Community//

Jake Kelfer: “My biggest challenge was my lack of knowledge”

Many authors never complete their book, let alone start their book, for hundreds of reasons. If you want to become an author you have to go for it. It’s going to be challenging, but if you start now, you’re already that much closer. As part of my interview series on the five things you need to […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Many authors never complete their book, let alone start their book, for hundreds of reasons. If you want to become an author you have to go for it. It’s going to be challenging, but if you start now, you’re already that much closer.


As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Kelfer is a lifestyle entrepreneur and life elevator. He is the bestselling author of Elevate Beyond and Elevate Your Network, a high-energy motivational speaker on a mission to inspire millions of people to achieve personal success and happiness. He is the founder of the Professional Basketball Combine which helps NBA draft prospects turn their dreams of playing pro basketball into their reality. He and his work have been featured on Forbes, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NBC Sports, USA Today, Bleacher Report and many other major media outlets.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

When I was younger I had this dream that eventually I would write a book and travel the world as a speaker. I thought that I would make my millions as a sports agent and then share what I learned throughout the journey. I figured that then I would have everything I wanted and people would want to listen. What I quickly learned just one year after graduation was that you don’t have to wait until you have millions of dollars to give back to people. With the right message and intention, you can start today. And that’s exactly what I did.

A mentor of mine told me while working with the Los Angeles Lakers that the ideas I had needed to be turned into a real book. At 22, I was confused but it was then I realized that I didn’t have to wait to write this book.

Since then, I’ve focused on trying to enjoy the journey and experience all that life has to offer while at the same time pursue my ultimate goals.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but one of my favorites happened when I was writing my first book, Elevate Beyond. I was writing my script in normal font on a word document and then sent it over to an editor and proofreader to make sure it was ready for publishing. What I didn’t realize was how big the font would be upon receiving the final copy of the book. When I officially released Elevate Beyond the book was in a beautifully large font compared to other books. What makes this the best mistake is that one of the biggest compliments I’ve received is that it makes the book easier to read and people feel that they can accomplish more due to the large font.

It’s a great memory that I can laugh about now.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

1. I’m working on a brand new online course called Elevate Your Happiness — 4 Weeks to a Happier Life where I’ll be sharing how to live a happier life with more fulfillment, appreciation, and excitement. I am expecting to release this course towards the end of the year, so if you want to stay updated on it get a little sneak peek –10 Daily Actions to a Happier Life.

2. I am in the process of taking the Professional Basketball Combine to the next level. The PBC, as we call it, is a secondary NBA draft combine that helps NBA draft hopefuls turn their dream of playing professional basketball into their realities.

3. I am in the very early stages of books 3 and 4 which is exciting because I am working with some of my favorite people in the world on them.

4. I am focused on becoming the best motivational speaker I can become. My ultimate goal is to sell out arenas and host my own events like Tony Robbins, so everyday I am working to get closer to making that goal my truth.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

For me, I think the biggest factor in me becoming a great writer, and yes, I’m still working on my craft all of the time, is my desire to share a message that will positively impact the world. My writing talent alone isn’t the greatest in the world, but if people are willing to read my work and it makes a positive difference in their lives, then I am going to do whatever it takes to deliver the best book/article/course that I can.

As a writer, I typically write in spurts. I like to turn it on similar to Kobe in the 4th quarter, and write for hours. When I get tired, I take a break. When I’m hungry, I eat a snack. Writing in the morning tends to be the most productive for me, but the biggest thing for me is to relax and enjoy the process. It’s not easy to write a book, so making sure I enjoy the process is key for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

There are so many stories from each of my books that I love but I think one of the most interesting things about my books is that everyone takes away something different. Whether it’s hearing about the CEO of MVMT and his networking approach in Elevate Beyond, hearing the story of how Jon Chepkevich became the Director of Scouting for the PBC in Elevate Your Network, or even just reading about how minor changes can make a huge impact in your life and relationships, everyone learns what they need to at that very time.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

My overarching theme in life is to elevate people to achieve personal success and happiness. It looks different to each and every one of us, but I want to empower my readers to pursue the life they were destined to live, to take chances even if it means you might fail, and most importantly, to have fun along the journey no matter what obstacles or challenges lay ahead.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

My biggest challenge was my lack of knowledge. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I still don’t for that matter. The only thing I could control was the effort I put in to learning as much as I possibly could. I spent hours learning how to give myself the best chance of becoming a bestseller on Amazon and how to maximize the impact my books could have.

I think that in order for us to be the best we can possibly be, we need to be a lifelong learner. There is so much knowledge in the world and the more knowledge you have, the more you can turn that knowledge into action.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I’m inspired by a lot of writers but my favorite genre is nonfiction. I love reading books that provide actionable takeaways that I can implement into my daily life. I want to invest my time in reading books and content that will help me get closer to achieving my ultimate goals. My favorite author is Jon Gordon because he provides so many great life lessons through his books.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

Based on what my readers tell me, my writing impacts people to take action one way or another. They take a lesson from the book and apply it to their life. They share something with their friends or family members.

For me, the greatest joy is hearing people talk about how they used my book to advance their life in a positive way whether it’s for a job, deciding to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor, or even rebuilding an old friendship.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

This comes directly from my dad, “The only shortcut in life is to start now!” Many authors never complete their book, let alone start their book, for hundreds of reasons. If you want to become an author you have to go for it. It’s going to be challenging, but if you start now, you’re already that much closer.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The Elevation Movement — Elevate one person’s life every single day by taking some form of positive action.

This will improve individual happiness, build better relationships, and start a chain reaction that will elevate the world ultimately reducing mental health issues, decreasing conflict, and improving the authentic human connection.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me @jakekelfer on all social platforms! If you want to tune in, read some blog posts or learn more about me or my speaking, visit www.jakekelfer.com. There’s even a special giveaway for you that’ll pop up when you get to the website ☺

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“Athletes are coachable”, With Dre Baldwin and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Unplug & Recharge//

The Case for Choosing Downtime Over Organized Sports

by dr. bobbi wegner
Community//

“To Rise Through Resilience You Must Be Honest About Your Weaknesses” with Fotis Georgiadis & Billy Boughey

by Fotis Georgiadis

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.