This morning I am preparing to be a guest on the Podcast - Misfit Entrepreneur and as I was thinking about the things that feel important to me to share today, I got inspired to sit down and journal about Finding My Why, which I realized might make a good blog post.
I don’t know about you, but this business of setting and defining goals has felt like a moving, elusive target. Although, I think that I am in a unique position to be overlapping into two very different groups that influence my thoughts on the subject. On the one side, I have friends like Mr. Money Mustache, a colorado based fellow who has a popular blog on Early Retirement, frugality and finding your freedom; and then I also have successful entrepreneurial friends who are young and driven, looking to scale and grow their empires to unlimited proportions. I find myself somewhere in the middle.
You see, for a long time, I had been on the frugality train and was driven towards Financial Freedom and Early Retirement. Long before I knew of the concept of Early Retirement I knew that I had no interest in struggling and decided that if there was an easy way to live life, I would find it. This left me open and vulnerable to the “get rich quick” hype and Financial Freedom as a buzzword. After being burned by a few schemey opportunities, I was fortunate enough to figure out that the old fashioned way of saving and investing could still provide quick results and bring me towards the freedom I desired. My research on the subject of personal finance drew me to find the teachings of a few bloggers that set me in motion towards this new idea (at the time) of Early Retirement.
With that vision and a new found understanding of how much I actually needed, I set my monetary goals and scrimped and saved creatively like a champ. I had no idea how I would make it to the finish line and yet, I held the strong vision and would not let uncertainty get in the way. My “why” at the time was freedom. It was the ability to call the shots, to only do the projects that brought me the most happiness and to decide where I wanted to be when. Holding the goal of that freedom, flexibility, and the desire to work remotely clearly in my mind, began to shift my work without me consciously realizing it.
When I started my Airbnb business, I was in the midst of a course in Massage Therapy so I already had the flexible student schedule that lended well to trying something out that had a low time requirement but relied on the ability to respond quickly and work mid-day during some irregular times. By the time I graduated from my course, I already had the weight of my housing expense off my shoulders and some small income beyond that to allow me to start up a private practice with flexible hours, which was my highest goal at the time, when airbnb just seemed like a temporary bridge to allow me to lay my foundation for another career.
Although the goals changed slightly through the years, the freedom thread ran deep and was a constant undercurrent for me, which I think I am rediscovering. Around the time that my mother began to show weakness from her Cancer, my massage practice was at a height. I had a full client load and two apartments that I was airbnbing and living between. The trauma and months away from home caring for her changed my schedule dramatically but showed me the final importance piece, that I had actually found a business that I could manage from afar.
After her transition, all I knew is that I needed space. I could not work at the pace that I had previously set and took as much as possible off my plate to find the balance of a minimum that I could do and still support myself and have some extra to save while I healed my grief. During that healing process I had little bumps of inspiration that lead to a growth and expansion of my airbnb business. I purchased my first home right after her passing, the next one 9 months later and the following two 5 months after that. What I had not realized until now, is that I had time and space for settling after each big push, which is something I have not been giving myself lately.
Just this past September, an empire building friend pushed me to step out, build and grow my business, to see all that it could be. At this time I had a few properties (in addition to my own) that I had begun co-hosting for others, was in search of another home to buy and he wanted me to build up social media to open myself to opportunities of consulting, selling course materials and more. It was a leap that gave me a lot of apprehension and even though some beautiful things came about from it, I am seeing that it likely was not a move I should have made.
At the time, I was in a space of organic growth that I was comfortable with but then I let outside influence push me into a foreign space not driven by my internal guidance. I had lost sight of my ways and fell for someone else’s desires for power, influence, and wealth. Although they are nice ideas, they don’t fully resonate with my core. Today I find myself peppered with busy work, social media marketing/building and many more emails, but less enjoyment, which I know Mr. Money Mustache would be quick to point out is the source of the problem. He frequently talks about finding ways to maximize enjoyment which has been his great guiding force throughout his journey.
I am beginning to see how I got off course and am eager to find my way home to maximum enjoyment and freedom, while knowing that it does not have to limit my ability to draw in income, travel, nurture relationships and all the things that also add to my life experience. Returning to my core also seems like a clear way to limit distractions, minimize stress and anxiety, and have more clarity in my work when I choose to stick down with it. So I leave you with this question and an invitation to look a little deeper. What is at your core?
*Here's that podcast I was preparing for: Designing a Life through the Shared Economy