Millennial Rob Fajardo’s passion in life, he says, is to, “inspire you to become the best version of yourself and create things that matter.” That’s why he founded Leave Normal Behind (LNB), the global movement connecting a tribe of purpose-driven leaders leaving legacies.
A contributing author to Melissa Krivachek’s Rise UP Champion, and a personal-branding advocate growing up, Fajardo says he always knew he was born with a purpose. He remembers having admiration for leaders, from Derek Jeter, to Gandhi. He admired that when an influencer spoke, everyone would listen.
In an interview with Fajardo, he relayed that as a student at Amherst College, he read the book The Go-Giver and, as fate would have it, author John David Mann lived right down the road. Fajardo made the connection between mentors, self-development and building a compelling brand. Fast forward a year: Fajardo traveled from Australia to Thailand to Canada in search for his own purpose.
A modern-day philosopher whose now-signature hand-rubbing that precedes his knack for extemporaneous dictation, Fajardo is reminiscent of an earlier Ryan Holiday in combination with “master of any skill” guru Robert Greene. In an interview, Fajardo laid out his philosophy behind “Leave Normal Behind,” and showed how to get involved through the experiential events platform by the same name—engineered by cofounder Kal Richan.
Leave normal behind is an ideology that exists in everyone. “To leave normal behind means to challenge the status quo, live a life of purpose, become the best version of yourself and create things that matter,” says Fajardo. Leave normal behind is a movement and bigger than any one individual. It is the fundamental belief that each person has the capacity to achieve a purpose-filled life.
Challenge the Status Quo
Many people go through life quietly, content with the status quo and unclear about what they want, what their legacy will be. “These are the sleepwalkers,” says Fajardo. “Quiet and blind to the infinite possibilities available.” This half-minded existence is what’s normal.
Living a Life of Purpose
Lead by example. Fajardo explains that his purpose is to help others unlock their purpose. “Right now there is an epidemic,” he says. “People adrift. Unclear. Lacking purpose. It is normal for people to go to corporate America, get a salary, get comfortable and silence that voice in their head,” says Fajardo. His goal is to disrupt that silence.
Fajardo, who says adamantly that he “won’t settle for that,” is angling to position himself as a leader and a voice for Generation Y in a crowded field. If it has been ‘normal’ to take the 9-5, work for the weekend and be content with status quo, then “it’s about time to leave ‘normal’ behind.”
A 2016 Gallup survey of millennials–a cohort whose “real unemployment rate” stands stubbornly at 9.3– showed that more than money and success, it is purpose that drives decision-making in their careers.
Create Things That Matter
A quick buck or a viral video is empty. There’s no fulfillment in that. What will you be remembered for?
Right now it’s normal for people to be focused on money, or on getting a lambo—a reference to the exotic Italian car manufacturer, Lamborghini—having a big house or becoming insta-famous. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. “But is that the end you’re seeking?,” poses Fajardo.
Lead with Love
It’s normal for a leader to be powerful. Use authority to influence. It makes sense, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But as Fajardo will tell you, the new currency is love. Love is what powers this reality we experience. When you can lose the ego and truly focus on giving rather than taking, you fundamentally upgrade the reality you experience.
Fajardo shares his memories of his past self, before he left normal behind. He used to look at influencers on social media. Admitting that he had jealously, how they had the good life, he found himself asking: “How can I make a million.” Stuck in that paradigm, it was a vortex, keeping him trapped in ego. One day the question came to him. “How can I help a million people? How can I give at least $1 of value to 1 million people.” And that was when everything flipped.
In December, LNB hosted a party in Miami’s artsy Wynwood District during Art Basel in Miami. “At the end of December, LNB will be hosting a 9,000 person party at the UCCU center in Orem Utah. The events hosted by LNB are emmersive experiences that marry modern art to new tech, including augmented or virtual reality experiences. “They are catalysts for attendees to become the best version of themselves, and to create things that matter,” says Fajardo. He added: “It all starts with you making the choice. You either stay normal or you leave normal behind.”