It’s August 2001. It’s 3 AM. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night. Again.
It feels like it’s the millionth night in a row where I wake up in the middle of the night, totally burned out from my job, and I’m miserable. I hate it. The technology sector is almost in ruins and my life feels the same way.
The Internet/Technology sectors have been one of the best places in the world to work. I’d been part of the team in charge of creating the whole Internet business model at a company called Excite.com, and I’m enjoying the perks of stock options/stock splits, shareholder euphoria and a job that can’t be beat with the pay to match.
And yet something doesn’t feel right. Deep down something is bothering me but I just can’t put my finger on it.
I start to think about my life as a whole. Isn’t this job and this career the dream career I always wanted? And suddenly it dawns on me.
My life is so out of balance that I actually don’t have a life at all. I am living and breathing my career. That’s when everything began to change for me.
I jumped out of bed and started making a list of things that would make up my dream life. I had never thought of that before… what I really wanted. Not what was best for my next career step, the next big deal or promotion, etc., but what I really wanted my life to look like. I began to define what I wanted.
I’d have my own business, rock a beach body, speak French, live somewhere beautiful and travel the world. The list went on and on.
You know… that list of things you’ve always wished for and wanted, even fantasized about?
The list you have, but for some reason keeps getting pushed to the back of the to-do list over and over again.
I was tired of that – I wanted to take action now. I wanted to live a life of my own design.
I wanted everything on my list. I wanted my life back.
The next day I took a leave of absence. I was half relieved and half terrified.
I was taking a huge leap of faith. I didn’t have a plan, just a general notion and a feeling that a better life was possible. I didn’t have the blueprint or the solution yet, but I was officially on the hunt to piece together how I was going to make this happen – in all areas of my life.
At that moment, I was so hopeful, so optimistic. But life has a funny way of giving you a reality check. It turns out optimism doesn’t necessarily make anything easier.
Fast forward two months later, and I’m completely lost. I still have no direction. I’m listless and drifting. What should I do?
Then my husband decided that he would leave me. See, he had felt so ignored in my pursuit of the next job/promotion/deal, etc., that he had had enough and wanted to find someone else that would actually BE in a real relationship with him.
That was the deepest pit of despair that I have ever been in. I crawled into bed for a month (or two or three) and just ignored the world.
Those months were some of the loneliest months I have ever had. How could I have left my job at Excite only to end up questioning everything? More importantly, what the hell was I going to do now?
I couldn’t help but wonder – had I made the right choices? Was I crazy for leaving Excite and thinking that I could ever build a business around the lifestyle I wanted to live? At the time, all I wanted to do was move forward… somehow. I had lost track of my quest to design my life, and just wanted to go a day or two without crying.
I travelled to visit a friend in Paris (about six times!), went to school in the UK at Oxford University, went on safaris in Kenya and Tanzania, travelled to Australia, and moved to San Francisco.
I looked at franchises, and considered buying an established business. I even thought at one point that I would open a spa, but all of those options felt like I was just buying myself a job. All of those options would put me right back where I was before, and look what that cost me.
I woke up every morning feeling emotionally drained. I can't remember another time in my life where I've ever felt so drained. So devoid of energy, I just felt lifeless…
If you've ever been in this kind of circumstance, you know what I mean.
It wasn't just the break up that had me down, it was finding myself embarking on yet another new path, more alone than ever and feeling very uncertain about my future. I was scared out of my mind.
Despite all the good things, and positive progress around me, – I'm human and therefore susceptible to nature’s “flight or fight” syndrome whenever I feel fear.
You need to know you're not alone in feeling these feelings. I hear you – I've talked with literally thousands of you that experienced incredible lows…and I want to tell you, you're not alone.
But it's these fears that may keep you stuck. And I was stuck.
But I could feel it – there was still something deep down inside me – gears churning, not as quickly as before, but enough so that I felt uncomfortable doing nothing. Slowly but surely I got up.
If you want to succeed you need to override your natural desire to flee and stay and fight.
Truly successful people make the choice to feel the fear and move forward anyway.
That day, despite my overwhelming desire to flee, I made the conscious decision to fight.
As you can imagine – 99% of me didn't want to get up. Getting back into bed and sleeping for a year sounded much more appealing.
But I got up… slowly and surely I forced myself to get up. And that was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Looking back at it now I've realized getting up is 90% of the battle. Life is going to knock you down and your ability to get back up is what makes all the difference in the world.
And thank God I did get back up. Shortly after, I met the man of my dreams and began building a life with him. And just a few short months after that, I answered an ad online which led me to meet a group of crazy-fun and successful internet marketers, some of which whom have become my best friends.
I began to feel slightly more recharged. The fire inside me was glowing a little brighter and I felt that all may not be lost after all. The universe was giving me a sign.
Over the course of the next few years, things started to slowly change for me. I'm not saying this was the only challenge I ran into…far from it. In fact I'd need a whole book to write down all the struggles I've overcome on my path to success. But I continued to persist, and this persistence has led me to one single realization that changed everything for me.
I'm going warn you – initially you may not think its revolutionary, and when you read it, you may think to yourself “That's it?” But those of you who “get it,” you know that it's BIG.
There's something amazing about our ability to observe others – to ask questions – and to find the missing puzzle pieces in our own lives based on the experiences of others.
Even though I was satisfied with how my business was going, I couldn’t help but think about that list I had made years ago, just before I left Excite. Even though my business was going well, and my personal life was fantastic, if I had to grade my progress on all of my other goals it would be a streak of D's. Yikes.
It's It was honestly a little overwhelming thinking about all the things I hadn’t gotten to do yet (sound familiar?) but were very much a part of my list – that list that I had made detailing that version of myself that exists in my wildest dreams.
Even worse is that it wasn't until later that I had my second “a-ha” moment – when I finally asked myself:
Why don’t I look to other people who have paved the way?
There are many people out there who have automated their businesses at the million (or billion) dollar level, more than I have, who live and work all over the world, who have learned to speak a second language, to dance, to surf, to rock a beach body, to play the guitar – you name it.
That road has been paved hundreds and thousands of times for me, or anyone.
What's stopping me from applying the exact same process I used to build my business and apply it to grow my business bigger and better as well as in all the other areas of my life I want to improve?
The answer is…nothing!
You're probably thinking …how is this even possible? Listen, I'm not that out of my mind, I'm just dead set determined never to live a life of mediocrity in any area of my life.
As far as I know, we have one life to live and it's ours to decide what to do with it. It's never too late to change the trajectory we’re on.
So… I went back to that list and added to it. I read a ton of books and blogs about other people who were living their best lives. I studied what other people had done.
I consumed information like a beast.
I had met the man of my dreams. I was earning an income online without selling my soul to corporate America. Now it was time to step out on a limb and do what I had always wanted to do.
I wanted to live, love, work and travel all at once – to actually design my life!
So here is what I did:
On September 28, 2008, all of our stuff went into storage, and since then, my husband and I have lived all over the world.
We’ve walked the ancient streets of Rome, got married in Tuscany, learned wine-making secrets in Portugal, studied with personal development gurus in Hawaii, made tortillas in Mexico, lazed on the beach in Spain, and so much more. The memories and experiences and friends that we’ve created together beat anything I could have achieved while working a job, or simply accepting what came my way in the world.
Most importantly to us, we weren’t travelling the world on a shoestring. No youth hostels, budget hotels, or rail passes. No third-rate villas, no teeny cars, mass transit or bad restaurants. That kind of travel is fine, but it isn’t for us. We are “luxury vagabonds,” not couchsurfers. If we were going to travel, we were going to travel in comfort, have someone else take care of our luggage, and go and do and see and eat what we wanted, when we wanted.
It hasn’t all been easy. We’ve had enormous financial ups and downs, made incredibly bad decisions, and started in businesses that ultimately failed.
But all these ups and downs have been on our terms, and each one has played an important part in our wonderful journey.
Part of me knows that I could be doing more. I'm still looking for new and better ways to automate my income, make more, save more and be more. There are areas of my life with room for improvement. I definitely don't have that beach body yet, I can't speak French or Spanish yet, there are many relationships in my life I could improve, I can't surf, dance, sing or play the guitar. But I’m excited to continue working on my to-do list and designing my future, even better than I ever imagined.
Are you ready to live a life of your own design? I’ve helped many people live the life of their dreams. When you are ready, I can help you.
I’ve designed my life. And you can too.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!