Build your army

“With the right audience, anything’s possible.”

-Unknown

A few nights ago I had the honor of attending a TEDx event in San Francisco. TED is hands down one of my favorite organizations. The things they’ve taught me are priceless.

The theme of the night was Creating Your Own Government and the speakers blew my mind. More than anything, the biggest takeaway was simple:

 We  all absolutely have to take it upon ourselves to lead our own revolution.

I don’t care whether it’s to get your favored candidate elected, to improve nutrition in schools or perhaps change the world by getting people to do work they love, like we’re doing here at Live Your Legend.

It doesn’t matter what topic you choose. What does matter is that you choose something, anything – and start broadcasting your strongest beliefs. The tools have never been easier and cheaper to use. I promise you that if you start saying things that matter to you, there’s going to be other folks around the world who care just as much. It’s on us to build that community and lead that revolution.

With that said, let’s get into the action.

**********

The Pursuit of ‘Ridiculous’ Dreams…

Just over ten years ago a young British chef in his mid twenties decided he was going to change the world.

He had a powerful message he wanted to share. All he needed was someone to listen. He was crazy about revolutionizing the way kids learned about and consumed food. More specifically he wanted to remove all processed food from kids’ plates – a pretty tall order. He’d stop at nothing to do it.

Ten years ago no one had heard of Jamie Oliver. Today his YouTube videos alone have gotten millions of views, not to mention his multiple hit TV series and dozens of restaurant chains. In 2003 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, and recently Jamie won the TED Prize as he told the world his dream to teach every child about food. That video alone has been watched over 1.4 million times.

The thing is Jamie isn’t much different than any of us. The only difference is simple: Jamie found his voice and stopped at nothing to spread it. He had a passion rooted so deep he nearly brings himself to tears each time to speaks.

Everyone has a message to spread.

The thing is, a lot of us don’t know what it is yet and few of us have taken the steps to get the word out. It’s time for that to change.

A crystal clear message can change the world.

Take Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Gandhi or even Hitler. These folks had a belief they were determined to share. And, for better (or sometimes worse), people listened. In fact they hung on every word. And then began doing all they could to further the cause!

That’s where you come in…

Who listens to you? Who’s waiting for your message?

Take a few minutes to think about it.

What are they even listening to?

Is it the message you want to be known for?

Something amazing happens when you find a message that’s congruent with who you are. You begin to want to communicate it to anyone who will listen and in any way possible. But that’s just the beginning. Anytime you have something you’re deeply passionate to tell people about, you’ll notice an equally fired-up audience won’t be far behind.

If you have something you truly care about saying, odds are there’s an audience that wants to listen.

But you have to do the work to find that audience. Don’t expect it to find you.

Not even ten years ago this was hardly possible. If you didn’t happen to come across these people at work or in local social circles, you’d likely never see them. The odds of gathering the right following were nearly zero.

Now, if you want to lead a tribe to change the way kids view food, or anything for that matter, you can do it.

Technology has put the 80/20 rule on steroids when it comes to our ability to rally a crowd.

Whether it’s YouTube, blogs, social media or the more traditional methods, you have more power to lead and help than ever.

Without a message and audience Live Your Legend wouldn’t exist.

My message here is simple. I believe that if we can all begin doing work we love, we can truly change the world. Live Your Legend and my message here exist because I believe it’s not only possible for us to do work that excites us but that it’s a our right, and I’m determined to be one of the leaders of this revolution.

Once this message became clear to me, and I began to make it clear to others (through my writing, speaking, daily conversations and any other interaction I seemed to have), something amazing started to happen…

Over 7,500 people joined my cause in about a year. Now over 25,000 folks from 100 or more different countries read the message I love communicating. That’s the power of congruence.

I’m grateful.

The thing is, I never would have come to the message I have today if I didn’t start developing it years ago.

You cannot expect to do work that excites you if you do not start to develop the ideas that breed the excitement – and then start sharing them with the world.

If we’re going to do work that matters to us and change the world we have to find our voice and an audience willing to listen.

As with everything, this takes practice. Massive practice.

Here are some places to start…

find your audience

8 Ways to Find Your Voice and Create a Massively Loyal Following:

1. Have interesting conversations. Start having meaningful conversations with the people around you. Stop asking the standard questions of ‘how are you’ and ‘what do you do’ and replace them with things like ‘what’s exciting right now’ or ‘what do you do for fun’. Then dig into deeper topics. Tell them what’s on your mind. Notice the reactions. The more conversations you have, the more you’ll recognize what sticks and how to best communicate it.

2. Have memorable experiences. Have you ever made a bucket list? If not, do a simple one now. Then start checking it off. Sign up for events you’d never usually do in your home town. Local shows, networking events, cooking classes, fitness clubs. Share some ideas. Try things out.

3. Start a blog. I believe everyone should have a blog. I may be biased ;), but I’ve yet to find anything that’s as powerful for developing and communicating a message (except maybe video mentioned below). There’s also nothing easier to get up and running. You can have a new blog live and a post published in under an hour.

The more you write, the more you learn. Having it be public adds the excitement that someone might actually be reading it. And sooner or later someone will. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to make a business out of it. That’s fine. It’s not about the money. It’s about the message. It’s time to get something live.

Get on a routine schedule and start sharing your ideas. And, as you do the rest of what’s suggested below, you can tell everyone to come follow your work on your blog. Bring on the army!

For those interested, I credit the A-List Blogging Club (and its members) for just about everything I’ve learned when it comes to writing online and building a business around it. Their courses, tools and advice are bar none. I would have shut this site down long ago if it wasn’t for them.

4. Contribute to a forum. If you don’t want to set up your own blog (but seriously, you really should!), then find someone else’s forum online. This could be the comments section in another blog (I used to share many of my ideas in Tim Ferriss’s comments before I began sharing them here), but even better are actual forums or question and answer sites like Quora. There are forums for everything from expert wood chopping to middle-aged women diehard about knitting. Seriously everything. Start contributing, commenting on what others are sharing and noticing what sticks.

5. Join Toastmasters. While writing’s powerful, nothing is more influential than a lights-out speech. I spent a year with toastmasters and not only got a chance to massively tighten my ability to speak, but also got to dabble in topics covering everything from history to story-telling and nutrition to personal values. This organization is awesomely supportive and has a rock-solid method for developing talent.

Nothing beats live real-time reactions to your message. Given that most of us are more scared of addressing a crowd than engaging in hand-to-hand combat, this is the last most of you will sign up for. Get over it and get on stage. The learning curve alone will be worth the effort.

6. Host a seminar. This is not as hard as you think – especially once Toastmasters gets your confidence up. Put up an ad on Craig’s List, in the classifieds or Facebook with local listings. Pick a very specific topic with a clear benefit, plan to speak for 30-45 minutes and do Q/A for another 15 or so. Make it no more than an hour. Charge a nominal price to be sure you get people who are actually interested. Pass out a short survey at the end and be sure to collect a few testimonials. Bonus points for recording the sessions (audio and ideally video).

7. Give work presentations. Most of us already have a captive audience at our office. Start by finding a way to weave your message into talks that your colleagues already have to listen to. For the past couple years I’ve been teaching a speed reading class on the occasional weekend. As I’ve gotten comfortable with the material I’ve begun to add in more of my messages relating to constant improvement and spending your time on things that matter. Whether it’s direct guidance or by means of the examples I use, there are ways to share your message in a relevant way.

Start with routine presentations but then swipe up opportunities to give brown bag sessions or free mini events over a group lunch on whatever non work related topic interests you. Tie in a few work ideas if you like, so that it’s a bit more relevant. Do this enough and you might start getting asked to do this stuff routinely.

8. Publish YouTube videos. I save what I see as the most powerful, for last. This might be even higher on this list than blogs. Not only do they leverage technology but videos key into many more aspects of connecting with your audience. They engage your audience and get across the emotion and character of who you are and what you’re trying to say in a way that nothing else can. That’s probably why I love TED Talks so damn much!

Video is something I’m just starting to crack into over here at Live Your Legend and I can’t wait to further develop it. People connect with video over text for all kinds of reasons: it takes less energy to absorb, you can experience it on more and more devices, you connect deeper with the presenter, and on top of that, videos happen to drive massive traffic in a much more effective way than most audience-gathering tools online. With about 66% of peoples’s daily web time being spent watching videos, you really can’t ignore it.

Getting something live can be even faster than a blog post. There’s no proofreading or editing and you could have something up in 15 minutes if you wanted to. There’s no excuse (and being scared to have your face online is not a good excuse). Everyone should have a video or two online at the least. Pick a topic that keeps you up at night and just start recording something right now. See what you think. Then publish it. Do it right from the camera installed on most laptops. Just get something live!

Anyone serious about YouTube has got to spend some time with Lewis Howes’ YouTube course – Video Traffic Academy. It’s the most comprehensive course on YouTube out there and more importantly, will likely get you fired up and excited to start publishing content instead of sitting around feeling too nervous to take the first step. Check out their course and send me a link to your first video!

Start giving people a chance to listen.

Once you become more aware, you’ll start to realize these opportunities are all around you. There are more people than you’d realize who want to hear what you have to say. But they can only hear it if you start saying it.

And when you focus on sharing ideas with the world, you’ll begin to notice which mean the most to you and you’ll start to see what people begin to listen to.

Forget about the fact that you might misspeak here and there or that your message isn’t quite refined yet. It never will be. My view of the world continues to evolve and sharpen with every new post I write, interview I give or talk I present.

That’s the point.

The world is dying to hear your message.

You just have to tell them about it.

You really don’t need that big of an audience to create some meaningful change (or to build a business around it). A few hundred or 1,000 truly passionate followers may be all it takes.

Without an audience, Jamie Oliver would have never gotten the chance to revolutionize the way children consume food. As a result, he saves kids’ lives every year. Because of him, a broken system is being fixed. His work is changing the world.

Yours will too.

Your army is waiting. You just have to tell them where to march.

It’s time to get the word out.

Check out The Video Academy or just start recording a Youtube video. As always, it starts with starting. Come back and share a link to what you create!


  • Ash

    Consider me inspired! I actually researched joining Toastmasters last week…perhaps I should stop researching & just do it? ;)

    • http://www.ariseventures.net Jamaal Thomas

      It’s an outstanding organization. I’ve been a member on and off for years. I have certainly improved my ability to communicate in leaps and bounds!

      Good luck!

      • Scott

        Awesome to hear you’re a part of the action Jamaal!

    • Nestor

      I agree with you Ash. I am stuck in procrastination mode. I keep telling myself to find more info on Toastmasters but never actually do it.

      It’s time to stop researching and just do it!

      • Scott

        So did you do it?!?

    • Scott

      You nailed it! Just drop into a TM meeting and experience it. They are super welcoming. You just gotta start – have fun with it!

  • http://www.ariseventures.net Jamaal Thomas

    Outstanding Post! Great way for me to start my work day!

    I will make sure to begin using some of your suggestions. I feel like I have so much pent up inside and I know letting it out will help others while helping myself!

    Thanks a lot for the nudge in the right direction!

    • Scott

      That’s just it. We’d all be blown away with what we have inside to share, if we just got ourselves up on stage to share it!

  • http://www.thedynamiclife.com Hugh

    Jamie Oliver is awesome and he’s constantly doing amazing things.

    This post is a great reminder for all of us that we are more than we think we are. All of these tips are great. Looking at them, I see a common thread – they all involve getting out of one’s comfort zone and leaning into something. The easy path is relaxing in one’s comfort zone. The challenge is to get out of it and live a little. I know this is something I need to remind myself of on a regular basis. Thanks for the reminder Scott!

    • Scott

      Life begins outside of your comfort zone Hugh! That’s what I constantly tell myself. So far so good…

  • http://stronginsideout.com Amy

    Every post you write is so inspiring, Scott.

    Good call on the Toastmasters! I’d never thought of that, and I’m definitely going to check it out (there’s one right down the street)!

    Video is something else I’m eager to start doing, but a little scared, too. Guess I should practice what I preach and do it anyway! :)

    Thanks for another great post!

    • Scott

      Love your constant support Amy! Did you record your first video yet? Do quick one and send me the link. Would love to see it. You know you’ll crush it on camera – just gotta start rolling!

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com Vishnu

    Thanks for the tips Scott. I’m going to try out #3 very soon with a new blog. I went through the first series of Tmasters speeches in college and found them helpful for public speaking. and finally, i decided to contact the local library to give a presentation on what my blog topic is going to be about. they said ok.

    Glad to be part of your revolution – well, my revolution:) you’re just leading it, right?

    • Scott

      Ha ha, I love it Vishnu! Nicely done on securing a presentation and audience. That’s huge!

      Congrats on the new blog – be sure to check out the blogging club I mentioned above.

      This is your revolution as much as it’s mine, no question about it!

  • Jack

    Scott, I’ve been reading your posts for a few months now and little by little you’re wearing me down. Your suggestions, tips and points of view, are forcing me to take control of my destiny.

    I’ve heard them all, Dyer, Chopra, Williamson but no one connects with me on a soul level the way that you do.

    Thank you for allowing me to see what I couldn’t before…

    • Scott

      This makes my week Jack. Amazing to be among such Legends too. Means a lot. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad it’s helpful. With comments like yours, this site becomes a success!

    • weeee

      nice plug …..

  • Philip

    Great to see you using Jamie Oliver as an example. He is real hero of mine! His work on children’s food in schools is excellent. But where he really hooked me in was with his 15 project where he took unemployed kids and taught them to cook and developed a restaurant concept around it. He really proves that you can have both a financially rewarding business career while also using your talents to improve things.

    Have been enjoying your posts for a while now. Each week they kind of act like an opportunity to take stock and review whether I an on track (for me, that’s making my business truly useful and not just about the bottom line!). Keep up the good work Scott!

    • Scott

      “He really proves that you can have both a financially rewarding business career while also using your talents to improve things.” That’s says it all.

      The more people who can prove this is possible the better. Jamie is epic in this way and many more.

      Congrats on the success it sounds like you’re having Philip. And that you’re keeping what’s important front of mind.

  • Ken

    Absolutely agree with your 8 ways to find your own voice Scott. I joined toastmasters 2 years ago and it boosted up my confidence for public speaking. My heart still races faster before I step up to the stage. But when I stand on the stage, I own the whole room and I feel the passion to share valuable information I know with my audience. Toastmaster is definitely one of the best activities for people finding their own voice.

    Great article Scott!

    • Scott

      Yeah Ken!! Speakers high is pretty freaking awesome. And that feeling just before getting on stage makes it all the better. Huge congrats to you!

  • http://www.motivationalmemo.com Peter G James Sinclair

    Scott-two words. You Inspire!

    • Scott

      I get it from you my man!

  • Nestor

    Another great post Scott! Imagine how much we can do if everyone started to spread their message?

    Sometimes we forget we can do much more. As Hugh said in his post – “we are more than we think we are.”

    Keep up the good work and thank you for being so inspiring.

    • Scott

      Thanks Nestor. How about we both keep up the good work?? My message here is just one of the 7500+ I’d love to hear from all of you in whatever way suits you best. Can’t wait!

  • http://livingthebalancedlife.com Living the Balanced Life

    Scott,
    I have seen 3 references to Toastmasters today. Guess it’s time to get off my duff!
    Thanks for the kick!
    Bernice

    • Scott

      Yeah it looks like we’ve struck a chord here. I say run with it! Only good things can come from Toast Masters…

  • http://www.janisdaddona.com Janis

    Scott, your posts are exactly what I’ve been looking for! “My People” are here! I’m starting up a support group for the unemployed, and Live Your Legend will be among the first resources I share. Thank you for inspiring all of us.

    • Scott

      This is so awesome to hear Janis – congrats on starting the group. Glad I can be here to help you all out in some way. Let me know how else I can contribute to help you all make big things happen!

  • Stanley Johns

    Great post as usual Scott. I like TED videos too, and have seen the one with Jamie Oliver. I have started on the blog part, and need to work on my video skills. Heard about toastmasters, and have to work on getting it done. Your posts are always encouraging, and thank you for that.

    • Scott

      Can’t wait to see one of your videos Stanley. Send it over! TED is such a powerful motivator for all this stuff – love it.

  • http://www.charlotterainsdixon.com Charlotte

    Agree with you that everyone should have a blog. They are such great platforms, and fabulous for writing practice to boot. And this post is the second time I’ve seen Toastmasters mentioned, which might be a sign…I guess I’ll be seeing Living the Balanced Life at a meeting soon. :-)

    • Scott

      Yes – Let’s get cracking and come back and tell us about it!

  • Jake T.

    Scott, I think this video is a great tie-in with your post. I have a reminder on my calendar to watch it once a month to keep me motivated.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

    • Scott

      I’ve seen it Jake and love it! Not only is the message rock solid but Seth has an incredibly powerful way of communicating it. So much to learn from that guy.

  • http://zenteen.net Jake O’Callaghan

    I can’t remember the last time I was so inspired by a blog post. Brilliant, world-altering stuff. Thank you! I am fired up and ready to change the world.

    • Scott

      That’s what I’m talking about Jake! So awesome to hear you say that. Now get out and do something with it! Be sure to report back…

  • http://www.journalinabox.com Yvonne Root

    Scott,

    Once again, you bring a good and timely message. Kudos!

    When I shared with the team, minutes ago, your idea of posting a listing on Craig’s List concerning speaking about what we are passionate about each one of them looked as if a light bulb had just pulsed above their heads. Big smiles. Thumbs up. One of the team is (at this moment) researching to find a practical location.

    The Craig’s List aficionado is developing copy. Another is off to get his beauty sleep. (We seem to work around the clock around this place — sleeping when we can.) And me? Well, I’m thanking you for the good idea.

    Thanks!

    • Scott

      Now that’s what you call action Yvonne! I always say, reading is where it starts, doing something about it is where the magic happens. Good to see you and your team already have that pretty well nailed down. Good luck with the post!

  • http://executivecrossroads.com/ Executive X

    Nice article, Scott! Definitely some helpful nuggets. I agree that blogging is a great way to start working on your message. You find the more you write, the more focused it becomes. Also love the recommendation on publishing videos. Will check it out.

    • Scott

      Blog and video are all you need -Let me know what you get published!

  • http://www.thingsiownramon.blogspot.com Ramon

    Nice post. I actually started a blog a few months back and did not link it to my facebook till this morning. It is nice to have an audience to support you and help you when you get down.

    • Scott

      Nice work getting your message out to all your friends! That’s where it starts…

  • http://www.discovershareinspire.com Rachel Denning

    I love this post (and your message in general). My husband loves speaking (and he’s really good at it). We keep saying we should schedule a seminar…perhaps somewhere along our trip.

    Thanks!

    • Scott

      Schedule it. There are people out there to listen. You just have to ask. I hear that cruise ships are always looking for interesting speakers and will trade a free room on the ship for some good talent. worth a look…

  • http://melissaricher.tumblr.com Melissa Richer

    Hey Scott, When I read #6 I immediately thought of Skillshare, startup where anyone can teach a class on any subject. I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve heard great things. If anyone in this community has used it, I’d love to know what they thought.

    • Scott

      I love that idea. Going to dig into it right now — Whoa! Skill share is amazing! Just sent a note of thanks to their founders. And I just added it in as a resource in How to Live Off Your Passion. What a perfect tool for monetizing a passion fast and for learning great skills.

      Thanks so much Melissa!

  • http://www.newmilford-cthomes.com Andrea Swiedler

    Those are wonderful tips! I love the idea of using Craig’s List for a seminar, I would not have thought of that! Very inspiring, thank you.

    • Scott

      Give it a shot and come back and tell us how it goes!

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  • http://www.cavemanklaus.com Klaus Bravenboer

    Hi Scott,

    Great post, I really identify with this. I’m currently focused on refining my purpose and my message. Jamie’s video is inspiring I have similar views on food and the obesity endemic, for me right now I’m focused on Crossfit, a Paleo diet, lifestyle design. Funny you mention Lewis’s Video Traffic Academy I bought this a few weeks ago and am working my way through it, it has excellent tips. I will checkout the A-List Blogger’s site, my site is pretty basic at the moment and I need help to ramp it up!

    Klaus

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  • http://observethescenery.com Darlene Settle Barrington

    I loved this blog post! You share such helpful, inspiring information. Oh, I listed my website but it’s still “just a name”. I’m thinking about my message(s), and it’s starting to gel. Your blog posts are helping! Thank you.

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  • thandanani mbuli

    Wow!

    This is exactly what I needed to hear.

    #abouttostastarevolution

  • http://malmosueva.com RAPHAEL OWINO ORIKO

    I like this and want to benefit more out of it for the good of my society and Me, the tips are good and I want more