While living in Chiang Mai, Thailand I went to the Nomad Summit where 200 + people piled into a room to hear entrepreneurs talk about their experiences. Most of the presenters mentioned Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-hour Work Week, asking for a show-of-hands to see who had read it. Each time I felt like an outcast for not raising my hand, so I quickly had to see what it was all about. The general synopsis of the book is how to beat the 9-5 to live anywhere. In Step One, “D” is for Definition, Ferriss writes:
‘Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1-10? Are these things really permanent?
What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing?’
I thought about this passage often. What would happen if we all stopped living in fear of change and started doing the things we want to do?
Then, while chatting with a friend from New York, I asked her how things are going. She replied with the most soul-sucking response,“I’m living vicariously through you, naturally. New York is fine. Sticking to my typical grind.” I couldn’t help but think that her life doesn’t have to be lived vicariously through me and the word ‘fine’ is an unacceptable way to live life. She could certainly do what I was doing, maybe she doesn’t know how.
Often times people struggle between finding a balance of living life how it’s perceived through the media and doing what they actually want to do. They think they need a desk job with benefits and a 401k plan to feel secure. Maybe they would feel more secure if they were doing what they actually want to do vs. what society tells them they should do. If you truly want to travel or go on a hike that will take three months of your time or live in another country to learn a new language, stop pushing the urge aside and start taking steps towards that goal.
Each step you make to achieve your goal will feel liberating even if it’s as small as selling your couch. I promise. Once you tell your boss that you want to quit to explore a life through travel (or what have you) you are going to feel stronger, bolder and powerful. It’s the initial step of spilling out the words that is the challenge.
If you’re striving for a new life, but can’t figure out how to get there, begin by asking yourself: If I leave the life I am currently living to pursue travel or a different path, how long would it take me to get back to where I’m leaving off? Then, start activating your plan through these steps:
- Write down the goal. Do you want to travel for one month? Three months? More? Do you want to be a Muay Thai fighter in Thailand? Do you want to go on a three month hike? Do you want to backpack all of South America meeting local artisans?
- What are the steps to achieve this goal? Do you need/want to quit your job? Do you need to sublet your apartment for money or to pay the rent while you’re gone? Do you need to sell your car? Do you need to find someone to take care of your dog/cat for a month?
- Think about timing. Don’t start running around selling your belongings if you still need a couch to sit on for two months. Don’t tell too many people in your office you’re quitting your job or else it could get back to the wrong person i.e, your boss. If you want to keep your job, but want more than two weeks off, consider the timing. Is it the high season in your office? Perhaps you should ask your boss for extended time off during the down season when it’s not so busy.
- Think of the worst possible outcomes. What would happen if your plan went south? What if your initial goal was to quit your job and never return to that company – would they allow you to come back and would you be willing to go back if you needed to? What if you’re in a quick bind and had to stay at your parents for a certain amount of time? Would it be that terrible to do all of these things in order to achieve your goal?
- Activate the plan.
Funny enough when I landed back in New York I got a call from a friend considering quitting her job to visit her brother in Panama and then commit to a season of snowboarding for the winter in Telluride, Colorado. I had only been on American soil for thirty minutes and my friend was already putting plans together. In order for her to do this she has to quit her job. A major step! She also is receiving negative input from her parents who are questioning her decisions. But, it’s her life. If she doesn’t bite the bullet and take the steps to live out this goal, come December when she isn’t snowboarding she’ll be at her desk job annoyed with herself that she isn’t where she wants to be.
Stop living vicariously through other people. Especially now, for millennials you have SO MUCH time to work at a desk later in life. Turn your travel fantasies into goals and get out there. Start doing the things YOU WANT to do. Whatever you decide, you will always be happy with your decision, because you made it happen. If you’d like to read more of the 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss click here and I’d love for you to share your goals below.
The time is now y’all!