A Beginner’s Guide to Fearless Giving: The Difference Between a Failed Business & a Flourishing Revolution
“Don’t just build a business, start a revolution.”
– Jonathan Fields, Founder of RevolutionU
*Time Sensitive: Next Tuesday my good friend (and long-time mentor) Jonathan Fields and I are giving a live web presentation on How to Build a Revolution around Your ‘Crazy’ Idea. It will be totally free, but will likely fill up fast. If you’re looking to build your idea into a movement, be sure to register here asap.
Now onto possibly my biggest business lesson of all…
The Hidden Power of Giving Your Gifts Away
About four years ago, I met two people that dramatically transformed the way I approached not only business and career, but my belief about the impact I could have on the world.
The first was Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. We met at a blogger’s meetup in SF, and since then he’s become one of my closer business, tea-drinking and running friends in SF (We somehow even talked ourselves into signing up to run a 50-mile footrace, which we’re taking a crack at in a week from Saturday! Our goal is to come in under 14 hours and we are very under-qualified…).
The other is Jonathan Fields, the man pictured above and a guy I’d learned from and tried to model long before we ever met. Leo introduced us over tea at the first World Domination Summit in 2011. As we sipped some loose-leaf, I timidly explained my plans to launch a new website and create what I hoped to become a powerful movement helping people find and do work they love. Live Your Legend was still a month or two from going live.
I remember walking into that tea garden in Portland with Leo as we went to meet Jonathan. I felt out of place. I was nervous. Even scared. Here I was with Leo, one of the biggest single-author bloggers in the world (whom I’d only recently met), and I was about to sit down with an entrepreneur and author I’d admired from afar for years.
As we were about to sit down, this almost hollow feeling came over me.
“I don’t belong here.”
That statement slammed into my head.
“Why would these two guys want to hang around with just another dude claiming he was going to build the next big new blog?” Talk about a broken record.
But then we sat down and everything changed.
The fear of not belonging changed to excitement and possibility.
Jonathan blew me away with his enthusiasm for my “crazy” idea (and Leo had been doing the same for months).
“Man, I’d love to help you any way I can. I’d be really cool to see what it’s like to launch a blog in today’s environment.”
And Jonathan went on and on. Like he didn’t have anywhere to be or anyone else clamoring for his time (even though he was giving the keynote that weekend and he was about to launch his second book and soon-to-be bestseller, Uncertainty).
I was in disbelief.
A week later I followed up with Jonathan, half expecting not to hear from him. I mean, how could a guy that busy really have time for every new blogger?
He wrote right back.
He offered up his process for building the movement he had.
He even offered a guest post spot on his site for when I launched Live Your Legend.
Fast forward a little over two years and he had me on his Good Life Project TV show and insisted on publishing it the day we opened our Connect With Anyone course for the third time.
The same went for Leo – he opened his arms and ideas to help me build the movement I’d dreamed of. He even convinced me to rebrand from ReadingForYourSuccess to something more focused and inspiring.
And stepping back, that was the biggest lesson these two guys ever taught me. And I don’t think they ever even put it into words.
Give It All Away.
These guys constantly and fearlessly share their ideas, their tools and even their time and audiences. As long as it’s for someone who believes what they believe and is out to do good, they do all they can to help.
And as I’ve studied movements and revolutions over the years, I’ve noticed that this fearless giving is at the heart of nearly every successful business or movement of today.
I see that as the most powerful and beautiful aspect of a blog – it’s the fastest, easiest, cheapest medium for openly sharing your ideas and talents with the world.
It’s simply a tool for building trust and adding value.
And when leveraged that way, the right way, it becomes one of the most powerful movement- and revolution-building tools in the world.
The amazing thing is that fearless giving works everywhere. Blogs just make it waaay easier.
Look at Gene Sharp, the 85-year-old, three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of a dozen books including From Dictatorship to Democracy. He’s the world’s leading expert on non-violent resistance, and his books and tools have been behind almost every political revolution and regime change in the past three decades.
A few months ago, I spent half a day at his office in Boston with his executive director, Jamila Raqib. I wanted to learn how I could take what they’d learned about political revolutions and apply it to our Revolution at Live Your Legend to help people find and do work they love.
Jamila showed me their small two-room office in East Boston. She proudly walked me through their bookshelf and the hundreds of versions of From Dictatorship to Democracy.
It’s been published in dozens of languages with some unbelievably creative designs – including book covers that look like comic books or sketch pads because citizens don’t want the authorities to catch them with the book.
After all, if you get caught with his book in Burma, you go to jail for seven years.
It’s that powerful.
The most amazing thing of all?
Gene’s books are free.
He openly, freely and eagerly gives his life’s work away to any and everyone he can. Gene’s group will even pay for language translations (although many happen on their own, by citizens frustrated with their government).
And as a result, Gene Sharp has not only been able to crack the code on launching successful non-violent political revolution, but he’s also freed millions of people in dozens of countries.
And he’s done it all from a tiny office in East Boston.
And the only reason it happened was because he gave it all away.
Btw, there was recently a documentary done on his work that’s very worth checking out. Here’s the trailer for How to Start a Revolution.
Fearless Giving + Passion =
This concept of “Fearless Giving” was further brought to my attention last month as I attended a TEDx event at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The theme was The Passion Project and one of the speakers was Dr. Sadie Allison, bestselling author and world-renowned sex and pleasure coach (yes, that is a real profession!).
She gave a talk entitled Fearless Giving – Turning Sexual Passion into Action.
She did an amazing job, and yes, it was as intense of a pattern-interrupt as you’re probably thinking!
And regardless of the specific topic, the theme was spot on: Give yourself to others and help change their world.
This talk is a bit graphic, but you’ve been warned. Powerful stuff…
Don’t see a video? Click here.
The World of Business & Value Has Changed
In a very big way…
The Old World: Spend a boatload of time and money to get certain credentials that convince people to trust you and pay you for your services. Then only help people who pay you first.
The New World: The only credential that matters is this: Are you changing lives? Are you applying your talents and skills in a way that is adding value to the world and changing the lives of those around you? Build your trust by being open, sharing value and making people better.
But if you insist on charging someone as the first step, you might never have a chance to change a life.
The world is no longer willing to trust you, let alone pay you for your services, sight unseen.
You have to earn that trust.
Stop Keeping Your Superpowers So Close to Your Chest
If you ask an internet marketer (I hate that phrase and despise the profession!) how to build your business (which I never ever would) they’d say something like this…
“Do all the things to build up perceived credibility and then write or create just enough to get them hooked to buy.”
“Give just enough of a hint of value in your webinar so that they feel like they have to buy.”
I know this because I’ve had them tell me this a lot – that was before I could see them coming. Now I just run for the hills anytime I smell a hint of the BS talk and approach.
Do you know how disgusting and misleading this advice is?
They tell me most my posts are too long and I give way too much away for free.
You know what I say back? Or at least what I’d like to say…
I built this community here to help change the world by getting all of us to find and do work that makes us come alive.
That is my #1 goal here.
Sometimes it will lead to another dollar in my pocket and sometimes it won’t. But that’s not what drives my decisions.
That’s why I spend a few thousand dollars every few months to create a product-quality tool or workbook (the kind most people would try to sell), that I then go out and give away totally for free. Our Passionate Work Toolkit is full of them.
It’s why I’ve hired a developer to create a Connection App (due out in the next month!) so that our community here can easily find each other and connect with other like-minded, passionate Living Legends in their hometowns in the real world. We’re not charging for that. We’re just doing it because I believe it is the most impactful thing we can do for our Revolution at this moment.
Here’s the thing…
95% of the people reading this will never buy a product from Live Your Legend. That’s just how it works. And I’m fine with that.
But if you all had to pay in order to get value around here, then that would mean that only 5% of you would ever have a chance at Live Your Legend changing your life and career.
I’m just not okay with that.
What about the other 76,000 of you?!
100% of the people who join our free community here deserve to get results. And if you’re dedicated and driven enough, our free tools are more than enough to change your world.
Sure maybe I could make a little more money by doing some of that scammy don’t-add-real-value BS stuff. But what would be the point?
We’re not just building a business here. We’re building a revolution.
And I’m not doing that alone. I can’t.
We’re building that Revolution together. And whether you ever decide to buy something from us or not, I will still do everything in my power to help you find and do work you love.
That’s my simple promise to you.
So…What Could You Be Fearlessly Giving Away?
Take a minute to really answer that question.
What do people thank you for? What unique passions, talents and strengths are you keeping from the world either because you don’t think you’re worthy or because you insist someone pays you before they get any value?
I challenge you today to draw a line in the sand – to start leading with value.
To make your number one priority be changing lives in a way you know only you are capable of doing.
Service to others is where it starts.
And when you think about it, it’s also where it ends.
A revolution can’t exist without a leader committed to openly sharing his ideas and beliefs. And it can’t exist without everyone else, either.
At this point, you are as much the leader as I’ve ever been. And that’s how it should be.
All I ask is that you take that responsibility with the respect it deserves.
And go out and help people in a way only you can.
And in case I don’t say this enough, I am deeply grateful for all of you.
Thank YOU for making this possible. Not just for me, but for all of us.
You Wanna Really Learn about Building Your Own Revolution?
I know many of you have ideas and value you’re dying to share with the world, but you’re not exactly sure how to go about it in the most impactful and widespread way. I get that. I’ve been there. And I’m thankful I have friends like Leo and Jonathan who have shed light on the path that changed everything.
So that’s why next week Jonathan and I are doing a special presentation on…
The 18-Step System: Tap Revolution-Dynamics to Fuel Rapid Business Growth, Build an Army of Evangelists and Change the Damn World!
You can thank Jonathan for the rather provocative title. 😉
And the thing is, he’ll deliver on just that. He always does.
If you think I’ve been researching Gene Sharp, just wait until you see what Jonathan has done. He’s spent the past couple of years deeply studying Gene’s work to see how it can be applied to building a non-violent revolution around your own business or idea.
The crazy thing is I had no idea Jonathan had been conducting this research project until two weeks ago. I got chills when I found out how aligned our hearts and plans were.
He’s also created a super in-depth training program on the same topic, which some of you may decide to check out.
But if you’ve learned anything from today’s post, and the way Jonathan and I do things around here, you know that you are going to be blown away with value.
In fact, it’s the same slide deck that Jonathan has been paid over $10,000 to give as a keynote to rooms full of CEO’s of multimillion dollar businesses.
Anyway, you’re going to love it, and I cannot wait for next Tuesday.
The event is totally free, but it will likely fill up very fast.
I’d take 5 seconds and it right now.
Then go out and give your talents to someone who needs them!