Seeing beautiful places in nature, feeling inspired and creative from the clean energy, the open spaces and the freedom of living by my own schedule… This really is my dream as far as lifestyle and business is concerned – and this is only the beginning!
For 5 years I dreamed of having a mobile business so I could spend most of my days outside, and some days I have to pinch myself so I don’t take it for granted. In this article, I want to give you a little insight into my life and business to inspire you, awaken your dream, and show you what’s possible…
What Lifestyle Do You Want?
First of all, the pros far outweigh the cons, but I have to say this lifestyle is not for everyone. Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or staying in 5-star hotels while you run a laptop business, there are three qualities that you are forced to cultivate:
Patience – When electricity fails or internet dies, you better cultivate patience and surrender to natural timing, no matter how hard it is to let go of the expectation of instant access.
Flexibility – Changing scenery and situation on a weekly basis means you get very used to going with the flow, especially when things change at the last minute.
Organisation – Organisation is a must in order to counter the inherent flexibility of this lifestyle.
So how do I do it?
It’s an ongoing experiment, but one that I am determined to make work, since I wholeheartedly believe that people, nature and business can all be integral parts of our lives in balance. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
1. Creative Time
It’s SO much easier to tap into your creativity when I’m in nature. But the real benefit is the injection of creativity into my business that I couldn’t seem to achieve when I was living in a city. Now, when I’m offline, I have total freedom and the inspiration of my surroundings to write blog posts, shoot videos, dream up new programs or content for my clients, there is no limit!
2. Forced Downtime
Previously when I was living in suburbia, the internet was always available at the click of a button. This did me no favours as felt like I was constantly working and always accessible to clients and potential clients; it was often counter-productive. Since having forced offline time in nature, I have found it a huge advantage to clearly separate my creative time (offline) from my delivery time and administrative time (online) (Thanks to Mark Silver for giving me extra clarity around this).
3. ‘Natural’ Timing
Being in nature virtually every day is a wonderful way of connecting with the cycles that we are naturally inclined to live by. These seasonal, lunar and astrological cycles help us to tune into the natural timing in business; I am developing a greater awareness of how we can intuitively plan according to these cycles in order to maximise the results of our efforts. It’s another way of going with the flow, rather than against it: I have saved time, energy and money simply by listening to what is ‘destined’ to happen and when. Just like summer follows spring, there is a natural sequence in our businesses that can enhance productivity, and being in nature helps me to slow down and listen before I take action.
Nature speaks to us in subtle ways. It takes time to learn the language of the animals & plants. If we want to be abundant, nature is our greatest teacher.
1. ‘Relaxed’ Timing
I have to have a strict work schedule to make sure I know exactly when I need to be available online for my clients: I have set days each week that I work directly with clients so I can plan ahead where I will be with internet access. However, it still means that I am not checking my email daily, and it can be challenging for me and for my clients to adjust to the lack of immediacy we’re used to as a given in business. I’ve found so far that things have a way of working out, again it’s all about timing.
A side note: I remember once, back when I was working as a full-time project manager, someone I wanted to book a session with didn’t return my call for 4 days. I grew very impatient. I thought it was unprofessional. I wanted my answer so I could plan my week. When I finally spoke to the woman, she replied un-phased by my urgency, ‘All in good time’. She also happened to live int he wilderness and work in the city. She knew the concept of natural timing. Now I get it.
2. Too Much Freedom
Yes, it’s true, sometimes too much freedom can be a curse. You have to be even more focused, self-motivated and organised than if you had a fast-paced day job (I know from experience!), simply because much of the time no-one is requiring anything of you and there is always some sort of distraction – whether it’s a superb lyrebird doing it’s morning dance ritual, a mass mosquito attack, or a severe storm warning.
3. Concentrated Online Periods
As much as I love the benefits of technology, sometimes when I have to get a long list of things done during my window of internet access, I want to throw my computer out the window – I am sometimes wedded to my laptop for almost a whole day at a time and it drives me nuts! I manage this by frequent trips to the beach or sitting at the base of a tree for 5 minutes, just to release the build up of tension and buzzing in my fingers (believe me, this does happen when you’re glued to your computer after spending days at a time offline!).
The bottom line…
Business is an adventure that should fit with your desired lifestyle, especially with technology as the great enabler. We are designed to flow between leisure and work and they can be equally enjoyable, but there will always be challenges – if you know what they are, it’s all just part of living life outside your comfort zone!
What’s your dream lifestyle? I would love to hear about it!