Posts categorized "Work-life balance"

How to dream

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. 

-Tony Robbins

I would like to share an amazingly powerful and simple way you can achieve your dreams. Spend an hour or two simply writing an essay about your life 10 years from now. Describe everything about your day, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Describe your room, your house, the place where you work. Describe how many children you have. Allow yourself to dream by following just one rule: there are no limits. Write as though there are no financial, geographic, or any other kinds of constraints. Think only about what you want, what makes you excited, what would be fun, what would make you feel good. What would your life look like if you could be completely you?

For this exercise, there are no externally-imposed restrictions or restraints preventing you from everything you truly, madly, deeply want. Write about that. You don't have to show it to anyone (unless your partner is extremely like-minded and open-minded). Just write it, save it, and put it away. Now, go on living your life and see what happens in 10 years.

Debbie Millman talks about this on a recent Tim Ferriss Podcast. I have also experienced this in my life.

Back around 1995, when I was still in college, I had a wild, unrealistic fantasy about my life in the future. I was visiting Slovakia, where my wife was from and where her family lives. I loved spending time in Europe and dreamed of living there. I remember one moment, strolling in the city center of Kosice. I pointed at a beautiful building in the old town and said to my wife, "Someday we could live right here. The Internet will be faster, so we could move here and work at home for American companies. All we need is a fast connection and a US phone number. Nobody would even know where we are located."

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Here's the spot in Kosice, Slovakia

This wild dream of living in Slovakia was now vivid. I imagined that, in my spare time, I would read in cafes. I would write books. I would play guitar. Maybe I would even start a band, record music, go on tour. All this would be possible if I could find a way to earn a good living while living in Slovakia. I also needed enough spare time, which I figured would be no problem if I could work from home. Back in the days of dial-up Internet, this dream was laughable. We went for ice cream and did not discuss this further.

10 years later, by 2005, my idea was not so crazy anymore. Broadband and VoIP technology had made it possible to do exactly as I had dreamed. That year, we moved to Kosice and took our American income with us. Remarkably, we lived in the exact building I pointed at in 1995.

In the years that followed, my life became exactly as I had imagined. I wrote books. I started a band. I recorded albums. I traveled Europe. I don't remember striving toward any of this. I did not exactly plan it, and I certainly did not force it through any kind of will-power. It was enough only to imagine it vividly and then go on with life.

Here's how it works: when you have a clear vision that excites you, then you make little decisions every day which are compatible with the vision. If you fall in love with a dream, then you avoid making life decisions which may prevent you from living the dream. Slowly, these small decisions start to reveal a realistic path. What was once distant and impossible begins to look sane and likely. It isn't so much about taking a leap; rather, taking tiny steps each day. A decade is a long time. You don't have to strain yourself. Just paint a picture of your future and go on living. But be careful what you wish for, though, because it probably will happen! 

No matter where you are in life or how old you are, just start writing. Today, I wrote about my life again, 10 years from now. Thank you Tim Ferriss and Debbie Millman for the encouragement.

Posted by Mark Manney.

Why are you doing what you are doing?

In this fascinating presentation called Uncommon Sense, Derek Sivers asks, "Why are you doing what you are doing? Most people don't know. They just tend to go with the flow." Most of us choose what to do with our time based on social norms. We try to convince ourselves that we want what someone else says that we should want (not what we truly want). What do you like? Do you really want to make a lot of money? Or do you want to be famous? Do you want to leave a legacy? Do you want to stay home and raise children? Or do you want freedom? What makes you most excited and happiest?

If you want to actually achieve what you want in life, you have to focus on one area and let the other stuff go. You have to know your real goal and hold yourself accountable to that standard. It isn't going to work to optimize your life for success in all areas, though sometimes success in one area can spill over to others.

What I really want in life is freedom. This is my measure of success and this is what I have optimized for. Sometimes I look at someone else's life and feel like a bit of a failure. One person has the status of a title or position, another person has fame, and so many people who seem to be no more gifted than I am have enormous wealth. But then if I dig a little deeper and think about it a bit further, I don't really want their lives. They don't have the freedom that I do.

Whichever path you choose, people are going to tell you that you are wrong. When I left my corporate job in Seattle to move to Slovakia 10 years ago, people thought I was making a terrible mistake. But I was pulled in this direction because I wanted freedom. Since then, I have directed so much of my time and energy into projects that I choose. I do what excites me. If that means writing a song, I write. If that means spending a month traveling, I travel. If I spend time with my wife and family, I want this to be a choice that was freely made out of the love that I freely give. If I feel like spending time with another beautiful woman who is new in my life, then I also want to be free to do this. None of this means that I am disloyal, unloving, irresponsible, or unsuccessful in other areas. But, whatever success I am able to achieve in other areas tends to flow from my loyalty to that desire to be free. 

My desire for freedom doesn't mean that I don't value money. I do care about money, but only to the extent that it supports greater freedom. My desire not to become dependent upon a sole source of income (i.e. a job) has inspired a successful business. I used to work in business development and sales. I sold enterprise software to large corporations. Over the years, I became rather good at what I do. However, I didn't like having a job because it felt like too much of my behavior was driven by fear. I depended upon a sole employer for all of my income, so even when I was working from home I was worried that my boss would catch me away from my computer. I was worried that I wasn't working hard enough or getting enough results. It was all fear-based and I didn't know how to balance that very rational fear with my desire to record an album, book concerts, travel, or even read a book. Instead, I found myself sitting by my computer even though that is the last thing in the world I wanted to do.

In the summer of 2013, I was spending a week on the beach in Croatia with my family. I didn't have enough vacation time, so I was traveling covertly. With my iPhone nearby, logged onto Skype, checking email, I would run to the hotel room to deal with anything that came up at work. Soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves, I was certainly more free than my colleagues in the office...but still I wasn't free enough because I was scared. On that same beach, my wife and I were both reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. This is a must-read book for anyone who desires freedom. It provides all of the practical advice you need to make more money and achieve more freedom with less work. I remember the exact moment when the idea came to me that would change my life. We were standing in the water and my wife turns to me and says, "Why do you have just one job? You could get 5 or 10 jobs doing what you do and outsource all of the work to India." In less than a second, I turned to her and said, "That's what I will do". The day after returning from the vacation, I put up a website and started an outbound prospecting / lead generation business. In some amazing stroke of coincidence and fate, my boss called that same week to let me know that they were letting me go.

My new venture wasn't easy at first, but I loved the feeling of working for the right reasons. My incentives were pure. At least my fears were based on reality not on the perceptions of a boss. It took a few months to sign the first customer. A few more customers followed a few months later. But there were still problems. I failed to deliver enough results to my first few customers, but I stayed at it. It took about 18 months to start generating a comfortable income. Now, over the past 6 months, I am earning profits of $15,000 to $20,000 per month with 2-3 hours of work per day running successful campaigns for 8 - 10 customers. I have more than doubled my income and achieved greater financial stability while working far less. How exactly did I do it?

Over the years, I have become an expert in how to sell expensive, complex software to executive-level buyers. More specifically, I have become an expert at how to pitch solutions in order to setup introductory calls. I understand the tone and the metrics required to generate a consistent flow of high-quality introductions. So rather than doing all of the work myself, I turned this knowledge into a process that anyone can do. I then outsourced the process to a company in India. I provide all of the instructions to make the campaigns successful. I ask my clients for what I need from them, I write the email messaging, build target account lists, etc. I do only what I need to do and I outsource all of the pieces that are not critical for me to do. This has given me the time and income I needed for greater freedom. I could work 3x harder, bring in 3x more customers, and make 3x more income, but that would mean less freedom. I am happy with how things are because I am running this business to optimize for freedom, not to maximize for profit.

If this is something you would like to do, then ask yourself what expertise do you have? How can you scale your knowledge and wisdom? How can you outsource all of the pieces that can be done by others to free yourself up? How can you further scale the areas where you are uniquely competent or skilled? How can your skills and expertise be an asset that supports your true goal? Why are you not doing this now?  

This year, I have also identified another area of life that has been working against me as a person who wants greater freedom. I have been married to the love of my life since age 18. When I was young, I didn't understand myself the way that I do now. She and I fell in love and so we just naturally entered into a monogamous relationship and eventually got married. Our relationship has been wonderful, healthy, and positive in so many ways. We grew up together, faced all of life's challenges together, and all the while have managed to stay in love and attracted to each other. But in recent years it has become obvious to me that it isn't possible to value freedom and maintain a traditional monogamous relationship. So with great pain and struggle, I have opened things up with her.

I love in a way that doesn't require rules. I know what I feel for my wife and my young daughter. My love is never-ending and unconditional. Wanting them to be happy and comfortable is the same as wanting myself to be happy and comfortable. At the same time, monogamy is not freedom and it doesn't work for me. I have come to discover that I am polyamorous. I value complete honesty and openness. I am capable of loving more than one person. Feelings for one person do not affect feelings for another. I want to be free and I want anybody who I love to also be free. I can deal with jealousy and I want to help my partners do the same. Transitioning my marriage from monogamous to non-monogamous has been a slow, painful, seemingly impossible journey but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Freedom does not have to mean being alone. Quite the opposite, love can come from multiple people just as income can come from multiple clients.

I have also come to believe that one cannot be free if you do not have a space to call your own. I recently found a small apartment a few minutes walk from my family home. This is where I work, write, make music, and I spend time with anyone who I choose. As the true minimalist I am, it took me just a few hours to get the place setup. I have only the dishes that I need and no more. I have no TV and no decorations. The place is very small and I have only the stuff I absolutely need to support the things that I want to do here. Here's a picture of me in my personal space:

  Newflat2

During stretches of uninterrupted and focused time here, I have become more productive with my work. I have been reading more. I have been working on a book. In just two months have written enough songs for a new album. Yesterday I even setup a basic recording studio so that I can begin recording.

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As part of the sound-proofing, I covered foam panels with my daughter's drawings. In true minimalist style, I also dry laundry in the same room!

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I would recommend to anyone like me, who is primarily driven by a desire for freedom, to find your own space. You don't need to live alone full-time. Sometimes I sleep in my space, sometimes I sleep at my family home. On days that I do sleep in my space, I still wake up early and walk to my family home to make them breakfast. I then take my daughter to school and come back to my personal space to do my stuff. Then, in the afternoon, I spend another few hours with my family, playing with my daughter and talking with my wife. Some nights I stay there, some nights I do something else, some nights I walk to my personal space and sleep there. When my wife is traveling, I spend those days in my family home with my daughter.

I'm not going to pretend that these drastic changes have been easy for my wife, they haven't. But, in many ways, our relationship has improved now that we have become less dependent. We are learning to treat each other with greater respect and to allow each other more freedom. She has begun traveling a lot and spending more time with friends. No matter what happens with us romantically, we are both committed to maintaining the happy, loving family we have created. I have also found that I have been spending far more quality time with my daughter. Now, when I am with my family, I am with my family (not on my computer because my computer stays in my space). My daughter is handling these changes really well and my wife and I are arguing far less than we used to. I recognize that this is a bold, very unconventional move. What I have done doesn't mean that I love my wife any less than I used to. Quite the opposite, for the first time I am loving her openly as the person I truly am. I am setting her free to define how she wants to live her life and to decide how she wants me in her life (or not). She is an amazing woman and I am fully-committed to her and my daughter just as I am optimizing my life for greater freedom. I believe this can work long-term if we approach every day with love and sensitivity.

My life may look strange or chaotic to anyone who values stability, wealth, status, or fame above freedom. To me, all of it makes perfect sense and I wouldn't change a thing. What do you value most and why are you doing what you are doing?

Posted by Mark Manney.

To live differently

If you want to end up like your parents, then you should listen to their advice. If you want to be just like your neighbors, friends, or colleagues at work then you should say the things that they agree with do exactly as they do. If you want to live as they do then your path is clear. Follow the same rules, put off the same uncomfortable decisions, avoid the same risks, go for the sure thing even if it isn't what you want. You may think that you are an exception. You may tell yourself that you can do it your way, that your life will not end up like theirs, but the way you spend your time is the way you become. What you do with your days becomes who you are. The path ahead of you is as predictable as the Monday morning alarm clock.

There is no way to have a radically better life without radically different action. Only a radical takes the risks required to break through to something better. If you want something better for your life, then you should question everything (especially the things that everyone agrees on). If you catch yourself seeking approval, ask yourself whether you want to become like the person you seek approval from. In truth, everything you do is your choice. Nobody has to agree with you. Nobody has to understand. You are the only one who needs to be right about who you are and what you want.

To be a radical isn't to be a fool. A fool acts on impulse. He fails to consider the consequences of his actions. He fails to plan and then he fails to execute. A fool has unrealistic dreams and lacks discipline. But a radical sees the world as a clean slate with unlimited possibilities. He understands exactly how things work (if he doesn't, he studies and observes). Only when he is sure, he executes on a realistic plan or a strategy that can actually work. He is honest with himself about what it will take, what it will feel like to work toward the goal, and what reality will look like when it has been achieved. He questions himself each day and changes what isn't working. He shows no concern for the opinions or judgments of others unless they have accomplished what he hopes to accomplish.

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You cannot live differently unless you are free. You cannot be free unless you are radical. People talk of freedom, but so few know what it is. If you have a job, you are not free. If you depend on daddy or on a husband for money (and there are any strings attached), then you are not free. If you are attending university and learning what you are told, you are not free. If you are in a monogamous relationship because your partner is jealous, you are not free. Most people are only free during those brief moments of shame when they are deceptively hiding something. When they are caught, they are punished. This is not freedom. Even a slave has this luxury.

To be free is to be openly in control of your time, openly doing what you choose, and openly navigating your relationships on your terms. If you can find a way to do this without living in poverty and without being alone and isolated, then you have become a master of your own life. If you are capable of loving others fully just as you maintain both your honesty and your freedom, then you have achieved enlightenment. Despite what anybody tells you, all of this is possible.

It takes radical action to be free. People may not understand your choices, but they will envy the result. So forget about seeking their approval now because one day they will come to you for advice.

Posted by Mark Manney.

I'm working on a new book

After some time off since completing the Abscondo album, I have recently made a decision about my next project. I have begun steady, focused work on a new book. The working title is:

The Diversified Life: How to end your unhealthy dependence upon one relationship and one job 

The benefits of “diversification” are commonly understood in the world of finance. Quite simply, diversification is the idea that it is risky to put all of your money into one investment. The book applies the concept of diversification to all of life.

Relying on one job as our sole source of income is even riskier than putting all of your money into one stock. Relying on one relationship to provide everything you need emotionally, romantically, intellectually, and sexually is like relying on one book to provide all of your knowledge and wisdom.  

To commit to the Diversified Life is to refuse to be forced into one job, one lover, one hobby, one philosophy, or one of anything. By seeking multiple sources of income at once, by being open to multiple romantic relationships at once, and by trying new hobbies, new art-forms, going to new restaurants, and traveling to new cities, you are opening yourself to so many possibilities of happiness, growth, beauty, knowledge, wisdom and everything positive in life. At the same time, having options means that it is less necessary to accept the negative stuff from anything or anyone.

This is a how-to book containing specific strategies that will help you find freedom and become who you are. I'm excited about my progress on the book and just wanted to let everyone know what I'm up to.

Posted by Mark Manney.

Employment or Entrepreneurship?

Money is critical, but so is freedom. What about the need to feel important? Of course you also want to feel secure and stable. Earning a living requires a choice between two radically different paths; both of which come with very different benefits and drawbacks. The fundamental choice is between employment or entrepreneurship. 

Of course the most common path is to work for someone. To be employed is to give away your productive time for the promise of security and perhaps some amount of prestige or status. The problem is that anything achieved through employment is transitory. Nothing can be riskier than relying solely on one employer for all of your income. What may once feel stable can disappear in an instant with little or no reason at all. When your employment contract has ended, you are left in a state of panic as you face monthly expenses based on on your former income.

As for status or importance, whatever sense of status you may have felt within a job is stripped from you as easily as your livelihood when the devastating decision is made to let you go. To the outside world, you're only as good as your current position. The tragedy of employment is that we dedicate our lives to a career only to find ourselves scrambling to hold onto it. But it should be said that, while the job lasts, at least you can rely on a paycheck and you can believe that life is good. For most people, this is enough.

For most of my career, I've earned a living as an employee. But for these past two years, I have relied entirely on my sales agency to earn a living. During this time as an entrepreneur, I have come to understand that running your own business brings as many challenges as it does benefits.  

Let me explain the pros and cons of entrepreneurship:

Pro: You are free to do what you want with your time. It is an amazing feeling to have the option of mountain-biking on a Monday morning without any risk of consequence.

Con: You can only enjoy your freedom if you are able to manage the business properly and avoid stress and worry. Some months, you may not generate enough income to pay your expenses. Other months, everything is great. I do my best to manage this stress by diving into my "other world" (playing guitar, writing, mountain-biking, going to the gym, taking walks, etc.).  I've also found that meditating every day helps me avoid the peaks and valleys.  But I do sometimes lose sleep at night from worry.

Pro: Unlimited earning potential. This is really what it is all about.

Con: You have to invest not just hard work, but also capital. Owning your own business means becoming an investor. How much money do you put in with the expectation of making how much in return? How safe is the investment? What are the risks? Is the business model sound? Are the customers satisfied? With unlimited earnings potential comes a need to risk money, time, and energy (see previous point about stress and worry).

Pro: Not having to answer to a boss. Answering to a boss means playing politics. In a job, so often we do what we are asked to even when we know it isn't the best way to complete the task. Our goal is perception and self-preservation. I have found this to be a really unhealthy distortion. Living this way runs against my nature; which is to solve problems in the best possible way and work in the most efficient / productive way.

Con: Business owners have to answer to customers. While we don't fear losing a customer the same way an employee fears losing a job, the fear is still real and it is multiplied across your entire customer base.

Ultimately, running your own business is a difficult path even if you succeed! It isn't for everyone. Running a successful business is a chance to live the dream of wealth and freedom. But it is also a lonely path filled with stress, worry and at least as many failures as successes. Some days, having a job looks like a far better option!

Posted by Mark Manney.

Meditation is much easier (and more beneficial) than I thought

I used to think that meditation was nothing other than a waste of time. The truth is, I'd never even given the topic much thought. What would be the point of feeling calm and "centered"? The idea of sitting still for 20 minutes with my eyes closed...well it just wasn't something I would ever want to do.

Then I started listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast. Almost without exception, Tim's guests (all of whom are extraordinary, super-successful and accomplished leaders in their respective fields) talk to some extent about meditation and how it is important to them. So I started thinking...if it is good enough for the likes of Seth Godin, Kevin Rose, Jason Silva, Mike Shinoda, Richard Branson, Maria Popova, and Tim Ferriss, himself...well maybe it is something I might consider. When I then started hearing Russell Brand talk about how it changed his life, that was my tipping-point. Perhaps there is some correlation between meditation and the success, wisdom, and overall effectiveness that these remarkable people demonstrate?  Could be.  So, a few months ago, I decided to give it a try.

Starting with a blank slate, I first looked up something I had heard of called transcendental medidation (TM). It turns out, this type of meditation is most commonly practiced by celebrities and it is probably the most well-known form of meditation. The bad news is that I found that it was nearly impossible to begin practicing TM without first going through a course. How long is the course? How much does it cost? None of this information was readily available. So I did as the site requires and submitted an inquiry. A day or two passed, no response.  

Probably because of my location in Europe, it took the TM people 3 weeks until they finally did respond...and then I was told that I would have to travel 12 hours to the nearest person who could teach me. The process of learning TM would take about 4 days. Oh, and the price is based on my place of residence (so I still didn't have an answer and was left with a strange feeling that they were trying to extract additional funds from me due to  my...American-ness). Here I was, 3 weeks later...on my quest to find inner-peace...and if I was relying on the TM people, I would have found nothing but inner-frustration! To be fair, I'm sure TM is a amazing...maybe I'll even give it a try someday...but I wasn't going to wait because I wanted to try something!

The good new is that I found another (much more simple, practical, and free) way to meditate. Over the years, I had vaguely heard about the concept of "guided meditation". Whereas TM is practiced alone, in silence (as you repeat your own, secret mantra), guided meditation is a lot easier and more approachable to those of us who are not yet aware of our oneness with the universe. You are simply guided along by an instructor, who tells you exactly what to do. So I searched iTunes for some guided meditation podcasts. The first and most popular program I found is called Meditation Oasis. After continuing to search some other sources, I ultimately decided that I trusted Meditation Oasis enough to give it a try.

Maybe this guided meditation isn't going to bring me quite to the level of Gandhi or Russell Brand -- but holy shit, look at me, I'm meditating!!!  

Meditation Oasis

The podcast is hosted by Mary Maddux.  She offers 50 different meditations, for free, on different topics that you can choose based on whatever it is you're going through. I've probably given most play to the Accessing Intuition session, where she takes you on a mental journey beneath the waves of a pond into it's quiet depths.  She then prompts you to essentially "throw a problem" into your calm, deep consciousness...and the solution will come to you in the form of a thought, a vision, a sound, or a sensation. It seems to work pretty well, because my consciousness has offered guidance on some of the most complicated issues I've been dealing with (and also some not-so-complex stuff). To offer an example regarding the not-so-complex stuff, I received an answer from my intuition without even having to consciously throw anything into the depth of my mental pond. Prior to meditating that day, I had spent 20 minutes looking for some important files on my computer, on CD backups, everywhere I could think of without success. I had given up and decided, instead, to meditate. 10 minutes later, in a state of stillness, the answer came to me without any effort at all.

I'd also recommend her Morning Energy guided meditation. Put it this way: you will end up feeling a pulsing sensation of energy in your pelvic region. Not bad, right?! What I realized is that my mind has the power to provide energy (so it seems that energy doesn't only come from coffee, though I still love my coffee). Other meditations of hers that I'd recommend include the Relax Into Sleep meditation if you ever have any problems sleeping. Other shows help you cope with stress, anger, and a variety of feelings you could be dealing with at any given time. I prefer the episodes that include music because, after several days doing this, the music itself becomes an automatic trigger to go into a meditative state.

So, if you've never tried it before, what do I mean "meditative state"? From my experience, it is a state between being awake and asleep. You learn, through Mary's guidance, to accept everything you feel....to even allow your mind to wander a bit as long as you bring it back. Everything is alright...no pressure...no expectations...no doing things right or wrong. If you fall asleep, that's ok too because that's what your body needed. It is a great thing to experience...simply accepting that everything is ok.

So I've been meditating 2x per day; once in the morning after taking my daughter to preschool and before I start working...and then once again in the mid to late afternoon. With respect to meditation in general, I've heard that the best practice is to allow 20 minutes per meditation. However, with this program, I end up coming out after 15 minutes feeling as though I've had the right amount. When I "awaken" from meditation I stretch, yawn, and feel completely calm, relaxed, and accepting of everything. But, you might ask, great, so you feel better...but how has Meditation Oasis affected my life in a tangible way? Here are four general areas where I feel my life has changed through meditation:

1) Mary says, in many of the podcasts, that you can actually get more done in a very relaxed state. I have certainly found this to be true. I work in a much calmer, more relaxed way. After meditating, I actually make fewer mistakes. I don't spend as much time doing things I shouldn't be doing. When my mind is less stressed-out and panicked, I can get more done and do things more effectively. In other words, I do the right things and get better results with less effort.

2) I have much more energy throughout the day. I don't burn myself out after 4 hours of intense work, like I used to. If I start feeling tired after lunch, or stressed, or lousy, then I'll just do another meditation and I'll be good to go for another few hours. It's like recharging the battery on your iPhone. So, in this respect, the 30 minutes per day spent meditating actually lead to a lot more being done through the course of the day. Before meditating, I wasn't so much limited by lack of time, but by lack of energy. This has changed pretty dramatically.

3) I'm healthier. So far I haven't been ill. Also, because I go for massages because I have real problems with my back (mostly stress in the shoulders and neck), I noticed another big change. During my last two massages, my therapist noticed that I was a different person. No tension at all in the areas where I used to have tension. This is related to allowing my shoulders and arms to fully relax 2x per day.

4) I'm more on top of my emotions.  I'm aware of my emotions and, as you learn through meditation, the process of being aware is the same process that helps you overcome stuff. You don't have to force yourself to feel, or to do anything at all. It is enough to "breath-in" to your anger or anxiety, and in time it will go away. You can go on with your day in a relaxed way.

January is typically a very stressful time for me. I'm hustling for new customers, booking summer concerts for Abscondo, now I'm raising funds for my startup and putting a dev team together.  I'm actually working about 2x or 3x harder than I was before I started meditating. However, largely thanks to meditation (and Meditation Oasis in particular), I'm in a really good place right now despite the challenges and the workload I'm facing. Life feels lighter and I feel happier.

In my experience after these two months, meditation is as important to your lifestyle as eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Meditation is, quite simply, just something our minds need to do...it is an ancient gift that we can embrace to go through life in a much better way. It also makes you sound really cool because you can act all deep and mystical.

Posted by Mark Manney.

Free Work

Charlie Hoehn has come up with a great idea called "free work". This is a radical new approach to start anyone down the path of building the career they want, and the life they want, while doing what they want to do.  

I wish I had thought of this at the start of my career. Instead, I followed the conventional path and wasted years of my life in corporate misery. I finally found the courage to break free, but it just wasn't necessary to wait.  

In his TEDx session, Charlie talks about how frustrating the traditional job search actually is. Searching for a "normal job" is the first step down a path toward creating a life you absolutely do not want. 10 years later, you find yourself in an industry you did not choose, surrounded by people you did not choose to be with, doing a job that does not tap into any of your true interests or talents. This is the conventional path that we are told to accept, but there are other ways.

What I find most interesting about Charlie is how he struggled with, and then ultimately found himself overcome by, his gut-feelings and intuition. His decision seems to have come from a place of feeling backed into a corner. Oftentimes, extraordinary accomplishments come not from our exceptional talents or capabilities, but from panic and desperation. 

Faced with options that makes us feel sick inside, too many of us try to cope. We turn to anti-depressants and we lie to ourselves because we can see no other options. But thee are options. There are endless options in life and infinite solutions to every problem.  Free work is one.  Enjoy the video.

Posted by Mark Manney.