Surprised in China: Special Guest Ryan Eller from the Live Your List Podcast on Living Intentionally

Great Wall Ryan Eller LYL

This week I have a very special guest for you. Ryan Eller, founder of Paradigm Shift,  is making a huge impact on the world by living his (bucket) list and helping others do the same. Ryan along with his co-creator Jerrod Murr work hard to produce an amazing weekly podcast where they speak to others along their journey and talk about living intentionally. Ryan has traveled the globe speaking on leadership and most recently gave a TED talk at TEDx Tulsa. Thanks for being here this week,  enjoy the read and show some love in the comments for Ryan and what he’s doing! H2W, -Brad


The Great Wall of China

by Ryan Eller


Did you know the Great Wall was steep? Not kind of steep, but really steep. As in, you have to walk sideways or backwards down many parts of the Great Wall so you don’t fall over. These were things I didn’t know before I spent an afternoon at one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

My journey to China starts back in 2008, when my wife’s brother, KC, decided he needed to move to India. I know what you are thinking, the Great Wall is in China, right? It still is, but KC graduated from college and wanted to teach English as a second language to children in the Himalayas.

In all reality I think he was in search of a spiritual guru, and as it often happens in life, instead of finding a spiritual guru, KC found a woman. This particular woman, Lulu, was also in India learning to teach English as a second language, and KC was immediately smitten.

Lulu was from China and to make a long story short: KC fell in love with Lulu, KC moved to the Himalayas. Lulu moved back to China. KC couldn’t live without Lulu. KC moved to China. KC married Lulu. They had a child, Caden. Ryan and Kristin go and visit KC, Lulu, and Caden in China. All of them go to the Great Wall of China (I think some of you wish all of my stories were short like this).

So there I stood, at the bottom of the Badaling mountain pass in the wooded Jundu Mountains, awestruck by the amazing beauty in this foreign land. My wife Kristin, her brother KC, and I were pretty much the only non-Chinese people at the Great Wall.

The Chinese people immediately started asking to take pictures with us, and I felt like a celebrity (I actually felt like I was married to a celebrity, they only wanted pics with Kristin). After many awkward photos, we finally rode the cable car to the top of the mountain range, and this is when I found out the Great Wall was steep.

The fact that the Great Wall of China is steep is exactly why I need my Bucket List. There are so many things in this world that I don’t know. The more I travel, the more I recognize that fact. This is why I have been intentional to Live My List.

Living My List is not about travel just for the sake of travel, or adventure for adventure’s sake. It is about knowing my life’s goals and dreams and intentionally trying to pursue them. It is about understanding that the world is much bigger than me and my perceptions. I try and challenge myself everyday to learn something new, or try something different, or empower someone…all in the hopes that I continue living my list.

Ryan Eller Paradigm Shift

Ryan Eller is the founder and lead consultant of Paradigm Shift, which provides custom-built team-building and leadership training. He has facilitated in over 20 US states and hosted leadership conferences in Cuba and Brazil. Ryan has the goal of hosting a leadership training in all 50 states and all 7 continents.
Ryan serves as the Program Director for The 20 Leadership Camp, a camp designed to develop and enhance the leadership skills of America’s youth. He spent seven years as Grant Coordinator for Educational Talent Search at Northeastern State University, the college where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and master’s in Higher Education Administration.
You can check out the Paradigm Shift blog here and Ryan’s blog here. You can also follow him on Twitter @ryan_eller or listen to his weekly podcast by clicking the picture below.

Live Your List Podcast

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4 thoughts on “Surprised in China: Special Guest Ryan Eller from the Live Your List Podcast on Living Intentionally

  1. I was en route to China in 2006 when I got a call that my dog was in the emergency room dying from acute renal failure. I immediately turned around. Delta was amazing, got me a return seat in 24 hours, I had a 36 hour door-to-door trip and got 3 hours with my dog before he passed. I have never regretted coming back and so blessed I got there in time to say good-bye…but I haven’t made it to China yet. Still on my list! I can’t wait to stand on the Great Wall of China and make a cool video. Great post Ryan!

    • Wow Camilla, that’s crazy. Sorry about your dog. I’m glad you made it back in time to spend a little time together. That’s a lot of flying in just a couple days. I haven’t made it to China either but since I saw Ryan’s video, I want to take something to slide back to the bottom on when I visit the wall. Maybe a little red wagon would do the trick.

    • I didn’t know either. Looks like jogging the wall would build up some serious hill climbing muscles! I just read that it took 2000-3000 years to build. That’s job security.