Find “Your” People & Take Imperfect Action (+ 54 Lessons from #WDS2014)
“The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.”
― Hugh MacLeod
Finding Your People
This past week has been interesting…
Last Wednesday afternoon, a guy named Carlos walked up and introduced himself during my train ride from the Portland airport. He’s a Spaniard living in Germany who took a solo two-week trip to be there. He also happened to be a long-time LYL member and clearly knows how to put the 3-second rule to work.
On Friday morning, I did yoga with 807 folks in the center of Portland as we broke the world record for longest human yoga chain by more than 100 people.
That afternoon, I met up with 200 of you at our LYL Local beer tasting. I was awestruck as I saw so many of our LYL and Connect With Anyone family embrace each other as they would a best friend. It was proof of the kind of community I’ve always dreamed of for all of us (see above).
On Saturday morning, Jon Giganti, one of LYL’s first readers, founding CWA member and my very first coaching client, took the stage on Saturday to share how he helped a paraplegic kid get his life back and become a speaker and published author. For lunch, I joined 18 LYL Local hosts from around the world to learn how they’re building their in-person communities.
On Sunday, Linda, our LYL Local host and dance contest winner from Kansas City, walked on stage to accept a Scholarship for Real Life that she won for the work she’s doing to teach urban children creativity and entrepreneurship through MINDDRIVE.
Then at about 4:45pm, somehow my wife Chelsea took the main stage to perform her own rap to 3,000 people, in an attempt to win a rather unconventional type of race (she rocked it!).
By midnight that night, I was dancing Bollywood style while wearing a charcoal cape that read World Domination Summit across the back. I didn’t take it off until I finished talking big ideas (and small ones) with close friends at around 4 am.
Why the cape? Because these were my people. I felt at home. We all did.
The question of the weekend was simple…
How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
This was the gathering that Chris Guillebeau thought up four years ago – one that started as a little blog with no followers a few years before that.
When I attended the first event, I knew two people. Live Your Legend didn’t exist.
Since then I’ve been infected with possibility.
Finding your people changes everything.
Your guard goes down. Your crazy ideas get shared. They’re accepted. They’re encouraged. They’re supported.
And this alchemy results in those ideas actually coming to life. You can see the progress in the dozens of people no one even knew about in year one who are now in the spotlight.
You don’t have to go to a 3,000-person summit to get it, although I’d recommend it.
You can get some of it online, in a forum or on a site like LYL or Connect With Anyone.
You can get it in your local community – check Meetup or LYL Local for starters.
And if I were you, I’d get it everywhere.
It starts with one other person who believes what you believe. If you’re looking, they’re probably closer than you realized, especially if you’re a part of our movement at Live Your Legend.
Because when you find them, you get permission to…
Take Imperfect Action
This theme made for perfectly delivered advice as Jadah Sellner gave one of the opening keynotes and performed her life story – spoken word poetry style. These three words tied the weekend together – they tied everyone together.
Because who’s ever really ready anyway? You can always talk yourself out of it. And if you wait, you will. But these people were different…
Dee had a heart attack at 40, pressed reset and sold all her stuff to build and live in an 84-square foot house in the woods.
Jadah went from directionless and deeply in debt to building a thriving business and community around green smoothies.
A.J. turned himself into a human guinea pig and is building the world’s biggest family tree.
Elise took a love for crafting and experimentation and turned it into her living, all based on becoming an expert at “the attempt”.
John rebelled against the 1971 San Francisco oil spill by giving up motorized vehicles and taking a vow of silence for 17 years.
Tyler put on The Great Namaste and brought 808 people together to crush the previous record…
These standouts don’t even scratch the surface. Every attendee I spoke with had only a hint of a story or plan before the route began.
Because as it turns out, imperfect is the only action there is.
We just fool ourselves into thinking we’ll be more prepared later – more experienced, more educated, more ready. We do it out of fear, uncertainty, the haunting idea that we might be setting out on the wrong path. But if it’s a path you believe in today, how could wrong exist? It only becomes wrong if you don’t do anything to explore it.
The right people make this type of action, the only type, feel okay.
Find your people, take imperfect action.
It’s pretty simple.
But a WDS recap wouldn’t be complete without a few of my favorite lessons and ideas from OUR people:
To kick it off, here’s an image Chelsea created during our coffee shop writing session this morning…
A.J. Jacobs, human guinea pig:
- Be non-stop grateful – there are hundreds of things that go right every day and we tend to focus on the few that go wrong.
- We’re all family – help us treat each other with more compassion.
Jadah Sellner, founder of Simple Green Smoothies:
- I encounter every lesson in life on purpose.
- Say your dreams out loud – show yourself and the world that you’re serious.
- Anything that compromises your health and relationships is not a good business.
- Engagement over time is what builds a relationship.
- Choose love over metrics. Even with 315,000 email subscribers, every one is still one person. People can feel the focus on heart over money. We’re all in the business of changing one life at a time.
- Stay insanely curious in testing your ideas and see what sticks.
- Letting go is hard, but holding on is like falling on water skis and being dragged around the lake.
- Live unedited.
Gavin Aung Than, founder of Zen Pencils:
- What are you uniquely good at that you could do for the rest of your life and how could you use it to help people?
- For best results, add flexibility.
Michael Hyatt, author of Platform:
- The drifting and the driven life are two sides to the same coin. They’re both autopilot choices that take you where you don’t want to go.
- Three questions to leading a designed life: How do I want to be remembered? What is important to me? What single brave decision do I need to make today?
- We unconsciously live as if we are going to keep living. But statistics say three of us in this room will be dead in 30 days.
- Part of the myth of society is that you can do it all. You can do anything, but not everything.
- If you want to really hurt your family and your business, have a heart attack.
- In business and personal success, you can’t win at one without the other.
- Priorities make things so clear. You realize that business might actually be fourth or fifth in line – behind family, love, health, happiness, adventure…
- Don’t trick yourself into thinking your situation is permanent. That’s how it becomes permanent.
- Don’t let the urgent replace the important.
- Big, deep planning is a glamorous way of procrastinating.
- If you’re going to get fired, cause it. Take a stand you believe in.
- Constantly check in and ask yourself – how are you doing with what you’ve been given?
Dee Williams, leading the tiny house movement:
- Embrace basic curiosities, walk with your shoes off and unplugged in nature. This leads to action.
- A certain liberty comes from deciding to let go of so much.
- I measure success by how I’m showing up with my friends.
Shannon Galpin, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year:
- Of all I am, most importantly, I am a voice.
- When you find yourself saying, “Why isn’t someone doing something about this?” remember, “Well, I am someone, and I can do something.”
- We all have something we know we can change. We are that somebody that we want to help change the world.
John Francis, who spent 17 years walking in silence:
- You must have an audience to hear your message. Find one.
- We only have this moment to do the things we believe in.
- People are part of the environment. The key to being sustainable is is how we treat each other.
- Thinking you’ve learned it all causes you to hardly listen.
Elise Blaha Cripe – professional crafter and expert at “the attempt”:
- Great people do things before they’re ready.
- If you’re not good, who cares? You tried and you learned something about yourself.
- Set the goal before you have the skills to finish it.
- If we waited until we’re ready, we’d do nothing.
- Embrace daily challenges. I love to make stuff. This is how I figured out what fills me up.
- When something stops inspiring you, it’s okay to just stop and move on.
- Say it out loud. Getting it on someone’s radar makes you accountable. Saying it is the first step to realizing it’s possible.
- Stop looking for the full map. Start with just the first steps.
- Create resource circles where each member puts his idea out there to see who can help.
Scott Berkun, author of Making Things Happen:
- Ideas feel really good out in the abstract when they come up. Then there’s the work.
- The process of creating looks like work and not that much fun – watch an author write.
- The job of a creator is getting up on the ladder.
- When we’re working and it doesn’t feel right, avoid the temptation to go back to consuming.
- Luck is at play with all creative ventures. You can do everything right and still fail.
- In almost all creative worlds, people journal. Get your ideas out.
John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing:
- The secret to life is occasionally meeting or exceeding expectations.
- Beware of The Horizon Effect: dreams and expectations grow with our experiences. Turn around and look at how far you’ve come.
- Giving up our small choice to respond to what happens piles up into big choices over time.
- Creating loyal customers is mostly about choosing the right customers.
- All great businesses start with service and serving others.
Different Visions, Identical Values
CWA alumni and friend Mike Goncalves put it perfectly – among the thousands of attendees from more than 30 countries, many of us came with different visions, but we all shared the same values. And that makes for the perfect, magical environment for acting before you’re ready.
That’s why I show up each year. And that’s why I do all I can to create that daily environment for myself and all of you. The interesting thing is that no one person can create a community of world-changers. It only becomes that when each of us shows up. You’re as big a part of that as I am or anyone else.
Thank you for that.
Together, we all make the imperfect action not only possible, but encouraged. By showing up the way you do, you allow the rest of us to live our own unedited life. And that’s the ultimate gift.
We’ll end with one from Chris, delivered just before he called four unsuspecting people out of the audience to present them with introductions, gear, gifts and plane tickets – all custom-chosen to kick-start each of their dreams…
“Just because you can’t help everyone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help someone. It is our capability and responsibility to help people along in pursuing their dream.”
– Chris Guillebeau
We have our people. They’re right here. And I bet you have at least an idea of how you could make a difference. That leaves only one thing.
P.S. Next week we’ll be holding a scholarship contest for lifetime access to our Connect With Anyone course and community, which opens again in a couple weeks. I hope it helps you find your people and pursue what matters. Keep an eye out!
In the comments, tell us your favorite takeaway from WDS. If you weren’t there, just share a lesson you try to live by.
Images courtesy of Amosa Studios