Many great companies are started by very intelligent entrepreneurs.
You know, the ones that have a knack at seeing an exposed niche in the market, raise capital, and hire the right people to take the company public, right?
For the majority – wrong.
“The myth of innovation is that it starts with entrepreneurs, but it really starts with people having fun.” – Tim O’Reilly
In today’s world we hear the word “passion” thrown around in just about every webpage we visit. And although this word gets overused, the message is accurate.
In order to start something big you need to be able to wake up every morning and go to bed every night obsessively thinking about what you love.
That is passion.
The truly successful entrepreneurs are the ones who turn passion into a company.
We all have something we’re passionate about. Something we would love to build into our jobs. But we can’t seem to make it work because we’re to busy sitting at our desks, logically obsessing over what we should do.
But there’s a major resource we’re all overlooking.
Sometimes the key to building a business isn’t thinking for hours on end about mission statements, guiding principles, and business plans.
Sometimes, we just need to get out.
Bring The Alchemist Into Your Life
If you haven’t read Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, I HIGHLY encourage you do so.
To be brief – the story is about a shepherd boy who is traveling into Egypt to follow a recurring dream he has. In his quest, he is searching for his Personal Legend, what he wants to accomplish in life.
Not only would the shepherd boy not have found his Personal Legend sitting around with his sheep, but he also wouldn’t have experienced all of the love, danger, opportunities, and disasters that helped develop him into who he was by the end of the story.
We all need to go on our own quests. If you want something, realize that the universe will conspire to help you achieve it as long as you’re doing your part.
If you travel, success will come
Traveling isn’t just about seeing popular places, taking a picture, and on your way you go. It is about the adventure. In fact, traveling, and more specifically adventure, is learning about yourself.
The greater the adventure, the more you learn.
This is how great businesses are formed.
There are many entrepreneurs today and in our history that have built something great simply by going on adventures. But there are 5 specifically that I want to highlight here.
Their journeys searching for fun turned into world-changing ventures. Along the way, they all stumbled across key lessons that contributed to the success of their companies.
Lessons they would likely not have learned staying home.
Here’s Proof (and their lessons)
- Yvon Chouinard – You find ways to leverage what you sell to save what you care about. Yvon never sought out to be a business man. In fact, he denied it for a long time because he wasn’t your typical “suit.” However, what he did love to do was climb and surf. As he kept going back to the places where he had fun he started to notice negative environmental changes – the effects of people not caring. It was then he decided to start making clothing and gear that not only was high quality and super functional, but also kept the effects on the environment in mind. In my mind, his company is an environmental company that happens to sell gear, not the other way around. Enter: Patagonia.
- Stefan Hofmann – Resources you weren’t aware of become available. Stefan received a college grant to go to Bali for an art project. It was there he realized there were thousands of people that would help him knit hats and make accessories. People he could help by giving jobs and giving back to. Enter: Spacecraft.
- Blake Mycoskie – The best businesses come from one simple idea. Blake was on a vacation in Argentina when he stumbled across some friends on a non-profit trip giving donated shoes to children in need. Blake noticed the downfall of donated shoes and the unlikely chance of “return donations.” At this time, he also noticed a popular Argentinian shoe. He created a very simple solution. You buy a pair of shoes, he will give one pair to a child in need. Enter: Toms.
- Nick Woodman – An unfulfilled need will quickly become a niche to capitalize on. Nick was on a surf trip with some buddies, living out of a van. The good life. Except, with all these good times and amazing swells, Nick didn’t have a way to capture any of this with a good camera. It was then that Nick decided to make a camera you could take out into the water and capture moments never seen before. Enter: GoPro.
- Ansel Adams – Difference is beautiful and beautiful is inspiring. Ansel is the epitome of someone who traveled to success. He did what he loved and put his heart into it. Traveling the nation and beyond, to places never seen by the majority of the population at the time. He would find the natural beauty in the landscape and share with millions. This love for photography and the landscape turned into a thriving business. Enter: Ansel Adams Photography.
Don’t set out to build something. Set out to be somebody.
None of these guys traveled with the idea of building a business in mind. They were curious. They experimented. They were normal people having fun.
In the end, success came for them not because they focused on the bottom line, are really good at getting together investors, or know how to make a sale.
When all is said and done, their success came from everything they learned on their adventure. If it wasn’t for the trips they took, they would have never been able to build what they have now.
I Follow In Their Footsteps
Like many of us, I have realized that traveling can be a life-changing event if done correctly.
Also, like many of us, I’ve given many
reasons excuses not to travel.
Little money, little time, I don’t know where to go, nobody else will go with me, etc.
But in 1 year that all changes for me.
In 1 year, I will be homeless, unemployed and living in a van with only what will fit inside.
Why would I do this?
For many reasons, but primarily because I want to experience the unknown. I have always wanted to travel, see things, meet people, live a life on my own terms.
With a career, mortgage, family, and all the other stuff this has been very difficult to commit to. But the stars have aligned for me and this is one of those opportunities you have to seize.
I will be posting more about the progress of my preparation and ultimately the journey itself, but for now let’s just say I am searching for what I want to accomplish in life – my Personal Legend.
So where will you be going?
How has traveling changed your life?
How will you change yours?
“I’m drawn to open country. It’s where everything becomes clear, where the world makes the most sense. When I put myself out there, I always return with something new. A friend once told me: The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn’t even think to ask.” – Jeff Johnson
To the greatest fear of all, the unknown,