In January this year Amanda Swartz from Canada joined our ‘180 days to your office on the beach’ online coaching program. (It’s been running a while with people passing through the modules to reach a different lifestyle on the other side). Beginning the program was easy as she broke down her location independent vision into realistic goals. She completed the questionnaires, outlining her biggest dream of sharing her love of travel with her son.
During the business module her biggest concerns were family debt and a lack of business experience. Although it was not immediately obvious from her temporary job how she would translate those skills into a more flexible way of earning an income she started to come up with a range of ideas to compensate for her lack of professional specialism.
However, it was the mindset module, providing insights into why some people achieve location independence when others don’t, that Amanda was surprised to find herself struggling.
A detailed questionnaire explores the seemingly simple question; ‘what do you want?’ We’ve reviewed loads of your answers and know that this question is consistently challenging. How easy would it be for you? Is it something you revisit regularly to see how it changes? Or do you keep going on the path you assume is the one you still want (if in fact you ever did?) Anyway I digress.
Amanda’s final stumbling block came with the resource ‘Do you have the mindset to achieve your dreams?’ Designed to probe any psychological gremlins holding you back, this imposed self-reflection, rather than being illuminating or cathartic, proved too uncomfortable.
When asked what worried her, her fears although very real, weren’t uncommon; ‘Never getting it done. Never feeling like I know enough. Feeling like all my ideas won’t work. Never feeling like my dream will come true.’ She had started to believe time was running out for her to do the things in life she always assumed she would one day.
On January 31st we received an email ominously titled ‘Giving up.’ Amanda wrote about ‘hitting time-wasting walls’ and ‘things that seem like they should be simple but just don’t work for me’. She explained that both her and her husband were out of work and money was tight; ‘I’ve been almost desperately holding onto this dream for 5 years and have wasted too much money and time on it. I think it’s time for me to move on and possibly find another dream…but sometimes I think that would be pointless too.’ Despite a few emails back and forth Amanda had made up her mind. We were incredibly disappointed for her because she’d seemed so determined but she had started to believe that changing her life was something other people achieve, but not her.
Turning things around
Then, out of the blue, in October Amanda submitted another one of the program’s mindset worksheets. Intrigued by her apparent change of heart I followed it up. Amanda wrote back ‘You are correct, I am more positive than I have been in the past. One thing is my location has changed. My family now lives in Kuwait. We are teaching here which is not exactly where we want to be in regards to freedom from the 9-5, but it’s helping us save and allowing us to travel a lot throughout the year. Just yesterday we booked tickets to go to Turkey at the end of October and to Germany over the winter holidays. One of my goals was to travel more by the time my son was 5, he’s 5 now and we’re traveling more. So we’re very excited!’
What Amanda had realised is that failure was not an option. By letting her own thoughts and insecurities get the better of her she had started to take actions which were taking her away from her goals, and keeping her stuck exactly where she was. This was the complete opposite of the drive and proactivity which had led her to take the leap into the unknown and sign up for an online program in the first place.
Keep moving forward
What I love about this story is that it’s not the whole story yet. Ten months later she isn’t exactly where she wants to be, but she has made huge amounts of progress and isn’t where she doesn’t want to be anymore. We are all used to hearing stories about people who have made a million or are living off passive income from a South-East Asian beach, but sometimes far from being inspiring these stories can just highlight how far there is still to go. Amanda’s story illustrates perfectly how far you can come in a fairly short space of time, even if it’s not exactly how you planned it would look and despite the days when it had seemed completely out of reach.
We’re very proud of what she has achieved. Amanda has started a blog, aptly named www.whenfailureisnotanoption.com to share her journey of creating an independent life. Not only does it include an honest look at her own struggles and how she pushes past them but also features those of others. Look out for our contribution coming soon!
Does anything about Amanda’s story resonate with you? Having shared her experience I’m sure she would love to read your comments
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