Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “Wait. Is this all there is and all I can be?”
I’m a simple-living, multi-passionate, community-building dude with an amazing wife, two super little sons, and a clear vision of my highest contribution to the world.
Through things like minimalism, the Paleo lifestyle, and entrepreneurship, I’ve befriended personal heroes and continue to accomplish what “Past Joel” would have thought was impossible.
However, I don’t see myself as special. I’m just a regular person like you … but it hasn’t always been this way.
Enter the Personal Renaissance
Back in April 2010, my wife Melinda and I had a nice house with nice incomes and many other nice things. Things were … nice – at least on the outside.
Behind my disguise, I was mindlessly chasing money and working 10+ hour days at a job that felt meaningless (except as a convenient excuse to hide my sugar-binging).
I was hopelessly addicted to a video game called World of Warcraft and would routinely stay up until 3:00 a.m. playing it. The next day, I would expect my zombified brain to fool my friends, family, and co-workers into thinking I still had things put together.
Then it happened: Melinda told me she was pregnant with our first son, Grant.
Although expected, her announcement forced a pivotal decision. Do I let the shadow of becoming a physically and emotionally absent papa sweep over me, or do I let the light of reinvention spark some huge changes?
Fortunately, I chose to ignite a personal renaissance – my term for a rapid and expansive inner evolution – that’s still going strong.
Becoming a papa, I felt like a child walking into a bubble factory; a lot of things were about to go “pop!” After searching deep inside, I found an overwhelming need to build a meaningful legacy.
The Blogs Plot Thickens …
I started reading blogs and saw all these seemingly normal people doing amazing things. So I started my own blog in November 2010 to see if I had anything useful in me.
Although my posts were crap-tastic and packed with drifting fascinations, I learned a ton. This experiment, among many others – most of which completely freaked my friends and family out – taught me to make changes before a crisis forced them.
Then, I began my previous website, Value of Simple, four months after quitting my cushy job in March 2012 with no real plan to make money again.
That was the year I launched the Smart and Simple Matters podcast, dreamed up the Continuous Creation Challenge, and embraced my dormant potential to simplify and build community. “Past Joel” and his insistence on consumption and comfort gave way to a new guy focused on creation and contribution.
It took a while for my new worldview to form and I stumbled along like a sleepy toddler. But participating in events like World Domination Summit and immersing myself in communities like Live Your Legend and The Puttytribe showed me a new promise.
Bring. People. Together.
As an extrovert who loves helping others with my voice, I felt compelled to use my mad organizing skillz and budding facilitation prowess.
Through purposeful sleep-deprivation this time – my son, Clark, was born in September 2013 – I published a vision for an event at the crossroads of simplicity and community called … SimpleREV?
Yeah. Sure. SimpleREV!
My buddy, Dan Hayes, and other cool cats like Joshua Becker wanted to fill the void of intimate simple-living events. So we teamed up to bring fifty-five meditators, tiny house lovers, yogis, and other simplifiers to Minneapolis for SimpleREV 2014.
It. Was. Tree-mend-us!
Our event became a catalyst in the broader simple-living movement and I’m grateful that countless others have now put their awesome fingerprints on what we’re building together.
What’s the Next Chapter?
I’m happily focused on a groovy email newsletter, the Smart and Simple Matters podcast, and seeing thousands of people in hundreds of towns come together around free SimpleREV Local gatherings.
There are no more kids in my future. But just about everything else feels gloriously uncertain. Whatever happens, though, I’m still just a regular dude with flaws.
I lose my patience and focus. I still battle with sugar binging and needlessly impressing people.
But there’s a crap-load of gratitude and purpose in my current life. There are opportunities to influence and be influenced … and dare I say change the world.
I hope my story will help you on your journey. I want to inspire others to change their habits and intentionally start their own personal renaissance.
Even if I seem ahead of you on a particular path, I’d be grateful to explore the simple, unsexy, and generous side of life with you.
We’ll struggle together, share high-fives (and hopefully hugs), and enjoy some laughs on the way.
Are you in?
I help create simple-living communities, podcast about groovy things, and get you excited about spreadsheets. Learn more about me and how to live intentionally, build authentic relationships, and have tons of gratitude. No prior experience is required.
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