Category Archives: Motivation

Remote Working, Distributed Teams and Bali

Remote_Office_photo

Image Copyright Evan Lovely – Flickr

 

A quick post about a few recent articles that came across my radar, both are definitely worth a read. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of distributed teams, through cost savings and the ability to hire great people without requiring them to uproot their lives. Plenty of people have reasons for staying where they are: family, school, jobs of a partner, etc.

If you’re considering a location independent lifestyle, time is on your side, the business world is moving in this direction. Why not make the move now and start living the life you want to live. We’re only here for a short while. Forget the commute, the stress of getting to work every day.

I see a lot of “view from the office” photos promoting digital nomadism. Many of them show an umbrella drink in hand, which I believe paints an incorrect picture of what it takes to make this work. You don’t wake up and start the day with a margarita in your normal job (maybe you do, but that’s none of my business). My point is that behind every digital nomad umbrella drink photo, there is a person who hustles every day to keep their dream alive. Those that don’t hustle, don’t last. The hustle is real when you have beautiful beaches and friends asking you to surf every day.

This is not to say you should make the leap to this new way of living only to be shacked up in an AC office and never enjoying your surroundings. Reframe the way you look at work and you can reap the benefits most people dream of. More people and companies are reframing what success looks like in the real world and I am consistently in awe of and applauding the Buffer team’s moves in shaking up the ideologies of what it is to be a successful start up.

Sidenote: I’m loving my life in Costa Rica, but Bali is looking pretty damn good after the piece below. 😉

Articles…

Buffer ditches its offices to go 100% remote, startups should too

Why working from the beach in Bali is the new cool

I wouldn’t change my digital nomad life for anything: Jacob Laukaitis

 

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Overcoming the Fear of Surfing Bigger Waves (and Everything Else)

Don't believe it.

Don’t believe it.

I’m no expert on overcoming fears, but since I started surfing, there are very few things in my day to day at work that elicit the same response as seeing a large outside set wave heading towards me. I recently spoke at a conference in front of a group of intelligent, scientific people. Never once in my preparation or during my presentation did I wish I was somewhere else until it passed. I can’t say the same for plenty of moments during surf sessions.

I’ve linked to several free articles and would recommend reading the Fear Project (also below), but here are a few things that have helped me. I am hardly fear-free, I have “fight or flight” kicking at some point in 2 out of every 4 sessions, but I’ve changed my relationship with fear when I’m out in the water. And, when it comes to fear or nervousness relating to situations outside of surfing, I have big waves as a reference point to help me downsize whatever situation is in front of me.

Repeated exposure to safely uncomfortable conditions

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. ~ Dale Carnegie

I really want to be good at surfing. Not to win competitions or to impress anyone, I just want it to be an activity that I continue improving and excelling at in my life. I end up thinking about it quite a bit and because I’m able to paddle out almost every day, I can have some days where I work on specific things without the risk of wasting one day out of seven while on vacation.

I periodically go out in less than comfortable conditions for me personally. This isn’t to say I’m intentionally unsafe, but I’ll go out a low tide, for example, knowing I’ll catch less waves and probably be humbled, simply because I want to feel what the ocean is like when the waves are faster and more hollow. Recognizing what has to be different involves a reconsideration of existing habits (“I REALLY need to paddle faster to catch these”) and an improvement in form. Any regular surf day after a low tide session is met with more confidence. The same goes with wave size.

Become an expert at duck diving

Duck diving is one of the most powerful functional moves in surfing. Not only does it help you conserve energy, but doing it the right way, consistently, reduces your chances of getting hammered unnecessarily. Not only that, but nothing is better than ducking under a giant oncoming wave, popping out the other side unscathed, energized and ready for the next one.

Not only does it provide you more options (tools) while you are in the water, it is safer and works with the flow of the ocean. I still ditch my board sometimes. I don’t like to, but it happens. When you duck dive, you are hanging onto your board with more control, so even if you don’t go deep enough and get sucked backwards, the thing you are hanging onto is bound by physics to be your quickest ride to the surface. I realize this isn’t possible for all board types (long boards, for example), but if your’e on a board you can technically push under the water for a second or two, work at perfecting that shit, you’ll thank yourself later.

If John John Florence duck dive the length of his pool, you can learn to duck dive your board for 1-2 seconds…

Learn to love wiping out
I’m no spring chicken. My injuries take longer to heal than when I was in my twenties and thirties. That said, I’ve found that many of my surfing injuries are from fighting the energy in the waves rather than going with the flow.

I started noticing friends who were great surfers laughing after they wiped out (or at least giving a “whoooo!” sound afterwards). So I started laughing at myself, how ridiculous I must have looked yelling “don’t kill me, I’ve got kids!” to an uncaring wave while rag dolling over the falls. In laughing at myself, I’ve changed the association with wiping out into a positive experience and have found that I’m now significantly more relaxed during a wipeout (opening your eyes under water helps as well).

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ― Jim Morrison

Watch videos of people wiping out
When I first started surfing, I was so intent on getting good fast that I didn’t want to “poison” my mind with visions of people wiping out. Somehow, I figured, if I didn’t watch people wipe out, I would do it less.

That’s a laughable thought now, but as soon as I started, I learned a few key things:
1. Everyone wipes out, even the pros. It’s part of moving quickly across the top of water on a liquid slope.
2. Nearly 100% of wipeouts you see online are not fatal. The people in those spine tinglers lived to tell their story and surf another day.
3. Watching people wipe out shows you new ways to wipe out. What better way to learn to love something than to get better at it?

I love watching videos of The Wedge. It is amazing to me that so many people love to surf a wave that so clearly hates humans.

Wait for your will to catch bigger waves to outpace your fear of them

This is one of the most important parts. You need to play it “safe” and should always know your limits, but until you have the interest to ride bigger waves and that interest outweighs your fear of some of those that come in, you’ll stay where you are. That’s just fine. Once you catch a few larger waves, see it goes very well and get the buzz that goes along with the ride, they won’t seem as big.

My will to catch bigger waves lead to me doing quite a bit of research, including watching videos, reading blog posts and reading The Fear Project. I’ve listed some of those links below. Whether it is surfing or anything else you’re trying to tackle, my sincere wish is that something in this post gives you the motivation to go for it.

The Fear Project by Jaimal Yogis

Articles

Your Brain on Fear

How to overcome fear of bigger waves/how to paddle out?

The best surfing advice you’ve ever been given: Feel the fear and do it anyway

Surfology’s “Who Knows?” Q&A Question about Mental Exercises to Overcome Fear

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The Four Day Work Week (4DWW)

https://nadyneharts.wordpress.com/

Image: Nadyne Harts

This isn’t a post about the 4 Hour Work Week, best selling book by Lifestyle Design guru Tim Ferris that happens to be a big motivator to those in the Digital Nomad community. Nothing wrong with a 4HWW, but it’s a personal situation that involves outsourcing your work to other people who are working so you can be absent. The 4DWW is about sharing in that time off with employees so that everyone has a little more time to enjoy and live their lives.

4DWW: The Pilot

We recently started a 4DWW pilot program at my company. I shared my story (below) and the slide deck I presented from at the company meeting (our last Friday before starting) on Facebook. I got some incredible feedback in the comments, people asked me to post this online so others could see it. We’re not the first and PR wasn’t the goal. My sincere hope is that by sharing our experience, other companies will have the confidence to take the leap and give this a shot. We ARE out to prove that we can be a leading company in our space, highly competitive and continue serving our customers through the friendly support they’ve always had, while giving ourselves and families more time, which is truly our most valuable commodity.

Results (So Far)

One month in, I can honestly say it has been wonderful, but not necessarily easy. Any big shift in work requires change. Change in your mindset, processes and approach to your workload. Sundays are no longer “oh man, tomorrow is Monday”, they have turned to “I gotta get my list together, I have limited time to knock things out”, which I’ve found is a much better way to approach the week.

Here’s my story and the presentation:

“Today we started a 4 Day Work Week pilot program at Mosio. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for awhile now and we finally have the team, the traction and the systems in place to make it a success.

This move is very personal to me. I had a dark, horrible year in 2013, in the middle of difficult, but necessary changes at the company, and the death of my grandmother (Papa), my biggest entrepreneurial inspiration. For 5+ months I was working 60-70 hour weeks. Stressed, depressed, but chugging along, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.

I would work a full day, dinner with the family, kid in bed and then back to work until 1-2am, off to sleep/worry, only to do it again the next day with a baby on the way. At one point I told my wife “I would never do anything to hurt myself, but right now I don’t care if I live or die.” Seriously heavy shit. I kept telling myself “right the ship, then make the change”, that got me through it.

I know that many people in the world are literally working themselves sick. Chronic stress is linked to the 6 leading causes of death. 18% of US workers work 60 hours per week, some are barely making ends meet. I feel privileged we are able to offer this extra day per week to our team, our families and ourselves.

If you’re interested, here’s my presentation, the final slide has links to references we researched in making the move.

Noel”

4DWW Presentation (click the link to download)

 

Other 4DWW Companies:

Serps Invaders Introduce Four-Day Work Week

Treehouse: This Company Has A 4-Day Work Week, Pays Its Workers A Full Salary And Is Super Successful

A La Mode: OKC Real Estate Company Offers Unlimited Vacation, Four-Day Work Week

 

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Bucket List Item: Paragliding (in Costa Rica)

Copyright Alex Badilla/Tandem Paraglide Costa Rica

Copyright Alex Badilla/Tandem Paraglide Costa Rica

I’ve wanted to go paragliding for about 22 years, basically when I first discovered it. Although I’ve been skydiving, it wasn’t one of those “I gotta do this!” activities that paragliding held for me. Anyway, having lived in Costa Rica for nearly a year and a half, on nice days I kept seeing gliders fly over our house from a launch just up the mountain.

I ended up getting in touch with Alex Badilla from Tandem Paraglide Costa Rica to set up a flight. Alex is super professional and another flyer told me at the launch site that he was known as “the guy” because of his working with one of the greats in Costa Rica named Grampa Ninja (recently deceased, though not from paragliding).

I brought a Go Pro and made a video about it. It’s definitely something I plan on doing more of, but with limited time for activities and my love of surfing, it may not take hold as much as it might otherwise. Flying gently through the sky in a chair made of nylon and webbing provides a perspective (and perma-grin) that is unmatched, I’d highly recommend it. To fly over the jungle and Pacific Ocean was truly magical.

If you have a bucket list or like me, are building one as you go, pick an item and go for it.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

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What Are You Waiting For? DO IT.

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You know your “it”, a hobby, a new business venture, selling it all and hitting the road, all of the above. I just read an article about an inmate on death row who has been in prison for 17 years waiting to die due to a testimony from one witness: the person who killed the person Richard allegedly paid for the hit. His proclaimed innocence, the twisted version of justice (the person who did the killing did not receive the death sentence as part of his plea bargaining) are for a different post on a different blog. Reading Richard’s words, his viewpoint of the world, how he finds a way to laugh, to love, hope and his realizations that a good life need not be complicated, touched me. It made me realize I needed to hug my family more, give more love, more compassion and I needed to choose some new goals and get after them.

Some friends were joking the other night with the phrase “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” discussing various elements of decisions and personal safety. Jokes aside, it is a good question, one worth asking any time we have something pulling us forward, a calling from our heart, saying “trust me.”

A quote on my Facebook feed this morning said “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could.” So true, so unnecessary.

92% of people don’t realize their New Year’s Resolutions, but many people don’t even get started. Take a step, do one thing towards a goal you have. Write down the goal right now, write down 5 steps you need to take to get it done, then do one. Wake up tomorrow, do the next one.

Rooting for you over here, you got this!

TLDR; Freaking do it.

 

 

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Can Families Be Digital Nomads? (Resources for Information and Inspiration)

Location independence isn’t for the young and single only, although if you are, what have you got to lose?

I saw someone on a Digital Nomad forum ask this a couple of weeks ago. It seems a natural question as so many nomads appear to be single (or just a couple). I will be doing a video about this soon, but wanted to comment on this question, provide some resources and hopefully inspiration to anyone who currently has a family and is looking to go remote or is on their way to location independence and interested in starting a family in the future.

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY, my wife and I are living proof of successful remote professionals (we have two children, both under the age of 4). The speed of which you get things done and your flexibility to do things changes a little bit when you have children, but I sincerely believe it is a mindset. For some inspiration, I urge you to watch this wonderful, short video called The Only Road about a family traveling the world.

“You’re so lucky to be able to do this…”

Inevitably, when you make the decision to find a way to travel more or live in different places, you find a lot of people telling you how lucky you are. I always agree, knowing luck doesn’t play as big as a role as sure will to make it happen. That said, even among traveling families there are varying degrees of “I wish we could do that” and admittedly, when I first watched The Only Road, I literally said the same thing. You have to do what is best for you.

For my wife and I, what we’ve decided is best is to travel as much as possible, but also to live in different places while our children are young. Our daughter flew on 24 flights before her first birthday, she’s a traveling professional. Our choice, however, is not necessarily to be constantly nomadic, always on the move. We like having a home base and have had one in Tucson for the past two years, close to family. In March we’ll be living in Palm Springs, CA with some friends on a similar (same-same, but different) path, then we’re headed to Costa Rica on an open-ended trip. We think it may be 2 years and we’ve already discussed 1-2 month “jumps” to other countries while having Costa Rica as our home base during that time.

Additional Resources

One of the biggest motivators for me has been reading and exchanging stories with other people who have lived or are living this way. Here is a list of 10 sites/blogs to check out for great information and inspiration. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the contact page and ask. I’ll respond to emails as quickly as possible with any information or experiences I have.

Vagabond Family
MY LITTLE NOMADS
The Nomadic Family
World Travel Family
Travel with Bender
y Travel Blog
Bohemian Travelers
Going Anyway
Living Outside of the Box
Snaps and Blabs
With 2 Kids on Tow
Wagoners Abroad
Family on Bikes

If I’m missing any that should be added to the list, send an email or post a comment. 🙂

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Filed under Digital Nomads, Location Independence, Motivation, Tips and Tricks

Inspiring Wallpapers for Going Remote

We created some (hopefully) inspiring images/quotes for your desktop or background on the device of your choice. Part of making the leap is visualizing it happening as often as possible. Feel free to use or share these as you wish. Click the link or one of the images below for more…

Remote Control Wallpapers

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