This week on the podcast we've got Brandon Bauer, a seasoned permaculturist with some inspiring things to share with us about finding our niche, and living life to the fullest. It is timely advice during the hectic times of political uncertainty, social injustice, and a global pandemic. Don't get lost in the noise, make sure you're being the best version of you and really designing the journey you want to take.
To get in touch with Brandon…
You can send a message to Refarmers, an organization he works closely with, at https://www.facebook.com/REFARMERS.org/
Or you can contact Marie-Pierre, his good friend and our previous podcast guest, through our Slack community which you can join at https://www.seedsoftao.com/slack
He gained a lot of knowledge from the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead
One of the coolest things to learn about, in my opinion, in relation to permaculture is patterns. Patterns are everywhere. They are a constant in the environment, within our communities, within our families, they are everywhere! Brandon points out that patterns are a unifying force so that he can learn permaculture in Canada, and apply it in East Africa with a little tweaking. He brings up that parts of that pattern fill ecological niches, as do we. But how do we find out our niche? Some people know their niche because they are in full awareness of what they’re passionate about, and the contribution they want to have. That’s really the key though, figuring out the CONTRIBUTION you can make. Maybe you’re the designer, or the social mediator, or the builder, or the project manager… The way that you want to contribute will help you focus your efforts in all or your spheres of influence so that you can make a difference no matter where you are putting your efforts.
So often I see people going through their life in a daze, going through the motions, or as Josh calls it in the episode, “sleepwalking” through life. For some people that’s ok, but we’ll never fulfill our greatest potential or create meaningful impact with this type of forward-moving motion. In the episode, Brandon calls for taking ownership of your life and following your heart. Everyone I’ve ever talked to who has left the beaten path to really follow their dreams and take ownership of their journey has said they would never go back, nor would I. Identifying where you TRULY want to go is a priceless epiphany, but that idea dies as an infant if you don’t take steps to nourish it, and take action.
Brandon brought up in the episode the need to gain a variety of skills, but not to just be a “badge collector.” Sure it feels great to get your PDC certificate in the mail, complete courses and degrees, and various certifications. And yet if they are just sitting on your shelf collecting dust, they’re pretty much worthless. Brandon challenges you to go ahead and get the certifications, gain the skills you want, and then to apply them in your home, in your community, really wherever you can. Your knowledge will increase exponentially and you’ll be a valuable asset to those you impact. These are the days of the generalist, not the specialist. However, being a generalist does not mean you can’t have a niche. Be a generalist within your niche and you will find greater power for impact.
One of the best quotes from this episode was when Brandon counseled, “Start simple and prepare to kill things.” He recounts the numerous plants he’s killed during his permaculture journey, and yet he learned from each of his failures. In his words, he “failed better.” If you’ve listened to our journey at all, you will already know that we tried to take more than we could chew. And that totally bit us in the rear. Starting small is really the way to go, and learning from the mistakes along the way is an invaluable strategy.
Brandon mentions that he really tries to enable people to see that they have way more opportunity than they think they have, and isn’t that a powerful aim of any permie to teach others, and apply to themselves. Permaculture is enabling in this way, it empowers you to take your life into your hands and create, fail, learn, balance, grow, and create impact. You have the opportunity to write the story of your life, as Brandon said. So take that opportunity and seize the day, follow your dreams, fail often and fail better, create a positive impact, and live the life you dream of.
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