Hi this is Morty Lefkoe with another edition of the weekly podcast “Conversations with Top Personal Development Bloggers.” Every week we have conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development. There’s so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you’re looking for.

What’s unique about each blogger? Why did they start writing their blog? How did personal experiences inform their writing? Why would you want to be reading their blog, and more.

Today I have the pleasure to talk to Scott Dinsmore who writes a blog called “Live Your Legend” and can be found on liveyourlegend.net.

Scott Dinsmore

Scott Dinsmore

Hi, Scott! How are you today?

Scott: Morty I’m great! It’s awesome to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Morty: It’s exciting, I just found out you live in San Francisco just a few miles from me right over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin maybe twenty miles away. So one of these days we’re going to have to get together and have brunch or lunch or something.

Scott: Indeed. You have to at the very least come to one of our community events that we do. We get up there a lot, I’ve been on one of those running trails near your house. I love it.

Morty: It’s a beautiful, beautiful place. I’d like to start with what was the impetus to start your blog? What gave you the idea that a blog was a format that you could use and that you had something to say that people might be interested in?

Scott: “Live Your Legend” is basically just a community and set of resources and tools to help people find the work they really care about. Work that excites them and makes a difference in the world. Also to provide the community and the surroundings that make that possible.

The people around us change everything. They either pull us down or they raise us up. We’ll get to that stuff in a little bit, but that’s the foundation. And for me it started with just having a miserable experience at a job about eight years ago, at big corporation. I thought “What, what is going on here? How did I go wrong? And what do the lucky few have in common that they do work they really enjoy? That they feel matters?”

I found out there’s like eighty percent of people that didn’t like the work they did. I couldn’t believe it. Obviously that infects your whole life, how you treat people, and how you show up in the world, all this.

So it started out as kind of a selfish pursuit, “I got to figure something out here. This is bad.” And “I’m never quitting with the goal of finding something I could screw up.” That’s how it was, like I couldn’t have an impact at all, where I was. So I’m afraid I got really negative out of frustration. But over time I made these discoveries for myself, spent a lot of time with people who were both doing interesting things and people who were trying to figure out what’s up, what’s down.

Then slowly people started asking for help. Friends and things like that. I started going to lunch with them. I started to notice my quit rate was eighty percent of the people who did sit down with me. Eighty percent would quit their job within a couple of months. I was pretty proud of it.

It wasn’t like I did anything special. I mainly just asked them why they’re doing what they’re doing. Most people would respond with “Well, because I’m supposed to.” And as soon as a human responds with “Well, because I’m supposed to,” it causes them what I call a pattern interrupt. I mean “Wow, wait a minute. There’s something going on here. I need to address that.” So it causes people to be more intentional. Once you get those thoughts in your head, it’s really tough to not think about how you might act on it and how you might change things.

You asked how I decided a blog was the right thing? To be honest, a blog to me is just a medium. Just a tool, to help people. To get your ideas out there and to share things that you’re good at and you that you could make a difference to other people with. So in five or ten years I’m guessing it won’t be a blog. It will be something different, who knows.

A lot times people get caught up on it, like “It’s about blogging.” No. This is a cool tool, it gets to help people. So for me it started out as sitting at lunch with people. I started writing for a website as an experiment. To see if I could even create a website without knowing code. I read a book about that and I don’t know code so I tried it. For four years I just messed around with that, with pretty much no one following it. But I got to develop my ideas. I got to write, which was an incredible process for self-discovery and all that.

Then eventually, I really started to connect with people and it turned into “Live your Legend”. And now it’s become what it is.

Morty: Great. By the way, I had a similar experience a long time ago. I tried to work in a couple of corporations and hated it. I ended up going out on my own, doing a lot of different things along the way. Changed careers several different times. I also had the same horrible experience in big companies. How long have you been writing the blog now?

Scott: Good point what you’ve just said about being miserable and quitting–unfortunately that’s the state for a lot of people. Some people get confused. It’s not just about quitting your job. A lot of people I’ve talked to would just have quit, jumped ship, whatever. I’ve found that for most people that’s not the smartest first step.

Sure, if you have gotten into a job that isn’t in line with who you are, then you need to probably make a change at some point if you’re going to be fulfilled and satisfied. But if you do that immediately you’ll often panic and not know what to do next and probably jump into another job that’s just as poor of a fit. So it’s why we go through a process, “Why are you in your current situation?”

To me it’s not like being against a corporation or something. Some people are great for that. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur. Some might do that, some might not. And for a lot of people, that’s not a good fit. It’s crazy, it’s intense, it’s emotional.

The key is being intentional. Know enough about yourself and you can make decisions and pursue a path that is unique to who you are. Not because someone told you you’re supposed to. That’s the key. You might end up at some ten-thousand person company. Awesome. If that’s you, that’s you. Great! But the key is to make sure it’s you.

So you asked about the timing. I informally started things in 2006, when I was messing around with a book review website. It was called “Reading for Your Success.” I was just reading personal development books, learning about things and trying to share them with others. But that was for four years, no one really paid attention to that other than my parents and my wife Chelsea and maybe a few friends. It grew by about a zero percent the whole time. That was for four years.

Then I launched into “Live Your Legend,” which has now been about a few years since I took that refined focus. It wasn’t until I really started to surround myself with the right people that it built these types of communities and businesses around things they were good at helping people in a meaningful way and leveraging technology. It wasn’t until I was around those people that I was able to see what was really possible.

Before that, for those four years, nothing happened. It was simple. It was because I just didn’t know what could happen. What could be possible. Once I met these people, my whole thinking transformed. And then the site and the community group, I think it was ten adds in six months and then another hundred and sixty adds in the next twelve months. And then it has grown a lot since then. Simply because I changed my surroundings.

That’s why in “Live Your Legend” the course shows people how to find work they love. The way we do that is by starting with your surroundings. By surrounding yourself with the people who make it possible. That’s how we really refine what we do at “Live Your Legend.” It’s set to help people work that community.

We have communities all over the world now. We have a hundred and fifty in like fifty countries that get together on a monthly basis in the real world. Not like playing on the internet. Like sharing space, trading ideas, supporting each other. And I think that’s where a lot future-making, big personal changes is going on, has always been. The internet is a tool, it’s a powerful tool as long as we use it to do these other bigger things that we’re talking about.

So I think there’s a lot of personal development sites out there, I don’t call “Live Your Legend” one of those because it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t really mean anything. It could be fitness, it could be career, it could be relationships. But I understand we’re under that genre, and the passion coming from bloggers is a lot of that.

I just try to find what’s tangible for people. What do people really need to make a difference for themselves. And it starts with their surroundings.

Morty: Who would you say is your typical audience?

Scott: I just got an email from a fourteen-year old. I’ve got people in their seventies. But the core is between about twenty-five and forty-five years old. People who want to do things differently. They want to make a difference now that their time does matter.

A lot of people do like the idea of being an entrepreneur but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be one themselves. They might just want to work with a smaller company or work in a more specific way in their current role. But it’s mainly that group. The key thing that we all share is that we want to do something that matters to us. And what matters to us matters to the people around us and to the world.

Morty: Got it, ok. How often do you post?

Scott: Once a week, usually. I made a decision early on. I asked some people I looked up to, I said “What should I do if I want to take this seriously?” A lot said to post four, five days a week. I listened to them and I responded, “Sorry, if I tried to that I’m just going to give up. Because that’s just too much.”

I decided to focus on one piece a week. Usually a lot more in-depth and very specific action-oriented so people could read it and then do something right then with the free tools if that’s what they decide to do. Once a week is what I stick to.

Morty: Okay. You’ve pretty much answered this, but what’s unique about your blog? You’ve been pretty much focused not on personal growth in general but in what you’re going to specifically do with your life. What’s your passion, what kind of work are you going to do?

Scott: Building a career out of work that excites you and making discoveries for yourself. But it’s starting with the ones in your surroundings and really being very intentional about who you spend time, who you connect with. We talk a lot about social dynamics and report all that.

We have plenty of actual tools and courses and stuff to go through the career process and things. But we found that even if you’ve got the best career tools in the world but the people around you tell you you’re stupid for using them, it’s useless. Or if you don’t believe it’s going to work, it’s useless. So that’s where we start.

And then we have a core framework. It’s called the Passionate Work Framework, and it’s three steps. They can be sequential, although for me they will always be intermingled. First, become a self expert. Understand who you are and what you’re good at, what you love and hate, what your values are. Constantly running these mini-experiments to see what engages you and what doesn’t.

The next step is to do the impossible. Do your own impossible. You have to show yourself you can do the things you didn’t think could be done for you personally. Because this builds incredible confidence. I talk about fitness a lot, I do fitness challenges all the time. The last big one we did was actually in your backyard, it was a fifty-mile trail run in the Marin headlands. I’m not a big runner so to speak, and I haven’t run much since then. But my point was, “Let’s see what’s possible.”

When you do that–do whatever it is that you haven’t done before–you build up this belief that you can do the things you used to tell yourself you couldn’t. And it reflects on the rest of your life. So if you could run fifty miles, why couldn’t I double sales or double our community next year? Come on! What’s possible?

That’s just an approach that we have in general. The fastest way to do the things that you don’t think could be done are to hang out with people who are doing it. So that’s the third step. It’s to surround yourself with the right, passionate people.

So that’s our framework. It’s those three steps and everything really relates back to that. We tie in a lot of adventure, a lot of travel. All kinds of stuff that helps you learn about yourself and impact the world.

Morty: Great, thank you. Your enthusiasm is certainly infectious. I’m excited about what you do just listening to you talk about it!

Scott: Well thank you. It’s fun.

Morty: Do you have a long-term goal for your blog? Would you say, “When I achieve X I will have achieved what I wanted?” or is it one of these things that can go on forever getting better and better with more and more people, clearer and clearer? Or is there some specific thing that you would like to say, “I achieved it”?

Scott: It’s hard to say because it’s funny, what I thought about as a goal I set a couple of years ago. Now we’re in a place where we’ve surpassed that in a tremendous way because I never could have thought on that level back then. So now I think, “Anything’s possible.”

I see this as being an integral part of everyone’s life around the world that cares about making a difference and wants to meet the steps in the community, to make a change.

If things stop now, we’ll just have the effect we have on the current community. I would be happy with that impact, I think there’s tremendous more potential. But also a specific thing, that we’ve been focusing lately on these communities around the world. As I’ve said we have a hundred and fifty in fifty countries now and it’s growing each month.

But we want to build something like the Toastmasters Club, which is public speaking around the world with fourteen thousand clubs in something like a hundred and twenty countries. We want to create that for doing exciting, world-changing work. And that’s what we’re doing in what we call our “Live Your Legend” local communities. We have these lovely meet-ups that happen all over the place and we want to get to that point in the next few years that no matter where you go in the world you can find a community of like-minded people who believe in what you believe and want to support you in making a difference.

That’s a huge part of what I see as the five, ten, thirty-plus years vision. We’re in this for the long haul. It’s going to be around for a long time. So that’s my non-specific answer.

Morty: Ok,great. You’ve actually answered this implicitly but if you can make a more explicit comment on this: What’s your mission in life? Your personal mission? And how does writing this blog contribute to it?

Scott: There’s two different levels. In one word, my mission is to explore. To explore myself, explore the world, explore what’s possible and explore that same thing for other people and help them explore for themselves. I just want to be a living example of what’s possible, why it can be possible, the things that we can do. To live a life without regrets and inspire people to do the things that inspire them.

Morty: And your blog therefore is just one mechanism to achieve that and that–as you’ve said–it could very well be that there’s a different mechanism in three, four years. The organization of the clubs around the world are a manifestation of it and if there’s a different way to get people into the clubs and support the clubs that might end up being something you do instead of the blog.

Scott: It’s impossible for you to know what’s the future of technology. But right now, a blog is a fantastic way to get your message out to people. And whatever the best way is–going forward–we’ll continue to use. And the communities around the world, these clubs, will be a part of that. They’re not all “Live Your Legend.” As you know, we have our courses and all that. So the blog has been a fantastic, saleable medium at this point to go with what we have. So I’m very grateful for that technology.

Morty: I’ve found it a lot of fun and one of the best ways of reaching people myself.

Well, that covered most of my specific questions. I think we have a pretty good sense of who you are, what you’re all about, what your blog is about, what people could get from reading your blog, or using some of the other materials available. Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know about you or your blog?

The people who are listening to this or reading the transcript are people who are all interested in improving their lives in some way. Some of them have problems they want to overcome but many of them, they don’t have a specific problem, they just want life to get better and better and better. So is there anything else you’d like them to know that you haven’t said so far?

Scott: Absolutely. There’s two quick things. One of them is at “Live Your Legend” we focus on everything we create to make a dramatic impact for the people who experience it. Sure we have paid courses and communities and things that some people might decide they want to join but for the great majority, that just want some tools and just want to be part of our free community, we make sure that’s going to make a difference for people.

So we have what we call the Passionate Work Toolkit. Which is a very deep set of resources. It’s workbooks, PDFs, some videos. Things that are totally free to the people who subscribe to our community or part of the email community. You can find that on the homepage liveyourlegend.net or liveyourlegend.net/email-updates. There’s a lot of course-quality stuff that some people suggest that we charge for. I’d much prefer that it’s just free so you guys can get value no matter what. So definitely check that out if you think that’s something that you think can move the needle.

One other thing is that I gave a TEDx talk about a year ago on how to find and do work you love. To my gratitude–and it’s kind of hard for me to believe–it’s gotten a lot of traction. It tells our whole story and specifically the framework and how we apply this to the world. So I definitely recommend you take a look at that. That will help you get a feel for things.

Morty: Where can that be found? Is that in your website?

Scott: You’ll see it on the website but also if you search “How to Find and do Work You Love” or “Scott Dinsmore TEDx.” But it’s also on liveyourlegend.net/tedx. It’s pretty obvious on our website because it’s a core piece of our site.

Morty: So again, I’ll put this in writing underneath the audio link. Liveyourlegend.net is the website and you can find the TED talk and all this. You get the weekly blog and you’ll be able to get all these free courses and other material that you want to pursue and there’s some charge on.

Thank you very much Scott, it was a pleasure meeting you I hope to run into you in person at some point now that we’re so close. I think this is something that anybody who follows my work and reads my blog or is likely to show up at my site is going to find your material very very interesting. As I’ve said, your enthusiasm about what you do is exciting just to be part of and to listen to.

I wish you the best of luck in all that you’re doing and thank you for the difference you’re making in people’s lives. I wish you the best of everything in continuing to do it.

Scott: Well Morty thanks, it’s been a pleasure to be on. Thank you for doing what you’re doing to get these different ideas out into the world. I just hope that the people who are listening if you take away at least one thing away from this: to be intentional about the decisions you make and to know that you can have some type of impact if you care enough about it. So we’re here to help in any way we can.