For the past five years, Pete Nelson, from the popular Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters, has endeared himself to his millions of television fans by designing and building his amazing and unique treehouses. He has created an entire cottage industry by creating dream treehouses.
Although Nelson built his first treehouse in high school, he didn’t start a treehouse building business until years after working as a traditional house builder. Yet, when he began to say “yes,” his dream of building treehouses manifested.
In this exclusive interview with Pete Nelson, he talks about the need for balance in the practical world, along with the dream world, his mission, and saying “yes”!
— People Magazine (@people) March 7, 2017
Georgia Makitalo (GM): On your show Treehouse Masters, you have often said that you are a “yes man.” What surprises have you encountered when you’ve said “yes”?
Pete Nelson (PN): I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble by saying “yes” to things. It’s been a lot better way than saying “no” and trying to remember who you said “no” to.
GM: Is this your philosophy? When you originally started, you wanted to build treehouses, yet at that time you were working in regular construction. Did you find that once you started saying “yes” more, you started to move closer to that treehouse dream?
— Urbasm (@Urbasmblog) March 25, 2017
PN: That’s a wonderful question, and I would have to say that yes. I have always said that when I’m following this path that I see for myself, which is this whole world of creating intimate spaces in nature in the trees, the doors that sort of present themselves to you, if you open them up and look what’s behind them by saying “yes,” and going through them, that something wonderful is always waiting for you.
I really feel that I am in the right vibration. You know, my wife tells me this a lot and you follow that gift. I feel that that’s what it is. It’s your passion. Yes, follow your bliss. You follow your heart. But, really for me, I think I’ve developed a deeper understanding of that to say that I’m following something that I consciously know that I’m particularly good at, which is interpreting what we can really do feasibly in trees and learning as I go and sort of, I guess, developing that inner thing–that gift–that I feel I have and exploiting it to a degree.
I get goosebumps just talking to you about it now! I feel like my purpose is to show as many people as possible [and] to show what is possible in this way. It’s a lot of work and I won’t lie, sometimes it’s a challenge. But, every time I say “yes” to these things, I learn something and I get to challenge myself and my team. Each time it’s just been more and more rewarding!
— Quest (@QuestTV) March 18, 2017
GM: Perhaps you’re more like a magician or more like an alchemist? Maybe you think of yourself as something else?
PN: I have one foot firmly planted in the practical and one [foot] firmly in the creative world, and I think I balance these two. For one, going through the real world of getting the permits [for] construction in the United States and you need engineering. We need the engineers that do the math and crunch the numbers. As I’m not that guy, we have to have those people on our team. The last thing we want to do is put people in harm’s way and we can show clearly, to the powers that be, that these structures are safe. So I have to have that balance.
But there is alchemy.
When you put these 20,000 parts together to create something that takes people into a different world. I see that. And I see that in the faces of people that experience this and I can imagine that. And, I’m telling you, we have a little B&B and I get to see people come down from these trees in the mornings and they’re like wondering what happened. They will tell you that normally, they wake up at 5 in the morning and have since they were like 25-years-old. Then they are stumbling out of the treehouse at 9:30 in the morning wondering what happened? I see this and they are just full of energy and light and excitement. This is what they do. They are a bit of magic, and it never gets old to see it — and it’s real!
GM: You were recently featured in Forbes magazine for your small business success. Did you ever imagine that you would end up in Forbes when you embarked on this treehouse journey?
PN: Never not in a million years!
I was an economics major in college, which to become a treehouse builder, after an economics degree, was a stretch. It’s really an honor too, for someone there to ask me about running a small business. The joy and challenges of that. I’ve just been a catalyst in this and by going down this road and going through these doors, it’s attracted a lot of like-minded people. Frankly, a lot of people that are a lot smarter than me helped make this dream happen.
I’m really blessed with the kind of crew that is with me and their attention to detail and their incredible level of craftsmanship.
— David (@dedouble) February 28, 2017
Has Pete Nelson’s philosophy of saying “yes” inspired you in pursuing your own creative or entrepreneurship dreams?
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]