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Wanna Forge your Own Path? Lessons from 300 Pioneers.

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It’s time for a new American dream. Be your own boss. Create something big. Serve people. Live an independent life. Do it all on your terms and according to your values. I heard these words of wisdom along with inspiring stories of people who are making it as solopreneurs.

Chris Guillebeau has done it again. He’s created a fantastic community of people who are changing the world by changing the way they work. His latest conference, Pioneer Nation was two and a half days of smart speakers, storytelling and the opportunity to make fantastic connections. It was a whole load of awesome.

Education. Inspiration. Laughter. Awe. And, Possibility.

Oh so much possibility!

Yes, it was a reminder that anything is possible.

Here are my top lessons from this phenomenal adventure. Hopefully they will help you as you forge your own path:

  1. It’s not hard. When you’re inspired to do what you want to do, things come easy, even when they don’t. It’s about the journey, not just the destination.
  2. There is more than one way to achieve success. The key is a consistent and unwavering cycle of actions and experiments. Forge your own path.
  3. It’s important to CREATE. Just following a routine doesn’t cut it anymore.
  4. Quality matters. The harbor is going to fill up sooner or later and you want people to have a reason to get on YOUR boat.
  5. You have permission to do what you want. Talking to and hearing about what people are doing suddenly makes everything possible.
  6. The path to success isn’t linear. Listen to your heart and know when to stick with it and when to change direction.
  7. We have more resources available to us than the people before us.
  8. Risk is acceptable when it’s tied to personal growth and about defining who we are.
  9. You don’t need a fancy degree. You don’t teach because you are an expert. You are an expert because you teach (thank you Nathan Barry).

And finally, here are some shoutouts to some of my favorite people and moments:

  • Jen Adrion and Omar Noory (from These Are Things) for reminding me not to take things too personally (by sharing the negative feedback that they’ve received over the years) and for whom success can be boiled down to one word – “Yes”. Yes to what makes you happy. Yes to collaboration. Yes to BIG challenges. Yes to failure. And most important -Yes to sharing your work with the world.
  • Vanessa Van Edwards for teaching me creativity and tenacity have no bounds. Do what you need to do. Not being able to afford to get into a conference with critical networking connections, Vanessa hung out at the nearby Starbucks (getting permission by bringing treats for the employees) and stood in line all day networking with attendees during their breaks. How many connections did she form? Seventy-freaking-five! Awesome.
  • Chris Brogan for teaching me that business is about belonging. Be embedded. Be an owner. And for teaching me that ‘no is sexy’. Just like calluses on your get used to them and don’t let them phase you.
  • Rena Tom for telling me to get out of my comfort zone and see where else I can live.
  • Kari Chapin for teaching me to ask myself ‘What can I give up this week that’s going to make my working life better?’ And to constantly seek out new opportunities for new possibilities.
  • Lori Allen who pointed out that it’s good to ‘hire for attitude and train for skill’ and to ‘hurry up and fail.’ Finding the wrong path gets you one step closer to the right one.

And finally, the biggest shoutout to Chris Guillebeau and everyone on the Pioneer Nation team for putting on a fabulous inaugural conference.

Ready for World Domination? I certainly am.


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