“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
As we saunter through the department of earth, we know that as we look forward, we can set targets on what we would like to accomplish in life and look back at as our life’s legacy. The footprints that you leave through your actions, accomplishments and the life you live define the legacy you leave behind. In Leadership, we can look back and really dive into our legacy by way of the long lasting impact our work has created, the lives touched, and actions inspired.
For a moment, imagine that you only had 33 years on this planet…that is it.
- What would you do in your time here?
- How would you lead your life differently?
- What would you focus on?
- What would really matter to you?
- Would you shift how you are currently living?
- Is there a Legend inside of you that you would unleash?
Would you spend four years of your life pursuing your passion, only to find out that nobody is paying attention…and still continue pursuing that passion with pigheaded determination? Would you pivot your thinking about how you are attempting to bring that passion to life or share your talent with the world? What impact would you want to leave on humanity in that time frame, and could you realistically accomplish it?
Meet Scott Dinsmore, founder of the Live Your Legend. At the age of 33, Scott had spent 4 years of his life trying to live off his passion by being the change that he desired to see across humanity, while nobody listened but his parents and wife. Dinsmore, believed in the notion that people could do what they loved, by doing something that mattered to them and finding the work that they couldn’t afford not to do. After 4 years, anybody would see that this passion thing was not working and hang up their hat…well, not Scott. He kept going and started to adjust his means and methods of getting his message out. He realized that bringing out the best in others and working to inspire masses of humanity to provide their unique contributions to this world was a special gift he had. As he developed relationships and started spending time with the right people, Scott rose to a beacon of excellence in leading others to take purposeful action to impact their life trajectory permanently for the better.
“If your Actions Inspire Others to Dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Scott’s discipline allowed him to continue to get up and become that Leader that Scott’s friend Simon Sinek describes. He was passionate about bringing engagement to the disengaged and knew that people could live passionately and love the life they created by tapping into their talent. As Scott stayed on this message, his following quickly grew from 3 (dedicated) readers to well over 200,000 across 180+ countries on the globe as of this writing. Not surprisingly, his notion of do something that matters resonated with people across the globe.
Because of Scott’s abilities to identify talent and connect with others, he was a master of building relationships and connecting with people on a very deep level. Two of those relationships Jake Taylor and Lonnie Rush, the founders of Farnam Street Investments (FSI), developed into very close friends with Scott. With a few others, these three would spend time at Lake Tahoe retreats yearly, really planning, mapping, and pushing each other to help bring forth their visions. Their work together helped bring forth some of Scott’s vision for Live your Legend. Jake, also the host and founder of Five Good Questions, a program that is focused on inspiring more reading, was teaching a course at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management where him and I met and became good friends. Jake decided to invite Scott into class to share his message, and in Scott’s usual generously passionate spirit he accepted willingly! Jake decided to videotape the talk on a rough handheld device. Jake enjoyed the talk so much, that he decided to send it to TED and suggest that Scott speak at an event. As fate would have it, there was a cancellation at the Golden Gate TEDx event in 2012 and Scott was invited to come speak at the event, but he had barely 2 weeks to prepare. So…before the age of 33, Scott delivered a TED talk entitled: How to find work you love. Prior to being featured on the TED main page in September of 2015, his talk had nearly 3 million views. Remember the Steve Jobs quote…”You can’t always connect the dots looking forward, but you can when you look back.”
From Potential to Reality
I share Scott’s story of building Live your Legend and this major turning point, to showcase talent that moved from raw potential to completely realized potential, impacting lives across the globe. Scott, passionately lived and realized that his talents were calibrated when bringing forth excellence in others. As you find out in his TED talk, he studied himself intensely, learning his strengths and how to apply them. He knew inherently where his talents resided, but it was his constant practice of developing his talents and surrounding himself with complementary partners such as Jake and Lonnie (a midst many others) that allowed him to move from his own talent identification to actualization.
Introductory conversations with Scott may start with: “What is it that makes you tick, or what are you passionate about?” This bold question drove those who connected with him to a place of authenticity…searching for those visceral answers of what ultimately made them tick. In our daily lives, we often suppress what makes us tick, who we are, and bury our natural talents to fit the “status quo” forcing ourselves to a life resembling mediocrity.
“Being vulnerable means knowing who you are and having the courage to share it with the world. To show up, not as who you want to be or who you want people to think you are, but as you, and to be open and welcoming to however the world reacts to it. One of the coolest parts about doing that? When you’re you, it gives other people permission to be them. And that is one of the best gifts you could give.“
(Thank you Kyle Wood for Sharing this text message from Scott with the world!)
Scott’s infectious passion, drive and inspiration lead those connected to the live your legend tribe to break free from settling for mediocrity caused by burying their talents and spending their life doing something that did not matter to them. Scott helped them break free from their Limiting Beliefs discussed in The StrengthsFinder Story: Driving Outcomes Through Empowering Beliefs.
Connecting: The Impact
As Scott built Live Your Legend through much sweat equity, he became Legend, truly changing the lives of those who were fortunate enough to be in his wake, in person or virtually connected through his tribe. People impacted by the Live Your Legend community became fundamentally better people (myself included). People across the world developed monthly meetup events to connect with local live your legend tribes to inspire action out of each other, to do something that matters and to support each other through accountability along the journey. They did this on their own accord, because they believed in living the life they imagined and Live Your Legend made it safe for them to do so. This is no easy feat to manage and stay connected to as the global influence grew, but Scott never lost site of one critical element: the People!
At the core of his, work, Scott was driven by the necessity to impact lives, inspiring action and driving meaningful change, bringing forth the best for those numerous lives he touched.
Scott’s radiant energy kept him personally connected to his tribe. He wrote for them weekly and shared his life lessons, vulnerably and confidently with an unparalleled sense of humility. Scott conducted interviews with others such as Simon Sinek who brought massive value to his tribe. He even showcased himself in moments of vulnerability, like when he was learning to break dance….most importantly letting people know…it is completely okay to maintain your originality and be who you are. Paraphrasing Scott’s own words, “He spent kindness as if it were money and pretended he were a billionaire,” encouraging others to do the same. Scott inspired the Live Your Legend tribe to live the life they imagined through leading by example and living the life he imagined.
His adventurous spirit and drive to connect to people lead Scott and his remarkable wife Chelsea to embark on a Dinsmore world tour in January of 2015. This was immediately after hosting an incredible world Live Your legend meetup day, where local LYL meetup groups around the world all met on the same day to start 2015 on the right note focusing on doing something that mattered. I was present at the San Francisco one with Scott, and it was truly epic! The goals of the world tour (which involved selling and donating many of their worldly possessions and each traveling with a single backpack) included seeing the world and connecting with as many of the local Live Your legend Tribes as possible. Scott believed in all of the people within the Live Your Legend Movement who were making a difference in the world in the ways that they had discovered they could make the best impact. The Dinsmore world tour was inspiring to follow on social media as the journey included stops in South and Central America, Europe and some time in September 2015 where Scott and Chelsea decided to go dark on social media while heading to Tanzania to hike Mt. Kilamanjaro, a long time dream of Scott’s.
As Scott Lived his legend passionately, driving the humanity that he touched to be their best selves, he Lived every day to the fullest and squeezed every ounce out of his life that was possible. On September 12,2015, Kilamanjaro decided that Scott’s physical time on earth would be completed, literally on top of the world while he played all out extracting all that he could out of life.
Living Beyond:The Leadership Legacy
Scott Dinsmore is truly a hero of mine…because he saved thousands of lives, pushing people to become better human beings, and realizing their own potential, instead of falling into the spiral of being stuck, living a life of unrealized potential ending with regret. People like Jake Taylor and Lonnie Rush of FSI, and Leo Babauta, the author of “The Power of Less” and the weekly blog Zen habits are better people and better impacting humanity because of Scott being a part of their lives. These three are just a small subset of the thousands out there, changed forever that will continue to change others forever because of their work and Scott’s imprint upon their soul.
His Leadership Legacy is that he created such a robust community within Live your Legend that the lives he impacted will continue to impact others for generations to come. That was happening while Scott was here on earth and is continuing to happen now that he is gone.
A true leader makes the people they touch better versions of themselves. They uncork talent, and impact those around them. Scott’s time on Earth was limited to 33 years, and in that time, he delivered a TED talk, one that he had less than 2 weeks to prep for. He has connected with millions of people across the globe through his talk and through Live your legend to impact them to be fundamentally better human beings. He has traveled across the world to connect in person with as many as he could because it mattered to him and it mattered to the people that he lead. He willingly and endlessly served his people.
So…if you had 33 years here…
- What would you do?
- What would you different starting tomorrow, and how can you as a leader inspire action in others? As you dream of this for a minute…what WILL you do?
- What is your legacy and have you tapped your own legendary abilities?
If not, time is ticking and starting now may be better than later.
Scott was truly in an elite class of his own, but his legacy creation on a humble human level is remarkable.
Although when I found out of his death, I found myself numb, and saddened deeply, as I have processed his departure, I realized that Scott lived the life that he imagined and opened that door for others across the world to follow suit. As a champion of human excellence, he drove results on a scale that was beyond respectable. I will personally miss Scott, but I am forever grateful for my limited 2 years of knowing him. His widow, Chelsea is now carrying the torch for Live your Legend, which continues to thrive 1 year after Scott’s passing.
How can you uncork your talent to do something that matters? If you need permission to do something that matters, and the support to do so, check out the Live Your Legend Tribe you may be floored how quickly they reach in to help you do something that matters to you. I wish you continued success in your time within the department of earth in finding out how to tap your talent to bring to the world the unique contributions that you can bring.
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Darren Virassammy is Co-Founder and COO of 34 Strong Inc. a leader in Strengthsfinder training and consulting. 34 Strong works with organizations across the United States in developing teams around talent to optimize performance and maximize results. His Top Five are: Achiever, Arranger Relator, Learner, Responsibility. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, or Twitter.
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