Just before starting my business, I had what I would describe as a stuffy research job. An ivy league university employee, it looked good on paper. But good god! It was all wrong for me.
In theory I could have hunkered down like those around me were doing, and embraced the cushy life of a retirement-track university employee, though I never seriously considered it. My soul would have needed to die to endure that haul. I was adamantly unwilling to be another retired zombie who played it safe.
My mantra was, “For now, not forever.”
Often, while sitting at my desk, just feet from where my supervisor sat, I’d be chomping at the bit waiting for the clock to hit 5:00 so I could leave. More often than not, I’d finished my work hours earlier, but I was clock-bound nonetheless – something I always found stupid, belittling, and maddening.
I strongly dislike being micro-managed, and the rigidity around how, when, and where I did my work felt utterly confining. Maybe you relate?
While others did a good job at looking busy, I was planning my escape, fueled by a disgruntled disdain for the need to pretend.
I distinctly recall staring at a crack in the wall and fantasizing about being a spider that could sneak through the crack and escape.
This inspired my Halloween costume that year, Tara the spider.
In an attempt to make it fun and keep my spirits up, I told myself, “Tara, you love Halloween and theater, so put on your research assistant costume (which generally involved a plain button-down shirt) and go play the part of a 9-5 university employee.”
This privately held inside joke – with myself – helped me to reel in my bad attitude.
“For now, not forever,” I reminded myself. “Pretend that this is all just a character study aided by a boring costume and unnecessary meetings.”
This helped. But as much as I love Halloween (a lot), I didn’t like wearing the same costume five days a week!
Have YOU ever felt like you were wearing a costume or playing a role meant for someone else??
Truth is, I’d had quite a bit of practice. It wasn’t the first time I felt this way.
As far back as I can recall, I’ve felt like I was being asked to fit into a mold that simply didn’t fit. From very young, I’d always questioned parents, teachers, bosses, even friends, about status quo expectations and norms that seemed foolish to march in step with when there were such obvious alternatives – to me, at least.
I soon learned they weren’t obvious to everyone, which had me feeling that much more like a rare bird in a cage.
In a very real sense, when, in 2004, I decided to start a location-independent business and chart my own course, it was the beginning of the rest of my life.
I dreamed of having the freedom to travel when and where I pleased. From day one in my business, I worked with clients remotely — even if they lived in the same city! Back then, smartphones weren’t in every pocket, the internet was not accessible everywhere, internet marketing wasn’t mainstream, and the term “digital nomad” had not even been coined.
I’ve helped thousands of people, spanning five continents, to go beyond striving and wishing and “someday-ing,” to create a life they truly can’t wait to get up and out of bed for in the morning – a life and business they don’t need a vacation from. And yet even all these years later, it’s work I still love.
I assure you, I know how it feels to be cast in a role that, in your heart of hearts, you know will always feel confining or contrived, and will only lead to restlessness, frustration, and dissatisfaction.
Determined not to live this way, I broke free.
I learned how to manifest horizons and implement energy management tools that changed my life forever. I cracked the code on travel and mobility, making the world my office and busting the myth that home is a zip code. I learned how to build a business from the ground up and create wealth on my own terms.
Today I help clients master and create these very things.
And I no longer wear unwanted costumes.