Bonfire 2022

Bonfire 2022 Steven Shomler

Bonfire 2022

As I write these words it is summer 2019 and over the next three years – through summer 2022 I have two overarching goals:

#1 To cheer others on as they pursue life change

#2 To take my brand(s) and businesses to the next level

 If you want to know about my specific plans to both cheer others on, and to inspire & equip them to pursue Life Change see these two articles –

The Life Change Path www.TheLifeChangePath.com

Bonfire Caravanwww.BonfireCarvan.com

The Bonfire 2022 Story

 You are welcome to keep reading if you want to “hear” the story that got me to this point in my journey.

In The Summer of 2011

In the summer of 2011 I decided to pursue life change and head out after the life I imagined.

Up to that point in my life my professional journey included working 10+ years in the non-profit world, and 10+ years in banking.

I know, I know – you are right – my resume was kind of a mess. I am so grateful that in 2007 Scott Mattern hired me anyways.

In the summer of 2011 I was burned out on both banking and the non-profit world, and the great recession had hit me very hard. I mean really hard.

The great recession had hit me very hard. I mean really hard.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

In 2007 I left the non-profit world, and I went back into banking and I worked crazy hours to make it happen.

In 2007 I earned $59,000.

In 2008 I earned $122,000.

In 2009 I earned $256,000.

In 2009 I qualified for President’s Club and the Chairmen’s Circle and working out of little ol’ Portland, Oregon, I was the number 4 Wholesale AE in my company in the country.

Those accomplishments got me an awesome trophy, and a trip to South Beach (Miami) to stay in an amazing suite in the Tresor Tower at the Fontainebleau. That room had an amazing view!

Then…

In early 2010 the income simply stopped.

In one month my monthly paycheck went from $29,000 to $1,400 and then it was over.

In 2008 Met Life Bank had bought the company I worked for, and then in 2010 Met Life Bank shut us down. The ride was over.

At the same time my spouse I was married to back then lost her job. Needless to say 2010 and 2011 were brutal financially.

In the summer of 2011 I had some opinions about Branding, Marketing, Social Media, & Achievement.

I was convinced that if I applied those concepts and tactics to myself that I could build a whole new career out of thin air.

Two Dreams Smoldered In My Heart

In the summer of 2011 two dreams smoldered in my heart.

One dream had been there a very long time – 26 years to be exact.

The second dream had been there only a few years, and it was not quite as defined at the first one.

I had wanted to be an Author since I was 16 years old. See this article for more information about that – The Life Change Path.

 

In addition to wanting to be an Author, I also loved Anthony Bourdain – may he RIP.

I would regularly watch No Reservations with my kids –The Three Zs – Zachary, Zayne, and Zoe.

At the beginning of each No Reservations episode we would hear Tony say –

“I write, I travel, I eat, and I’m hungry for more.”

Every time I heard those words my heart would quicken – I also wanted to write, eat, and travel!

In the summer of 2011 I said to myself –

“If Anthony Bourdain can be paid to eat & drink so can I.”

In the summer of 2011 I stood in a *dirt driveway on SE 140th Ave in Southeast Portland and decided that I was going to become a Writer, an Author, a Professional Speaker, and become Self-employed.

*I stood in a dirt driveway

The driveway was dirt because the city of Portland does not value southeast Portland enough to pave the roads out that way, and a number of the roads out that way are dirt.

I was in that driveway loading items into a U-Haul. We were moving because we were 6 months behind in our rent and we had to go.

For a while I thought that we might end up in the streets.

Two options emerged – we could move to Colville, WA to live on family property in a house that was basically a shack, or we were also given the option to move into an unheated, unfurnished, one-car garage on SE 136th Ave in Portland, Oregon.

We choose the unheated, unfurnished, one-car garage. The reason we did that is an amazing, inspiring story for another time.

In the summer of 2011 I felt like I had nothing left to lose, and I knew that I would have to work very hard to battle back from homelessness.

I figured that I might as well head out after the life I imagined.

In the summer of 2011 I stood in a dirt driveway on SE 140th Ave in Southeast Portland and decided that I was going to become a Writer, an Author, a Professional Speaker and become Self-employed.

So What Happened?

In the summer of 2011 I set out after the life I imagined – I built a website, and I begin writing in that one-car garage (that made me a *Writer) and on Jan 1, 2012 – I launched my first brand.

*Writer Please Note – it’s not hard to become a writer, just start writing. Honest. It’s that simple.

Using the 13 doable steps I teach in the You Can Build Your Brand resource within 3 years and 6 days from when I launched my first brand, I was able to become a Writer, an Author, and became Self-employed.

I launched my first brand on Jan 1, 2012 and 20 months later – August 2013, I got my first book contract.

In 2014 my publisher released my first book Portland Food Cart Stories, and on Thursday April 17, 2014 – for the first time in my life – I went into a bookstore and I bought a book that I wrote.

For me that magical day – 29 years in the making – was the day that I became an Author.

And “Yes” I cried right there in the bookstore as I was paying.

I launched my first brand on Jan 1, 2012 and 3 years and 6 days later on Jan 6, 2015 I ditched my day job and became Self-employed.

So “Yes” – in the summer of 2011 I set four outrageous goals, and within 3 years and 6 days of launching my first brand I accomplished three of those four goals.

The First Year and a Half Was Brutal

Here is a very important fact you need to know –

The first year and a half was brutal.

My goals were outrageous and many of people who knew me then told me that I was crazy.

Many people – some very close to me – attacked me for the path I was choosing and very few cheered me on.

An important part of my journey – one person who from the very beginning – always cheered me on – was my son Zayne.

My son Zayne told me many, many times

“You are doing great Dad, Just keep going.”

That being said – encouragement was a rarity, especially during my first year and a half.

To be fair – I told people that I was going to become a Portland, Oregon based food writer, and that I was going to also become an Author.

Up to that point in my life, I had never been a writer, I did not like spelling, I did not like punctuation, I was not a fan of grammar, and I was a two-finger typist.

Also – I knew NO ONE in the Portland culinary scene and the closest I had gotten to it was reading about Portland’s awesome restaurants in Portland Monthly – that – and in the fall of 2010 I had gone to two Portland area food carts.

You read that right – prior to the summer of 2011 I had visited a grand total of 2 Portland area food carts.

Also remember – we were basically homeless – in the summer of 2011 we moved into an unheated, unfurnished, one-car garage.

Some Day I Will Have an Author Event at Powell’s

I remember we had a cold snap in Oct 2011, and one cold October 20011 evening I was wearing gloves with the fingertips cut off so I could type.

I sat there in that unheated, unfurnished, one-car garage wearing those gloves and a jacket typing away, and I looked up at that unfinished ceiling and I said out loud to myself – “some day I will have an author event at Powell’s.”

I then laughed at the absurdity of that statement.

I laugh again because I wholeheartedly believed that absurd statement.

My goals were outrageous and many of people who knew me then told me that I was crazy.

Many people – some very close to me – attacked me for the path I was choosing and very few cheered me on.

I know first hand what it is like to pursue life change and not be cheered on.

My first three-year push of focused, intense effort was from Jan 1, 2012 to Jan 6, 2015.

I am now in my second three-year push – summer 2019 to summer 2022, and I while I am working to take my brand(s) and businesses to the next level, I am going to cheer on others who are also pursuing life change.

In fact – I have specific plans to inspire and equip others to

#1 Set out on The Life Change Path and

#2 When they are ready – begin taking the external doable steps that will lead to life change.

Those plans to cheer others on include The Life Change Path and the Bonfire Caravan community.

You can read about The Life Change Path right here – www.TheLifeChangePath.Com

The Life Change Path Steven Shomler

Bonfire Caravan Steven Shomler

As far as the  Bonfire Caravan community goes, I have a very special community of people who are all pursing Life Change in way or another who cheer each other on.

Some of the people in this community  are building brands, some them are building businesses, some of them are pursuing the dream of becoming an Author, others are learning to play a musical instrument, some are pursuing Life Change as it relates to physical fitness goals, and some are taking the steps needed to have a new career, I could go on. You get the idea.

Regardless of what life change is being pursued, everyone in this community cheers each other on.

I call this community Bonfire Caravan – Let the dogs bark, this caravan is moving on.

I founded and lead this community because as I mentioned – when I decided to completely change my life in the summer of 2011 I did not have very many people cheering me on.

In fact – I had a number of people telling me that I was crazy and that I would never make it. That was so incredibly painful.

Bonfire Caravan is the encouraging community I wished I had back then.

People who join Bonfire Caravan:

#1 Are ready to tell those who will cheer them on what the specific Life Change is that they are pursing.

#2 Are ready to first discover, and then talk about the external doable steps they need to take that that will lead to life change they desire.

#3 Commit to be a positive and encouraging influence within the Bonfire Caravan community.

When the time right – the community that will cheer you on and encourage you on exists and is ready for you!

For more information about Bonfire Caravan go to  www.stevenshomler.com/bonfire-caravan

 

“Someday I will have an author event at Powell’s.”

*To date I have had TWO Author events at Powell’s and I am in the hunt for more.

What is Bonfire 2022?

My first three-year push to see my dreams come true was from Jan 1, 2012 to Jan 6, 2015.

I am now in my second three-year push to see even more of my dreams come true – summer 2019 to summer 2022.

I like to name things and I have named this period of focused, intense effort Bonfire 2022.

Pay The Price – Live The Dream

I have set out on a journey. I can’t see over the horizon and I don’t know specifically what I will find when I reach my destination.

I do know this – the last time I invested 3 years of focused, intense effort I was very happy with the results.

I am putting in the work and I can’t wait for fall 2022!

Why The 4 + Year Gap?

My first three-year push of focused, intense effort ended Jan 6, 2015 and it has taken me 4 + years to begin a second push.

So why the good-sized time gap?

On Jan 6, 2015 I ditched my day job and I no longer had to invest 40 + hours a week going to it.

In the year and half prior to Jan 6, 2015, I was working 40 hours at my day job – not counting travel to and from that day job, and not counting the time it took to get ready for work etc.

I was also investing 40 + hours a week on my Big Time Side Hustle.

I can’t tell you how awesome it felt when my Big Time Side Hustle became my full time gig!

To go from working 80+ hours a week to working only 40 hours a week (give or take) was amazing!

I was very aware that I still had unfulfilled dreams I wanted to see come true, and I knew that someday I would have to make a second push of focused, intense effort to take my to take my brand(s) and businesses to the next level.

In late 2015 I began to rev my efforts back up.

By then I had a publisher contract to write my 3rd book, and I was beginning to see some projects I could do that would help me get to where I wanted to go.

The Worst Day of My Life

On Monday Feb 8, 2016 my 17-year-old son Zayne passed away.

That brutal, gut-wrenching event has shaped my adult life more than any other.

Someday – sooner then later – I will write more about all of that.

For now let me say this – that loss ripped my heart out, and for a very long time I had little to no creative energy.

It took a good three years for me to recover enough to feel like I could get back to things like writing books.

For me, a painful and unavoidable consequence of this tragedy was my losing my creative energy for quite a long while.

Not having creative energy for 3 years or so cost me at least some of the professional momentum I had, if not quite a bit of it.

Thankfully I knew that grieving is how we heal from the brutal losses that come our way.

Had I not doggedly done my grieving work, and walked out my grieving journey, I would likely still be stumbling around in the cold dark fog of loss.

My creative energy began to slowly come back in the fall of 2018, and by summer of this year – 2019 I was ready to begin my second 3-year push of focused, intense effort.

3 More Years?

I suspect that if Zayne had not passed away, and had I not lost the professional momentum that I did lose, that I would only have needed to invest one or two years of focused, intense effort to take my brand(s) and businesses to the next level. Who knows?

I do know that the 3 years of focused, intense effort I invested from Jan 1, 2012 to Jan 6, 2015 paid off, and I am certain that by the time I get to fall 2022 I will be very happy with the results.

If It Ever Happens to You

The image above contains an actual message I was sent this summer.

I occasionally get heart-breaking messages like this, and I do all I can to help those walking out this brutal path.

If you ever find yourself in this gut-wrenching situation, you are welcome to reach out to me.

I promise you this – you will have losses and some of them will be brutal.

Over The Next Three Years

So what are the projects I will be investing my time in over the next three years?

4 Delights and 3 Titles

The projects I will be investing in over the next three years have to do with my 4 delights and my 3 titles.

I love #1 life change, #2 great meals, #3 great travel, and #4 being a storyteller. I call those items my four delights.

To one degree or another, my professional life now revolves around those four delights and I have come up with three professional titles that exemplify the work life I want to be fully experiencing.

These days when someone asks me “what I do” I throw out one (or all) of these three professional titles:

LifeStory Alchemist www.LifeStoryAlchemist.com,

Culinary Storyteller www.CulinaryStoryteller.com , and

Savory Travel Advocate www.SavoryTravelAdvocate.com

Click on the link(s) above to read more about the title(s) that interest you.

My Bonfire 2022 Projects

Of course I will be serving my Spark to Bonfire clients – I need to keep the bills paid 🙂

I will also be leading the Bonfire Caravan community. Helping others with Life Change is incredibly fulfilling to me!

In addition to those items above, here are the projects I will be working on during my second 3-year push:

The You Can Build Your Brand Resource

I am going to create and then begin selling a handful of resources that will inspire and equip people to go live the life they imagine.

The full title of the first of these resources resource is You Can Build Your Brand: 13 Doable Steps. www.YouCanBuildYourBrand.com

I will be writing scripts and filming videos for each of the 13 doable steps and for some additional prerequisite content that will help people make the most of the You Can Build Your Brand resource.

The components of this resource will include a book – $25, a workbook – $20, and a set of videos that will eventually be behind a pay wall – $150.

In addition to people being able to buy the three components individually, my current plan is to sell all three of them in a package for $99.

The Portland Brewery Passport Book

I have a handful of books I will be completing between now and the fall of 2022.

The Portland Brewery Passport is the first of those books and I will be finishing this book up this year.

Portland Dive Bars

This is a fun project I am doing with my awesome wife. This book is currently a nascent website – www.PortlandDiveBars.com

We are talking with a Publisher right now about Portland Dive Bars the book and we have a couple of other cool spin offs that will stem from the Portland Dive Bars project.

Portland Beer Podcast

I will be doing the work needed to post one new Portland Beer Podcast episode a week – 48 to 50 weeks a year.

Portland Culinary Podcast

I will be doing the work needed to post one new Portland Culinary Podcast episode a week – 48 to 50 weeks a year.

The Savory Travel Adventures Website

I will be doing the work needed to post one new article a week to the Savory Travel Adventures website – 48 to 50 weeks a year.

Culinary Treasure Website

I will be doing the work needed to post one new article a week to the Culinary Treasure website – 48 to 50 weeks a year.

The Culinary Treasure Show

My current plan is that by spring 2020 I will be doing the work needed to regularly post new videos to the Culinary Treasure YouTube channel.

My plan is to attract the attention of the Travel Channel, or Netflix, or Apple TV +, etc., and then have the Culinary Treasure Show air there.

I have wanted to have my own show for quite a while a now, and I am going to make it happen one way or another.

Spark to Bonfire Motivational Merchandise

My awesome wife is helping me put together a line of Spark to Bonfire motivational merchandise – shirts, mugs etc. Look for that very soon.

That’s it!

You now have the details on Bonfire 2022.

As I do the work needed to change my life, I look forward to hearing from you about the Life Change you will be pursuing!

Cheers,

I am Steven Shomler – I know that Life Change Can Happen, and I believe in the beauty of your dream!

#GoLiveTheLifeYouImagine

#WhatLifeDoYouWant