Thu, 30 March 2017
There comes a time when you say, "Right. Out!" And that's what happened. I think we all have too much stuff these days."
Those were wise words from my Mum, who I decided to bring on for Season 1 Episode 8 of Quest for Freedom.
This topic and this podcast today is all about ...
The art of minimalism and freeing yourself from stuff.
If there's one person who knows how to do that, it's this girl. I think it's a really important topic because whenever I am offloading stuff out of my suitcase, in my life I feel so much freer. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Which brings me to Christmas time last year, when I gave my sister and my brother-in-law the Christmas present of my time. And what I said I'd do for them is help them clear out their garage.
Now I have to say the garage was a complete and utter mess. There was so little room in there, there certainly were no cars, there was just all their stuff.
Now my brother-in-law Zanda, has 3 kids from a previous marriage and now they have my lovely nephew, Morgan and so as a family you do absolutely need more stuff. I can't take that away from them.
I know I see friends with babies and they are like, "Every time I go out I just have to bring all this extra stuff."
So I feel for those people. I haven't yet experienced that and I get it.
But this garage was a piece of art. There was every single thing in there that you could possibly imagine. So they were thrilled needless to say that this was my Christmas gift to them.
So in January we set about decluttering the garage. Debbie, my sister, has been attempting to get Zanda to do this, as ultimately a lot of this was his stuff.
I think it's one of those jobs that you can't take on by yourself. You've got to do it as a team. You've got to do it as a family.
When we started, I knew that Debs would be okay with being a little bit ruthless with stuff but I wasn't sure about Zanda. And it happened pretty early on.
I'm sure he is fine with me telling this story but I was starting to take stuff out of the garage to the car that we were going to put stuff in to get rid of. I checked with Debbie and Zanda if things are okay to move.
And then I started moving bits of planks of wood and jib board and Zanda was like, "Hey! Where are you going with that?".
And I was like, "I was going to put it in the back of the car to take to the tip."
"Yeah but I am going to make something out of that" and I was like, "Oh okay. What were you going to make?"
"I might be doing one of the cupboards for downstairs, like using it to make a perfect cupboard door piece."
And I was like, "Okay. Well, let me just ask you a question. How long have you had this piece of wood?
"Uh, about 4 years" says Zanda.
"Okay and so when were you planning on doing this?"
And just in that moment there was this beautiful moment of realization or recognition in his eyes that he was in fact being a hoarder, and I wouldn't say the top definition of a hoarder, because even though I do not watch TV, I've seen the ads for the TV series on hoarders.
You can't even get in the door of the house. They live on piles of junk and rubbish ...but that's definitely not where Debs and Zanda are at.
Many of us have a hoarding mentality.
It really comes from just not wanting to let go of things that could be precious, that could be valuable, that you might do something with in the future.
But let me just push back at you, if you are one of those people going, "Yeah Natalie. Some things you just want to hold onto."
Unless you are going to use that thing within the next 3-6 months, why on earth would you store it, keep it and have it cluttering up your personal space?
Why on earth would you keep something that you are not going to use and serves no purpose other than creating clutter in your living space?
So...back to that moment - a pretty great thing that happened, in that amazingly Zanda kind of turned completely around and started being really ruthless with stuff.
So there was an initial push back and hesitation and a real desire not to let go, but once he realized what he'd been holding onto he actually got into it and as the day progressed, we spent a good couple of hours in this garage.
He was throwing stuff in the back of the car and I was putting stuff off the side and he says, "Nope, that can go." And it was so liberating.
We then went down to the tip and what was even more liberating. As you drive your car up and the trailer as well, then you get to chuck stuff off the side into this sort of pit thing, and then they either sort it, recycle it or take it away to go into the mound of dirt and create a big rubbish heap on some poor hill.
But, still it was really liberating.
We also took stuff down to be recycled and you get some money for that and it was crazy actually how good that felt.
And we went back and we did another load and slowly but surely this garage started to emerge, corners of space started to emerge.
Now here is the funny thing, that was one Sunday afternoon and then I believe I came back a couple of weekends later because, it's a bit hard to tie in with the family and things going on and it already had started accumulating stuff.
But all of the stuff was things that they had now sorted out in the house that they were going to take to the Salvation Army or they were going to put on TradeMe, which is the New Zealand equivalent of Ebay or GumTree.
And so the cool thing is that they kept at it. They didn't just stop there with the momentum and motivation I provided them with.
They kept on going and they made several hundred dollars if not thousands of dollars selling on Trademe some of their stuff.
A lot of that stuff was children's stuff that wasn't needed anymore or baby stuff that could go to another deserving family. And all it took was to start taking the photos, documenting and putting up the price and description on TradeMe.
Turned out Zanda had a bit of a knack for selling things. So it was excellent.
Now the cool thing was not only were they decluttering and getting a greater sense of freedom and space in the house, they were also making money. And let's face it, everybody likes to make money. So this was brilliant for them.
Now right about the same time, and this is why I find the start of 2017 kind of fantastic and it's been one of the best years yet.
But in terms of a time of change, it was for the entire Sisson family and the Rock-Evans family, which is now my sister's side - it was one of those times of just everybody kind of decluttering.
So as my sister and Zanda were attempting to get things out of the garage and out of their house, Mum was attempting to downside the four bedroom family home that her and Dad had been in for fifteen years, because she was getting ready to sell.
Dad passed away in December of 2015 and Mum just did not need to be living in a big house anymore.
And Mum is not a hoarder, in fact, she's amazingly minimalist. She buys quality things and she's done an incredible job over the years for our family of doing up houses beautifully, but always with quality in mind.
However, Dad was a bit of a hoarder. So the two rooms or the two spaces in our house that were the most cluttered were Dad's office and the garage. You know a man cave full of stuff!
And Dad would, bless his soul, keep even rusty nails in jars. He had a place for everything but it wasn't super organized but he kept everything.
And I used to remember as a kid growing up no matter where we lived, Mum would go down to our garage and say, "Oh Peter, could you try and clean up the garage a little bit."
It was just incredible he just had so much stuff.
I knew that would be hard for Mum to do, so I came over and helped out as much as I could to really go through a lot of stuff - letters, cards, boxes, files from years if not decades, photos, projector slides.
All the stuff that you hang onto and you keep because you think one day you are going to pull out the projector and you are going to go through slides from like the 1970s and 80s.
For those of you listening you do it, you know it!
So I challenge you to get the projector out and have a projector movie night and then either get rid of them all, or get them put onto digital formats so you can have them on your laptop and eventually print them or do whatever you like.
But basically out with the old, put it into a format that is accessible at anytime but doesn't take up space and move on.
So back to Mum's house, so we have Mum downsizing and generously gifting to my sister and I, things that we would absolutely need such as linen, towels, kitchenware etc.
And at this point as you probably know from my Changing Plans episode, Josh and I hadn't actually bought the house yet but we were looking really seriously.
Mum was making decisions based on the fact that we might end up with the house rather than both be living in a suitcases.
So to her credit she held onto things we may need and she sort of split up a lot of stuff between my sister and I.
And what happened is all those stuff that Debbie and Zanda had been clearing out, was now getting filled up with trips from Mum and her house with stuff that she was giving them.
Every time they got rid of something, more stuff was coming in.
And I felt like it was the same for me.
I don't own much stuff but even in my two bedroom apartment in Downtown Wellington, I'd accumulated a little bit of the stuff to have it fully furnished for myself when I rent it out.
I also had about four boxes up at my parents. And all those boxes are my everything, my life packed up into four boxes. Or so I thought....
As it happens as Mum is going through more and more of the house and I was there with her, she was like, "Nat I found this box of your clothes or your school gear" and I was like, "Oh damn."
"I found your bag of motocross gear" from when I used to race motocross. And I really never want to get rid of my helmet and my motocross pants and shin protectors. And I was like, "Oh damn!"
So every time I go to help Mum declutter, I ended up coming home with more stuff, which I would then have to sort through, get rid off, give to the Salvation Army or downsize.
I just felt like as a family we were doing this give stuff, receive stuff, get rid of the stuff, sort stuff, sell stuff.
It was crazy. I was selling my stuff on TradeMe. I was listing some of Mum's stuff on TradeMe. Zanda was helping out and then there was a big garage sale where Mom made like $850 in half a day and huge.
Also she had to downsize her house in three weeks or less once she actually got an offer on it.
The power of downsizing and decluttering
And here in her own words is kind of this whole process for Mum on really downsizing a lifetime:
Natalie: Let's talk about how it felt to downsize and move out of a very large house - four bedrooms and all your and Dad's stuff for the past 13 years.
Mom: For the past 47 years.
Natalie: That's true because you've been in the house for thirteen years.
Mom: Fifteen years actually.
Natalie: Oh. I should get my facts right.
Mom: Actually, I just felt sick. It's too much. I think the thing nowadays is less... definitely less. But you don't want to throw things away that your children have given you or presents, Christmas, birthday or whatever.
But there comes a time when you think, "What am I going to do with this? Where can I put it all?" And I certainly have to downsize to a two bedroom apartment. And I feel I still have a lot but I am keeping the best, the very best... but even then I feel like I don't want it.
Natalie: Do you feel lighter now that it's all done because it was quite a process, wasn't it?
Mum: Yes. But I could still lose a bit.
Natalie: Yes, you've held onto the lovely stuff as you said and a part of that is your identity and what you've had in houses for years.
Mum: It's what you worked for. It's what you wanted but even that has changed these days. What we've enjoyed was antiques, crystal, lovely prints of the olden days - that's all gone.
People don't even want it. Antique dealers don't even want it anymore. But I think it could all go around in circles again and one day it will. But who wants to keep it for that long?
Natalie: Yes exactly. Do you want to talk about how you even started on the process? So obviously you put the house up for sale and then what?
Mum: Oh I started way before. I went through wardrobes and drawers. I did a little bit everyday or every second day at least. A lot of it went to Salvation Army and Mary Potter Hospice. There comes a time where you just get rid of it.
Natalie: And then when you got the offer on the house, we made it a pretty short turnaround time didn't we because you wanted to be in your new apartment.
Mom: Because I was coming over to Bali for your birthday.
Natalie: So it was three weeks and so you've done some of that sorting beforehand and then you started downsizing and taking things out of drawers.
Mom: And going through linen covers and just knowing I won't need these, you might need it.
The other part is that in our days we use to entertain at home. That has changed. We go out into a restaurant nowadays so you have all these lovely dishes that costs some money because you wanted to look good but you don't use either anymore. It just all changed.
Natalie: Did you have a process that you were going through?
Mom: The thing is we were brought up and we look after our things - clothes, anything. Every time we moved we would take it with us but you didn't wear it or you didn't use it.
There comes a time when you say, "Right. Out." And that's what happened. I think we all have too much these days.
Natalie: I agree.
Mom: I use one dish, one plate, one cereal bowl, one mug at the moment because there's just one. But even if there's two you don't need much.
Wise words from my Mum, Gina Sisson. I credit her so much in my life and that I really love being a minimalist.
And you know my sister and I differ a little on that. My sister is super creative and so she loves a lot of artwork up on the wall. I think she's got tendencies to be a little bit of a hoarder and she's cool with that.
But the point here I guess for every single one of us is every 3 months do a reconnaissance of everything that you own and ask yourself:
One of my best tricks that I've learned is that if you've put something away in storage that you are just not prepared to give up, if you have not gone into that storage locker or that space or whoever you are storing it within 6 months time then you need to get rid of it.
Because if you do not miss something and use it every single day it is very likely that you do not need it in your life and it is weighing you down as a sense of stuff.
Now one of my good friends, Joshua Becker over at Becoming Minimalist talks a lot about this and here is a short excerpt from a Ted Talk that he did on this very topic as to the benefits of becoming minimalist.
“Out of the corner of my eye I see my son swinging alone in the backyard.
And suddenly I had this further realization that not only was everything I owned not making me happy, even worse everything I owned was actually taking me away from the very thing that did bring happiness into my life.
But not just happiness but fulfillment and purpose and contentment.
There's a very different realization and I think it is the very foundation of minimalism - the very foundational truth that would cause anyone to intentionally own less stuff.
This reality is that not only are things not making us happy they've actually become such a burden on our lives that they are actually taking us away from the very things that we would prefer to be living our life for."
If you'd like to learn more about minimalism, listen to this podcast interview with Joshua Becker about How to Own Less And Live More By Becoming A Minimalist.
And the final thing that I am really really weary of is cluttering our new house. Josh and I both made a very conscious effort and packed with each other but we are not going to fill this house with unnecessary stuff.
So first off Mum has kindly gifted us all these amazing things including a beautiful old vintage dining room table, a dining room cabinet, a cabinet for the lounge, a king size bed which will be now in our bedroom and some chest of drawers and lamps and some kitchen stuff.
All of those things we actually need and that means we don't need to go and purchase them brand new. We can recycle, we can reuse and we can keep these beautiful pieces in the family that have been a part of my life for so long.
The next part that we've been doing is I have become a bit of a TradeMe addict and we've set a budget and we've actually listed out on a spreadsheet, because we are geeky like that - all the stuff that we need versus what we'd like in the future.
We've listed those out so it's by order of priority and then we've put next to it guesstimates on what we're sort of prepared to pay or budget.
So we did a quick look online as to what things are going for and then we put in what we think we'd be prepared to pay.
And now we are playing a little game, so I love bargains and I love getting a good deal and I love negotiating.
I am setting out to become the TradeMe queen and I am finding incredible things because as you know the saying goes:
And just like we've been doing as a family for the last 2 or 3 months of this year, other people on TradeMe are getting rid of things that they've long held in their family or in their house and finally have just decided to release and let go of.
And so I've picked up the best bargains. I got the piano!
If you listened to Changing Plans and you heard me talk about the piano that I thought I'd missed out on, would you believe that lady had no luck with the person who bid and won on the auction and beat me in the auction?
They flaked on her and so she actually texted me while I was in Bali saying, "I can't believe it's happened again. Is there any chance that you would still like to buy it?" and I said, "Yes!"
Done. Put the money in her bank account and she sent me a text saying, "Thank you! You have restored my faith in humans."
So I got the piano! And the piano stool and the sheet music for a $150. This beautiful, old, vintage piano which I am going to polish up.
I bought an entire bedroom set of furniture granted a little bit retro, like a round mirror, a chest of drawers, another chest of drawers, two bedside table and a headboard for a $100 NZ.
Even if it's not great, it's going to be a bargain and I can paint it and we can use it and then we can always resell it.
And I'm just honestly having fun. I also bought two single beds including the mattresses, the frames and the bedside tables, pretty funky for like $400.
And I just love this because why do we always buy new stuff?
I mean granted sometimes you just want new things like you are not going to buy second hand underwear or laundry. I get that but why do we have this incessant need for new?
I personally love reusing and recycling. You get some incredible, sturdy, quality crafted pieces of furniture, ornaments if you feel like ornaments, lamps, all sorts of things for so little.
Because people don't see the value in them anymore and yet to me they are incredible.
I bought a 5 lights with brass stands for $100. I am going to continue to find these amazing bargains and only put things in our house that Josh and I agree on and to add value to it and make it a really beautiful home that we love being in.
As the Suitcase Entrepreneur and yes I am still Suitcase Entrepreneur even though I am moving into a house.
The Art of Packing Light
I just wanted to pass on some packing tips and once again I'd love to bring you back into a short conversation that I had with my lovely Mom who I have to say is an impeccable packer.
And I definitely have witnessed her since being a kid packing for our entire family and we used to travel really light considering there were the four of us.
She now packs even lighter just for herself. it's quite incredible.
Between us, we often look like overachievers. If we ever go on our girls trip together to Melbourne at the start of each year to see the tennis, (it would have been 14 times together or something), we just pack so little.
And it never ceases to amaze me at what people pack. Did they fit the kitchen sink inside the suitcase?
And if so how do they fit their actual clothes and the things that they really need on the trip. It does really astound me.
Here are some tips from the packing queen and her daughter. I credit her for everything that I do when it comes to being a Suitcase Entrepreneur.
Natalie: Because I think since I was two years old, you and Dad took my sister and I on around the world tours and trips ,which is amazing, and we no doubt learned from you how to pack really well.
And I think people still marvel now when they see how I live out of the suitcase. I know you used to pack for Dad as well.
Mum: In one medium suitcase.
Natalie: For the both of you?
Mum: Yes. And half of that we wouldn't use.
And yet even when we had bed and breakfast some people would come with these enormous cases. Each one would have a big case, plus overnight bags and God knows what.
And I used to think, "My God. And they are only coming for 2 or 3 weeks, when we would be away for 8 weeks with less."
Natalie: So what are your tips for the art of packing light?
Mom: For underwear, one clean, one on, one used - that's only three of everything which is easy.
Natalie: Really? I actually take 2 weeks worth of underwear because they are quite small and thin. And that means if I can't find a washing machine or do my washing for two weeks, I've always got underwear.
Mom: Yes I take a few underpants but for Dad that worked for him.
Shoes, a good pair of walking shoes. Something that is comfortable if you go out at night and maybe some sandals depending on the weather where you are going.
And if you are travelling to lots of places it doesn't matter whether you wear the same thing every second or third day. People haven't seen it before.
I always felt that you take with you your favorite things, that you feel comfortable in and just something good at night like trousers and a shirt but women always seem to have to have more.
But even then, just a couple of tops and the rest is just casual. And things are very casual these days aren't day?
Natalie: Well, that depends if you are going to a business event or something that's more fancy.
Mom: Yes if you are just going on a holiday it is casual.
Natalie: And what about toiletries?
Mom: Sometimes I think that's all a bit too much but basically again I take what I wear everyday - sun tan lotion and shampoo.
Natalie: Suntan lotion is expensive in a lot of countries. I do the same putting everything into small bottles because it can last for weeks.
Mom: When I am in England, sometimes I buy the smaller bottles. You don't get it so much in New Zealand or wherever.
Natalie: You do now. Anything else in terms of where you pack stuff, because we all have different ways, some people use packing squares.
I have a two-sided suitcase so I put my better clothes on my left hand side and my sports care, flip flops and toiletries go on the other side.
Mom: Yeah, you've got a good system but I sort of use my suitcase as a drawer. I fold things so neatly and pack it in a way that I remembered Aunty used to say, "Did you just iron that?", I said "No I got it out of my suitcase".
Natalie: I definitely didn't pickup on that skill from you.
Mom: Yes, actually they were always fascinated with that. It's just my way of packing.
Natalie: You also iron your sheets at home.
Mom: No I don't, only B&B. Gosh no.
Natalie: Well, thank you. Those are the tips from the Suitcase Entrepreneur's mom.
So I hope that those tips are helpful to you if you are really having trouble when you are travelling the world and you really just can't pack light.
A couple of other tips I'd love to throw in there is put everything that you want to pack into your suitcase or your backpack on the bed before you go. Then once again do one more ruthless run through.
So if you've ended up with four black t shirts and three pairs of brown shorts, can you just not take one of each?
And if you put five beautiful dresses out and you are only going away for a week, could you not just take three and a shawl so that you can change your look?
And then put them into your suitcase or bag and if you find it still too full, take it all out and do the same ruthless routine again.
A couple of more tips:
You can buy anything you need typically in the place that you are going to. So if you are going to go from a summer environment to a winter environment, I wouldn't necessarily pack all the things that you need for winter.
I would buy them in the country that you are in before you go into the other country or have just enough warm layers and as you get there you can stock up on anything you need.
The only caveat on that is sunscreen as I mentioned, when I was chatting to Mum, it can be really really expensive in other countries.
And obviously alongside that are your pills or your tablets or your supplements, whatever you really truly can't do without that as specialists we need to get from your doctor or maybe a herbalist, I would definitely take those with you. But just take the quantity that you need.
So for example, on this trip to Bali I took a couple of supplements and vitamins and I put them all in one supplement container so I don't need to take six or seven containers.
And the final tip for me is layers. Layering of your clothes allows you to be warmer because you can just put more and more layers on but it doesn't add huge bulk to your suitcase.
I particularly love Kathmandu and IceBreaker products. IceBreaker is Merino wool from New Zealand.
It keeps you incredibly warm, wicks away any sweats, dries super quickly and you can wear it for an entire year without washing it and it still wont smell.
If you don't believe me, Sir Peter Blake who is unfortunately no longer with us in this world who sailed around the world and set many world records and is q hero in New Zealand, wore his IceBreaker kit on the sailing yacht for a full year and it never smelt and he never had to wash it.
If you are really going for a long time travelling or you want lightweight, yet warm and efficient and trendy, IceBreaker all the way.
And finally, rolling.
There are a lot of people who pack in squares and you can put clothes in them and you can seal them and you can press them down, and you can fit way more in your suitcase, which is great.
I've never done it. I've never felt the need to take so many clothes that I have to compress them down. And then also I haven't really felt the desire to unpack and uncompress all these squares but it is handy if you want to maximize your space efficiently.
But I love rolling clothes. One, it stops them from creasing and two, it actually does take up less space in your suitcase.
So those are my final tips on packing light and the art of minimalism.
I would love for you to share what tips you have below the comment section and tell me if you are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
Stay tuned for Season 2 either in April or in May. It's not because I don't love you, it's because I am taking a business sabbatical for all of April.
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Tue, 21 March 2017
I've only been in Bali five days and I already feel blissed out.
I've had four massages, two meditation sessions, one surf lesson, two yoga lessons and a 4.5 hour pampering session!
And I TOTALLY needed this, because the last month or two has been pretty cray-cray.
As you may remember in my previous episode called Changing Plans, there's been quite a few plans that have been changed, including now owning a lifestyle property and getting a puppy for my birthday.
Yes! My lovely man Josh has gone ahead and put a deposit on a white German Shepherd. So when I get back to New Zealand on April 5th, it's going to be all go - moving into the house, getting it furnished, setting up our new base and waiting on the puppy.
I was content to go hard out on the organizing, planning, doing and making shit happen on all fronts, because I knew I'd be having this relax time in Bali, and of course my upcoming business sabbatical starting April 1st.
If you've never been to Bali, let me just tell you this island has a very special energy to it. It's renowned for being a vortex of feminine energy.
So for females in particular, when you're here you have this sense of being grounded, feeling strong, sensual and in your feminine power.
Everywhere you look there are lush trees, green rice fields, beautiful flowers, street dogs, friendly Balinese people smiling, scooters whizzing by, yoga studios, cute cafes, healthy juices galore and many relaxed looking foreigners who are whiling their days away doing not a lot of anything much.
Which is why Bali is the perfect island to come and unwind, de stress and lose yourself, or find yourself depending on what you're here to do.
But obviously we don't all have the opportunity to buggar off to Bali when we feel like it do we?
So it got me thinking: Why can't we have a mini vacation each and every day to get some of the same affects of a longer vacation?
Why do we have to book in holidays months, and for some people, years in advance? Why all this waiting when we have the power and ability to take a break right now?
In a Huffington Post article by Jill Ferguson she lists the benefits of vacations as:
You may have heard me talk about taking a mid week weekend. I mean why wait for the weekend to experience one, but what about a daily vacation? That's a novel thought right?
I dug into this idea with my dear friend Jaime Masters, of Eventual Millionaire fame, who's with me here in Bali.
We planned this holiday in late 2016 when she found out she got asked to speak in the Philippines, just before my Freedom Mastermind Retreat I hold in Bali each year.
So this was our window of time to fly into Bali at the same time and enjoy 9 days together. And we are doing that extremely well.
Jaime is a single mother of two with an extremely successful and busy coaching and mastermind business.
She's also a self prescribed geek when it comes to maximizing time efficiency and more recently bio hacking - do it yourself biology optimization, so to speak.
Or as Jaime puts it - how to be a badass.
So here's our jam session on how to optimize your day and also how to take mini vacations through a variety of suggested activities we do, and that we also think should be on your list.
Natalie: So this is exciting! We are recording this in our lovely little room in Ketut's Place in Bali in Ubud and there's thunder and lightning happening and rain. This is cool.
I am sitting on the bed as you do, with my girl, Jaime Masters and we've been talking a lot over the last couple of days about treating yourself because yesterday we had a four and a half hour pamper session!
Thanks to Jaime, an early birthday present and it was amazing.
And I was like, "Why don't we do this all the time?" and then I think actually if you did that all the time you'd just be in bliss zone and you wouldn't get anything done.
Jaime: I think it can get boring after a little while.
Natalie: Yeah, but it was pretty amazing. Like we had several massages, we had a facial; we had pedicures, manicures, head massage, hair treatment, body scrub. And I was in and out of states of bliss, in an out of state of sleeping, dreaming, imagining, ideating. It's beautiful.
But what I want to just chat to you about, because I think you are really good at this with your full-time roster of amazing clients that you coach over at Eventual Millionaire and your business and your full time podcast where you are interviewing millionaires all the time. I mean you have one of the busiest schedules I know off plus you are a mom, full-time mom.
So do you want to just share a couple of the ways you treat yourself throughout the day because I think you do this really well.
Jaime: So first of all anybody that says that they don't have time, means that they don't want to. There is a great quote about that by Lao Tzu.
"Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to."
? Lao Tzu
So out of everybody I know, I am extremely busy. We need that time because we go crazy and nutso and when you get on that roll you are not efficient or effective in anything you do.
So lessons learned from me sort of going a little insane, to children, and to my business and everything else has led me to actually taking the time in between.
Even 15 minutes of going, "Ah! This is just for me and I don't have to do anything else."
So we talked about meditation before and I definitely do meditate a lot. Sometimes in small spurts.
Like I literally was just meditating for fifteen minutes while you were on the phone just now, because I feel like it gives me a deeper state of relaxation. I do that throughout the day quite often even at home in-between calls.
But just trying to take that time where you can actually shut off whatever you're crazy entrepreneur brain is saying and go, "Okay this is time that I don't actually have to think about that", because otherwise we will.
Our brain will just keep going forever and ever and ever. And so trying to pull those pieces out as best as you can, you know what I mean?
Natalie: And I think we started discussing this from the minute I landed in Bali and I think you did too.
We've both come off some pretty hectic schedules, me with house buying and packing up and book writing and helping my mom move and you with speaking in the Philippines, and having to do all the work around that as well.
I think we both got to Bali and we are just like, 'ahhhhhhh' and I just noticed instantly how my mind just quietened and I've done more yoga and massage in the last two days than I had probably in the last months.
So why don't we roll through, like kind of spit-fire out some of our favorite at home mini vacations we take during a pretty busy working day?
Jaime: Okay so for me, I have a routine at the beginning. I literally wake up before my kids wake up now, 5:30am in the morning. I am not a morning person as much as Hal Elrod told me to wake up in the morning.
I was like, "No I don't think so." It's literally only been the last four months or so.
Beforehand I would meditate right after I brought them to school, but I realized that it wasn't quite enough for me and I kept feeling like I had too much to do throughout the day when the kids are at school so I moved it.
And so far so good. I'm going strong but I am not a morning person!
Natalie: Thunder. If you have any of this, this is real Bali in the background. Just making it real.
Jaime: That was number one, so that was an evolution in my process. I have been meditating for a very long time and I was never like, "I have to meditate every day."
It's just I wanted to, I wanted to. It is something that I pull out.
I also do probably five to fifteen minutes in between whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or brain dead.
So when I do a lot, I batch everything and so whenever I do client calls, sometimes I'm like, "How can my brain stop functioning like it should?" and being in states of flow are way more productive in general, so I try and figure out ways.
There's a good book called Stealing Fire, it talks about hacking into the flow state that I was telling you a little bit about.
What can we do that makes us feel so much better that we can come back and hit the ground running instead of just feeling horrid and crazy?
Just what we were talking about this before too, like all day long nutso.
And so I'll do that, I have a pool in the back sometimes when it's nice out, I'll go jump in the pool and reassess things, especially during the day when I'm actually working on stuff.
At night time I'll definitely go, "This is my time! I am going to have a bubble bath.
I am going to do whatever I can possibly do to turn that piece off".
Because we don't make a conscious effort in general to turn it off.
Natalie: A bubble bath is so good. I am looking forward to potentially buying a spa and having a spa pool for night time relaxation.
I like the idea of a sauna, whether you go to one or have one at your place. Often gyms have a sauna so just even ten minutes sweating it out and just being present with your body is pretty amazing.
Other things are just dropping into fifteen, twenty, or a thirty minute yoga session during the day, and I love starting with five minutes of downward dog because it ultimately ends up being a lot more, and just giving yourself that space.
Also, when I have a dog which I am getting soon! I would just have cuddle time with my dog. I'd literally have a play time, go outside, throw the Frisbee, throw the ball, play.
You've got kids around you, you'd grab them, play.
Jaime: That's a funny thing. So sometimes I'm so back-to-back I like walking into the mailbox it's like my time. I literally go, "Okay I need some sun. I am going to go walk outside", because I literally only have like five minutes, like literally I am so scheduled.
No matter what the time is, it doesn't matter I think it's the intention behind it that makes a huge difference.
Because sometimes you can play with your dog and be like, "Oh that still didn't really help." But if you are really intentional about it, it makes--
Natalie: Throw the phone away for a minute.
Jaime: As hard as it is.
Natalie: Get back to nature. Sometimes just actually being outside and getting sun on your face is a really beautiful thing and just tune into the sounds around you.
Jaime: I go and I lay in my backyard. I have the pool and I will go and lay on the bed and feel like, because we have an outdoor bed, just sit there for five minutes and not even have to do a meditation or anything like that, but just sort of soak in the sun.
Natalie: The Vitamin D.
Jaime: Sometimes I need that big time. And then being able to sort of go; "Now I reset. Now I can go back in". Very helpful.
Natalie: We should caveat this with the fact that you are very efficient with your time. So it's not like you ever say, "I am really busy."
You are fulfilled. You are busy but I as you said you batch things.
Do you want to maybe talk people through kind of your working week so that... they do hear that you have time off, and time out and you are really good at, oh we didn't even mention it, you get regular massages? So do I but you get them every single week, yeah?
Jaime: Oh yeah.
Natalie: I think if you can you should even if it's half an hour.
Jaime: Well this is the thing I kept going, "Oh I don't have the time because I have kids and I can't... when can I get a massage when I don't have them. We'll I have to work during the school hours". All that craziness goes on in your head.
Let me just say, everybody can solve every problem pretty much.
So my massage person comes in at their bed time, my kids go to bed, massage person comes in and I literally go to sleep right afterwards.
Natalie: They come to your house?
Jaime: They come to my house. It's not anymore expensive either. And they will do it like nine o'clock at night which is insane.
Natalie: And then you just go to sleep?
Jaime: I just go to sleep. It's like the best ever. It's amazing but it's because I am so scheduled and so intentional with my time.
Because this is the thing too, it's not like I don't take a time off with the kids, it's that I have to be super effective whenever I am doing whatever I am doing.
I have a lot of things going on so a typical schedule for me ,and I make my clients do all this too.
I call it the master's schedule:
So it's 'working free' so within the time my kids are in school which they get out at three thirty. Then I have open space that I can actually fill in advance because I am one of those people.
But usually when I have the kiddos I'm done at three and then I don't work again unless it's like a crazy launch and I have to make an exception.
It's me like going for a walk with the kids or I try and get some of the more special, relaxing kind of time with them. Not that I don't have to do homework, not that I don't have to do all the other stuff, but it's just trying to have that space within the confinement.
How to take a quick daily vacation
Alright hopefully you have some firm ideas on how to take a daily mini vacation. To recap:
Before we bring back Jaime, as she's been delving into meditation for almost a decade but has upped her game in the last year with amazing results, let's say hello to Freshbooks
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Ok, let's dive into meditation.
So on a couple of the previous episodes I've been talking about meditation. And I have to say that I think we've only just scratched the surface on this and I am going to be doing a lot more work around this.
But having chatted to Jaime over the last couple of days intensely around her her meditation practice, I've seen this different side to it so I think I've always sat on the surface going, "What if I could just get five or ten or fifteen minutes a day?".
I know the benefits of meditation but I wanted to bring Jaime back because she's just sort of open my mind and blown my mind with the routine and the practice and the intention behind her meditation and how much is that impacting everything else.
So I haven't seen Jaime for a year and a half and this time around seeing her I turned up and I was like, "Oh my gosh! You are just more like grounded."
So here's a conversation we had about her meditation.
Natalie: So who is this Joe Dispenza guy that you keep going on about?
Jaime: Okay so I've been meditating for a really really long time and then I became a disciple. The reason why I found Joe is because I'd injured my foot and he wrote a book called "You Are the Placebo" and I didn't want to have foot surgery.
That's the thing it was for the problem-solution piece of it. I'd always meditated. I didn't even know his whole thing was about meditation.
Natalie: How did you find him?
Jaime: My best friend gave me the book. Because she had been following him for awhile. But I was just trying to solve whatever the heck that thing was. I didn't know how deep he goes into meditation about how your body can change itself. And so it makes sense with, You Are the Placebo, but I never linked meditation and that before which was really awesome.
Because before I thought it was, "I am a crazy, business entrepreneur that needs to get everything out of her head and feel okay" because otherwise I might have anxiety or whatever the pieces are. That's why I'd meditated before.
And then I found this thing and I was like, "Oh there's so much more to it than that!"
Natalie: And they are self-guided aren't they? Which I like because It's quite hard to just sit and not have thoughts. In fact, it's near impossible.
Even the monks after many decades of practice don't' do it super well but they are far better than us. And I think I'd like to be like walking down the beach listening to meditation and then there you were, I was having a surf lesson and you were walking down the beach listening to a self-guided meditation.
One where Joe got you to like ground your feet into the sand at one point, stop and just be. So I love the sound of that. Because I love walking and I like being active while meditating.
What happens in that meditation?
Jaime: So that one's really interesting. Joe has a bazillion different types of meditation. Some were shorter. This one's an hour and fifteen minutes. Some of our friends are like, "Oh surfing is so like that".
It was funny when I was walking, thankfully eyes open for quite a bit, I was looking at some of the surfers and just thinking about how amazing that is too.
There's a quite a few different pieces to his types of meditation. And so one is a big breathing aspect and then walking, where he doesn't have you do that because you look weird.
But what he does as you start walking, he has you start envisioning your future and then walking as your future self.
And imagining whatever happened that you want to have happened in the future as if it was a memory of the past.
So you are walking and he is like talking about how to think of this and think of that, and as you are walking you feel amazing, on top of the world type of person.
And then he has you stop and just close your eyes and imagine the feelings that you would feel: gratitude, joy - whatever those things are or affirmations are.
And literally, because your body's been walking and energized, already like to me it goes like crazy. It makes you really feel the emotions. And then you walk again.
And it levels up the emotional side of it. Levels up the feeling of, "Oh my gosh! This is what I'll feel like in the future."
Right, that confidence, whatever those pieces are. And so you are sort of stepping into what that is and it makes a lot more believable.
So as an entrepreneur I feel like, "Oh I want to speak on a stage at TEDx in front of a thousand people."
I was chatting with somebody when I spoke in the Philippines, she's like, "I love crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 people." And I was like, "Hmmmm. I haven't done that before. 10,000 people that's a lot of people. Wow, Okay great!"
She said, "The energy is just insane."
And so then I started going, "Let's imagine what that would look like. I'm sure I can do it".
And so in the walking meditation, I started bringing in some of those pieces. So when you start bringing in the pieces as if it already happened, especially the science behind meditation, it actually does.
Have you heard the piano player thing? They had a study where:
So the people would actually meditate on it. They never touched the piano, and they actually were just as good as the other people.
Natalie: When they finally went to play the piano?
Jaime: Yes which is insane.
Natalie: I've heard a few studies around stuff just re-visioning exercise on that.
Jaime: Yes. It gets your body in certain state. It's really interesting to see the studies because we are placebos by the way, right?
So we affect our thoughts and everything affects everything.
And I think entrepreneurs need to get this better and better and better.
It's not just clearing your brain it's all those thoughts that we think, that determine what we actually take action on, what we actually do.
All those beliefs or whatever you want to say whether they are subconscious or not.
When you start flushing those out, and you start imagining yourself.....
I've had a friend who hated speaking and then he did like a hundred different speaking gigs all in a row just to get over the fear and to get really good at it.
Well, you do a 100 of them and you'll get really good at it!
Imagine meditating on it a hundred days in a row instead of actually having to go do it. And again there might be a little bit of twinge when you do the first one but it's going to feel so much more natural even just the visualization of it.
And I've interviewed a ton of millionaires, 400 and something millionaires, so many of them bring up visioning, it's insane.
I was not woo-woo at all and I started going down this road and interviewing millionaires and I'm like, "How come everybody keeps talking about this?".
Because I really wanted to know and so then I started looking at the science behind it all. And then I'm like, "There's something to this", because I am a sciency kind of gal and then I've started implementing and doing it.
It has literally changed so many things and what I can see is possible moving forward.
Natalie: You mentioned that it's helped you, one being all grounded and not even noticed that visibly in you. You said your skin is glowing. You think you looked younger like not aging. What are some of the other benefits?
Jaime: There's a whole thing on epigenetics which if you read any of Joe's books. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson talks about epigenetics - our bodies and what we feel basically.
Because this is the thing, I don't think people really understand, and again the science is very very new behind all this. It hasn't really come out to the general population. If I say epigenetics, people are more like, "I don't have a clue what that is".
But your DNA actually can turn on and off based on your environment. And so it's not all like you were born like this and now we are like that forever, it's what you ingest, what you are doing, what you are thinking that all affects your body, which makes logical sense when you think about it.
We are not emotionless robots. All the pieces and parts really make a difference.
You've seen the president go from looking really really young beforehand and how the heck did he age so much in such a short period of time? Like the stress and everything.
And so it really affects your body. So you can do it in the opposite direction also. How can we change that?
Natalie: I was telling you about Josh's friend Rohan, his father from England who's been doing transcendental meditation for something like forty five years or more.
I haven't met him and I really want to meet him. I told you that right?
Because he is late 70s and he looks like he is in his 40s. He gets up at five a.m every morning. He does one to two hours of transcendental meditation with the music and all the vibrations and everything.
And he is apparently just super focused and onto it. He doesn't need much sleep. Just incredibly aware and has energy all day and that youth, that vitality and that absolute solidness around what he does and who he is.
He's absolutely precise and clear on who he is and what energy he gives off. So that fascinates me.
It does make me feel, yes you could change your state and you can change your entire DNA makeup.
By the way, did you know that when you get sunburnt you are changing the DNA? There's a whole science behind it which you'd love.
When you get sunburnt, your cells are exploding and we have billions of cells right, but they are exploding and each little explosion is shifting and changing your DNA. So overtime you can actually change your DNA of your body.
Jaime: Good way or bad way?
Natalie: I don't think sunburn is obviously good for you at all, but it's just more the point that scientists have seen that you are actually changing your DNA through that. So there must be other ways of changing your DNA.
Jaime: When you look up epigenetics and you'll see some of those pieces because it's insane to read some of the studies on this. I didn't realize this. I'm like, "Man!".
It is one of those things where it's such a new science so it seems a little woo-woo to people. It is with any sort of newer science.
Natalie: I know scientists needs the data and the facts but also I just want to see it's working.
Jaime: This is what I do, I'm like, "Well I'll test it and If I like it, I'll keep doing it and if I don't like it, then I won't."
But there's a lot of Charletons that are like, "Oh you do this thing and it's amazing!".
So that's what we have to be careful of, but to me I'll test anything and if I like it and I see results then I'll continue.
I care about the smarts and logic. And so meditation has allowed me to tap in way more and not just be a 'running around like trying to do everything head wise', but actually tapping into all parts of your body.
I never thought that your gut or intuition was a big deal until, again I heard so many millionaires going, "I went with my gut" and I'm like, "Wait! There's no real science behind that."
I'll put a spreadsheet together so I can look at all the facts, this is why I am so science based because I need something to make a decision. I would almost never go with my gut.
Natalie: Gut every time.
Jaime: See... but to me I didn't get the point of gut. I thought that that wasn't logic.
When you read like the book, Blank and we realize how amazing we are as human beings.
We can make an assessment on something without even necessarily knowing the facts and data.
Like that book was very eye opening to me because I was like, "Oh, maybe I do know more than logic will tell me and research and data."
And so realizing that, along with everything else tapping into that. You can shut yourself off big time. Most people do. Most of the clients that I talk to I ask "What's your gut saying?"
They are like "I don't know."
Natalie: Oh really? I do it all the time. The only time that I haven't sometimes is travelling, because I listen to my gut and instinct all the time in travelling. "Don't go down there" or actually "Don't take that bus".
Jaime: What does that feel like? Where? How do you do that?
Natalie: Literally like a strong sensation to not go ahead and buy that ticket. Where? It's a good point. You do actually feel it in your stomach and then I feel like it just triggers straight away to your brain with a no. I have voice in my head going, "That's not a wise idea." It's really crazy and I just listen to it all the time.
Jaime: I had heard this one place, and I have not verified sources but, what's interesting is they were saying that it's actually your heart that is making a lot of these decisions, and then going to either your stomach and then your brain and so it triggers all of them right? We sometimes think it's our brain first.
Natalie: It's literally like a decision and sometimes your body will stop. Sometimes your body will stop walking like 'you are not going to go down there, Natalie'. It's the fight-or-flight response that I feel kicks in and that is triggered by your immune system and/or your nervous system, so I guess your heart is the thing that's beating.
Jaime: We just don't know very much about our bodies though. Like it's kind of sad.
I am trying to teach my children like, "Okay. Where do you feel that in your body?" so that they can become more in tune because I never was.
I was like, what is that feeling? I would never go with my gut in general.
So knowing and being able to say, "This actually works."
I needed all the data from all the millionaires like, "Wait, you've went with your gut and that worked? Wow! Interesting."
It would be really interesting to ask which ones typically go with their gut and which ones don't.
Natalie: And where do you feel that in your body - that's an interesting question to ask anybody. Going on a bit of tangent here but asking 'how do you feel' and see what people's responses are, because if you ask a very pragmatic logic based person, they will go, "I am blah blah blah."
Jaime: Okay so this is my best friend, she had to ask me every single day. She goes, "How do you feel?" and I'd say, "Good" and she'd go, "Good is not a feeling."
"Great! I feel great!", she said, "That's not a feeling."
I didn't have the words to express it. I literally had one of those little cards that said all the emotions on it. But I couldn't find the nuances between the emotions because I didn't think it was a big deal. Like what does it matter?
Natalie: And it does matter.
Jaime: It totally does now I know. I am teaching my children this.
So tapping into intuition or tapping into your gut is an example.
I don't know what that felt like. I was like, "Huh! Nope. I got nothing."
The little nuances in anxiety or the little nuances in joy, the little nuances in things that I just never paid attention to. And yet we can be so much more expressive as human beings if you actually know that.
I had beforehand thought, "If I just negate all the bad emotions and only felt the good ones, I'll be happy in my world". I mean you know in entrepreneurship too, it doesn't work that way. Shit happens.
Natalie: It's a rollercoaster.
Jaime: Exactly. You have to mitigate all of it and sometimes the crappy stuff is teaching you the most and you have to be okay with those emotions because if you try and negate that you won't take the risks, even calculated risks.
You just won't make the steps towards that because you are so scared of negative emotions. It's an interesting thing.
Natalie: I think a lot of people live in the state of, "I'm okay. I'm okay. So I am not going to show any emotions."
And you asking me the other day, "Do you feel that you tapped into that? Are you emotional?"
I have my moments around my Dad because I was quite surprised that I wasn't more upset or just really in that state, but I do think it's because I focused on celebrating his life.
It doesn't mean I think I shut down my feelings. Like I will have my moments where I'll just cry.
As I told you I am big soak in movies. I'll just have waterworks in movies. I feel like a lot around animals and nature. I don't worry so much or sweat the small stuff but I often think about global issues or environment or inhumane treatment of animals or people. And that stuff gets me really emotional but I think there are so many people who are walking through life they are taking the drugs and numbing them.
Jaime: But that's the point right?
The placebo, the book is all about, you don't need to rely on what we think.
One of the reasons why we take a placebo and think it will work is because people have told us that it will work.
If a doctor someone of high authority goes, "This will work for you." Even if it numbs you like crazy, you are like, "Oh then half of it's probably the placebo effect and the pills don't even work."
So it's one of those things where us knowing ourselves better. If you are the type, "I am emotional in these sort of ways and I don't need to like make myself be emotional in other ways either", but knowing yourself better makes a huge difference.
So if you do get sick or whatever, trying to pay attention to what those emotions were within it and then solving that instead of going after like, "I just need more alcohol" or "I need more drugs".
Like when I injured my neck they gave me Hydrocodone and I'm like, "That's a lot!".
It's a narcotic. They gave me a lot of pills. I was kind of surprised. They gave me like three sets of pills.
Natalie: The United States scares me with what they give out. It's such a pill based society.
Jaime: And I was like, "So how do I fix it though?". It's one thing to numb the pain and I am okay with pain I can handle a lot of pain but how do I fix it? Nobody really went down that path which sucks.
Natalie: It does. Western medicine is very much like immediate solution where as I love the Eastern philosophy around preventing it before it's even happened.
Jaime: Yes but the thing is I agree a thousand percent but because we've already gone past the point.
So again this is western world but we are sold that we can have everything right now and this is why meditation is so important too. Because we are moving at a constant pace especially entrepreneurs. We are problem solvers and we wanted the problem solved yesterday not today.
And so a pill, sure! Faster, easier, more efficient.
Natalie: The headache was just from the hours of pampering and all the detox.
And when I was in that yoga class, that restorative yoga which I loved and I was having trouble with the hamstring pose and it was really like sinking in. Sinking into that pose and feeling the pain and I wanted to come out of it because we had to hold it for five minutes. And that's when she said, "If you are challenged by this pose, you probably have issues with control, because the control that you put into your everyday life will manifest itself into your basically your hamstring."
So the tightening there is the constant control or tension. And I think in intrinsically you know that but whatever we are holding any source of tension or pain or even love manifests itself in your body.
Jaime: So that's the whole point of Joe Dispenza, the whole point completely.
He was a doctor and he actually cut his spinal cord. It was like crazy he couldn't walk and he didn't want to have surgery. And all the doctors are like, "So you kind to have surgery to fix this", and he was, "I am not going to do it."
He meditated. And people were like, "Okay, you meditated your spinal healing. That's a little insane."
Natalie: Have he done meditation before?
Jaime: I don't remember. I think he must have done something. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be like, "Oh I am going to try meditation and see if this works."
He was a chiropractor so he knew the body really really well but what is interesting like you were saying is being able to have whatever is existing in our body usually is for a reason.
And unfortunately because we are problem solvers and we want to fix this so fast we just take the pill and go, "That will be okay."
But more and more instances of cancer, more and more instances of crazy stuff and we are going, "What's wrong?". Well yeah it's probably food and stuff like that too but there's so many things that we don't understand that us taking care of ourselves, like you said the eastern side of things could have probably prevented but now we are at this tipping point where we can't see the force for the trees anymore.
And so that's why it's great that he wrote the book called, You Are the Placebo because there's literally everybody going, "I have a problem. I need a solution." And so being able to show people, "Oh by the way, this could help this."
Natalie: I was going to say it sounds of ironic but I am about to say we have to take control or more importantly, we have to take responsibility because things are not going to get better.
We are going to have more and more technology. We'd be more and more connected. We are going to have more and more devices. We are going to have more multi-tasking. We are going to have more and more things in our life that are causing us to live lives in totally different way where we don't have peace, quiet, nature, reflection, timeout, thinking time, quiet time.
And so we just have to and that's why I am so proud of you because you are making time because you love it every morning to do your meditation.
Jaime: One I didn't love it. I couldn't sit for five minutes. I used to lay down because I couldn't sit up. So I couldn't sit up for that long and I hated the five minutes every single time.
It's just very much an evolutionary process. That being said I learned my own process.
A lot of clients are resistant because they are entrepreneurs and logical and my brain is way too crazy, "I can't do it Jaime". I was like, "I have the same crazy brain you do. I have ADD literally".
And so when we are looking at, "Okay what can you do as a first step?" We talked about five minutes of headspace.
And then what is that next step and what is that next step, I did this as part of the evolutionary process it to try to make meditation efficient.
I would get all the crap out of my head so that way I could feel like i could be more clear. David Allen's Getting Things Done, getting everything out of your head.
So I would do that piece along with having this inspired thoughts of, "Oh you know what I should do and this".
Natalie: You'd actually literally go sit down or lie down to meditate but then you'd have bing bing bing thoughts. So you'd actually then stop the meditation?
Jaime: I wouldn't actually stop the meditation. It's really kind of funny I had a eye pillow on and I'd literally have a journal right next to me and I'd scribble.
It's just like a twenty, thirty minute meditation, it wasn't a lot because I would only do the first piece like this. I would literally just go, "Oh!" and write those.
Changes of launch plans or the ideas that I have.
And then I would be able to clear and be a lot better.
So it's still guided meditation but this is what I have my clients do because in general they are like," I can't make it stop."
You know what makes it stop? Write all that crap down. And because David Allen talks about with getting things done, if it's still on your head it will keep reminding it. It will keep bringing it up.
So there you have it. This topic of Personal Freedom here on the Quest for Freedom Podcast continues to come back to freedom of the mind in so many respects.
I know I will continue to delve deeper into this. In the next episode I'll be discussing personal freedom from a place of less stuff weighing you down - as in decluttering.
Tune in for that one. And read the full show notes for this episode at nataliesisson.com/7
You can also sign up to get fresh, hip and timely email updates when I release a new episode. Or you can simply subscribe in iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud or Google Play and make my day - and hopefully make yours.
Wed, 15 March 2017
Let's dive into hacking happiness shall we....here's a snippet from me early in the morning when I grabbed my phone and recorded this:
So it’s like 4:22 am on a Monday morning in Wellington, New Zealand and I am wide awake, unfortunately, because my mind is going all over the place.
And it’s odd because I’ve had thoughts popping in from every single angle and I think this is pretty typical for what happens when you’ve got a lot going on in your head and a lot of the important things are coming off at the same time.
And everything that I was thinking about ultimately came back to why timing is so important and how to make the most of every single moment.
It was exactly 2 weeks ago yesterday, that Josh and I saw the house that we've now put an offer on that has been accepted. But is still not unconditional, which is the terminology we use in New Zealand to say that absolutely everything is going ahead and that the place will be ours once all the conditions have been met.
So basically it is saying there's no way you can get out of it and everybody should be happy.
And we've been waiting on banks and waiting on deals and playing the banks off against each other and getting paperwork together and culminating on finances.
And it just feels like to me as an impatient Aries... everything is dragging.
I just want the decision today and the lawyer to come back and say, "Great! Everything is gone unconditional. It's officially yours. You'll get to settle on the 5th of April and move in."
Which will be just two days after my birthday.
The irony around timing, as I mentioned, is not lost on me because that very day that we looked at the property, we also went back to look at another property that we were pretty set on. It was going to be a huge financial commitment, dare I say burden, if we went ahead and did it.
And alsoit was on 26 acres of land, which on reflection, is just something that I think is immensely scary to deal with for two city folk. And there was just so much work to be done on the land.
So interestingly on that day we went to look back at it, is the day that we decided the one we’d seen earlier was in fact the combination of our perfect wishlist.
The other reason why I think timing is so key for example is over this weekend just gone, in my preemptiveness, I went to the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
I was looking at dogs to adopt because I so desperately wanted a dog for the last seven years of being on the road, living out of my suitcase, but I’ve obviously never felt it’s fair to do that, and have never been in one place for long enough to even justify thinking about a dog.
I’ve instead dog sat and house sat and got my fix with every single dog that I’ve come into contact with.
And I was a little preemptive because I saw this dog on Friday and she was beautiful and so I went back Saturday and she already had an adoption pending on her.
And there was no way I could have done anything anyway because they typically try and get the dogs out of there in a week or so and get them fostered.
And so I was just way too early in my typical pre-planning and excitement and impatience as an Aries. It’s a good trait most of the time and sometimes it’s frustrating!
So I was like, “Okay, there’s a reason why I didn’t obviously get that dog and I wasn’t meant to have it”.
And then voila on Sunday morning I am browsing Trade Me which is a bit like Ebay and a bit like Gumtree depending on which country you are in.
And this beautiful new listing of Welsh Springer Spaniel pups popped up. And I immediately clicked on it because I’ve been refreshing this Trade Me listing all week.
And they’d only put it up the day before and only 2 of the 6 pups were left so I rang up immediately and said, “Is it possible to come out and see it today?” and she said, “Yup. We’ve been inundated with people.”
So I went out to see them in the afternoon and oh my goodness! I spent about 25 minutes there with these gorgeous pups which are only about 9 weeks old, super cuddly and sleepy.
The thing about it is, I am really hoping at this point that she’s going to pick me as one of the final two people to get a puppy.
She said I am at the top of the list because I’ve got a lifestyle property that we haven’t even got yet. (But we will have it!)
And that both Josh and I work from home and we are super active as well and that there will be plenty of space for the dog to run around but also good fencing, all these things tick the boxes.
And the fact the momma dog immediately bonded with me which she hadn’t seen nearly do with many other people at all.
Fingers crossed on those things and then I started there to go and look at a second hand piano. Also on Trade Me. And I got there and I played it a little bit even though I am super rusty at playing the piano.
And I was like, “I love it. I’ll take it.” And she’s like, “Well, no joke, three minutes before you arrived somebody put a bid on it”.
So now the auction has started in place. There’s no more buy now button. It’s an auction and you have to bide the time.
And I was like, “Uh! Timing is everything!”. Had I arrived at the time that I said I would, I will be now to hit the buy now button and then just hand her over cash and secure this beautiful old piano that had been passed down from her grandmother.
So now I just have to exercise patience once again and wait until that auction is up for grabs at the end of Wednesday when it closes. And hope that either myself (because I’ll be on a flight to Bali) or Josh can actually go ahead and bid for that and hopefully win the auction.
(Update: Am on the top of the reserve list for the puppies, two many awesome families ahead of me, and didn't get the piano as my autobid got outbid while I was flying on a plane!)
Timing is everything.
And then I woke up this morning, 2:30am and I was thinking about Portugal and my house over there and what to do about it. And the people who continue to contactme about renting it.
And I cast myself back to being in my house and thinking how lovely it would be to just wiggle my nose and be there and enjoy it a little bit more now that it’s all done up and looking beautiful. And how would that feel.
Then I thought about surfing and the local communities, and the cafes and my neighbor, Adelaide and just being back in Portugal.
I really wish you could wiggle your nose a little bit more and just be able to pop to the places that you love and be present.
And I also reflected that in this moment where timing is everything, that I am really happy in this moment.
And that’s what this episode is all about today, I’ve called it “Hacking Happiness”,
Well I’m pleased as punch to say that did indeed happen, not that day but the next one, when I went into full time hustle mode wrangling banks and my lawyer.
Yep we officially own this amazing property - all 359 sqm of it plus a 246 sqm big modern barn and 2.5 acres of land.
I posted on Facebook last night with a bunch of photos and the comments started pouring in. It’s gone nuts. Over 350 likes and 180 comments so far.
People are genuinely excited, care and are happy for me. For us.
The comments on my previous episode Changing Plans, also blew my mind too. I asked you to help choose my next adventure - A) stay and set up this lifestyle property, or B) go to Europe for summer.
Most people voted for me to choose to stay. I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me but there was real gold in people’s responses as to why, such as this one from Jeanie Miller”.
“So do you stay or do you go? In following you over the past few years, when I think of you, I think of Go! Go! Go! 'Go' is the usual for you. The change, and the challenge, may now be to 'stay'.
You are awesome at 'going', you wear it really well. How will you wear 'stay'? What new opportunities and learning challenges will you be blessed with by trying out a new gig called stay?
I don't think you want us to choose...like you said, I think you know the answer deep down inside. It sounds like you are ready to take your life up a notch or 10! Either way you go...you will rock it...and if you choose 'go', you will eventually come back to 'stay'. Hugs! Here's to your success!”
Or this from Terriane Palmer Peacock:
“I'm glad you chose or are choosing to stay, because that's what I felt sang from your heart. I love how you articulated Freedom is whatever you choose it to be, and it does change as you grow and evolve. This sounds like a brand new chapter of Freedom for you, and I'm intrigued to follow and support your journey. Plus the property looks absolutely divine! You can't beat a homestead in NZ for back-to-nature beauty! All the best!”
This is what this episode is all about - Hacking Happiness, because I believe it’s possible to do just that.
I also think we are often misguided about what makes us happy.
When I was at the SPCA on Friday looking at dogs to adopt, I found a beautiful young pup that I really wanted. I went back the next day with Josh and she already had an adoption pending on her.
While I had spent some time focusing on how cool it would be to have her in our lives and at our new property, my happiness was not dependent on the outcome. I wasn’t attached to her...yet.
I do however know for sure that I get so much happiness from dogs, and spending time with them. So rather than get caught up in the decision or outcome that didn’t happen.
I focused instead on the truth, and that when the time is right, the perfect dog will come into my world, for me to love and adore, teach and be taught and to go on adventures with.
It’s not an easy thing to do - stop yourself from saying “When I get fit I’ll do X, or when I earn X I will be happy”.
This is where Andrea Featherstone - a friend, former client and fellow freedomist comes in and shares her wisdom. Over at projectself.com.au, she is a Mindfulness Advisor and shows you how to live a Bloody Good Life!
Here’s what she has to say on this topic:
“When it comes to happiness, the very first thing we need to realise is that our mind - like every other part of our body - is designed to keep us alive, but not to keep us happy and not to keep us fulfilled. So our mind is wired to seek out more.
So no matter what we achieve or no matter what we get, we will always want more. Our mind constantly moves the goal posts of our happiness one step ahead of us; so we think, “Oh I just need that promotion and then I’ll be happy.”, “I just need to get a Boxer puppy and then I’ll be happy.”
So perhaps when you quit your job and you finally get your awesome freedom business up and running, it won’t be long (even though you don’t think it will be that way!) it won’t be long until you find that it's no longer enough to fulfil you... now you want a six figure income, and now you want a seven figure income, and then you want to own a super yacht and then you want to be famous etc...
I’ve worked for some of the richest billionaires in the world and they still just want more.
They want to keep building bigger and bigger super yachts and spending their money on ridiculous things just to try and get themselves happiness and fulfilment but because their mind always moves the goal posts to the next step, it never lasts.”
Sound familiar to you? Can you resonate? Do you know of someone who is never happy with where they’re at? Always wanting more?
Back to Andrea…this is important so listen carefully:
“Our mind is wired to always want more because it's like a squirrel basically, hoarding nuts, like trying to save all the nuts in case we have a potential famine or war.
Our mind has not yet evolved to recognise that we are living in an era now where anyone lucky enough to be listening to this, is living well above the survival line and no longer has to seek more, more, more just to be a buffer for future wars or famines. Hopefully.
So what is this mind that keeps self-sabotaging us? You know, the guy that keeps making us procrastinate and stops us doing the things that we know would bring us more happiness.
The activity that shows up in brain scans when we are thinking, what I’ll call for this episode ‘our mind’, is spread all over various regions of our brain and these areas are collectively known as the ‘default mode network’.
So when our ‘default mode network’ is activated it means our mind is wandering i.e we are on autopilot and our mind has wandered off to thinking about the past or the future or whether that hot guy over there is looking our way.
Basically we are thinking about something other than what we are doing.
Now the key problem that we face is in the scientific name given to the mind: ‘default mode’. Mind wandering is our default mode.
It’s estimated that the average human is lost in thought between 50-80% of the day and around 70% of those thoughts (for most people) are negative, which is why we have what’s called the negativity bias, which is again a function of our mind’s orientation towards survival rather than happiness.”
That’s a whole lot of negativity right there - no wonder we get down on ourselves!
In my mind (pun intended), there simply is no other way than to be present, and be grateful for right here, right now. Cos quite frankly that’s all you have.
Through this entire 2 weeks of dealing with banks, and financials, and getting together screeds of information to present a good case for a loan, and waiting for answers….which went on and on, Josh and I were really good about focusing on our gratitudes each night and what we were excited and happy about.
We knew we’d get the outcome we wanted eventually, and we focusing on being present in the right now and enjoying what we were learning from the process together (as this is Josh’s first house buying expedition), and my 6th!
I thought I’d quote from an article that Derek Sivers recently wrote called Think Like a Bronze Medalist, not Silver
Imagine what it’s like to be the silver medalist. If you were just one second faster, you could have won the gold! Damn! So close! Damn damn damn! You would keep comparing yourself to the gold winner, full of envy.
Now imagine what it’s like to be the bronze medalist. If you were just one second slower, you wouldn’t have won anything! Whoo-hoo! You would be thrilled that you are officially an Olympic medalist, and got to stand on the winner’s podium at all.
Comparing up versus comparing down.Your happiness depends on where you’re focusing.
The metaphor is easy to understand, but hard to remember in regular life. If you catch yourself burning with envy or resentment, think like the bronze medalist, not the silver. Change your focus.
Instead of comparing up to the next-higher situation, compare down to the next-lower.”
So true right?
In my research on happiness, I came across, amongst a bazillion resources and references, an article in the Observer by Benjamin Hardy.
He wrote about an example I could totally resonate with, having flown hundreds, no probably over a thousand times in my life:
“Several years ago in an interview with Conan O’Brien, Louis C. K. tells of flying on a newly equipped Wi-Fi airplane. He was amazed by the new technology. Until, during the flight, the Wi-Fi went down.
Immediately, the man next to him became extremely upset. “As though the world owes this man something he only knew existed 10 seconds ago.”
Louis C. K. continues by describing people’s absurd frustrations with flying in general. People complain about it all the time “It was the worst day of my life! It took 20 minutes to board! We had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes!”
We hear complaints like these all the time. As if we’ve forgotten how incredible it is that humans can fly at all.
How are we so quick to take for granted the remarkable things going on in life?
Why is it so easy to complain?
Why do we focus on the negative?
Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.
However, happiness can easily be achieved even without the brilliant advances in the world.
If you are unhappy with your life, who or what else can you blame than yourself? And if you can blame someone or something else, how is blame going to make your life any better?
Bad stuff happens to everyone. But life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you proactively respond.”
He went on to list out these 10 behaviours, that if applied, will change your life and let you be an incredibly happy person.
I’m going to focus on just 3 that stood out for me.
Define Your Own Success And Happiness
This carries on from what Derek Sivers was saying:
“No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.
Instead, you recognize that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us—and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.”
Commit 100 Percent To The Things That Make You Happy
“Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.”—Clayton Christensen
“People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made.
Unless you’re committed 100 percent, you will always be a victim to external circumstances. By relying on willpower, you’ll crumble more often than you think. Research has found that people over-inflate their own performance. Chances are, you probably think you’re doing better at your resolves than you really are.
But once you’re 100 percent committed, you no longer need to rely on willpower. Your decision has already been made regardless of the circumstances. Saying “No” to anything outside our highest ideals becomes extremely easy. This is living proactively rather than reactively.”
I think I practice this really well. I focus on exactly the outcome I want, 100%. I’ve manifested virtually everything happening since we started looking at properties and they’ve come off so far.
I catch myself daydreaming in the glorious vision on walking on our land, with a dog alongside us, the sun shining, the birds singing and nature surrounding us. I visualized walking through the house, cooking meals there, wine by the fire…. in detail.
Visualization is a really powerful method I’ve dabbled with in Ultimate Frisbee and also in speaking, and I realize I do it a lot more now in business in life to get what I want!
Sure I’ve waivered a lot during this house process, pointing out what might happen, thinking about what might not happen too, because that way I can deal wtih the consequences if something doesn’t work out.
Josh and I ran through the worst case scenario if our offer didn’t get accepted and immediately after we both felt happier for whatever outcome, even though we knew which outcome we wanted!
The third behaviour is this:
Be Grateful For What You Already Have
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”—Sarah Ban Breathnach
“Happiness is as simple as gratitude. Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Despite these benefits, most people ungratefully focus on what they don’t have. As a culture, we have become wasteful and undisciplined consumers. The grass is always greener on the other side. A constant pursuit of having more of the newest and best.
How could you possibly find happiness when you relentlessly want more and never properly appreciate what you have?
It’s time for you to learn how to be more grateful. Your happiness depends on it. Dr. Emmons, one of the world’s leading experts on gratitude recommends 10 ways to become more grateful:
Keep a gratitude journal
Set aside time on a daily basis to recollect moments of gratitude connected with commonplace events, your personal characteristics, or important people in your life. This allows you to weave gratitude into your normal, everyday life. This will help you move from trying to be grateful occasionally to becoming a grateful person. The goal is to move from doing to being.
Remember the hard and challenging things you’ve gone through
When you ponder and reflect on the challenges you’ve passed through, you’ll more fully embrace where you currently are.
Ask yourself these three questions
You can reflect on any aspect of your life and deeply consider these three questions:
These questions will allow you to look at the people or things in your life from a different perspective. They will allow you to not take them for granted and to realize how grateful you are.
Learn prayers of gratitude
In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer. These prayers turn the individual to their highest source of power. It allows them to realize the divine grace that has so generously been bestowed. It also allows the person to seek for higher and better ways of living.
Come to your senses
Literally, connecting more deeply with our body allows us to see it for what it is: a brilliant and miraculous gift. Being more fully present as we touch, see, smell, taste, and hear facilitates appreciation for being human and alive. In this way, gratitude intensifies our lived experience.
Use visual reminders
The two main impediments to gratitude are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness. Consequently, putting visual reminders in common places triggers thoughts of gratitude. Dr. Emmons has found that the best visual reminders are people.
Make a personal vow to practice gratitude
Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Consequently, you should make a personal and public declaration that you are going to be more grateful. Write it down. Share it on social media. Tell your friends and closest people.
Watch your language
Grateful people use words that ungrateful people don’t use. They often use words like gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. Use these words in your vocabulary more and you’ll recognize more things to be grateful for. Additionally, in your language, don’t focus on how inherently good you are. Rather, speak of how good things and other people have been for you. This will allow you to realize the abundance around you. The universe and everyone in it is your advocate.
Go through the motions
Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude. When you do these things, you trigger the emotion of gratitude in your life. Say thank you more often. Say you love people more often. Smile at random strangers as you pass them by. Not only will it make you feel better, it is contagious. People are mirrors. They’ll feel good and smile back. This will create a change reaction of positivity throughout the world. The ripple effects are endless.
Think outside the box
Dr. Emmons recommends creatively looking for new situations and things to be grateful for. What in your life have you not spent time being grateful for? What could you include in your life that will generate an inflow of gratitude? Mix it up. Don’t think gratitude can only come from a narrow set of sources.”
I hope you feel happier. And I hope that you have some tips, tactics and strategies to put into action to feel more happy on a daily basis.
Have you noticed that all of these things are ridiculously simple too? So why don’t we actually do them more often? Let’s all do this shall we?
Also if you want to take it a step further check out Andrea’s 6 day free Mindfulness Challenge atprojectself.com.au/mindfulness-challenge
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Wed, 8 March 2017
So the Quest for Freedom goes on.
I know in this episode I was going to talk about some of the life changing moments that I experienced at New Frontiers and Enspiral Summerfest but given that this episode's name is called "Changing Plans", I've changed my plan for this week!
And the reason for that is pretty simple.
I've been tossing up between two completely different paths that I can take and as I mentioned to you when I started the Quest for Freedom, I did say there'd be an element of choose your own adventure in it.
Now I'm pretty close to making this choice but there is still some sway here, some room for you to have your say.
And so, today's episode is about why it's okay to change your mind. Why you can choose to change your mind and why you are free to change your mind. And of course as always I would love your feedback on this episode.
It all kind of started recently. If I am really honest I've talked about this decision to take a business sabbatical this year and while I am still doing that, the business sabbatical itself has changed quite a lot in my mind.
I think at the time I made that decision I was very much like, I am so over 7 or almost 7 years in business and I am over doing all these things and I am just wanting a break.
And as I've stepped away from my business a lot of people have asked me, "How are you doing it".
I am happy to explain that in this episode, but as I've removed myself bit by bit, I've realized it's actually pretty hard to remove yourself from your own business when your business IS you. When you are a personal brand.
Had I chosen to go into the software development business, or a kind of a customized service that was part of a team and not dependent on me, it might have been way easier.
But I realized that some of my stuff is actually flawed, because the key things that I guess I give to my business, that are sort of irreplaceable (and I am not saying that from an ego driven perspective at all), but the things that I bring to my business that nobody else can really replace are the social capital that I have.
The relationships that I have with friends, with influencers, with partners, with companies who have been on this journey with me as I've grown my business, who have supported me along the way.
Where we've done promotions together, we've partnered together on really cool education aspects and we've gotten to know each other at conferences, at events and experiences.
And that's stuff that you just can't hand over to somebody else that's coming in to replace you.
You can't just say, "Hey! Here's this awesome person that will be dealing with you now." It just doesn't really fully cut it.
This is by no means me hanging on to my baby or holding on to my business. This is the reality of things.
The things that drive revenue on my business all come down to relationships.
I've even noticed a little in my community just with saying, "Hey! I am going to be on a sabbatical!", that people have been really supportive of it and saying things like, "Hey Natalie! That totally aligns with who you are and what you always preach to us."
But I also feel there's been a little bit of a drop away from people in the community, like just this general dip, and I am going to be straight up honest here. - my business over the last couple of months took a bit of a dive.
I think part of it was related to the brand new website, which was received extremely well. But changing hosting companies and SEO rankings kind of going down the toilet with that change ...well we always knew that there'd be this momentary aspect when some of the rankings would drop and things would decline but then they'd stabilize.
We also switched over to all new systems ConvertKit, Teachable, Clickfunnels and while I think they've been an excellent change, there's just that hand over time, in that change over there's things clicking together and sticking together and working.
And all of that combined being done all at the same time, kind of played havoc with the business.
I think that in combination with the community kind of going "Where the heck is Natalie at?" in combination with 'energy in versus energy out'.
I am a big believer that the more energy you put into something, the more energy you are going to get out.
"If you do a half-hearted job, you'll get a half-hearted result. If you go all in, you'll get amazing results."
And so I think those three sets of combinations all affected the business. And had you talked to me a couple of weeks ago, I might have said:
"You know what? I am not sure I can take a business sabbatical".
Things have kind of changed the minute I made that decision and made it public. Things changed - it was like my business said to me, "Well, if you are buggering off, I might bugger off too."
So the good news is that recently things have started looking up again and stabilizing and you know, the business is pretty self-managing. My awesome, humble, nifty, agile and talented team are doing a great job. They know what they are doing.
And I, as CEO and founder of my company, I am happy to step aside to a point, but I've also been somewhat reinvigorated (ironically) with the business.
I still love my community. I still love what I do and I think just even the thought of taking a break from it gave me a break from it.
Does that make sense?
Have you ever experienced that in your business?
Like when you kind of put everything in place to go 'I am going to step back for a bit', and you think about how is that going to feel and what it's going to look like.
And you start removing yourself a little.
You take a little less responsibility.
You put more responsibility onto others.
They do a great job.
You see things starting to work and you just ease off a little bit and you place time and importance on other things: new networks, new relationships, new friendships, new areas of learning.
And it's like you are already having a bit of a refresher. It's kind of like you are going on a mini holiday in real time.
I guess that is what's happened to me in the last couple of weeks.
So as I said I thought I'd bring in some snippets from New Frontiers, but I don't think this is the episode to do it in. I am going to bring that in in the next episode.
Because today's topic is all about changing plans and why it's totally cool if you want to change your mind.
And this is where I want to insert a little message from one my community members, Kim Morrisson, because she posted on my Facebook page the other day and I asked her to turn her comment into this audio message. So it could be included in this episode and here is what she said:
"Hi Natalie, Kim Morrisson here from Portugal. First congratulations on your book deal, so exciting! I loved reading your original Suitcase Entrepreneur book. In your Facebook Live, you said that it's as if the world is opening up some fantastic new opportunities for you. And as a result you haven't rethink what your plans for this year might be.
While I accept it, we need to plan in order to achieve our goals or we can drift aimlessly. Isn't being able to change exactly what freedom is all about? The ability to change direction, follow your heart, rather than stick to what you originally planned otherwise we are just locked into a world that we can't move from.
After all, your lifestyle property was one of your goals anyway. Maybe not in your plan for this year but does that really matter? I believe that your true freedom is actually having the opportunity to choose what you want to do and the direction you're going. And that of course can change. I hope that helps."
And I sat back and I thought, you know what Kim, you are actually right.
Like I'm always attempting to do the right thing, to be a guide to others, to show people the way, to prove that you can do whatever you want, that you get to design your lifestyle and you get to design your business to support that lifestyle.
And in doing so I kind of feel like I've become a little bit of my own poster child for be adventurous, be free, travel the world, do whatever you want.
And one thing that I wanted most was just to:
I realized that was okay. That was more than okay, because that's what my heart desired.
Yet somewhere in this bubble of my intuition, in my years of experience in building this brand of adventure and freedom, I thought that might not be okay.
So thank you to Kim for bringing that up, and for the multitude of awesome people in my community and my friends and my networks, who have all been really supportive of this decision to step away from the business and to go on a business sabbatical.
And so when you next hear from me, I might have some very exciting news.
At this point of my time, I have two options:
The first option, which I am going to tell you right now is the one that I thought I'd naturally be taking. At the start of the year I thought, "Great! I'll hand over, train people up, get the business to a point that come first of April, my birthday month, I am going to take that entire month off for sure (and probably several months after that). I am going to go to Bali and run my retreat. I am going to celebrate my birthday in Bali with my family and friends and then I am going to head on to Portugal and surf and read books. I am going to go to Tony Robbins in London. I am going to stay in Europe for summer. And then I'll come back to New Zealand, kind of like I do nearing summer. And just take it from there."
Sounds tempting I know.
And then the second option was, "No I am going to commit and I am going to stick around in New Zealand. And I am going to build a community in my hometown of Wellington, where I grew up, but actually don't really have a strong base of friends and people because I've been away for 10 years."
That sounds really appealing. The sense of community on the ground. Not just globally, not just online and not just having to travel so far to meet people that I care about, but right here in my hometown.
And I've been away long enough that that excites me.
And then I thought I'd take that further like:
All these things that came into the light.
What about living in one place for more than three months at a time? What about owning a place that feels like a real home?
Not that my apartment in Wellington isn't awesome, but it's kind of.. I am a little bit in transition when I am here. I've had Airbnb guests all the time. I've been away a little bit and even though I have loved having it as a base because it's right in the heart of the city, it's awesome.
But it's not a home with nature on your doorstep. It hasn't got animals right there. It's not a real home. It doesn't have a fireplace. You know?
Not that you need a fireplace to have a real home but.. I don't know why I said that. So there are my two options.
And if I was to allow you to choose my own adventure, I'd say this.
I can almost hear you guys kind of going, "What the heck?". Those are two such different decisions... and they are.
This relates back to probably the first episode where I talked about what is a quest? And even the second episode where I sort of talked about this paralysis by analysis. This paradox of choice that you actually need limitations in order to be free.
Because when you have no limitations it can actually be quite devastating, which sounds so freaking ironic. But earlier this year when I had these big choices to make I was really in limbo.
I was just wishing somebody would give me a limitation. Say to me, "Natalie you need to stay in New Zealand for a whole year."
If somebody has said that to me I would be like, "Okay, great!".
Now I have a limitation, what are my freedom aspects within that? What can I do within that limitation? And I was like, "Oh my God! I could explore all of New Zealand. There are so many things within this country."
If they'd said, "Natalie, you have to stay in Wellington". I would have been like, "Great!".
Even more of a limitation, but with so much freedom within that because the thing about limiting the number of decisions you have to make actually gives you more freedom.
That's why Steve Jobs used to wear the exact same outfit to work everyday. So he didn't have to think about or make a decision or spend time on what his wardrobe was.
That's why people like bodybuilders eat the same thing every single day, which might seem really odd to you and me and boring, but they know exactly what they are going to eat, they know how to prepare it. It's satisfying, it's nutritious, it's probably tasty, it's one less thing to think about.
And I know when I was doing my body sculpting competition, I got into such a great routine being at the gym at 5:30 every single morning. Similar food every single day: chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, eggs.
It actually made it incredibly freeing, because if I think back on that time I had very few decisions to make and that freed up my time to be able to do more thinking, to engage more in the work that I was doing.
It allowed me to be more present for people around me because I wasn't filled with, "Where do I need to travel next? What do I need to book? How do I book the accommodation? Who do I need to see? How do I get there? What should I pack? How can i do this? How can I do that? How do I run my business at the same time? Who do I need to speak to? What timezone am I on?
Like seriously, it gets exhausting.
First world problem I appreciate, but one that I am kind of ready to put a little hold on.
I want fewer decisions. I want less freedom (weirdest thing ever but just stick with me). I want less freedom so that ultimately I have more freedom in the things that I really want to do.
If that didn't really make sense to you I would love for you to listen to episode 4 where Connie and I talked about why freedom has dropped off her values list. It used to be number 1, it's not even on it anymore.
We talked about why wanting freedom so much can actually make you a slave to it.
Now I just want to bring your attention to a short snippet about how to think less and live more - analysis paralysis. And this is by Preston Smiles, who's a pretty big motivational guy on Youtube who does sort of beautiful poetry to get you to think about life abundantly.
This one I thought was just so pertinent what I am discussing here. How to think less and live more, let's hit it:
The key part I've included in my podcast audio is this:
"You got to do something. You got to step up in your life and jump! So many people are sitting on the fence of life: watching and waiting and trying to figure out if it's time. Well, it's never going to be the right time. The right time is now. Now, now, now, now! Every time.
Don't wait for the right job or the perfect mate or the right money. "I got to pay my mortgage off before I live". "I am going to take that trip two years from now when I get the right job".
Live it now! Because you never know, you never know when that day comes.
We all have an expiration date and I have seen it too many times where people die with the dance still in them. We don't want to die with our dance still in us.
You want to die with it all out on the field. You want to know that you left it all out on the field."
So that's where I am at. I am at this point of the time is right, right now.
I don't feel like I've ever been a person to hold back on life. I feel like I've lived it to the full but one thing I've noticed on my journey through adventuring around the world is this absolutely desire.. just hear me out on his.. to have a dog.
I am a big animal lover and for those of you who have travelled with me, or been with me in person you will know that I pretty much stop and say hello to every single dog no matter what.
Like I got ringworm from a dog in the Caribbean because I was patting this stray dog and I didn't realize I got that. But the point is you know, I am not afraid of dogs. I love them to bits and they just strike out this emotion of happiness in me and playfulness and abundance that I love.
And I've realized it for the last couple of years I've been talking about, "Oh I'd really love a dog, but you can't travel with a dog when you're living out of a suitcase."
And I thought about it in the last couple of months, around Christmas time and I was like, "Well, Nat, you get to make a choice here. If you really want a dog then you need to adapt your lifestyle to have one in it."
And it's not like dogs are a huge problem that means you can never travel again. I have plenty of people that I've actually had as case studies in my book and on my blog who travel with their dogs every three months, they go somewhere different.
They go through the immigration and the forms for the dog and they come with them. And I'm like, "Awesome!".
You know, it's a bit more work but they get to have their lovable pooches with them. I've done house sitting where I've absolutely adored being with dogs and cats and any other animal.
I was like, if you don't make time for this what if tomorrow never happened and you never had that opportunity to have a dog in your life again.
I've had a dog once in my life for about a year when I bought my first house. I was a lot younger and it was just a lot of responsibility and I loved Zoe to bits, but I rehoused her with an awesome family and a little dog when I sold my house a year later.
We had the coolest adventure year together. We were like best buddies. She is a beautiful dog, a Huntaway German Shepherd X, and just the lickiest, cuddliest dog in the world.
But that was ages ago, that was 2002 and I thought about it and I was like, "Is my lifestyle actually stopping me from the very things that I want to be in it?".
So dog is one of those things I want to be in it.
The second thing that I want to be in it is nature. Nature on my doorstep. I want the ability to have a garden. I want to have an orchard. I would like to grow my own vegetables. I would like to get into organic farming.
I would like to understand and learn more about permaculture, which came to my attention big time at New Frontiers. I would like to build tiny houses. You guys know I am a minimalist. I would really like to understand how to build a tiny house. I would like to put tiny houses on my land.
I would like to help with the housing shortage around New Zealand and actually frankly, around the world.
And this just stemmed into a bigger and bigger and bigger vision that all started with sticking around in one place and following my dreams. So did you choose page 45 or page 72?
Let me know in the comments below.
And now I am going to divulge a little secret, I may have put an offer on a lifestyle property with Josh on Monday night, February 27th.
What the heck is a lifestyle property?
A lifestyle property sounds really fantastic doesn't it? It sounds like you're just going to live the dream. You are going to have an awesome lifestyle. You are going to relax with your pool and your tennis court and your beautiful house and your block of land.
But for most people who I know who are on a lifestyle property, it means you are taking on a project and a lot of work. So it might sound like you are going to sit back and relax and live the lifestyle but ultimately you are making a big decision.
So the property that we have put an offer in is over a million dollars (Crazy!).
It has over a hectare of land which is around 2.5 acres.. It has four bedrooms and two bathrooms and just beautiful space and a really lovely entertaining area and a deck built the whole way around it.
It has ability to host family and friends which a the big thing on our must have list. It has a beautiful garden that can be even more beautiful if I get my hands on it and figure out how to garden. My mums an amazing gardener.
And it has a massive barn/implementation shed which the minute I saw it. I was like, "Oh! Co-working space. Oh! Tiny house creation. Oh! Crossfit gym. Oh! Office. Oh! So many things. Art workshop. Oh! holding events and retreats. So you know whatever I look at here in my life is always a business element to it.
And excitingly we saw this house on a Sunday. We put in an offer on the Monday. Our offer got shown on the Wednesday. It got accepted on the Friday. And it is subject to somebody else who has put an offer in the house who have to sell the property first.
So at the time of this recording we get to hear one way or the other: whether we got it and the other contract was relinquished or whether we didn't.
And either way I am okay, because this entire process of looking at properties, figuring out our wish list together of what's really important to Josh and I, of going through financial analysis of how to afford this - because that is a pretty big financial commitment, even for two people, has been great!
Understanding the commitment behind this like looking after the land, tending to a vegetable garden, creating an orchard, having animals like chickens and dogs and maybe more, as well as maintenance on the house, maintenance on the land and furnishing a house that's a lot bigger than I am used to as a minimalist with really not much to my name - it's all quite the change.
So pretty massive endeavor here, but I realized in this entire process of going through this analysis with Josh and doing a weighted matrix on what's important to us and non-negotiables and everything that we wanted if this was our dream property, has proven to me big time that I would drop everything in a heartbeat to have a lifestyle property in New Zealand right now.
Right here, right now. Right here, right now. You know that song. If you don't know that song I am not just singing to myself.
That is super exciting to me and I guess I just want to ask you this question right now is:
What are you putting off or telling yourself that you think you want? When you might be wanting something entirely different.
What are you not living up to in your life right now or pushing down the priority list because you think that you have to be a certain other way?
Or you think that you should be dealing life in a different way. Or you think that you need to be supporting other people before you support yourself first.
It's your Freedom plan. It's your quest for freedom. You have the right to change your mind. You have the right to choose.
And as you know this whole quest in Season 1 is about personal freedom and for me that is very much coming back to being present, being mindful, being grateful, being happy and choosing the best version of freedom for me in this moment.
And that's exactly what I want for you.
So if you've enjoyed this, if you want to weigh in on this, If you want to help me choose my own adventure even though you pretty much know that I've made up my mind - then comment below and have your say!
Plus tune in next week for hacking happiness.
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