walker or talker – which are you? meet a bona fide walker: Chris Guillebeau

“There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, ’cause they walkin’.  Now, people who talk the talk, when it comes time for them to walk the walk, you know what they do? They talk people like me into walkin’ for them.”

-Hustle and Flow, 2005

I have to tell you my nerves are raw already from another presidential campaign – I don’t know if I can handle any more flippant, contentious commentary or sensational soundbites this month, let alone endure it ’till November.  If you haven’t already figured it out, the political circus tends to serve as a screen, or distraction rather than an inspiration to meaningful action.

Action is called for, but the only action politicians want from us is the passive kind where we continue to accept the program and simply focus our attentions to helping our guy/gal to win the election.  People watch, argue and even fight to defend their candidate or views, but on a private, personal level, what personal actions are being taken?  Are we holding up our grassroots duties of citizenship end of the bargain?

Sure, we talk a good game, but do we walk our talk?

Change isn’t happening from the top down.  It can only happen from the bottom up.  We think that voting in the right candidates will make us better. Backwards folks.  When we are better, the candidates will become right.

Don’t believe me? Well, if you’re not already acquainted, you need to know Chris Guillebeau. Chris has been  a real source of positive encouragement to me in the dark fear-filled moments of my oddball journey.  What’s Chris Guillebeau got to do with cows, food and farming? Absolutely nothing and every single thing.

Meet Chris Guillebeau

One of the reasons I started this farm was my discomfort with the chasm separating my words and my deeds.  I realized that while I was busy being a cog in some wheel expecting BIG change to be decided upon by politicians and CEOs, I was busy pointing fingers, but wasn’t minding my own business.

My actions continued to support many things I vehemently opposed and I was failing to act on the many SMALL changes I could control. In other words, MY OWN BUSINESS.

Achieving real change sometimes seems so futile, but it’s really not. Individuals do have the power to command the attention of the powers that be, but somehow we think the powers that be pay attention to our words.  Big mistake – they pay attention to our deeds.

Our future is not going to change itself.  Oh sure, there’s lots of talk, but what we need is for ordinary people to extend themselves just a bit.  What could be possible if we took the bull by the horns and, without some government program, created our own work, got involved with our own food supply, retooled our consumer habits, spent time mentoring and feeding our own neighborhood children and reclaimed our brainspace from media? WHAT IF??

And that’s really what The $100 Startup is all about. It’s not just follow your bliss kind of wishfulness; it’s practical, nuts and bolts, scrappy can-do action.  A positive breath of fresh air.  Life hands you lemons? Make lemonade sort of stuff – but it’s not Pollyanna either. Just an acknowledgment that just because “they” say so, doesn’t mean you have to accept it. It’s your life, own it.

The $100 Startup applies to you even if you love your job or simply would never leave it because you hate the idea of working for yourself. This book isn’t really just business advice, it’s a mindset for your life that will serve you anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

 In particular, I love this idea:

 “When you’re presented with an opportunity, don’t just think about its merits or how busy you are.  Instead, think about how it makes you feel.  If you feel only so-so about it, turn it down and move on.  But if the opportunity would be exciting and meaningful – so much so that you can say “hell yeah” when you think about it – find a way to say yes.”

Are you living a hell yeah kind of life? I can’t think of a better rule for sorting priorities…

By nourishing a can-do community busy finding ways to build intentionally small, resilient businesses from resources they already have, Chris is building a literal empire.

On his website, Chris says,

“I write a lot about legacy projects, and what I believe is a core need to focus on what we’ll make with our lives. The related theme to this is urgency, the need to seize the day and make our time count for something.”

The best part is that through his focus on the actions and relationships required to execute his projects, and by sharing so much absolutely free, Chris has created a loyal following for his products making it possible for him to pave his own road and stay true to his personal values.

And  I’m not talking about manipulative I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine sort of helpfulness. Rather, by spending his time focused on the “hell yeah!” projects and people who energize him, Chris is in turn rewarded with success on his own terms.

But there is a catch – ACTION. No action, no results. This is not the sequel to the Secret

It’s hard to feel empowered and hopeful on a steady diet of mainstream news and media.  It has always been and probably always will be true: most people will always pay more attention to the negative and sensational.  Why? Who knows.  But I don’t have to be one of those negative people, and neither do you.

One thing that gives me hope? People like Chris Guillebeau and the swelling number of worldchangers they encourage. The packed audience at a recent book signing proves hope, desire and legacy building aren’t limited to a single demographic.

Can I ask a favor?

Whenever I find a heart-driven mission/product like this, I always do my best to support it, even when it’s not the most convenient option for me.  For-profit small businesses with soul are one of the greatest sources of positive change and supporting them is an easy way be part of a striving community of proactive, change-manifesting people.

If you only have time for one quickie action, buy this book. Then, when you’ve finished reading it, donate it to your local library.  First you get a shot of energy and a scrappy idea or two for yourself, and then you spread it around.

Let’s elect ourselves to be the Johnny Appleseeds of attitude.  Will you do it? 

Are you ready boots? Start walkin’….

4 thoughts on “walker or talker – which are you? meet a bona fide walker: Chris Guillebeau

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