On Having the Courage to Live Your Legend

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You’re the CEO of your own life. The most important brand is you. Really harnessing and believing this – it’s the ultimate job security – better than any pension, any contract with an employer. It creates that resilience in you. Scott Dinsmore, Live Your Legend


A female entrepreneur friend gave a talk recently to women on a leadership development programme. Her talk was well received but remarked upon as somewhat unique for its honesty. We reflected on how so few women are really honest about the icky bits of living your purpose, of manifesting something from brand you, of putting yourself out there.  To create something magical for a previously voiceless tribe, to create the kind of business that impacts lives, requires a grueling process of self-discovery that most simply can’t face.

Those that can endure often have a source of power that used to be hidden away; once recalling the memories only made them sad, ashamed or disappointed in themselves. Now they create a deep sense of knowing, of clarity, direction and resilience. In fact, the shittier they are, the better: “nothing I will face in putting myself out there is as bad as what used to be hidden in the basement of my soul”.

So, I was going to write about wounds being the source of your power. You know that Rumi quote – The wound is the place where the light enters you. Or Adrienne Rich on Marie Curie: “She died a famous woman denying/her wounds/denying her wounds     came   from the same source as her power”. Then I saw that Scott Dinsmore had died climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

I did not know the founder of Live Your Legend. I followed him and he was in the community of people I have connected with – Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project is responsible for lighting a spark within me in 2012 which committed me to living a different life. Through GLP I connected to Kristoffer Carter and followed his Full Life Integration Plan. Through this I hired KC’s creativity coach Cynthia Morris to help me get my business off the ground. I wouldn’t be writing this today if it wasn’t for these guys.

So reading this sad news, I got sidetracked (more than I usually do when I’m writing I mean) and re-watched interviews and re-read Scott’s blogs, listening with new ears, and reading with new eyes, the way you do, when you’ve just learnt that the words came from someone who has left us. It was inspiring, but what astounds me, is that I’m still writing about our wounds being a source of power.

It’s easy to look at these guys peddling the “LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!” mantra and be cynical and dismissive. There are so many of them for a start. Identikit American blokes, white teeth, upbeat “infectious” energy – boom – here I am, with my 1.2 million followers – click here for my pseudo spiritual free toolkit/webinar and you too could live your best life. Like me, you could soon be working a four-hour week here in Honolulu. Tosser.

But the ones that touch us have a back story about the outlier, the disruptive kid, the trouble maker, the failed blue chip career. They’ve slogged away to get here, fumbling their way in the dark, trying this and that, knowing that the source of their pain, is also a source of possibility.  The success has been a long time coming. As Jonathan Fields says in this interview with Scott, “it might actually take you years to develop the skills and the craft and the resources and the relationship to get to that place. It’s not about ease, it’s about doing the work and have the clarity”.

What the life-touchers do is create more than toolkits to “LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!” They lead communities that say “I’m on your team..I get you.. I’m going to look at life through your lens….I want to see you flourish”. Communities where the outliers, the misfits and the survivors of failed blue chip careers can feel recognised and at home, for as long as it takes to bring their meaning to life.

As Psychiatrist Anna Fels discusses in Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives (a must read for any lifeshifter), for women, recognition from a community larger than one’s own intimate circle is critical for ambitions to develop. To realise her ambition, an audience is as important as mastery of the required skill – when these two elements combine and her goal is achieved, the impact can be huge.

Those wounds are a source of power. When they are brought into the light and cleaned up, they create a vibrant palette with which to paint a life only outliers, misfits, and survivors of failed blue chip careers are crazy enough to dream of. If your dream is to change the world by doing work you love, the Live Your Legend community is a click away, even if, sadly, its creator is not.
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