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Episode 010: Getting to Work, Getting Involved, and Making a Difference with Kevin Danaher

Nov 12, 2019
Seeds of Tao diligence focus project management mindset

This week on Episode 010 of the Seeds of Tao Podcast, we interviewed Kevin Danaher, an author, and anti-globalization activist. He is an amazing go-getter who discusses with us his land, mission, and message to get to work and start creating change. He brings up the Golden Rule, and how we should do to others, and the earth, as we want them to do unto us - which I think every permie can resonate with. While this may seem like an elementary school guideline for good behavior in the classroom, it’s actually an amazing concept that has many levels to be applied. Let’s dig in!


The Golden Rule with Permaculture

There are two components to the Golden Rule, the giving and receiving. DO in the first part of the rule indicates action, forward motion, and in essence, WORK. Any practicing permie will tell you permaculture is a lot of work, especially if you’re just starting out. According to the Permaculture Compass from Episode 002, there are three spheres or directions that we must focus on to create real change - Personal, Home, and Community. Those directions are where we need to get to work to start creating the change we wish to see.

Getting to Work on Yourself

One of the biggest places that get looked over when it comes to doing work is on the self, and yet this is the limiting factor of being able to create positive change anywhere else in your life. You are only as strong as your mindset. How do you work on your mind? There are many ways, but here are two awesome ones to get you started.

  1. Process Negative Thoughts

The first step of creating a strong mindset is being conscious of what’s already going on in your mind, especially the negativity. Start by paying attention to the negative thoughts that come up throughout the day. Things like “I am no good at this,” “I am going nowhere,” “I can’t make enough money,” or “Things never go my way” tear us down, and most of the time it’s on repeat in the back of our mind. So start by being aware, anytime a negative thought comes up, write it down, rip it up and throw it away.


If you do this consistently enough you will start to see the patterns of what negative thoughts are regulars, and the perceived obstacles you’re facing when trying to move forward. Sometimes we get negative thoughts when we start realizing how many negative thoughts we have! But just keep writing them down, and throwing them away.

Gain Laser Focus

Where are you going? What is your goal? What impact do you want to have? If you can’t say the answers to these questions out loud, without hesitating or searching for the right words, then you need to do some work to flesh that out. It all starts with either writing it down, or journaling it out. Once you have a clear vision and path, create a story for what that looks like a year from now in your life. What will it look like? What will it feel like to be creating or working toward that impact? Who will benefit from you moving forward? Write at least a page about this future, and read it out loud EVERY DAY… and you will see it start to come to fruition in your life and improve your focus to get there.

Getting to Work in Your Home

This is probably the most common area permies find themselves at work. It seems like everywhere we turn, we are talking to permies that are either SWAMPED in projects around their house or land that aren’t getting finished, or they have a million projects planned, but aren’t moving forward with any of them. In both situations here, project management skills are lacking and make a huge difference in success. Here are some steps to get moving forward in the right direction in your home.


  1. Start out with your goal for your home or land, three months from now and write it down.
  2. Get your goal specific, measurable, and with a clear point of completion.
  3. Make your goal visual, and in a place where you will see it EVERY DAY.
  4. Brainstorm the actions that will need to be taken to achieve that goal.
  5. Organize those actions into priorities or steps, and set up a tracking system that you will USE.
  6. Start with the first step on your list and finish it completely, but don’t allow yourself to get hung up if things don’t come together perfectly, and then give yourself an excuse from moving forward to the next step.
  7. Stay focus, looking at your goal and diligently tracking progress as you move forward.
  8. Complete your goal 100%, no ninety percenters here!
  9. Celebrate your win of achieving your goal.
  10. Set your next goal for three months in the future.

Getting to Work in Your Community

One of the biggest hangups we find permies have in building up their communities through permaculture is not finding the community in their area. If there is no permaculture community around you to help move things forward, you have to act as the catalyst.


First off, you can absolutely find a permaculture community online. If you’re looking to incorporate a new online community of permies in your life, definitely check out our Slack community where we have amazing permies from all over the world doing amazing things.


Maybe you think that a community isn’t necessary, and you’d rather just learn and implement on your own… DO NOT FOREGO A COMMUNITY IN EXCHANGE FOR BOOKS. Books are not your community. You will avoid so many mistakes and opportunities if you do not have a community of permies to support you, and for you to support. 


If you are desiring a physical community but are a lone permaculture wolf in your area, it’s time to be an example and share your light. This is when it’s extra important to get your property and knowledge in order and aligned with permaculture so that you can inspire others to ask questions about why and how you are doing things differently. You can spread knowledge of permaculture and grow baby permies in your community if you exemplify the beauty and power of permaculture in your life.


Then there are those who are in an urban environment where they feel limited to create a community impact because of their environment. If you are in this boat, check out our Episode 007 where we interview Adam Brock, a veteran of urban permaculture-community building.

The Other Half of the Golden Rule

It’s noble and good to be focused on giving our time, energy, and focus to building up the world around us, but there’s a cycle that will hold us back if we have disconnects, and that’s the Give and Receive cycle. Most people are lacking in one side or the other - they can give freely but have a hard time receiving, or vice versa. The thing with this cycle is, it will only work as powerfully as the limiting factor. This means, as you build up where you’re weak, you’ll grow opportunities for where you are strong. 


If you have a hard time receiving praise, gifts, or opportunities, it will limit your ability to give. When you build up your ability to receive, you will be able to receive amazing fulfillment from giving on a whole new level.


The Golden Rule works in tandem with the Give and Receive cycle. So get to work on yourself, your home, and your community, and prepare to give and also receive the amazing opportunities that will open up to building the amazing permaculture movement we’re part of.


And don’t forget to connect with Kevin and check out some of his books, he’s a phenomenal author and activist, and has many resources for you to engage with.


Keep growing!


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Next Episode: Permaculture Dreams