Extraordinary feats: How to become legendary to millions of fans
What does the extraordinary have to do with becoming an influencer? How can it help you grow a fan base of millions? More than you probably think. Many famous influencers got their start by doing something remarkable. And if you examine the beginning of their careers closely, you’ll notice patterns.
The extraordinary feats that won Chris Guillebeau, Morgan Spurlock and other influencers fame
Had you ever heard of Morgan Spurlock before the hit movie Super Size Me? Me neither. For those unfamiliar with the documentary, Morgan embarked on a challenge to eat McDonald’s for every single meal for 30 days straight, and the results were shocking.
For credibility purposes, Super Size Me is important because it shows how an extraordinary feat can transform a nobody into an influencer. Spurlock’s movie went on to gross more than 11 million dollars worldwide, was nominated for an Academy Award and it launched his film career.
Spurlock’s use of an extraordinary feat to become an influencer is not an isolated incident. There are many others who’ve done the same.
Take the serial entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author and influencer Chris Guillebeau. If you want to talk about the extraordinary, Guillebeau did something many would consider mind blowing—he traveled to every single country in the world. Who can say they’ve done that?
This astonishing act has garnered Guillebeau tons of media attention and also served as the basis of one of his previous businesses: travel hacking.
Another New York Times bestselling author who rose to fame from extraordinary feats is David Goggins. David, who some have referred to as the toughest man alive, is the only man who’s ever completed the Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. In 2013, he also set a world record for performing 4,030 pull-ups in 24 hours, the most that had ever been completed within that time frame3.
These three are just a small selection of influencers who did something uncommon to launch their careers to insane heights. Now, more importantly, how can you do something similar?
Ways to become an influencer by being extraordinary
How does one define extraordinary? If you look closely at the three examples above, you may begin to notice some patterns you can replicate.
Crazy unique feats
How many people have visited every country in the world, eaten McDonald’s for every meal for 30 days straight or completed the military’s most elite trainings? Very few. Crazy uniqueness is a common characteristic of the extraordinary. So what can you do that only one or very few other people in the world have ever done? Go do it and you’ll be on your way to being an influencer in no time.
Did you catch the words “world record” in Goggins’ story? Well, he isn’t the only influencer who has set such records. You’ve probably heard of Tim Ferriss, the entrepreneur, investor and author of The 4-Hour Workweek. He also set a Guinness World Record in 2006 for the highest number of tango spins in under a minute, and he did it live on the TV show Live with Regis and Kelly. While world records can launch you into the influencer stratosphere, the Guillebeau and Morgan feats also appear record-like. Perhaps others have traveled to every country in the world or only eaten McDonald’s for 30 days, but who else has accomplished these achievements so publicly? Speaking of which…
Documentation of the feat
If you complete the most unique challenge in the world but no one sees it, will you become an influencer? Probably not. People need to know about your crazy, wild accomplishment; it has to be in the public eye. Guillebeau blogged about his travel escapades. Spurlock, obviously, filmed his. And Goggins wrote an insanely popular book about his extraordinary life. You too must find a way to document and publicly share your awe-inspiring story, or your efforts will be in vain.
Morgan Spurlock’s feat offers one of the easiest formulas to accomplish something extraordinary: a specific activity done for a certain number of days in a row. In Spurlock’s case, this is: eating only McDonald’s for 30 days in a row. Many others have used this formula to become influencers. Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project documents her year long experiment test-driving different age-old principles, scientific research and pop-culture lessons about how to be happier. And Jesse Itzler also used this technique with his hit book Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet. Although it’s fair to say Jesse was an influencer before this book (he is an owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise), it likely helped grow his influence further, as the book went on to become a New York Times and #1 LA Times bestseller. So now it’s your turn. What experiment can you do for a given time period?
Whatever extraordinary feat you choose to try, align it with your business goals. As I mentioned, Guillebeau’s aligned with his travel hacking business, and Goggins’ crazy accomplishments perfectly matched with his motivational speaking work.
That said, I don’t want to overstate the challenge of doing something extraordinary. Acquiring millions of fans by being legendary is no easy task. I haven’t done so myself. I’ve just noticed the above patterns, which have proven effective for some of the biggest influencers around.
Following the guidance in this chapter would certainly not be my first recommendation to improve your credibility. In fact, it would probably be my last because of the crazy effort involved. That said, I want to present it as an option for you. Maybe this chapter will spark an idea in you that helps you become the next influencer who is rocketed to fame by their extraordinary achievements.
While Goggins is a badass, his world record for most pull-ups in 24 hours has officially been smashed. John Orth did 7,600 pull-ups in 19.5 hours on June 11, 2016.