In early 2013, I was a little depressed with my job. I joined the US Army the day after 9/11 and after serving 7 years of active duty, I moved to the ranks of defense contracting and eventually a government civil service job. To no fault of the mission or the people, I was getting worn out from over a decade of fighting wars and being so closely involved with so many bad things going on in the world (one can only read so many stories a day about bad stuff happening before it starts to make free time less fun too).

Scott Dinsmore TEDx

Then I came across a very inspiring TEDx talk while randomly browsing the internet one day. The title really caught my attention, “How to Find and Do Work You Love.” In just fifteen short minutes, I had a renewed passion and realized I was not really doing work I loved anymore–almost a feeling my post 9/11 work was done and it was time to move on. That was the first time Scott Dinsmore changed my life.

I quickly joined his website,, and read most of his blog entries. I spent hours upon hours thinking about making a change in my life, not knowing exactly how to pull it off with three kids and financial responsibilities. Later that same year, I deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, partly in hopes of saving money and having enough in reserve to possibly pursue a new career path. While there,  Scott blogged about an online course called How to Connect With Anyone. Despite the rocky internet connection and price of the course, I enrolled immediately. For those that know me, connecting with people is definitely not my problem, but I still wanted to take every opportunity to learn and be inspired by Scott. I didn’t really have the opportunity to participate in the course due to internet connectivity issues in Afghanistan, but I did get the chance to review much of the static content in the course (which I believe I have lifetime access to and may now have to go back through the course and watch all of the videos!).

My plans to leave government service after Aghanistan were derailed a bit when my wife of 11 years asked for a separation… essentially delaying any immediately plans to pursue anything but adjusting to the single parent way of life. But I continued to plot and plan and Scott continued to remind me to pursue my passion with his frequent blog posts and well-timed emails.

It’s now 2015 and I’m pursuing an MBA largely following the inspiration I was getting from Scott. A few things really resonated for me from Scott’s messages. One was he encouraged me to surround myself with passionate people doing the things I want to do and they, in turn, would not let me fail. Going to Darden for me is as much about the Darden community and alumni network as it is about the business education. The next was to always puruse your passions, which for me is helping others and using technology to solve problems. Going to Darden was to help with the credentials and knowledge to make a living doing what I love. He also gave me the inspiration to continue my hobbies, like travel and playing music… he even inspired me to write more.

Since first watching Scott’s TEDx talk, I’ve written a book draft, picked up my guitar again after over a decade of not playing, I’ve traveled through Europe and the U.S., and I’m now pursuing the life I want to have.

On Saturday, Scott was pursuing the life he wanted and together, with his wife, was traveling the world. While in Tanzania fulfilling a life-long dream to climb Mount Kilmanjaro, Scott was killed by a falling boulder. This blog post is my tribute to Scott and my condolences to his wife Chelsea (who a large community of Live Your Legend followers got to know through Scott’s stories and Instagram posts) and the Dinsmore family. Scott made my life better and I’ll forever remember him.

For more on how Scott changed lives: