I’ve been procrastinating on this post because 2017 was a challenging one. It wasn’t a bad year as such – some really incredible things took place. There was however, plenty of discomfort (both emotional and physical).
I’ve just finished my lunch at an awesome Vietnamese take-out place in Barcelona after checking into my hostel. I’m looking out to a typical street where locals go about their daily routines and tourists obliviously block traffic, both in cars and on foot.
As usual the women here are gorgeous. In this district, the men always seem to look sharp. I need a haircut. Or a tattoo. Or both.
My friend who also lives in Andorra drove me down. He’s in his early 40s, is part owner of a safari camp in Kenya and grew up in Barcelona. He is seeing his mother while he’s down here.
In the car was our early 20’s friend from Ukraine who has been living on his own in Barcelona since he was 16. His parents wanted him to study abroad to give him a better future than he could have at home.
It’s only a quick visit; 2 nights to connect with some other entrepreneurs, learn some new things, be challenged and meet some quality people.
When many of us set out to a start a business, it’s often to make either a more positive change to our life, or to the world. Ask around and commonly cited reasons for starting a business tend to involve:
flexibility of working hours,
more quality time with family,
realizing a passion,
being the boss,
having more control, especially control of income, or,
overall, a better balance.
But nearly all business owners find themselves at one stage or another, living completely contrary to what they set out to achieve…10 years into a 3 year plan, delaying gratification, with no end in sight.
A lot of digital nomads set out to start a business that keeps them fed, sheltered and free to roam as they please. But lifestyle creep and the previously unforeseen success of their business can quickly change their 4-hour work week dream into 60 hours a week and on-call for the rest of the time.
I’ve also fallen into this trap – money was never a motivator, I simply wanted the freedom to live wherever I pleased and not have to take a significant pay cut to do so. But since going down this path, I have regularly found myself working on weekends, replying to emails at 10pm at night and so on, simply because I let my business, and my personal standards take control.
Do you have a goal or dream or something that always seems to take a back seat? You say you want it, but there’s always a reason why you can’t have it…
Maybe you don’t want it bad enough?
After spending a year mountain biking and snowboarding in Whistler, I returned to at least a dozen different conversations involving someone saying “I wish I could spend some time living overseas, but…”
Since starting a business that has allowed me to use my skills and earn “city money” while living in my chosen country of Andorra , I’ve had a ton of conversations with friends and strangers around quitting their job and starting their own business, living out their dreams – but more often than not, nothing eventuates.
What gets me down is when great people don’t believe they can do something…
“I wish I could take a year off of work and write a book, but…”.
I can write for days about things that are important to me, but I’m not as smart as you may think. You’re reading the words of someone that crashed their first car (and didn’t have insurance), once drank a litre of Jim Beam (not recommended, not even in limited quantities) and has had a life’s share of concussions (probably not as bad as the Beam to be honest).
If intelligence was the sole driver of making change, we’d probably all be sitting around a fire in a cave bashing each other with clubs.
No, there’s a real reason why you aren’t succeeding in getting “what you want”…