneurship visions, Jeremy spent a lot of time in fear of the grand scale of his idea. On a flight over NYC, the visual of thousands of skyscrapers lead Jeremy to ask “Why can’t that be me?”
  • It’s a great lesson for all of us: If God calls us to something specific, all we are required is to trust that next small step put before us.

12:44 - For People, By People

  • Since The Purpose Hotel idea revolves around helping other people, crowd funding seemed fitting to help get the idea off the ground.   
  • While over 4,700 people contributed to the first Kickstarter campaign for the hotel, the original campaign fell well short of the $2 million goal.
  • What looked like an initial setback proved once again a lesson in trusting things to line up in just the right way. With a second Kickstarter set at $350,000, the next campaign raised around $750,000.
  • When we hit a roadblock on the path to a big dream, instead of letting what looks like failure hinder us, we can recognize it as a setup rather than a setback.

17:03 – The Orchestrated Details

  • Speaking of setbacks, another one popped up when the first plans for the hotel’s location fell through.
  • The next day at the annual Help Portrait event, Santa Claus (no joke!) surprised Jeremy with a Christmas miracle and offered him land to build The Purpose Hotel right next to the brand new Nashville Convention Center. 
  • A chance meeting with Horst Schultze of THE Ritz Carlton did not initially go well, but at the last minute, Jeremy asked if he could show Schultze the full presentation. A 10-minute meeting turned into three hours of conversation and a big offer from Schultze.
  • When things feel like they just won’t work out, God is orchestrating something bigger and better that we don’t always know about right away. 
  • The Purpose Hotel plans to break ground next year and open in 2022. The long-term hope is to continue building hotels all over the world as a beacon of light helping humanity.

30:25 - I’m Possible.

  • Jeremy’s new book is called “I’m Possible.” It’s Jeremy’s story of turning “I can’t do this” to the reminder of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Hear Jeremy tell us about how that change allowed him to bear witness to more orchestrated moments, including stories of healing from Rwanda in his Voices of Reconciliation.”

42:38 - Getting To Know Our Guest

Jeremy has been all over the world, so I’m sure you’re curious to know where he’d go if he had to move somewhere outside of the US! You’ll also learn who he’d pick to narrate a movie about his life, what book has influenced him the most, and which 1900s era he’d travel back in time to visit and why! Most importantly, Jeremy shares with us what it means to run a business with purpose (you don’t want to miss hearing what it means for him to be creative)! 


Named the “Most Influential Photographer on the Internet” by Huffington Post, Forbes and Yahoo in 2014, Jeremy Cowart is an award-winning photographer, artist, and entrepreneur whose mission in life is to "explore the intersection of creativity and empathy." Jeremy has published four books and is a sought-after speaker, having presented at TEDx, the United Nations and creative conferences across the country.

His latest endeavor is The Purpose Hotel, a planned global for-profit hotel chain designed to fuel the work of not-for-profit organizations. He’s the founder of a global photography movement, Help-Portrait, a mobile social networking app called OKDOTHIS, and an online teaching platform, See University. He lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife and four children, two of whom they recently adopted from Haiti.