BABL 054: Solocast- Finding Your People

Hey life architects, Adam Carroll here with another Build A Bigger Life Solocast, AND a confession to make to you.  

I’m weird. Like super weird. I don’t know what happened to me early on in life that I turned out this way, but I find things cool that some people couldn’t give two rips about. I geek out about financial education, which you’ve probably guessed in listening to this show, I geek out about the power of your subconscious mind — it’s what led me to become a certified hypnotherapist about 12 years ago. I’m obsessed with watches, and writing, juggling, talented piano players (especially those that are too young to do much else), oh and film making — especially documentaries having worked on one for the past year and a half.

Like I said, weird.

But the reality is, you’re weird too. You like stuff that I probably find completely benign. And yet just like my weird stuff, and your weird stuff, there are people out there who like what we like. They would celebrate our weirdness because they have some of the same weird tastes.

Whether you realize it or not, there are people like you, also weird, who don’t hang out in the most normal places. To find them all congregating, you pretty much have to go search them out, but trust me, they’re out there.

I’ll be the first to admit that one of the weird things that I just don’t get is CosPlay. It’s the whole idea that people get dressed up in costumes to portray a character, but not be on stage. It’s a mashup of costume play. Think of that closet that your grandmother had full of outgrown Halloween costumes that you and your cousins used to dress up in. Yeah, just like that but put grown ups in those costumes congregating in a giant convention hall. And when I say gigantic, I mean gigantic. Like tens of thousands of these people might gather at the largest events.  

There are variations of these kind of events like DragonCon and ComicCon — people show up in CosPlay for these events in droves. It’s a genuine thing… And here’s the deal — I’m not passing judgment on these people at all. I don’t get it, but I LOVE IT.

I love that there is a place for people to go to be around other people who geek out on something that the general population might see as weird. If you’re there and you’re rocking CosPlay, you’ve found your people.

My friend Patrick Johnson, a very candid supporter of the CosPlay movement (if we’re calling it that already), said that the last DragonCon he went to changed his life. IT CHANGED HIS LIFE.  Patrick found his people. It just so happened that some of them were borgs and wookies and ninjas — or whatever they were… I just happened to see a samurai sword in one of the pictures.

Finding your people might also be at a place like BaconFest which got it’s start in Des Moines. A couple of bacon fanatics thought it’d be fun to hold a festival in homage to the meat of all meats. It started small with about 400 people, then grew to 4000, then 8,000 — there’s even a mockumentary about BaconFest including the Bacon Queen who reigns over the festivities.

I have no doubt it’s life changing for some. Because they’ve found their people.

For me, my finding my people moment happened at two different events. In September, I attended my first FINCON in Charlotte, NC. FINCON was started by a guy named Philip Taylor, better known at PTMoney. He’s been blogging about financial stuff for the past several years, and in fact left his job as an accountant to pursue financial writing and educating full-time. When the idea struck him that there were other people out there like him, he ran with it creating an event now into it’s 6th year and drawing about 900 people from all over the country.

On day 1, I knew I’d found my people:

Money nerds, investor geeks, ROI fanatics, real estate moguls and moguls in training, Coupon clippers, bloggers, podcasters — every one of them a freedom fighter.  All of them life architects. But they’re all more than that too.. they’re educators, leaders, and weirdos to some. Why, on earth, would anyone pay money to spend a weekend learning from other weirdos about writing stuff online to try and make money? (If that’s what you’re asking, these probably aren’t your people.)

What I found most awesome about this conference was everyone that was there was there to help each other. There was no sense of competition anywhere in the group, yet everyone is pretty much in the same space, doing similar kind of work, attracting similar kinds of clients, web visitors, and podcast listeners. But in the very first evening, it was clear that these were my people.

Similarly, last year when I attended Jack Canfield’s Train The Trainer program, I knew on the first evening that I was surrounded by my people:

Personal development junkies, transformational trainers, fitness gurus, emotional counseling ninjas, and enlightened millionaires.

What they were there for wasn’t as connecting as WHY they were there. Many of them were there, knowingly or not, to find their people.

I heard a bunch of them say they felt like outsiders in their groups of friends. Maybe they had a big vision for their future, maybe they were asking bigger questions than anyone in their circle of friends had ever risked to ask before. Some of them just flat out didn’t fit in unless they stood out, and it was pretty evident there were a bunch of us like that.

Ultimately, this solocast on finding your people is about finding connection with a group of individuals who “get you”. It’s about searching for connection that goes beyond a few similarities and finding the people who celebrate what makes you weird. Because they’re out there. And they’re probably feeling very similar to how you feel on a regular basis.

I’m a work from home solopreneur. I’ve got a small team that I see on a limited basis, though we talk regularly. And sometimes being in the job you are makes you weird… I sometimes feel lonely, I crave connection with humans, sometimes I just need a hug.

And when I do, I go down to 1 Million Cups where all the weird entrepreneur types are on Wednesday morning because they can sympathize with how I’m feeling. I’ll attend the Tech Brew meetup which happens once a week — a bunch of tech geeks geeking out on the latest gadget, app, or business idea. Or, I’ll call a special mastermind meeting with my two mastermind partners who are both phenomenal dudes doing similar things, facing similar challenges, and feeling similar feelings. And I’ll readily admit to it… we hug each other.

Sometimes longer than our wives would like us to. But we’ve found our people.

So my question to you as you build a bigger life today, this week, this month, and for the rest of this year is: Where are your people? Are you reaching out to the weirdos who share your affinity for French cuisine or French bulldogs? Are you spending time with other authors, speakers, single moms, wantrepreneurs or kite-flying afficianados?  And if not, why not?

No group nearby? Create one.

No time? Make some.

Someone out there wants to celebrate weird with you.
Here’s to you building a bigger life.