Chris Guillebeau is one of the bloggers and entrepreneurs I’ve been following for years, mainly thanks to his extensive travels around the world while building his business. When I first heard he was coming to London to speak at the World Escape Day, I spread the word among my friends and booked my ticket
Funnier, wittier and wiser than expected, Chris’ talk, albeit short (though it did include a mention of Donald Trump and the current political situation in the USA), was full of personal stories, discoveries and takeaways to inspire any entrepreneur or otherwise person who has an idea they want to pursue, whether they are into travel or not. While I could write more about this, here are my top 3 takeaways from his talk.
Top 3 takeaways from Chris’ talk:
1 Whether we’re talking about Super Mario, you, me or anyone else, it all starts with the Purpose
Chris talks a lot about purpose. He’s built an empire, he became a thought leader and he inspired and continues to inspire thousands of people to do work that they love by following their purpose. The simplicity with which he arrived at this topic and the metaphors he used meant that everyone in the room got it. And yes, it included Super Mario and it included Harry Potter. But beyond the metaphors and the jokes and the giggles, his message was as clear and as serious as it can get: find your purpose, work towards something you care about.
Charlie Bilsland, another of the speakers of the evening, nicely underlined that doing things you love and following your purpose makes it easier to keep going when the going gets tough. Chris isn’t the only person talking about Purpose. I’ve been previously stressing how important having a purpose is, here and here, and you’ve probably also heard Simon Sinek’s monumental TED talk, How great leaders inspire action.
2 If you have an idea that keeps on bugging you, it’s time you paid attention
I know, some ideas seem silly, downright impossible to work, useless or asking for trouble. Other ideas are more sensible, according to the ‘sensible ideas police’, and yet we quite often choose to ignore them. The thing is… if an idea keeps on bugging you, there might be something there, something that would satisfy one or more of your values… and perhaps that idea has something to do with your life purpose as well. My guess is… that idea won’t go away just because you ignore it.
Chris’ books, Born for This and The Happiness of Pursuit, are great convincers of how ideas, whether crazy, crazy-er or crazy-ish, can become beautiful objectives to pursue, always bringing a healthy return, whether that return is financial, spiritual or enriching in any other way. What’s more, as Chris said, ‘You don’t have to choose between doing what you love and making a good living’.
And this reminds me of The Pursuit of Happiness too, starring Will Smith, the true story of Chris Gardner who did have a crazy idea he consistently pursued and, against all odds, he created the life he wanted for himself and his son, by doing something he loved.
3 Discontent is a pretty powerful force to inspire change – but why wait?
Quite often, we wait until the pain is too great before we decide to change something, and I’m talking here about all and any of areas of life: relationships, work, financial circumstances, etc. I agree, later is better than never. And yet… if we are aware of it and if we are to change it anyway, why wait until later when we can do it sooner?
This reminds me of Alan Keightley’s words: “Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” Perhaps that moment most often comes when the pain and the discontent are too great to ignore anymore. Whenever it comes, changing our circumstances is the only way toward to a happier, successful and fulfilled life (and it’s your job to define what happier, successful and fulfilled life means).
Some intel about Chris:
Chris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers $100 Start Up, The Happiness of Pursuit and Born for This – which I reviewed here – and the founder and host of the World Domination Summit, an annual event that gathers creatives, entrepreneurs and other awesome people. His journey started with a quest to visit every country in the world, which took around 10 years to complete. Chris is also an entrepreneur who believes in creating freedom (including financial) and giving back at the same time. His latest venture is his daily podcast, the Side Hustle School.