How Chachi got his groove back (and what it means for you and your dreams)

Meet my buddy, Charlie Clausing.

I’m apparently the only person to call him “Charlie.” To just about everyone else, he’s “Chachi,” as in “Joanie Loves.” That means his relatives call him that, his old friends call him that… and all the people who know him as an artist call him that. But we’ll come back to the artist thing in a minute.

Back in 2000, when I was 24, when I was fresh out of a gig working in a lab that I hated and that was giving me panic attacks, I got an hourly job as a barista in a Borders bookstore cafe, and Charlie was one of my co-workers. He knew me when I was a mess, when I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do with my life, when I was broke. He knew me before I was Johnny B. Truant, after I’d written a novel and consigned it to my closet, having given up on it.

So when I ran into Charlie a while ago in a Toys R Us with one of his kids and he told me how he was still working that job he didn’t really like (but that paid the bills) and was killing time after work in the garage drinking beer and thinking about all of the projects — art, writing, music, you name it — that he wished he was pursuing with his time, I realized that shit had just gotten real.

See, I just released a manifesto called How To Be Legendary that’s all about becoming your maximally fulfilled self.

I just launched a community called Everyday Legendary, in which I teach lessons and guide discussions about becoming “Legendary” in various ways… and in which the amazing, motivated members hold each other accountable to the high standards they all hold for themselves and for each other.

It’s fair to say I’ve devoted this phase of my life — and this phase of my business — to nudging as many people to GET OFF THEIR ASSES, STOP BEING COMPLACENT, STOP SETTLING, AND LIVE as possible.

And that may be fine for Johnny B. online. But what about the less loud, less forceful person I am every day with my wife, my kids, my mother, and the people who have known me forever?

Well, there was a bit of a disconnect there. Let me explain.

Put up or shut up

I wrote How To Be Legendary for Charlie.

Not just Charlie, of course, but he was one of the main people I was thinking of when I was writing it. Dude is talented. Talented. He makes amazing art. He can do things with a computer in an hour, for the hell of it, that few people can do with hours and hours and hours. He can sculpt and paint and shape custom figures for games or from pop culture that people clamor for, that people would die for the opportunity to pay him for.

And yet he’s done nothing with all of this talent. NOTHING. (I’m not calling him out, by the way. We’ve discussed this.)

His brother is in a successful Irish punk band. Charlie has similar aspirations, yet sits down after work and watches TV. He’s got a children’s book that he’s been told to submit by legit decision-making folks in the publishing industry. People beg him for prints of his art. They beg him to sell the figures he makes, because they’re collector junkies and he does amazing work. Charlie sits at work and dreams, then does nothing at all with them.

Now here’s something to consider: Charlie might be you.

When I wrote How To Be Legendary, my ideal reader was Charlie… but also, it really wasn’t. Really it was written for people like Charlie because I made the horrible and unfair mistake of believing that I couldn’t affect positive change in the real Charlie — or in any of the people right around me “in my real life.”

I’d hoped I could motivate a few people out there who I didn’t yet have a personal relationship with — people who hadn’t known me when I was on the wrong path, when I’d just quit the only job I’d ever thought I might do for a living, when I was dirt broke and an inch away from panic at all times. But the people who knew me “for real”? Who was I, to them, to write a manifesto? Who did I think I was, if I expected them to take my advice?

I was a hypocrite, I guess.

Maybe you can relate. I’m not calling you a hypocrite, but I will say that I’ve known a lot of people who have great advice for others… but who can’t take their own advice. It’s as if we think we know what’s best for the people around us, but that advice somehow isn’t good enough for ourselves. Which is why we stay stuck.

When I say that Charlie might be you, I mean that you might have talents or aspirations that you know you could do something with… but you just don’t. And maybe that bugs you, like it bugged Charlie when he recognized himself in someone else I wrote about.

When I published a post a few weeks ago about another friend of mine (“Bill”) who’s a lot like Charlie, I got a message on my Facebook wall from Charlie that said, “Awesome. Now I want to eat a bullet.” He saw Bill’s conundrum and saw that it was a lot like his. And because I hadn’t revealed the punchline — the manifesto — yet, it kind of stopped there. The realization left him bummed out: conscious of what was going on, but powerless to do anything to change it.

Not that he meant that he literally wanted to eat a bullet (I did hop on that right away; give me that much credit), but I’d still moved someone close to me in the opposite direction than I’d wanted to move him.

And that meant that it was game on.

Chachi gets Legendary

I collected my balls and, with less actual confidence than I was trying to convey, told Charlie to read How To Be Legendary when it was released. I then closed the metaphorical door on that problem as best I could, feeling sure that someone who’d known me forever would of course not take my BIG BRAZEN MANIFESTO seriously and would keep on being depressed and desperate. But hey, I’d tried, and you can’t make a horse drink after you’d led it to water.

But the day after I released How To Be Legendary, I got another Facebook wall message saying that Charlie figured what the hell and had downloaded it. Then he asked a question, but before I could answer it, he was writing that he was halfway through the thing, reading it instead of working. Then, while I’m watching my son’s soccer practice that evening, my phone rings and it’s Charlie, and he’s… positive. Inspired.

Inspiration can be like a hot bath — pleasant, but then it dissipates and you’re cold again. But it was a start, so I did my best to keep it going. I set up a time to hang out.

We had coffee yesterday at the local Panera, and I made him an offer: Put up or shut up. He was already doing all this art, taking pictures of it with his phone, and posting it to Facebook. So I told him that if he bought a domain name, I’d have my assistant set up a blog for him and that I’d commit him publicly to using that blog by writing the post you’re currently reading.

Now, let’s ask some questions. Let’s get real.

Does my offer of a blog and a public commitment to use it get Chachi, the artist, out of the job that I know my buddy Charlie, the 3-D designer, would really rather not be working? No. Does it get him a nice side income? No, not yet, and maybe not ever. Does it get him fame and fortune? Nope.

But does it get him taking JUST ONE STEP in the right direction? Absolutely.

It’s just a beginning, and the game is still very much his to win or lose. I’m not so naive as to believe that this is now SOLVED and Charlie is inevitably on the way toward something great. He might fall off the wagon. His various ventures might hit serious setbacks. He might work that job for years while trying to extricate himself.

But it’s a step, and you can’t get anywhere until you take those first (or those “next”) steps. You have to keep taking those steps, and you have to stay inspired. You have to keep believing… or, if you’re a Journey fan, to “Don’t Stop Believing,” which is essentially the same thing.

So, to handle that last part and to try and keep him in the “Legendary” mindset, I also comped him a membership to Everyday Legendary. He’ll get in there and interact with all of the rest of us who are trying to be Legendary. He’ll stay in the possibility mindset, which will hopefully allow him to take the next step, and the next, and the next.

Associating with positive people who are on the same “awesome-making” path you are has a remarkable way of keeping you on that path. You need a reason to believe, and hopefully his involvement in the community will help with that.

So, yeah. Chachi… committed to stepping into his role as artist, here, in front of all of you.

Say hello to my little friend

(That’s a Scarface reference because Charlie is Cuban and I know he’ll appreciate it.)

If this story uplifts you a bit and if you’re feeling rah-rah for a dude who might finally be on the path toward his true talent and purpose, go over to his Facebook page and drop him an “attaboy” or something similarly positive.

AND, in the coming weeks, watch (which we know goes nowhere as of the day this post is published) and kick his ass if you continue to see nothing there, or if he slacks off. (UPDATE: is now live and he’s implementing like a motherfucker!)

We’re all in this together, people.

Let’s keep nudging each other away from complacency, and toward our intended awesomeness.

(By the way, if you’d like to be “all in this together” with what’s become an amazing group of forward-and-upward-focused people, join us in the Everyday Legendary community. It’s stupidly cheap as far as “things that make you actually do the shit you should be doing” are concerned.)


  1. the muskrat says:

    way to go, charlie!

  2. Carol Zombo says:

    Well, I said before that the How to Be Legendary book is like a free kick in the pants from everyone’s most honest friend. Congrats to Charlie on his new path to being legendary!

  3. Angela says:

    You have lit the fire, JBT! You are the mentor Charlie and many of us need to get shit done. Keep it coming!

  4. Charon says:

    Being a full time artist is one of the scariest things most of us have eer done. It’s also one of the most challenging, awesome and rewarding. You’re already legendary Charlie! Can’t wait to see that legend reaching to the far corners of the earth! Looking forward to checking out your work. 🙂

  5. Great story, and nice to see direct action like this! It hits home your point all the more. Go Chachi! 🙂

  6. Karen Putz says:

    Way to go, Chachi– the first step is easy, the 1,000 steps after that are what make you legendary. Keep it going!

  7. Rita says:

    I’m thinkin’ Joani’s gonna wanna love Chachi again real soon.

  8. Way to go chachi, keep pushing!

  9. Marie Rotter says:

    There is no reason for you to be insecure, Johnny. Any e book that blatantly rips off “Army of Darkness” is obviously going to kick ass. If your friends can’t appreciate that, then maybe they aren’t that great of friends to begin with.

    I can relate to Chachi so I really hope he gets that blog going and I can’t wait to see what he does. Fear can be paralyzing and we’re all told that you can’t make a living being a artist so I get why it’s taken so long.

    Fire off your boom stick, Chachi. I’m excited for you!

  10. Carmelo says:

    Hahahaha … wowzers. Talk about being put on the spot! Chachi … where is your comment here? Com’on man, we’re waiting for you.

    Hey, it’s got to be a bit intimidating to be called out like this. And like Johnny says, it’s just the first baby steps and you have to keep the ball rolling. Great start though. Let your talent shine! There’s an audience for you. You don’t have to be the best, the first, the only. You just have to be you. And those that like it and want it will think you’re a genius!

    We’re all geniuses in our own way and to our own communities. Good for you!

  11. Lisa says:

    What an inspiration! Way to go Charlie and thanks so much for letting JBT share it with us. Can’t wait to see all of the legendary-ness that you are about to unleash upon the world!

  12. Stacy says:

    Way to Chachi! I started pursuing my dream to write novels and it has been very exciting and has helped me to find a deeper joy in all of the other areas of my life too.

    One thing that I’ve learned is that it does take some sacrifice to bring our dreams to life. We can’t live life the way that we always have and expect our dreams to happen. I never thought I would get up earlier than I already do but now I enjoy getting up before five to start writing. Not to say that it started out easy but it’s so worth it!

  13. joanna says:

    Taking that step is always the first of many because very soon you get addicted! Awesome – ‘Together’ is always how we best get things done!
    keep up the good work JT ! 🙂

  14. Chachi says:

    Intimidated? For sure! At first. But now? Not so much…..

    As we talked over terrible coffee (it’s awful, you have no idea), I realized that the intimidation and fear were nothing I couldn’t get over, I just needed to hear the right thing from the right person.
    Being “put on the spot”? THAT isn’t intimidating (well, maybe a little), that is exactly what I needed! Almost like being pushed out of my cozy little nest and being forced to open the wings. I have sat behind my desk at work for over 6 years having clipped my own wings. It’s comfortable and predictable here……but also bores me to tears.

    After hearing a “no b.s.”” assessment of the situation, I KNEW that not only could I do better, I kind of already was, but I didn’t do a thing with it!
    And yes, as soon as the blog is up, I’ll be on top of it as much as I possibly can!
    Thanks for the positive comments! This whole experience, as new as it is, I think is exactly what I needed……..

  15. David says:

    Now that is what we ALL need, someone to kick us in the ass and say, Do something with what you have already. Charlie is ahead of the game just by having at least set up a website. That alone can nag at you to put something, anything on it just to see who takes a peek. Go Charlie, GO. I will be looking back to see what happens next. Finally, we all need someone like Johnny B. to tell us, stop BSing and try something, what do you have to lose, a few hours in front of the TV? Not such a big loss in my thinking.

  16. Johnny says:

    You are all awesome.

    That is all.

  17. What a great story! Go Charlie and never look back!

    Looking forward to seeing your site and joining you in legendariness!

  18. Chachi says:

    Huh, I guess honesty is the best policy….
    I was looking for some “witty” comment to post down but instead…

    Thanks! I feel incredibly encouraged by all of this! I won’t let it go to my head of course, but MAN! This now finally seems like it’s DOABLE. JBT was right when he said that “I don’t have time” is not an excuse. I have TONS of time.
    Planning my next step…. not to get ahead of myself. I need to focus on a few projects instead of 41,527 projects and learn to manage time.

    Oh…..and clean my workshop….it’s kind of a nightmare

    • Chachi says:

      That might have been poorly worded…

      My next step is to not get ahead of myself. Period. 😉
      THEN manage time. I tend to get a little overzealous with things and I need to steady myself a bit better and not run around wildly which is all too easy for me to do (think of it this way, I have panic/anxiety and ADD..such a wonderful combination. So I get worried about a ton of different things all at once)

      In other words, regroup, organize and schedule a bit. THEN go forth and conquer.

      • Stacy says:

        That realization (about time) was the game changer for me once I got going. We have time, we just need to figure out how to use it to our advantage – and stop wasting so much of it!

        • Chachi says:

          I wasted COUNTLESS hours daydreaming in my little workshop. I’d sip a beer, light a smoke and look at “all the cool stuff and supplies I have that I can use to do anything!”
          Yeah, real The only good that came from nights like that were the ideas I wrote down. But with me brainstorming 99% of the time and doing actual work 1%… can imagine how much got done.
          But like you said, Stacy, I REALIZE it now…… 😀

    • Johnny says:

      What y’all don’t know is that Charlie HAS found the time. Already. He’s flat-out MAKING THE ART, which puts him way ahead of people who don’t feel they even have time for that. All he needs to do is embrace it.

      Will this result in instant riches, or even an instant income? Of course not. But will it move in the right direction with not much effort? Oh, for sure.

  19. Under the chaos and excuses of the mind is a wise source of understanding and focus. The voice of that source is our intuition. We can slow down enough to listen to the knowing guidance or we can continue to cause ourselves suffering. Both OK choices. One however is frankly a hell of a lot more fun.

    Thanks Johnny for you fine words and Go Chachi because what you do with your life matters to all of us.

  20. Chachi says:

    Up and running!! I’m trying not to post a trillion things on there at once (pics, videos, ramblings…)…lol. Got excited and had to hit the brakes a bit. That’s me getting ahead of myself!

  21. Adam Johnson says:

    Great story about Chachi, and glad to hear it is coming together.

    I must confess, what I liked most was the honesty in acknowledging that it’s a whole lot easier to coach from the sidelines, from behind a persona, than it is to get in and put yourself behind it. Easy to help those who only know the new you, much harder when they know the real you.

    Thanks for the reminder. You’re no hypocrite, just a lot more real for sharing it. Or perhaps I could flip that – we’re all hypocrites but few will admit it.

  22. Stacie says:

    “I’ve known a lot of people who have great advice for others… but who can’t take their own advice.”

    haha – yeah, I’m actively trying not to be that person 🙂

  23. Mark says:

    Good stuff, fellas. Johnny: I appreciate the disclosure about doubting your power for positive influence with an old friend who might have an image of you that’s rooted in the past. I don’t know any teacher, coach, or personal trainer who was born superhuman and has never made a bad choice or experienced a moment of self-doubt. It’s important to keep the friends who respect the man you’re becoming as much as loving the man you’ve been.

  24. Josh Rowland says:

    Very similar circumstance here, taking the first steps are always the most difficult. Once you get on the path that you are truly meant to be on everything seems to fall in place. True, it does take time and you have to constantly re-motivate yourself. But as long as you are pursuing your passion then the time you spend on your journey will produce rewards that will fuel your motivation.

  25. Marcus says:


  26. Alex Kay says:

    Amazing story Johnny, thanks for sharing. We all have a “Charlie” in our lives – whether it’s ourselves or someone close. Interesting read, I’ll definitely follow his work. The 3D stuff he produces is nothing short of amazing.

  27. Aaron Posehn says:

    I’ve just been getting into this website over the past few weeks and have to say that it’s amazing! The amount of inspiration that it seems to be bringing is tremendous. “How to be Legendary” was a very good read and I passed it along to several friends whom I knew would benefit from it.

  28. Jim Self says:

    OH GREAT MOTHER GAIA!!! I just went over to Chachi’s page, and that art is just unbelievable. If anything, Johnny, you were understating his talent. Amazing.

    It’s always harder to talk to people who know you. They know you aren’t perfect, they know that you didn’t always have a 6-pack or an inspirational website or what-have-you. On the other hand, it’s amazing what loving yet brutal honesty can do for a friend.

    For you, Johnny, let me say this: you’re being honest with us when you encourage us, and we’re being honest with you with our praise. Never let yourself explain away other peoples’ honest praise. You deserve it.

    • Johnny says:

      I’ve been on the other side of this, too… seeing someone I know write a book or do a thing, and I’ll be unable to immediately shift my perceptions. Whatever it is, I’m glad he got some good stuff out of what I wrote.

      And thank YOU for that comment. Comments like that make me feel that I must be doing the right things with my life.

  29. Brenda says:

    It takes a lot of courage to approach people who knew you when, and tell them about the great new thing you’re doing now. “Yeh, yeh,” they’ll say. “Remember that time you fell off the bleachers in high school?” It takes guts to put yourself out there and go for it. Congratulations to Chachi, and to Johnny for motivating Chachi, and to all the folks above who are being brave and taking action.

  30. debra says:

    Thanks for this post, I have just decided to do that writing course and finish that book i have started. I am broke and have no idea how im going to study and work and write a book and stay on the road to creating passive income to do this. ..but i do believe that the answer is out there and will at the right time present its self as long as i am searching and looking for it. Your articles and site give me the kick up the arse when my mind tries to convince me theres no answer.. Thanks keep it up!

  31. Andrew Grant says:

    HI Johnny, I’ve only just discovered your site, but already you’re making me uncomfortable. In a good way.
    That bit about not fronting up in the real world, but living this half life trying to influence people I don’t know, really rang true with me. I’m still doing that.
    My excuse is that I don’t want people at work to know about my blog, because it is all about trying to make a living online, so that one day I can dump that same job and say Sayonara, suckers! But that’s just an excuse. Really it’s because it’s easier to talk big online, but live like a mouse in the real world.
    Damn, what a hypocrite! You’re right.


  1. […] post on getting your groove back and being legendary in life from Johnny B Truant…. Jo […]

  2. […] then I was sitting here reading Johnny B. Truant’s manifesto, How to be Legendary, and its making me want to jump up and down yelling YES! […]

  3. […] then I was sitting here reading Johnny B. Truant’s manifesto, How to be Legendary, and its making me want to jump up and down yelling YES! […]