Life is calling.
For the first eight years of my life I lived off the grid with my parents in remote Northern Canada. And I mean off the grid—no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no stores. The nearest town was a four-hour drive away on a dirt road. Our home was a log cabin we built on top of a five-acre patch of land beneath a dome of stars like you’ve never seen.
My parents were brave folk, not afraid of doing things differently. They taught me about veganism, meditation, cleanses, astrology, holistic health, quantum physics, spirituality, psychology and even a bit of farming—we grew a lot of our own food. After eight years in the bush, we packed up, said good-bye to our little frozen patch of paradise, and moved to the nearest small town.
Not long after, I got the entrepreneurial itch. When I was about fifteen I started to learn basic coding and design and built pay-per-click websites. And I sold bootlegged CDs and developed a snack vending-machine business. I went to college for marketing and after graduation earned my business and consulting chops working with advertising agencies like BBDO and Publicis Groupe, with brands such as Chrysler and Honda.
Then things started to suck.
Once I reached my midtwenties I realized I’d forgotten almost all the core values my parents had taught me. Instead I’d spent the previous ten years living someone else’s life. I don’t know whose exactly, but I know it was made from some weird blend of ideas and expectations I’d developed from pop culture, friends and school. I was in a new kind of wilderness—disoriented and lost.
That’s when I devote myself to figuring out how to find my way out of it. Fascinated by people and their patterns, I focused on the challenges, opportunities, and landscape of the Millennial Generation and uncovered some remarkable truths about how we think, feel, act, and communicate.
I discovered many things along the way, including how each of us have something we are best at; for me it’s the social psychology of business. I enjoy taking complex ideas and feelings and putting them into simple terms that are easy to understand and act upon. The intersection of business and personal is where I do my best in helping people and organizations navigate its tangled web. I have devoted myself to sharing my experiences and ideas in order to help others.
My biggest accomplishment has been writing a book called Own Your Sh*t. It is about restoring human responsibility. It is a rally point for a new generation settling into themselves. I created Own Your Sh*t because like every one else I constantly asked, “how do you make a difference in the world?” Own Your Sh*t is my answer, and a way to help others create theirs.
Only when you own your shit can you truly give a shit.
When I’m not doing that, I love making things—from typography to chalk art, building decor, designing events or cooking and mixing drinks. Spending time with my wife and our chocolate lab, Carter, is often the highlight of my day.
– James Boileau