Thank You & Goodbye, Scott Dinsmore

Scott’s message at WDS 15

This is the most I have been affected by death. Ever.

My grandfather passed away a few years ago, as did my aunt. I knew them and loved them, but their death didn’t affect me very deeply. I might have unconsciously repressed my grief, and numbed myself to my own feelings.

Even now, I go about my daily life like nothing has changes. I go to work every day, I laugh at my colleagues’ jokes, I come home and work on building my business, and read before going to bed.

But under the surface, my emotions are a confused mess as I deal with the fact that,

Scott Dinsmore, the greatest Living Legend of them all, is no more.

I have spent the past few days wondering if I would have any regrets if I died. I have spent the evenings reading all the wonderful tributes that have been pouring in from his friends, fans, and followers. There is not a soul in this world that knew him who is not grieving his untimely death.

The Initial Blow

For the first few minutes after a friend sent me a message with this tragic news, I refused to believe it. I was sure that his account had been hacked, and someone was sending him fake emails.

So I Googled for the relevant news, knowing that Scott said he’d be going offline. I dug and dug, but couldn’t find anything.

I was beginning to breathe easy when I decided to log in to his Facebook group. One look at Naz’s face in the video and I didn’t even have to hear the words.

For the next few hours I felt like a robot, going through the motions I had been programmed to do. It slowly started to sink in after I saw the disbelief and grief other people of were experiencing.

As I saw the messages pour in from his friends and followers, I knew I had to write my own. But I was stuck for the first few days because I didn’t know what to write.

How do I pay tribute to someone who has changed my life, even though we’ve never met?

What words could I write that his friends and family couldn’t write better?

How do I express my grief when all I’ve done my whole life is repress it?

I had only spoken to Scott over the internet, and his passion and energy always came through. I can’t even begin to imagine how infectious it must have been for those blessed to know him in real life. Scott believed the best of everybody, and was always 100% in your corner.

I think writing about how Scott’s passion, spirit, and energy has changed my life for the better would be a fitting tribute. I know he would have been the happiest to read this.

Dear Scott,

My only 2 options were debilitating injury or a month long illness.

There seemed to be no other escape.

It was early 2013, and I was in a very dark place in my life. On the outside, I was living the life that is a dream come true for 90% of the people born in my country. I went to the best school, graduated as an engineer from one of the country’s top universities, got a job in the city I was born in, earned a salary that let me splurge on whatever I wanted and still have enough to pay for my car, and I was posted overseas on a work project.

But I felt there was something wrong with me.

Why wasn’t I happy, despite being blessed with a life like that most people dreamed of?

Why couldn’t I enjoy the life I had?

After some time, I knew I was terribly depressed, but I didn’t know why, or even if there was a way out.

One day, as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came across the TED talk.

18 minutes later I felt like I was on fire.

It wasn’t a fire like those flimsy firecrackers that put on a show and die out. No, I felt like you had dumped a barrel of hot coals into me, simmering away without flames, but incinerating everything they touch.

It burned away my depression, and something new arose from the ashes — hunger.

I was hungry to know more about how to find and do work you love. I signed up for email updates, and devoured your old posts. But my hunger was not sated. Within a couple of days I joined the Live Off Your Passion course and ripped into it, eager to start making a living from my passion.

Less than a month later, I had dived deep into my personal history, tallied up my values and strengths, and found the connecting threads.

The birth of a passion

I took heed of your Beginner's Manifesto, and with my heart threatening to burst out of my chest, I published my very first piece of writing online.

No longer did I just want to have written a story. I had actually written one. It wasn’t very good, but the next one won an editor’s choice award. I was hooked.

Two and a half years later, I am more in love with writing than ever. One of my recent posts has 548 likes on Facebook, 118 Tweets, and 43 comments. I call it a win, considering I wrote this Pulitzer winning line in my first blog post,

If you noticed, I was writing in the past tense. There is only one thing to say in the present tense — if this story resembles your own, I believe I can help.

The fulfillment of a dream

Ever since I read about your gushing reviews of World Domination Summit, I wanted to go. But by the time I found out about WDS 2013, all the tickets had sold out. When WDS 2014 came around, I told myself that I couldn’t just go half way across the world on a whim.

The truth was, I was still too scared to break out of my conventional life. It felt alien to do something just because my heart yearned for it.

But I made it to WDS 2015!

I bought the tickets the day the ticket sales opened. I had no clue about what my next steps would be, but I did what Naz advised, “be unreasonable”. I did not know if I had enough money to go, I did not know if my visa application would even be approved, but I took the first step anyway.

I fulfilled my dream by flying halfway across the world to attend WDS. I can still feel the electrifying echo of the whole experience to this day.

And the absolute highlight of WDS was definitely the Live Your Legend meetup. I met people there that I had only known and talked to online. But the moment I met them, the connection was instant. It was like I had known them forever. Our shared values of authenticity and vulnerability oozed out of the cracks in the back room of the McMenamins Pub.

Not in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined that I, introvert extraordinaire, would walk into a roomful of people I had never met, and greet them like old friends!

I had hoped to meet you at WDS, but you were off on the world tour with Chelsea. And glad as I was for the inspiration, I felt a little disappointed that I couldn’t meet you in person and tell you how instrumental you were in the changes I’ve made in my life. But I did get to feel your energy and passion through the video you sent us from Marrakesh, Morocco.

I came home from WDS feeling like one of those cartoons that gets electrocuted, and walks around with random bursts of energy lighting up its insides.

A month after attending WDS, I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. I finally quit the job I didn’t love. I am still serving out my 90 day notice period. But I did Quit. My. Job.

It was a mission I had set out on the day I joined Live Off Your Passion. Everyone who has known me since then has heard about how I hated my job and couldn’t wait to quit. They probably heard about it so much that they’d sigh mentally every time I started talking.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m confident I will find my way. For now, my plan is to follow the intersection of my passion, serve my audience, and get paid for it.

I know it will all work out because of the people I have come to know through you.

Connecting with my mentors

When I joined the CWA course in June 2014, you asked us who our top 3 dream connections were, apart from you.

I don’t know whether to call it serendipity or coincidence, but each one of those people were deeply affected by your sudden departure.

  1. Natalie Sisson (whose retreat I’m going to attend in March, next year) wrote about how to live our own legend.
  2. Jonathan Mead (whom I hope to meet someday) said that you won him over with your genuine, caring, and down to earth personality.
  3. I also wanted to meet Caleb Wojcik (and by extension Corbett Barr and Chase Reeves) and now I am able to do that every month as a member of Fizzle. Corbett is heartbroken about losing one of his closest friends and it reflects in his writing, and Chase’s tribute is very un-Chase-like. Which is saying something.

During my depression I also came across Leo’s blog, through you, and his writing became the center point of calm in my life. That’s why one weekend I took off to meet Leo & Eva in Tokyo, and I will remember it for life. His heartfelt words left a lump to my throat.

You will always be the first (and the most exuberant) mentor I ever had. And even though I can’t look to you for guidance and mentorship directly, I am grateful to you for introducing me to the amazing people who can act as a guide and mentor in your stead.

The one lesson I will carry in my heart

If I were to die tomorrow, I think I would die with no regrets, knowing that I had lived my life to the best of my abilities. I think I will choose to be grateful for all the things that I have accomplished.

Between regret and gratitude, I think I will always choose gratitude.

I couldn’t have achieved these things without your help, and am forever grateful. You are truly a living legend, and I consider myself lucky to have known you and your work.

I promise to keep living my legend, and inspire others to live theirs. Your legacy lives on. And that my friend, makes you immortal. Talk about achieving the impossible, you’ve gone on and done it.

Immortal or not, I still miss you.

Thank you for always being your authentic self, Scott.

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