This is another result of your feedback to me - more conversations with people I define as thought leaders. To me that means I learn from and with them - I have connected with these individuals at a deeper level. It was clear to me from the very first time I met them, that it would be a life changing experience.
That is leadership. Of course, as Chris says, my mileage may vary - I still need to show up and take a bite out of my projects. He would know about stepping forward, he's the one who wrote a guide to world domination. It took Chris 279 days - how long will it take you?
He's made an art of non conformity and has become one of the most thoughtful supporting actors in mine. Do you do your own annual review? Maybe you should. I've made a healthy habit of that since a very early age. What Chris says here and in much of his work in fact makes a lot of good sense to me. If you want to grow and move forward, you need to step up your game.
Read his work and you'll discover all sorts of things, including why people hate marketers. I asked Chris for a few minutes of his time in between travels so we could have a brief conversation with you.
A while back we talked about thought leadership at Conversation Agent. The main question was are blogs the new thought leadership? What do you think?
Chris G: I think they can be. There are millions of blogs out there, many of which exist for purely personal communication. But among the others, yes, it seems that more and more people look to certain bloggers as thought leaders.
Many talk about time and attention. In a way, you're focusing on trust. Yes, you're an entrepreneur who talks about unconventional products and life. You often talk about expanding the pie and thinking in terms of abundance. It seems to me that you need to be trusting to accomplish that.
You're writing a book that will be published in 2010. Can you give us a preview of some of the topics you will cover there?
Chris G: The book is about challenging the status quo and establishing an alternative framework for how remarkable people live their lives. All of the concepts you've just named - expanding the pie, unconventional ideas, abundance, etc. are in it. It's essentially an expansion of the Brief Guide to World Domination manifesto I wrote last summer.
The only problem so far is that I've discovered a book does not write itself.
Every night I put the laptop under my pillow, but I just have a sore neck in the morning. It's definitely a work in progress.
Tell us a little bit of how you got here. What are the ideas and people that influenced you on the onset? Why?
Chris G: The primary influence was spending four years in West Africa as a volunteer for a medical charity; that time definitely affected my life and worldview more than any other experience. The secondary influence was being self-employed for most of my adult life. I never built a huge, strategic business; my goal was just to support myself so I could do other things I wanted, like volunteer work and traveling.
In the months leading up to starting the site, I enjoyed studying a number of other lifestyle design bloggers, especially the folks in LifeRemix. Since then, I've been fortunate to connect with all kinds of people in different industries, including marketing, journalism, travel, and all sorts of places I didn't expect. Since I don't write about just one topic, I've been able to learn from a wide variety of sources. That aspect has definitely helped me a lot.
I know that many who are making a difference today are there because they want to change the world. In a way, the tools have made it easier to spread the word, but it is really about intent.
When did you first realize you were going to step forward to help transform the way we think about work? Was there a specific event or conversation that inspired you?
Chris G: There wasn't one specific event. It was more a combination of things - ending my time in Africa, returning to the U.S., turning 30, and realizing that while I had done a lot of fun things (no regrets), I didn't really feel like I was leaving a legacy. I wanted to step out, start a new career as a writer, and establish a platform for what I believed in. So far, it's going well.
If you were to share just one word of advice with Conversation Agent readers, what would it be?
Chris G: Converge.
That's the one word. What I mean is that I don't have much interest in concepts like life / work balance, outsourcing, etc. For the most part, I enjoy my work and feel like it's an important part of my life; I have no desire to segment it somehow.
I like this quote from Joseph Campell: “People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive."
I'm interested in being fully alive in my life and work, and I know that a lot of other people seek the same thing.
What about you? What's the experience you seek? How do you step up? Feel free to ask any questions of Chris as well.
[with Chris at SxSW this past March]