How to Burst Out of Your Bubble with Travis Chappell
Some people thought he was crazy. Others thought he was wrong for walking away from the community he was born into. But Travis Chappell knew there was a great big world beyond the campus he’d been born and raised on, and the calling he felt to explore it was stronger than the calling he felt to walk the line others had drawn for him.
“I don’t use the word ‘cult,’ because it’s not a cult,” he says. But the 6,000 member Fundamentalist Baptist community his family was a part of came pretty close to cult status.
Travis lived within walking distance of the same campus he attended class on from Kindergarten straight through college. Every Sunday he attended church on that campus. Wednesdays were another church day.
Kids who lived a bit further from the church were picked up by the bus. Travis became part of that “bus ministry,” showing up at 6 am every Sunday to make sure no one was forgotten. After morning service, he got some exercise doing yard work before returning for evening services.
Chapel services were held periodically throughout school days.
Travis Chappell’s entire youth played out on that campus of approximately 30 acres.
That is, except for “Soul-Winning” on Saturdays.
Every Saturday, Travis joined other young teenagers who were driven into other communities to knock on doors and win the soul of whomever answered that knock. “Imagine a 13 year old knocking on your door and asking, if you died today, would you go to heaven or hell?”
Travis laughs now at the memory but it is largely a humorless laugh. It is incredible to him now, as he reflects back to realize the way they were all taught to hold one-sided conversations disguised as open dialogue. The thought process, he says, was not to learn anything from the people he approached. Rather, it was to convince that person to believe what he believed, and what his community believed.
Expectations were that he would follow that path into a secular degree in ministry, right there on that same campus.
For a while that’s what Travis expected as well. At some point, though, doubt snuck in. At first it was a feeling of hypocrisy. It began to bother him that he was expecting the people he approached to be open to accepting his beliefs when he was not open to accepting theirs. When he decided to change his own belief system to be open to learning from others, says Travis, is when his entire life was uprooted.
Travis began wondering about life outside of his own regimented community. What would it be like to live out there, beyond the reach and rules and boundaries of the world he knew?
A trip to Fresno after graduation gave him his first opportunity to taste what that would be like.
He was a young husband by then. He’d married his high school sweetheart and together, they moved just far enough away from the community both felt bound to, to sample a new kind of life.
It was a life packed with exciting new experiences as well as stressful changes. Things most people take for granted – watching a football game with friends, cracking some beers, or hanging out at a bar – were not acceptable to the community they’d been molded by. Travis was more eager to step out into those experiences than his wife, and the differences caused friction between them. This stress was compounded by the fact that Travis had lost most of the relationships he’d had his entire life.
The decision to step outside of the box they’d been expected to live within had not come without a cost. At first it felt like a steep price to pay. Eventually, it became a blessing in the form of lessons learned and new relationships established.
The relationships Travis had built over his lifetime quickly arranged themselves into three categories:
One set of friends remained steady and true. This group, says Travis, was very small. Most of the people he knew fell into one of the other two categories – those who were indifferent to his decision and neither supported nor opposed it, and the other that actively opposed it.
The sense of isolation was overwhelming. His world had been small to begin with, and now it had shrunk to just himself and his wife. It’s hard to reconcile that picture of Travis with the picture of him today.
Travis Chappell has worked himself into joining another elite community.
This one, though, is a community of people who have no boundaries on where potential lies. This community is one that thrives on meeting new people from all different backgrounds and beliefs and abilities, and learning from one another while teaching others to do the same.
The man who once knew almost nobody now has a massive network of personal and professional relationships that are the core of all he does. He even built a podcast called Build Your Network, where he interviews people at the top of their industries. He offers masterminds and coaching to teach people how to create, build, and leverage relationships to achieve any level of personal and professional success.
At the root of it all is the servant’s heart he was raised with. Adding value, says Travis, is the secret to meaningful relationships.
Travis understood right from the start that he would have to earn his spot at the table. He knew he wanted to be among the best at what he does and that meant learning from the best – which would not be free.
No money? No problem! Travis got himself a business card with tens of thousands of dollars in credit. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have an official business – or any business – at that time.
What mattered was that he was committed to building one, and he knew the most effective way to do so would be to connect with those who’d already climbed the mountain he was setting out to climb himself.
Podcasting captured Travis Chappell’s attention.
Months of focusing on personal development while he worked in door to door sales had revealed his own entrepreneurial spirit to him and convinced him that podcasting was the mountain he wanted to climb. So he invested a chunk of that credit into attending a mastermind with some of the top in that field.
John Lee Dumas’s mastermind was held in Puerto Rico. The expense and effort alone, figured Travis, was enough to separate the wannabes from the true achievers. So he set his insecurity aside, packed a fine-tuned blend of humble confidence in his bags, and walked in that arena with the confidence of someone who knew he deserved to be there but the humility of a guest who appreciated the hospitality of his host.
“I was never a fake-it-til-you-make-it guy,” he says.
His approach resonated with the group. The people at that mastermind accepted the new kid with their own blends of confidence and graciousness, and doors were cracked open for him. It would be up to Travis to walk through those doors.
Most people, says Travis, expect that spending money is enough to ensure success. They think that’s the action. In reality, that’s just the first step. “You’ve got to follow up with immense amounts of action and trial and error,” he says.
He’s seen plenty of people pay money for coaching and then complain about a lack of results while he takes that same coaching and turns it into success. The difference is always the follow-up. He didn’t spend money that wasn’t his for the sake of spending money. Every swipe of that credit card was a bet on himself to win, and he wasn’t about to lose that bet. By the time the first payment was due, he’d made enough to pay off the entire card.
His podcast was his primary vehicle to build relationships and gain the knowledge he needed to establish himself as an expert. Today, he is coaching others on how to start from nothing and build a network. He offers podcast production services to help other podcast hosts soar to success and his company is poised to launch software to match up potential guests with podcasts that are relevant to one another’s platform.
Travis Chappell is an excellent example of the potential lying within anyone willing to make difficult decisions and push through challenging times. The ability to make and choose those decisions, says Travis, is what the American Dream is all about.