This is it. After a longtime of near silence, today I finally issue my proclamation to the world of what I want out of life.
They are as follows:
1.) Daily excitement.
2.) To build elegant businesses and organizations that help people every day.
3.) To travel the world.
I want all of those things, and unlike the old me circa 2004, who would daydream with little action, that changed about a decade ago with the moment I decided to save 80+% of my income, and 8 years ago when I used two years of savings to open my music store, and even 4.5 years ago, when I bought my lovely home. And now that spark–the one that has changed my life for the better over and over–has returned and developed into an avalanche of pure motivation.
This past year has been that avalanche. And those above dreams, they will be a reality.
In order to achieve these new goals, I knew I had to change even more. So at the end of last year, in a matter of months, I cut my regular workweek from 50+ hours down to less than 20. I invested heavily in people, technology, and education. I spent time learning things that didn’t relate to business, like sustainability, gardening, and health. I read more books, meditated, walked my dogs more often, and allowed myself time to think. I mean, entire days worth of thinking.
And I must say, those daylong thought sessions were pure gold.
Idea after idea flooded into my mind over those sessions. And they fueled me during the most creative and effective period of my life.
I listed all of my responsibilities and made hard decisions about how I spent my day vs how I wanted to spend my day. I cut a lot of fat, set up automation, and delegated a good portion of my responsibilites. I figured out ways to hone my business-ninja skills and do much of my work remotely. Things that most bricks-and-mortar business owners don’t even know exist. I even harnessed the power of Skype, and have taught many lessons through that medium rather than sticking strictly to the traditional in-person lessons I built my career on. I launched a new business, created a few web sites for fun, and learned some skills that will be crucial to my businesses’ success. I’ve learning outside-the-box marketing strategies, team building techniques, and reassessed everything I know about business in general. I set up a 3-camera video studio and learned everything I could about 3-point lighting, cameras, audio recording, and video editing. I started to develop my own guitar teaching method and actually took steps to make it a reality. I learned what made me happy and what didn’t. What I wanted to do vs what society says I should do. And I finally had the time and focus to know the difference.
So, in effect, I didn’t just transform the way I work, I transformed myself.
And this was a big transformation. Not only in thought but in how I use technology.
A year ago, I shied away from technology. I had a mini laptop I used for writing and not much else. I didn’t even have a home internet connection! I was a purist, and I didn’t know how much it limited me. It seemed like the only reason I had power was to spin my vinyl records and to read books by the aid of incandescent lightbulbs rather than tallow candles.
My, how things have changed.
Now, I’m using the power of technology along with the ability to multiply my time and work remotely to create more agile organizations. And it’s with those means that the dreams listed above will all be reality.
I’ve already achieved the first one (daily excitement). I start each day with more excitement than ever before. Being able to spend most of my time learning and creating is the real driver behind my excitement. Having small projects to work on over several months to break things up a bit. Writing new stories and developing my pen names. Honing my teaching skills and finding ways to thrill my students. Learning and implementing new marketing strategies that will leave the competition scratching their heads. All of those things excite me to no end.
The second one is a work in progress. With every new business I think up and start, I’m ensuring they are more and more elegant in their design than the last. Many of these new businesses will fail, but it’s with those failures that I’ll learn how to build the perfect business. This is a lifelong marathon, not a sprint. I’m now starting things with the end in mind, instead of building something that will consume my every waking hour. This, of course, requires automation and delegation, a scary subject for most business owners I talk to. And finally, I’m using technology to reach larger audiences than ever before, enabling me to help even more people. This second dream is vital to my growth and also a way to enable the realization of my third dream.
The third dream excites me immensely, and I’ve dreamt of traveling the world for many years now. Lately, the idea is bubbling over in my mind. It doesn’t help that my friends Meg and Tim from Walck This Way sold everything to move to Dubai (with their daughter in tow!). Or the other people I know or people whose blogs I follow who travel all over the place, keeping their possessions to a minimum. They are my inspiration and the only reason I didn’t just sweep this particular dream under the rug of life.
My recent taste of short term travel has increased my confidence in longterm travel becoming a reality. Last May, I made a last-minute decision to get on a plane and go to Slovenia and Italy. And I didn’t tell anyone (except those who would be in charge at my music store and my girlfriend). I wondered what would happen to my business without me for that short time. Would my house still be standing? Would my girlfriend and pups be okay without me? And sure enough, everything was fine. Business ran smoothly (maybe even better) without me. My house remained intact. And my girlfriend was still alive, as were our pups.
Since then, I’ve made lists of other places I want to go. I’ve donated a lot of items to charity and a lot of my book collection went to my local library. I’ve studied minimalists and world travelers. I’ve listened to podcasts by location-independent entrepreneurs. And most importantly, I’ve taken action. As the months go on, my possessions decreases, my knowledge and experience increases, and I spend each day creating and serving others.
Most importantly, I still daydream…and that’s the purpose of this post. To get the most out of our short time here.
This post is my proclamation that daily excitement, building businesses, and world travel is what I want out of life.
So this blog has transformed once again, from a blog about fiction writing to a blog about the adventures that are on the horizon. I’ll post my ever-growing bucket list here. And write about the progress made in my effort to realize my dreams, stumbling blocks and all. With you joining me for the ride, I’ll have that final ingredient that will keep me on track: accountability.
Your turn: Have you ever traveled long term? If so, how did you pull it off? Please leave a comment below. I’d LOVE to hear from you!