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Your Own Amazing Race

My travel goal takes me to a lot of places, and the trips don’t always play out the way I expect. Things go wrong. Some trips are thrilling, some are boring, and most are somewhere in between.

Someone asked me recently, aren’t you on The Amazing Race? I saw you jumping around in taxis in Thailand.

Wrong guy.

My answer: “No, I’m doing my own Amazing Race. It’s better than the one on TV.”

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Authenticity: You Has It

At any given time, most of us have no shortage of challenges we’re trying to work through or overcome.

Entrepreneurs must create something out of nothing — a process that is both fun and tiring. Ambitious people who work in organizations have to work with colleagues in pursuit of collective goals. Sometimes the colleagues aren’t as ambitious or have other ideas.

Those of us who go it alone have plenty of issues, too. If someone ever implies it’s easy out there, put your skeptic hat on.

Thankfully, there is one challenge that is entirely optional. This challenge is the question of how to be yourself, otherwise known as authenticity.

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What They Say About Winners

Congratulations to the great Lance Armstrong on his third-place victory in Paris yesterday.

I'm aware that third place is not a real victory. Lance knows this too, and said so himself in the post-race interviews. However, when you've been out of the tour for four years, you broke your collarbone a few months ago, and you're more than a decade older than the teammate who ended up winning, I think that third place is pretty good.

Lance is still a winner in my book. He's already planning to come back next year, and I'm pretty sure he won't settle for a mere third place out of 180 riders in 2010.

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Personal Responsibility and Showing Up

To be truly awesome, you have to go above and beyond the efforts of those around you, look for alternative solutions, and refuse to back down from the truth. There's a whole article about it for those who are curious.

But it all starts with showing up. Or, as a friend of mine puts it:

"I'm sorry you feel bad about not meeting your goals -- what I would suggest is that you begin meeting your goals, in order to feel better."

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Going to Extremes

On the flight back from South America last week, the airline was showing Yes Man, a film starring Jim Carrey. Left to my own devices, I rarely finish a movie, but I watched the first two-thirds of this one and thought it was great. The premise of Yes Man is that a guy who usually says no to everything - requests from friends, growth opportunities at work, and so on - has to make a sudden switch where his default answer becomes yes to any request he encounters.

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Sufficiency

I spent most of last week in and around Park City, Utah on a family vacation. I usually run in Portland, Oregon, where the elevation is about 230 feet (70 meters) above sea level. In Park City, the elevation is about 7000 feet (2134 meters) above sea level.

Among other things, the altitude adjustment makes for one tired runner. I felt like I had picked up a pack-a-day smoking habit just before setting out to run a 10k.

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What Makes a Community?

community

Every day I get emails from all kinds of fun people who are getting started on the journey of building an online community. Some of them want advice, and I'm happy to help wherever I can.

I always say to take my $0.02 for whatever it's worth, and ignore me if something works better for you. Also, I'm focusing here on online communities, but they share many of the same characteristics as offline ones.

In the 279 Days report, I wrote about the practical aspects of community building. We looked at RSS vs. email, how to create an e-book, and so on.

This post will look more closely at the underlying philosophy of a community. First of all, what makes a community? Definitions abound, but here's mine:

A community is a group of people united through a common struggle with the same stories.
Let's look at the definition and related features in more detail.

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26 People I Highly Respect

In 279 Days, I included links to many of the people I respect and have learned from since I started this site. I did this because I wanted to give credit where credit is due – and each of these folks deserve a lot of credit for helping me.

Here they are again, with a quick synopsis on why I think they are awesome. If you’re looking for people to learn from (I always am), I encourage you to check out their work.

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