It’s That Time of Year

Time for breaking out my Spotify playlist! Enjoy with your coffee.

 

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The Incredible Power of Doing Nothing

The articles are legion, with titles like “The Incredible Power of Sleeping”, “The Amazing Power of Jogging”, and “The Incredible Power of Just Doing Something”. Everybody, it seems, wants to know the secret power behind simple actions. But it got me thinking: what about the power of doing… nothing?

Just plain nothing. Nadda. Zilch. El couch potato grande. What kind of power does this action (or, rather, inaction) hold?

Actually, it holds life-changing power.

Inaction, quite simply, makes us comfortable. The action of making no action leaves us in one spot, and we feel comfortable. Challenging the status quo is, even in its most basic form, uncomfortable to experience. Our minds are pre-wired to simply go with the flow, and any challenge to that makes us question our motivation and potentially doubt a positive outcome. And our minds have the best excuses. It can bring up memories of being comfortable and cozy, thoughts of failure, and ideas that what you want to do is unattainable.

I’ve seen the fruits of this “do nothing” power: accepting comfort over anything, we lull ourselves into a never-ending cycle of stagnation. Time is a force that can create irreversible damage in many things, and our path in life is one of them. It’s a simple equation: inaction plus time. Add it up in your life, and what do you see? The answer should get you scared enough to jump off the couch and out into your life.

Inaction and laziness are more addicting than drugs, and can be almost as hard to get over. Yet, for any dream you may have, or any plan you may want to undertake, you must start by overcoming the power of doing nothing.

Success is a Glass Half Full

I did it! I grabbed the bull by the horns, ran the train on the track, let no water run under the bridge, and whatever else you want to label as an initiative-taking statement: I had consistently blogged for 10 days!

 

This is a personal best for me, and comes with some introspection and reflection. The benefits were immense: making me stick to a schedule was one (hard) thing, providing me with not only writing prompts, but serious questions and opportunities for soul-searching was entirely another. The challenge gave me the chance to question myself, my motivations, and my desired results; only to pair them with a tested plan and result to see how much work I need to do going forward.

 

Introspection isn’t a strong suit. Which is why Challenge Day One (Freedom In the Time of Retail) was my hardest, yet most rewarding assignment. Taking a cold hard look at struggles and challenges to obtaining the life we want sounds like a rosy concept, but the current reflection of ourselves often turns us off. Having to broach those feelings, externalize them and (eventually) solve them is hard work, but oh so rewarding.

 

The biggest “takeaway” from the challenge is a recommitment to the work at hand, and a rekindling of that desire to make my business my life, and my life my own. Going forward, I hope to stick to a regular blog posting schedule, and will start to tie it in to my upcoming podcast series Diaspora (anybody interested? Click here!). After all, success is a glass half-full; once you take a sip, you can never go back.

 

Thank you to Natalie Sisson and all the wonderful people who read these insane musings and gave me some great feedback!

 

Here’s to freedom.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

With a Drink In My Hand

(The following is a vision of what “location independence” looks like to me. Feel free to dream along with me, or comment below on what being location independent looks like to you!)

Working while drinking beer.

 

How many times had I wished that would be my situation while working retail, but now its a reality. I was writing a blog post on great rooftop evening spots in Hawaii, and I had to write some notes. So there I was, a steno pad on my table and a Heineken getting warmer by the minute (it’s not going to drink itself!), with the final rays of the sun dipping into the western Honolulu skyline. Combining work and pleasure has never been more satisfying!

 

I am insistent that doing the work you love to do isn’t work at all, but rather a pleasure. Being hired by PR agencies to write about restaurants and nightspots, responding to clients about perfecting their social media strategies and writing talents, and talking to people from all walks of life for a podcast makes any kind of work/life level perfectly balance.

 

Finding that balance would be hard if you weren’t doing work you love, but being excited about both your new life and new work makes things easier and more fulfilling.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9

Arrival.

(NOTE: Since this blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8, and I wasn’t able to follow the post’s instructions to the letter, I wanted to recount a recent experience that would fill the bill.)

 

It was a lovely Wednesday afternoon. Me and my roommate had the day off and, since he’s the one with the car, we decided to do some exploring on our new home island. After a quick lunch at Zippys (if you make it to Hawaii, try the Korean Chicken lunch plate!), we decided to make the trek out to the western tip of Oahu for some trail hiking. Finding a small gravel parking lot, we got out of the car and started making the trail from where we were to Ka’ena Point, a 5.2 mile hike roundtrip. It was the first time I had ever touched the ocean; letting the waves brush against my legs and hearing the roar of the ocean, I had an incredible moment. I looked at my mate and said “We did it. We’re actually here.” We both took a risk and moved out of the mainland US to an island state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it finally hit me. We had done it.

 

The next few hours were spent getting out to the point, and when we got there, we rounded the bend and took a few steps south. The view you see in the featured image above is the beautiful sight that greeted us! Being a photographer, I had to take a shot. Okay, a lot…

 

Creating your own “freedom business” gives you (and me) the opportunities to take time and create experiences like this; experiences that would be harder to come by at any other time. I constantly look at the pictures I take here in Hawaii and continually fight to create the life and business I want.

I Am A Failure. So What.

Fear is a powerful drug.

 

Not only is it an effective marketing tool for a haunted house, it also keeps people from losing weight, writing the next great novel, and achieving their dreams. Anyone who tells people to utilize fear in order to gain success should receive a sound kick in the posterior. The fear is not of success, but in many cases, of failure; constantly applying a “worst-case scenario” to our visions of the future until any outcome visualized is a negative one. And fear and failure are effective drugs; prohibiting people from walking on the path of success, and dooming them to a roundabout trail of sameness. It completely overwhelms people.

 

 

And I’ve been fearing overcoming fear for over a year now. Quite the tongue-twister, but true. I’ve been fearing making a full commitment to my business because I fear failure. I’ve heard great pep talks, read inspiring articles; heck, I’ve watched inspiring stories on Oprah’s YouTube channel to get myself psyched for success! But fear and failure keep knocking on my door, overwhelming me with negativity: “you’ll never make it. You will fail, won’t be able to pay your bills, and will have to admit defeat and go back to your 9-5 job.” But as trash-talking as they are, I recently came across a revelatory remark; one that makes me more excited than ever about “starting over again” with my business. Here’s that powerful statement:

 

So what. What’s the worst that can happen.

 

Now, granted, this doesn’t work quite as well when you pour millions of dollars into a business that fails a year later, but it does work when you are afraid of taking that first step into building your own life for yourself. Taking that first step into learning something new, taking in a new experience, or setting up your own business. Every trip, every small slip up should be accompanied by an admission that it didn’t work, a shrug of the shoulders, and a “so what. I’ll move on, and learn from this.” I’ve had to learn this from three failed blogs and as many failed podcasts!

 

 

Why did they fail? Procrastination, fear, and lack of focus. Fear can be taken care of by accepting what happened not as a failure, but as a building block forward, and procrastination can be taken care of by attacking your time with a schedule (see the previous post here for more deets), but what about focus?

 

When you fear failure, you dive into sameness.

 

My lack of focus is a result of fear. When you fear failure, you dive into sameness. And when you are continually doing the same things, day in and day out, you develop habits. My “same bad habits” involve mindlessly scrolling around online; social media and random articles fuel my time-wasting “stress browsing”; and I lose focus (and time) in the process.

 

So how do I regain focus? The moments I shake off the mindless internet use, my mind begins to hum and my mental browser opens at least 10 tabs (raise your hands if this is true… I thought so.). Its funny how shaking off one lack of focus can lead to another, but there is a way to beat it. I’ve decided to stick to a 10-minute a day meditation practice, centered around breathing and calm. Usually, I try to pick a quiet space in my apartment, slip on my noise-cancelling headphones and start some calming background music. However, my headphones were recently stolen (that’s what I get for picking up that salted caramel mocha from the counter at Starbucks), so I’ve had to resort to earbuds turned up to loud. Not as effective, but good enough.

 

Trying to regain focus by quieting your mind and clearing the circuits helps me to win at overcoming fear, failure, and lack of focus. How will it help you?

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7

Hear Them Roar.

If you were stuck on a deserted island with two people, who would they be?

 

This is a classic question, usually asked to see how a person would prepare for the worst-case scenario (answer: Superman and an outboard motor). But in the world of business building and entrepreneurship, who are your “deserted island” companions?

 

I never like clicking on Facebook ads. Many of them were (and are) spam ads that capture emails for programs I’ll never use or want… But this one was different. Here was somebody touting the catchphrase “freedom in business and adventure in life”, and it grabbed me. Lately I had been seriously doubting my life-path as a retail drone, and knew innately that fate (or kismet, the cosmos, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) had something else in mind for me. But what? Those who have worked in retail understand that “freedom” really isn’t an operational phrase, but rather a word used to describe the choice between several different kinds of ketchup in Aisle 10. Could there really be “freedom in business”? I was hooked. For once, I broke one of my cardinal social media rules, clicked on the ad, and entered my email.

 

Best decision ever.

 

I was introduced to Natalie Sisson and the Suitcase Entrepreneur through a Facebook ad, and started me on the course I am now on today. She definitely lives the kind of life I would love, and I would be proud to have her in my tribe.

 

The second person on my list would be the amazing Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book “Big Magic” was (and continues to be) an inspirational look into creativity and letting go of hindrances in life that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Before reading the book, I was set in an old mindset where creativity that enables a fulfilling life is not really found anywhere; one merely accepts what is in front of them, and fear keeps them from veering off into new and undiscovered areas. Challenging fear by embracing creativity and the unknown keeps me on an upward trend, and, while it may not be the easiest journey, it certainly is the most rewarding.

My tribe is effective, my tribe is powerful.

Hear them roar.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6