There’s Simply No Need to Conform

by liza

So here I am with a brand new blog. It’s time to write my first entry and who do I get to meet in person? None other than Chris Guillebeau, the famous non-comformist, the leader of the small army of remarkable people, the traveler that will have visited all 192 countries on this planet by  his 35th birthday, the writer that is changing the world one blog post at a time. I find this timely encounter with Chris, an extremely auspicious sign that appears just as I am first entering the blogosphere It completely validates my instinct: our community is worth building.

Through his writing, Chris has essentially created a grass-roots movement of people that inspire each other to challenge the status quo.  What makes this small army remarkable is that they are all committed to living life on their own terms. They do not let anyone dictate what they do or how they spend their time.  One example of this is when Chris’ book, The Art of Non-Comformity, was released in September, his publisher did not want to support a book tour. The AONC community responded in droves.

The proof is in the community.

In honor of his book launch, his fans organized meet ups in each state and baked cookies and cupcakes to boot. Here you can see my daughter getting ready to devour an elaborate yet home-made cupcake. In the background were people waiting to see which part of the cupcake she would attack first. After all, the child is the ultimate non-conformist and this was a free lesson from a master.

The Denver meet up turned out to be organized by Cynthia Morris, a former acupuncture client of mine. We were so happy to reconnect. She is a writing coach, traveler, and non-conformist all her own. The photo to the right, was taken by, Sharon Wharton, a fellow blog reader and small army member who showed up to the Denver meet up to volunteer her photography services. Now that’s community.

After meeting Chris and experiencing his energy first-hand, I was inspired to spend the rest of the weekend reading every piece of free content he had ever offered (there’s a lot of it.)  I’m also in the middle of reading his book, for which 100% of Chris’ proceeds go to Charity Water. He writes about everything from how to maximize your frequent flier miles when traveling to how to get paid to do what you love, how to work for yourself, and of course, how to do what you want despite what others might expect of you. He is such a simple person, humble, authentic, and respectful of people’s time, efforts, and dreams.  He changed the world and shows us all it’s possible for us to do the same. By the way, I am totally looking forward to meeting 500 members of this small army of remarkable people at the upcoming World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been to Portland and this is the perfect excuse. I’d love to meet you there too, so let me know if you plan to attend.

Why am I spending my entire first blog entry writing about Chris?

First, as a Libra, I must tell you now, I’m a sucker for beauty. And Chris’ website is one of the most beautifully designed sites I’ve ever seen online. (props to Reese Spykerman).  If you’re into design, you have to check it out. Second, one of my gifts (if I do say so myself) is my ability to find the best in anything I engage in. I place such a high value on time, that I don’t waste any of it with anything or anyone unless it/they represent “the best.” You can go ahead and call me a quality snob. I’m proud of it. In this case, Chris is one of the best in the blogosphere. Since I know that you get dozens of emails in your inbox daily,  why not get brilliant paragraphs of inspiration, motivation, and practical advice from a leader we can relate to, like Chris, who checks in twice a week and makes sure we are busy doing things WE want to do for reasons that are meaningful to US. Trust me on this. Or at the very least, check it out for yourself.

I also devote my first blog entry to Chris because he inspires something very dear to my heart. He inspires and embodies courage. In my 38 years on the planet, I have come to realize that courage is one of the single most important emotional muscles needed in the pursuit of a life of fulfillment.  We have to exercise that courage muscle until it is so fit, that engaging it becomes habit, second nature.

Courage is the key to growth.

Courage  allows us to break through ceilings set by others, ceilings created by our past experiences, ceilings created by old beliefs that are holding us back. Courage gives us the ability to change when necessary. If we can’t change, we can’t grow. And according to my emergent & evolving philosophy on life, growth is one of two ingredients that make up a life of meaning (the other being contribution.) I know many of us find ourselves stuck or in transition these days – and I can confidently say that the single most important quality you need to unstick yourself – is courage. Thank you, Chris, for inspiring courage in all that cross your path.

I’d love to hear what remarkable things you are up to. In fact, I’m sure we’d all love to know. So please share in the comments below. We can always use more inspiration.

Talk soon…


p.s. Although Chris offers a lot of stuff for free, he also happens to be having a huge sale right now on ALL his guides. Subjects range from freelancing to frequent flyer mastery. Sale ends at the end of today. (fyi, here’s the affiliate link. don’t miss out on his Unconventional Guides at a discount.)

p.p.s. From the dozens of facebook comments we got, we realized  that many people ended up being super happy with the cranberry sauce recipe. Thanks for giving it a go.

p.p.p.s. Invitations went out for the next Boulder Kitchen Club, so sign up in the registration box so I know you want an invitation all your own.

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  • Sharon Wharton

    Great post, Liza! I too will be attending the Summit in Portland, cannot wait!

  • Lara

    Courage IS the most important thing to “unstick” yourself. And YOU, Liza, have always inspired courage in me and so many others. Nice blog. I will now click on the links to this Chris guy. :)

  • Rachel Northrup

    L O V E love this posting Liza, thank you for sharing your VA VA Voom and Chris!
    Speaking of non conformity.. hip hop dancing tonight at 6:15pm… COMMUNITTY
    You and Kate are blowing mind on all these conferences to rock it outside the BOX YES
    Thank you
    I”m out

  • Kate

    Brava on a beautiful first post. I will also be attending Chris’s summit in Portland so I can’t wait to meet you, @Sharon. Chris inspired me to take off on a road trip around North America indefinitely that I’m calling “The Freedom Tour” so I totally relate to why you’re so into his work, Liza. He gives us permission to be wholly, and fully ourselves without apology. And so do you, Ms. Pascal. And that’s why I love you.

  • ali

    Wow! What a totally beautiful post. Absolutely love your thoughts on courage. YOU inspire me! xxoo~ali

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