197 Passion Projects & 6 Ways We Can Change the World Together: LYL Reader Spotlight #5

197 Passion Projects & 6 Ways We Can Change the World Together: LYL Reader Spotlight #5

Do Something That Maters Reader Spotlight5

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
—Marianne Williamson, abridged

Who Do You Inspire?

It’s a question we all too often forget to ask ourselves.

Take a few seconds to answer it.

One thing I promise you is that there are people out there who look to you to help them find their way. They admire something (if not everything) about how you live your life.

This is a responsibility we all share.

Once we realize this, the real question becomes: What type of life am I going to live to take my responsibility seriously?

So today is about you.

Last week 197 of you told us your Passion Projects – and what you’re doing to Live Your Own Legends.

You showed us how you plan to help and inspire those around you. And I was blown away, as I am any time I interact with our community.

I could not have asked for a better birthday present.

Thank you for sharing with us – the 31 winners of The Alchemist will be contacted shortly.

The crazy thing is as of this morning there are 34,420 of us in this community – all with a Passion Project dying to be set free on the world.

Imagine the impact that could cause.

It starts with the belief in possibility…

Our biggest goal at Live Your Legend is to inspire you to believe in what’s possible – and then to provide you with the tools to do it yourself. The best way I know of doing this is to show “everyday” people like you and me doing the things most of the world only dreams of.

That is the purpose of these Living Legends Reader Spotlights. And it gives you the chance to help support the dreams of our community.

Now, let the possibility unfold and pick one of the below people to help out in some way. We all thank you for it.

I absolutely LOVE these posts – enjoy!

6 Mini Case Studies of Live Your Legend Members Changing the World


1. Helping Young High School & College Women Dream Bigger than Society Usually Permits

Stacy Taubman Girls Dreaming BigLiving Legend: Stacy Taubman

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Why and How Stacy is Making an Impact:

I have been a teacher and coach for over ten years, and I am setting out to make a huge impact on young women’s lives. I want to build a community similar to LYL but for high school and college age women. Girls so often feel alone and isolated. They don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents, and their friends are ill-equipped to help them.

My company is called Girls Dreaming Big and I hope to help them do just that. I want to offer any and every service that helps young women feel a part of something bigger than themselves and provides them the tools to achieve their dreams.

How you can help: 

I know how alone girls can feel in college and high school, trying to fit in and having so many pressures to deal with. Please share our free resources with the young women and girls who need them. We’re here to help!

Learn more here: Visit Girls Dreaming Big!

Fun fact: Sadly, no matter how stupid the show or movie is, if there is gymnastics or dance involved, I still love it!!! Oh, and I found my amazing website designer and brand consultant, Lis Dingjan, through the Live Your Legend Facebook group!


2. Started a Non-Profit Fund to Save His Brother & Best Friend from a Coma

Jason SchonhoftLiving Legend: Jason Schonhoft

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Why and How Jason is Making an Impact:

My little brother fell down a set of unforgiving concrete steps and suffered a brain injury, leaving him in a coma. He’s 22 years old and a student at Purdue University studying mechanical engineering. He’s my best friend in life and I’d do anything for him.

A few days after the accident, I started racking my brain for ways that I could help him through this. The only thing I could think of was to raise money for him and raise awareness of his situation.

Before I was aware of my audience and the extent of his injuries, I set a goal to raise $25,000 on Fundly.com. We have already raised 53% of that goal. I also set up a website to sell WakeJake t-shirts and wrist bands. So far I have raised a little over $20,000!

How you can help: 

I’d like to raise a total of $50,000 for my brother to cover his medical bills since he does not have insurance, our mother’s insurance isn’t very good and our father passed away six years ago. I’d also like for this to branch into me living my legend. I’d love for you to pick up some WakeJake merchandise or donate to the cause!

Learn more here: Wake Jake

Fun fact: I love inspiring people and making my friends happy. I’m also very adventurous and love traveling, snowboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing.


3. Ex-Lawyer Launches Athletic Bag Business to Support Girls’ Sports in Developing Countries

Katie RockLiving Legend: Katie Rock

Location: Manhattan Beach, California

Why and How Katie is Making an Impact:

After finding out that sports actually have huge benefits for girls (girls who play sports are healthier, happier, more educated, less likely to get pregnant as a teen, etc.), I committed to doing something about it. Girls in many developing countries don’t have access to sports, so I’m launching Activyst, a company that creates women’s athletic bags and funds girls sports projects worldwide.

Being active was a huge part of my childhood and is a huge part of who I am. I actually spent a couple years working on promoting sports for girls in Nicaragua with the World Health Organization. After discovering that a huge barrier for girls is the simple lack of funding and opportunities, I decided to find a way to generate more funding and awareness to this cause. Through Activyst, I hope to do that.

How you can help: 

The single-most helpful thing anyone can do to make this happen is go to our Indie GoGo page and watch our fun video! Then click the FB “like” button under our video and write in the FB share box that appears: “Just learned about Activyst, a company that creates athletic bags for women and funds girls’ sports programs worldwide. Check them out and help more girls play!”

You can also buy a bag or donate to the cause too – on that same page. Every bit helps!

If we reach our goal, we can start bag production and build a field for Soccer Without Borders girls in Nicaragua.

Learn more here: Activyst

Fun fact: I was the only girl with three brothers. They never took it easy on me – e.g. they called me fivehead because my “four-head” was bigger than most! They toughened me up and taught me to not take myself too seriously.


4. Ultra-Endurance Athlete Leverages His Energy to Support Causes Around the World

Mike HerzogLiving Legend: Mike Herzog

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Why and How Mike is Making an Impact:

GoodGuysTri is a collection of endurance athletes/regular people who “leverage our passion for endurance sport to do Good.” As the founder, I have long been involved in volunteer work and fundraising because it fills my spiritual cup! GoodGuysTri inspires its followers to live life intentionally – with meaning, clear purpose and with compassion.

As a team, we continually set athletic and non-athletic goals way beyond our personal limitations, both to inspire others when we accomplish not only individual personal bests but (having tied them to fundraising, awareness, and/or greater meaning) truly embrace an ideology to change the world for the better. In just over a year we have engaged in helping the homeless, the hungry, youth initiatives, impossible2Possible, children’s hospitals, and ending violence against women.


Fun fact: I am just like you. Trying to make sense of a world that often leaves me scratching my head … which reinvigorates my efforts to “do good” and put a smile on someone else’s face.

[Note from Scott: Hat tip to Mike for supporting the LYL official partner charity, impossible2Possible – such an amazing organization!]


5. On a Quest to Make Everyone’s Dream Vacation Possible by Teaching How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

nomadic mattLiving Legend: Matthew Kepnes

Location: New York, New York

Why and How Matt is Making an Impact:

I run the travel website Nomadic Matt (nomadicmatt.com) and I help people travel cheaper, longer, and better. I think travel can make you a better person – it made me one. There’s so much in the world to see that it’s a sin that people think it’s “too expensive to travel.” I help show people that travel isn’t expensive, and once you break out the hotel/resort/cruise dynamic, costs come down a lot and any dream vacation suddenly becomes a much closer reality.

In 2005, I was traveling to Thailand and I met five backpackers who changed my life by just existing. I had never met people like that before and they showed me that long-term travel was possible. In 2006, I set out for a year trip around the world – one I am still on 6.5 years later. I want to do what those people did for me and help others see the world.

How you can help: 

I recently published my first book How to Travel The World on $50 a Day. So you could help by buying my book! No, just kidding. Well, not really. Honestly, I’m here to help you guys. Reach out and let me know!

Learn more here: Nomadic Matt

Fun fact: I once got lost in a jungle in Costa Rica because I read the map wrong. Rookie mistake I never made again.


6. Former Lawyer Turned 4-Year Vagabond Publishes a Book on How to Leverage Food as the Ultimate International Connection Tool

Jodi EttenbergLiving Legend: Jodi Ettenberg

Location: 4-month stays in different countries, currently in Vietnam

Why and How Jodi is Making an Impact:

I started out my travels without focusing on food, but as time went on, I began to see what I ate as an ideal connective node to the places I visited. A plate of rice and pork wasn’t just something to give me energy, it was a portal to learning about the history of my current location and understanding how that history affected what people ate. After about four years of travel with increasing focus on food, I wrote The Food Traveler’s Handbook, a guide not only to why food matters as we travel, but also how to find it and eat it safely. I have celiac disease, so the book also includes a section on food restrictions and allergies, as well as a long resources chapter.

In talking to others, I realized that many people wanted to see food the way I did, but they were also afraid of getting sick – a very valid fear. So I was inspired to reach people by sharing not just the practical, but also some of my stories in eating my way around the world, hoping that they would resonate and spur travelers to use food as a tool for learning and understanding. Ultimately if the book convinces someone to use food as a learning tool, then I am happy!

How you can help: 

If you are interested in travel and food, please do pick up a copy of the handbook for you or a friend! I’ve also put together a massive food travelers free resource page you might enjoy.

[Note from Scott: I loved having this book as I traveled Thailand last month. It made for a much more delicious (and adventurous) experience!]

Learn more here: The Food Traveler’s Handbook

Fun fact: Despite loving food, I hate olives. I’ve tried them all over the world and I just cannot seem to enjoy them. It’s definitely a contentious topic – people either love or hate ’em! But I’m firmly on the “hate” side. 🙂


I’ll Ask Again – Who Do You Inspire?

Or better yet, who could you be inspiring if you were doing what really mattered to you?

Thank you all for continuing to write and live your story in a way that inspires possibility, not only in me and this community, but in everyone you interact with.

Never forget who’s looking towards you for guidance. Someone always is.

You have a greater influence and impact than you realize.

We all do.

Take it seriously.

Here’s to doing something that matters!


P.S. Please pick one of the projects above and spend at least 2 to 5 minutes learning more about their mission, and find some way, big or small, to support the impact they intend to have on the world. Remember, no one does anything on their own.

For the comments: Share your reaction to their Passion Projects or an idea or way you can help one of them (email readers click here). Thanks for the support!

Oh and if you want to tell the world your story, please fill out the Living Legends Reader Spotlight form to get a chance to be featured in one of our upcoming monthly articles.

Image credit