When people ask me the secret behind paying off my debt, quitting my job, and building an e-commerce business from my laptop that did over $1.2 million in revenue in the last two years, I keep thinking they are talking to me by mistake. None of this feels real.
On paper, it shows that I’m “successful.” I interviewed over 115 creative entrepreneurs. I paid off over $15,000 in debt. I sold all of my belongings. I created an Amazon business. I retired my career. I created The Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle. I live a freedom lifestyle.
The truth is, the “I” isn’t singular. I’m a reflection of the 115 people I interviewed. I’m a combination of every person who influenced me along the way. I’m a reflection of their habits, projecting back into the world. I showed up. I visualized. I meditated. I wrote down my visions and stamped them with dates. Every day, I took action to move toward those visions. Every day, I studied those who did big things before me. I removed fear and doubt from my mind. I was fucking scared, and I had panic attacks. I spent over five months with stress-induced vertigo in which I felt like I was someone completely different. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel like myself again. I couldn’t go in public or have conversations because my vision would start fading black. Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, but I was a raw mess. It was scary, and real, and purely fueled by stress.
But I simultaneously learned powers to combat fear, and with meditation and continued visualization, I ignored the gremlins that played tricks on my mind. I kept going. I kept doing two things every day to move toward my vision. I kept studying others. I kept climbing.
The simple truth is, I wanted it more than anything else in the world, and I gave up plenty of other awesome parts of life to create it. I took risks that were absolute lunacy simply because I believed I would succeed. I put over $70,000 on credit cards to kickstart my business RIGHT AFTER I got out of personal debt simply because I believed in the metrics I was studying. I believed in the people with whom I surrounded myself.
It was the energy. It was my surroundings. I was willing to eat rice and beans on the side of the road if all went haywire. I accepted my risk and I made peace with it. I accepted that everything I had ever worked toward in my traditional career was going to be cut at the line. I knew it would feel impossible. I knew it would be fucking insane. But I had cheerleaders who were living the impossible, and their insanity made me feel normal. I found people who were doing all those things tradition says you can’t do. I made mistakes every single day, and I learned from the lessons.
While it’s true that I do indeed work for myself, on my own hours, and travel the world as I please, I’ve simply studied and adopted habits and strategies from other incredible people I’ve encountered along the way. I know that’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s true. Entrepreneurs who create freedom don’t have a magic pill. We aren’t part of some secret society that exchanges sacred information to make our life better than anyone else. We don’t have more luck, skills, or magic. Success has a drastically different definition for every person on earth. For me, it’s being able to support myself while I explore projects that excite the rest of my life. Yes, money can drastically help expand happiness, but for every monetarily wealthy person who is happy, there is at least one who is miserable and shitting everywhere.
I’ve encountered so many awesome people along the way – some from whom I’ve asked for help, and others whom I’ve tried my best to help. No matter what situation someone may be in, or what they are working toward, I can usually tell within the first few minutes of a conversation whether or not they’re currently capable of creating the life they love or not. I use the term “currently” because I do believe everyone can make a mindset change and become the person they need to be to make the change, but in reality, not everyone is currently in that state. I didn’t enter the mindset until just a few years ago, which I’ll get to in detail in a minute.
The reason I can tell if someone is close to conquering their happiness or not is because I’ve been there on BOTH sides. Everyone who has influenced me to move forward has also been there. A huge wall of resistance stands between those who simply exist and those who truly live. Certain comments reveal doubt, lack of confidence, and fear, with lots of love for words like “but” and “can’t” and “what if.”
WHAT IF you CAN’T say BUT ever again, chump.
This wall of resistance is protected by gremlins who live to fuck your days up, and their wall is the difference between who I was, and who I am now. It stands in between everything you have been, and everything you’ve ever wanted to become.
To get from the suppressed side of the wall to the free side of the wall, you must explore certain strategies. When I analyze all the magical things that have happened since I started my journey to bring my visions to reality, I can immediately trace my success back to four main things:
- I decided to be my true self, no matter what. My voice is my voice. My thoughts are my thoughts.
- I stopped caring about the things tradition wants me to care about (money, materials, status).
- I started ignoring people who weren’t in line with my visions, and befriending people who were.
- I created habits to strengthen my mind and keep myself from making weak decisions (which I learned from the new friends I was seeking out).
Again, I was doing NONE of these things before.
Before I decided to publicly seek true happiness by expressing my true self, I was just another donkey. I worked in a job that fed my stress gremlins like Kings, and I smiled and acted like everything was perfect. But, behind closed doors, my closest and oldest friends knew how fucking weird I was. They were weird too. We were different people when we were alone, and perhaps this was why we were so happy to spend a few hours swallowing our sorrows with a chaser of good hooch. It was comfortable and easy, and the only place we felt like we could truly be us. (Someday I will write a book on my experiences with my friends, and it will blow your mind outta your skull.)
I lost my weirdness for a while. It was like I blinked and all of a sudden I had transformed from an odd little kid to another white dude with a house and multiple cars and a bar in his basement. I spent time with normal people, doing normal things, and only got in touch with my true happiness when I could sneak off to a freak-show music festival and see how many ways I could peak within a long weekend. I kept myself amused and content by reciting stories about the belligerence that occurred during our weekend extravaganzas. I lived in the past, longing for the weekends of the future, absent from the moment. I wished away my weeks for weekends. How mad do we have to be to wish away our time?
I want to show you the behind-the-scenes of my progress from unhappy poop-monster to the person I am today. I want you to understand that there is no magic formula for discovering success or happiness that the world is keeping from you.
If you do the following, you will transition into a version of yourself that you can’t even comprehend right now. The beauty is that ANYONE can apply these changes, although not everyone will. I know you will!
- Decide to be your true self, no matter what.
- Stop caring about what everyone else wants you to care about.
- Ignore people who aren’t in line with your vision, and befriend, study, and help people who are.
- Create habits to strengthen your mind and help make strong decisions in line with your vision.
There will be a day when you realize you have arrived, and it’s not as far out as you think.
So, to show you how insanely powerful it is to just believe, connect, and move forward, no matter how scared or unsure you are, I’d like to now share my story in detail.
I’m looking forward to watching you boogie your ass off on the same floor. 🙂
This is a long, sexy post about my transition from the cry-baby donkey lifestyle to a free and happy empire. You may get aroused and want to skip ahead to specific sexy sections. Because I’m an understanding dude, I created this post index to help you find your g-spot.
Intro (4 Sweet Ass Tips)
Face Down Pants Down
Entrepreneur Attempt #1
Landing a Career Job
Stranger on a Plane
Amber Ludwig Vilhauer – The Spark
The Miracle Morning and the Idea to Start The Artsy Now Show
Podcast Guests Who Changed My Life
The Money Problem & Another Business Attempt : PodcastPal
Universal Gift from Twitter Auto Direct Message
My First Amazon Sale
Investing in a Life Coach
Shedding Physical Distractions & Minimalism
Joining an Online Community of Awesome People
The Gremlins Flooded My Basement
The Thailand & Cambodia Experience
World Domination Summit 2015
Riding Bikes Naked and Testing my Comfort Zone
Setting a Vision for Freedom
Planning the Escape From the Bubble
Crossroads: Trading Time for Money?
Amazon vs. PodcastPal
Kickstarting a Passive Online Business
A Walla Walla Surprise
Shutting Down the Podcast and Eliminating Distractions
Taking Lindsay to the Pacific Northwest
6/22/16 – Setting Measurable Goals and Playing With Magic
A Social Media Hiatus and Six-Month Notice
Ramping Up the Business and Selling my House
Never Stop Creating
Pain for Pleasure – The Risk
The Magic of People & How You Can Change Your Life
When I woke up with a nosebleed on my garage floor in Lexington, KY, with not the slightest memory of the last 15 hours, on the verge of discovering my 2001 Chevy Impala parked, with the engine running, in my front yard, I was in a dark place. The whole scene probably smelled like rotting asshole mixed with fuel. The car had been running for hours, and who knows how long it had been since I showered. I may or may not have soiled myself, too. My pants and undies had slipped slightly down my thighs. Through my blurry vision, I could still recognize the dent that my friend Money$hot had kicked in the side of the car on one of our previous drunken rampages. My neighbor, who was in government housing across the street after being locked up for 17 years, was standing outside screaming “Man white boy you fuckin’ crazy as hell” at me. Shit was real.
It was 2011, just three years since I graduated college. It wasn’t the first time I’d woken up face down without memory. Like all the other times, I was disgusted and felt like dying, but not surprised. It was just another scrape in the expanding mental and physical wound that my life had become. No bandage in sight could patch me up, yet deep down I could feel the internal conflict of my situation. Disturbingly, hundreds of thousands of people struggle with this lifestyle. It feels nothing short of cold and lonely.
I battled extreme gastrointestinal convulsions, constipation (one time it lasted seven days), joint issues, body aches, and insomnia. I visited doctors constantly and they all just wanted to put me on some sort of pill and have me check back in within a few weeks. Nothing worked. They were just as lost as I was in the brainwashing we get in school. It wouldn’t be for a few more years that I would discover WATER was the cure for all my health issues. No shit. Play some circus music to that verdict.
Despite graduating in the middle of the 2008 economic collapse, I landed an entry level position which allowed me to support myself and start paying down student loans. I wasn’t grateful. The grass is always greener, you know? It’s hard to see the beauty of our blessings when our minds have been trained to worship materials, money, community status, and celebrities. Instead of searching for the diamonds inside of the self, we search for products that will help our tits and asses look more like the ones we see on television so that we can boost our self-confidence to feel better around the people we secretly hate anyway.
I was there. I was THAT DUDE. I held it together and still had friends and family to lean on, but I wasn’t a good person. I lied quite a bit. I disrespected the wisdom in others. My relationships were unhealthy. I drank so much that a fifth of whiskey only complimented my functions.
I was living the All-American dream, but so were all my friends. It doesn’t seem so odd when it’s happening all around you. Never underestimate the power of manifestations that breed from your surroundings.
I had quit my entry level position just a few months prior to the nosebleed incident to take a stab at working for myself. It wasn’t because I thought I had a viable business opportunity, it was because something inside of me was willing to take risks – and confident enough to patch the situation up if it went south.
This was the first time I let my gut make a decision since I lost my innocent youth. It’s important because it was the first time I ever really wandered out of my comfort zone, despite not knowing at the time how powerful breaching the comfort zone was. It’s also the first time I really ate shit and had to learn from a massive failure. Not a mistake: a failure. If I had to go back again, I’d do it all over again. Failures are never mistakes because they provide opportunity for us to learn and grow—another truth I didn’t understand then. I’m not going to tell you to go try to fail, because the goal is never to fucking fail. But, if failure is a side effect of trying something uncomfortable, it’s a success in its own way.
The business I tried to start failed quickly due to partnership problems and, well, I didn’t know dong about starting a business. I knew how to frame up shitty websites, but I didn’t know wang about finding people to build them for. I didn’t know willy about sales at all. Yes, I replaced all those words with references to weenies. I’m weird, remember.
So there I was, rattled and cleaning up blood stains from a blackout bonanza around town. I knew I had to make a change or I’d end up dead, and I had the strength of upbringing because I certainly wasn’t raised to be the kind of dickwad I had become. I kept getting vision flashbacks from an eerie meeting I had on a plane when I was heading for a job interview after graduation in late 2008. I had no idea at the time, but the interaction had planted a seed that would end up changing my life forever.
Despite the conundrum I was in with my health, depression, and failed business attempt, I somehow landed a new ‘career’ job that allowed me to work from home. It was an outside sales position in the concrete industry. When I interviewed for it, I honestly believed it would be the dream job I could keep for the rest of my life. It had all the potential to be an incredible financial home run—a top-tier way to make a living. I could work on my own hours, without having to drive to an office every day! I’m not sure what I did to deserve the job, but I was thankful for it.
It’s sad that the majority of us think “success” depends on how much money we make. In reality, life continues with or without money. Money only makes you more of who you are. With more money, if you shit the bed and beat people, you’ll probably just shit nicer beds and beat more people. If you build orphanages and provide food to kids, more money will allow you to build more orphanages and provide more food to kids.
I immediately bought a four-bedroom house with zero money down on two mortgages. I was told it was a great financial move (goons). I was ready to make my living and start stuffing fancy cars, electronics, and bourbons into my palace. I could parade around town with my shiny objects to impress people I didn’t like so I could feel better about myself. Again, I don’t regret it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without accepting who I was then. We all must make transformations to become our higher selves. Once you understand the value of loving yourself, no matter what, you will finally create a foundation that will allow you to reach higher and higher and never stop peaking.
From 2011 to 2014, I drank myself in and out of momentary happiness. I had my house, and my pups, and a collision with Lindsay, the most gorgeous and amazing girl I could ever imagine (which I certainly didn’t deserve), but there were still holes that leaked happiness out of every experience. Not only was I still gulping copious amounts of whiskey, but I added an obsession of gin to the mix for the early mornings and afternoons. My job was stressful because I had to drive around eight to 10 hours a day, and I started developing chronic pain in my hips and legs. At one point, I lost feeling in my right leg completely from my toes to my knee for a few weeks. The only sleep I was getting was the unconscious state achieved after binge drinking for 15 hours straight.
Yeah, I had some great times with friends at the lake, with customers at the bars, and with my pups at the dog parks, but none of them were independent of my good friend alkeehawllll. And the fun in each moment never lasted. Eventually, the fun would turn into arguments, anger, stomach acid convulsions, headaches, and my body defaulting to poopy-pants crybaby mode in the giant jacuzzi tub in my bedroom. I still remember exactly what I felt like every time I crawled across my floor and pulled myself up into the tub. It’s a feeling I never want again.
It was in this tub, in the first few days of February 2014, that the universe dropped me a hook with an opportunity to save my life. I was funneling Zantac and Ibuprofen into my mouth like candy in an attempt to numb the body as it reacted angrily to the toxins I was forcing in. My head felt like a hammer was beating into the sides of my temples, and I probably would have gladly welcomed a real hammer to relieve me from the situational pain. It hurt to have my eyes open at all, so I just lay there with my eyes shut to wait out the war.
For reasons out of my control, visions of a pivotal interaction that I shared on a flight in 2008 flashed into my throbbing head as I lay like an ungrateful ass-weenie prick in that bathtub. I saw the face of what seemed like a guru. I saw a third-person perspective of the person I was when I boarded the plane, and the person I had become now. It finally occurred to me that I was failing miserably in my pursuit of happiness. Not because I felt sorry for the pathetic hangover I’d been sentenced to for my overindulgence, but because I finally realized the disconnect between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of money, materials, and status.
When I boarded the plane heading to Houston in 2008 for my interview, I held a leather resume holder and my fifth generation black video iPod packed with about 80 gigs of jams. I planned to study up on the company conducting the interview (an oil ship repair company) and ease my mind with some tunes in unison. Music is my juice of choice. My plan didn’t go accordingly.
I stood up from my aisle seat to let a gentlemen squeeze into the dreaded middle seat as the plane filled in. His appearance immediately caught my attention because it was vastly different from what had surrounded me throughout high school and college in the ultra-conservative Southeast. A white male with a bald head and large, distinct beard, he sported piercings, tattoos, and brands all over his body. Nothing about him could be labeled “normal,” and back then I still thought being “normal” was the goal. It’s funny how things change.
He looked tough. Really tough. My mind raced around in a crisis of judgements because that’s what I did back then. I judged. Everything was about status. Who is this guy? Why is he covered in tats and brands? Is he going to stab me?
I have no problem admitting the toxicity of my thoughts back then because I’ve morphed out of that life. And, funny enough, the next two hours of the flight would become the conversation that planted the initial seed for the transformation, although I wouldn’t understand until I hit rock bottom in that bathtub. Ironically, how many people hit rock bottom in a fucking three-person jacuzzi tub? Yes, it’s pathetic.
I’ve always been an introvert, and I’ve always been shy. I’m not the type of person to initiate a conversation, especially when my comfort guard is super high and trying to protect me from people who seem strange. I’m getting better as I grow further from my ego and closer to my bliss, but back then I was cold-shouldering all interaction.
I was nervous and scared shitless when the strange guy with the beard, covered in tattoos and brands, asked me how I was doing. I don’t remember my response. I don’t remember 100% of the conversation. But, I do remember the magic of the conversation, and the way it opened my perception to the possibilities in life. He asked me where I was heading and what kind of work I was doing. I told him I was heading to a job interview, but instead of telling him it was for a position repairing structural issues on oil riggers, I think I told him it was in the web design field, lying to feel better about myself. I always wanted to major in information systems or geology, but instead I majored in concrete construction because the job placement rate and starting salaries were high. I still spent a lot of time playing around with websites in my free time, but it wasn’t my targeted career path. Either way, he didn’t care. That wasn’t why he asked the question. He asked the question to open my mind for his next mind-boggle:
“So, do you love it?”
“What? Uh. I guess”
I didn’t love it, though. He could probably tell that from my reaction. I thought about it for another second and said, “No, not really.”
“Then why are you doing it?”
That last line hit me like a ton of bricks. I’d never considered the possibility of doing something just because I loved it, without motive for external material or monetary advantages. It made me feel weird and a little ashamed. My head was still too hard (and would be for several more years) to apply the considerations of a lifestyle change to my life, but the simple conversation engraved itself in my head, and would return to my thoughts frequently as I sank deeper into my unhappiness over the next six years.
His name was Jared Miller (now Jared Angaza). After the confrontation that he helped me open internally, he told me his story, which was just as foreign to me as his appearance. I honestly didn’t believe him until he pulled out his phone and showed me pictures. It knocked my judgmental ego.
He had just gotten back to the U.S. after being extradited from Rwanda. He worked with an organization that he created, passionately fought gender equality issues, and was wrongfully imprisoned for months. He told me about the real Rastafarians that protected his village, and stories of tribal initiations and ceremonies that he had been involved with as part of a friendly initiation on the local level. He showed me pictures of the Rastafarians, the hut he lived in, a black mamba with its head chopped off, and the snake’s last meal—a giant lizard hanging out of its chopped-in-half body. He couldn’t share details about why he was wrongfully imprisoned, but the entire situation blew my mind.
Every one of the pictures and stories he told me made me feel so insignificant. I had never once interacted with anyone who felt so powerful. It opened my eyes to the fact that my world wasn’t the only one that mattered. In fact, I realized that what I was doing with my life made zero impact for the better good of the world. Momentarily, I felt inspired beyond belief to start helping others, but I had no idea how. Jared offered the only opportunity I knew how to take at that moment: to buy some of the necklaces he had brought back and support the movement he had spent many years creating.
I gladly accepted the offer and picked out some beautiful necklaces. When we hopped off the plane, I tracked down an ATM in the Houston airport to pay him. He asked for my address and said he would send me something, so I jotted it down and handed it over. I wrote his name on a piece of paper, and we parted ways.
About a month later, I received a package from Jared. I ripped it open to discover a book called No More Mondays and a note written from Jared. It said that his dad (Dan Miller) had written this book, and he thought it could help me discover a life with more meaning and passion. I found it incredible that a stranger would go out of his way to send me such a nice gift, and I felt humbled. I busted out a little Google search on Dan Miller, and found out that he was a mega successful self-help author. Later, Jared and Dan co-authored a book called When Wisdom Meets Passion, about the importance of combining the wisdom of Dan’s generation with the passion of Jared’s to do greater good in the world. It’s an incredible read. (Jared changed his last name to Angaza upon marriage.)
I never forgot the conversation Jared and I had, and I told the story over and over to many of my family and friends. I remembered the confrontation on whether or not I was living my life doing what I “love” vs. plainly living my life. Jared’s energy infected me and motivated me in the moment to make better decisions and reach out to others for help, but eventually it got buried under the other influences in my life. I quickly faded back into heavy drinking, job searching in the concrete industry, and building my household of shiny objects to worship, but I never forgot the conversation I had with Jared, or the idea that I could create a lifestyle where Monday was no longer relevant—a lifestyle where every day was a Saturday.
(Just recently I reconnected with Jared Angaza and had an incredible conversation with him. He’s working on some miraculous projects, and is still just as inspiring as he was when I met him. Check out JaredAngaza.com.)
As I lay in the bathtub in early February, 2014, yet again pathetically hungover and feeling sorry for myself about five years after my meeting with Jared Angaza on the airplane, I kept getting flashes of our conversation. I had thought about it before, but for some reason, this time, it overwhelmed me to the point of anxiety. It was almost like this weird energy that he implanted in my head on the plane finally manifested internally. I had felt dead inside for so long, and all of a sudden I felt insanely motivated and uplifted. Something inside of me switched. I didn’t want to be the person that I had become. I wanted to fix my faults. I wanted to learn how to get rid of Mondays. I wanted to do something much bigger than myself.
I had no idea where to start, who to talk to, or even the slightest idea of what was next for me, but I knew something was about to change, and I was willing to do anything I could to create this new life. I was ready to become a student. Most people I’ve talked to who have made a similar transition go through this defining moment. Some have a much harsher or sudden experience, like near death, or loss of a loved one, before something in them switches. For me, it was a slow meltdown that hit its boiling point. In every way, no matter what the wake-up is, you cannot transition unless you choose.
A few candles flickered around the tub, and my pups lay on the cold white tiles next to me. In combination, they were the fires that kept me going. As my anxiety calmed at the excitement of this change I wanted to make, I reached for my phone to put on some classical music and relax. Maybe the headache would stop.
For the first time, I noticed a little purple icon with a microphone on it. It must have been placed there on the last phone update, but despite my blurry vision and dried out eyes, its presence drew my attention. When I tapped the icon, the gateway of podcasts opened up to me. Although I didn’t know it in the moment, that gateway opened the opportunity for the beginning of my quest for happiness and freedom.
I didn’t really have an aim. I started smacking around the podcast index with my fat fingers. My head was about to explode, so I’m not sure I even read the description of what I was about to listen to. Nonetheless, the podcast episode that my fingers navigated to was the RIGHT one. If it were any other, I wouldn’t be here typing this.
It was an Entrepreneur on Fire episode with guest Amber Ludwig (now Amber Vilhauer, No Guts No Glory Enterprises). Obviously I wasn’t familiar with the show, but it must have been a top hit back then just as it is now. The host, John Lee Dumas, interviews successful entrepreneurs about their journey and releases episodes seven days a week.
When that episode started playing, it was like the energy that I was getting from the images of Jared and the internal resolution to start making changes started dancing in my head. It felt oddly inspirational.
Amber has a highly charismatic voice and demeanor about her. Her story hit close to home. She had some struggles with confidence and depression growing up, and had somehow turned her resistance gremlins and adversity into an incredible internet marketing company that helped other entrepreneurs build their websites, brands, product launch campaigns, and more. But aside from the story about success, I just felt an odd attraction to her creative energy. She seemed like the most caring and honest person in the world, like she REALLY wanted others to become the best versions of themselves, and that her mission was to help people expand their horizons and to do things they never thought possible. I listened through the entire episode. John’s story and his ability to bring all of these incredible interviews to life also blew me away. He is a master of his trade. EVERY day, I smothered myself with new episodes of these people sharing stories of how they created lives they loved.
When I emerged from that tub, I felt internally cleansed. With high energy and a defeated headache, I just KNEW I was a different person.
As an introvert at heart, it’s unlike me to reach out and talk with strangers. But Amber didn’t seem like a stranger. After listening to one conversation, I felt like she was a friend. She had touched on so many experiences I could relate to, and she was creating magic in an internet industry that excited me—unlike the concrete construction industry I worked in by will of the persuasive gods of tradition and conformity. I had been working on a website within the construction industry in my spare time to try and build a unique resume that would allow me to accelerate in my career field. I’d started the site just before I attempted to leave my first job and create the web design company. The website contained a series of technical calculators and resources for the concrete construction industry, and I built it on a WordPress platform. Amber worked specifically with WordPress sites, and that made me feel qualified enough to reach out to her.
I went back to work the next day (a Monday) and devoured more podcasts about entrepreneurs creating the life they loved. I listened to SO MANY awesome episodes of different shows, fascinated that this information was all free and readily available. I started to understand that successful people weren’t always successful. Most of them had a similar story to mine where they hit a point in life that they just couldn’t handle anymore. I learned that instead of looking for happiness, the key was actually to create happiness. I jumped on Facebook that Thursday and found Amber. I sent her a shot-in-the-dark message that I immediately felt insecure about once I clicked send. All the resistance and fear gremlins started whispering poo in my ear like “She doesn’t care about you. Why would someone like that respond to you? You’ve done nothing to deserve this.” I spent the next few hours doubting I’d ever get a response, and I honestly considered pouring a drink since it was “Blackout Thursday” as we called it in Kentucky. The great energy I had absorbed in the bath helped me maintain my composure.
Amber responded to my Facebook message almost immediately and actually set up a phone call to assess my situation for FREE. Her offer to help blew me away because I had never met a stranger online who was so willing to help someone they didn’t know. I had never tried to reach out to anyone before because the fear gremlins had always been in control of my mind’s operating system. She didn’t promise me gold or feed me any bullshit about how perfect the entrepreneurial world was, but she opened my mind to a whole world of direction. Although at the time I wasn’t sure which direction her advice would take me, her warmth and sincerity gave me the confidence to keep going. All anyone ever needs is the confidence to keep going!
That one conversation is the root of every new leaf I have turned over since my transition. She introduced me to two people who changed my life forever: 1. Hal Elrod and The Miracle Morning and 2. Paul Kemp, The App Guy.
I had accepted who I truly was, and what I really wanted in life, and I reached out to someone else to share my true self. One conversation was all it took to push me over the wall of resistance I had resided behind my whole life.
Hal Elrod is the author of The Miracle Morning book series, and his morning practice routine changed my entire life. It was the first real habit I implemented which still serves as a foundation for most of my other habits today. Hal introduced the power of writing, journaling, exercising, affirming, and meditation in the most non-overwhelming way possible. To this day, I still do my miracle morning almost daily. It allows me to accomplish more before 8:00 a.m. than I was used to accomplishing all day (or probably all week). It also holds me accountable to not stay out late, pounding booze and passing out on garage floors.
Paul Kemp is founder and host of The App Guy Podcast—a brilliant showcase of interviews with successful app developers and entrepreneurs. After a few email exchanges, Paul became my first mentor and convinced me to start my own podcast. He became my first successful internet friend with whom I talked throughout the week. He showed me the power of networking and sharing knowledge, and I’m forever in debt to his kindness.
Fast forward a few months, and I was raging with The Miracle Morning, following Paul’s teachings and advice, and opening different doors and diving through them at every chance I got. I had no idea what I was doing in mostly everything I attempted, but my new mental clarity built my confidence in learning new skillsets that helped me along the way. I looked at which parts of my life caused me unhappiness, and started writing down what kind of life I wanted to have. What types of things could I bring into my life that would allow me to become the person I really wanted to be? (If you’re in a confusing spot in life, start by writing down all the things you DON’T WANT in life, then create a list of things you do want based off the results.)
- I wanted to travel the world.
- I wanted to work for myself, and create my own lifestyle.
- I wanted to be debt-free.
- I wanted to find purpose.
- I wanted to write books and create awesome things full time.
- I wanted to help inspire others to make a transition as well.
After a few days of pondering, I realized the smartest way for me to bring all these things to life would be to learn from others who have already accomplished this. I’d already dived in blindly and tried to create several businesses that weren’t working. Although those failures exposed me to many valuable lessons, I realized that I couldn’t make it happen without help. What if I took Paul’s advice and started a podcast, and interviewed people who had accomplished these things on how they had accomplished them? It would be like free coaching, and at the same time, I could share that information with others and help them, too!
- I could interview nomads traveling the world, running location independent businesses, and ask them how they do it.
- I could interview entrepreneurs of all types about their lifestyle and experience working for themselves.
- I could interview successful people who have created abundance in all aspects of life.
- I could interview humanitarians and philanthropists on how they created their purpose-driven businesses.
- I could interview authors and artists on how they got started, and what makes them successful.
By interviewing all these ballers, I knew I could potentially create a network of incredible friends all around the world from whom I could learn life-changing principles which I could adapt to my life. If I did this, I would put myself in a position to create opportunity and open new doors. It was the outlet I needed to become the person I always wanted to become. I had no idea what my purpose was, but my gut was insanely adamant that this was the golden ticket to the discovery of the life of my dreams.
Fuck it. I’m in!
And thus, The Artsy Now Show on iTunes was born. “Interviews with successful entrepreneurs and creatives all over the world.”
It scared the squirts out of me, because I was shy. The notorious woolly mammoth gremlin from our 50,000-year-old ancestral brain loudly screamed in my head, “Who am I to interview such successful people?” But with the encouragement of Paul and Amber, I ignored the fear gremlins as much as I could, and I started reaching out to people and asking them if they would allow me to interview them for the podcast I was starting.
One of the first people I asked was Hollywood director Sohrab Mirmont, and I about dirtied my undies when he said yes. I direct messaged him on Twitter, and it blew my mind that he responded at all. PARTY! I was committed from that point on, and it gave me the confidence to continue reaching out to New York Times best-selling authors and other greats. I interviewed 115 creative entrepreneurs over the next 18 months.
Some of the guests who came on my show (besides Paul, Amber, and Hal) and played a MAJOR role in shifting my path along the way were, in no particular order:
- Kim Nicol – Taught me how to meditate—the single greatest power all humans have.
- Steve P. Young – Shared the power of virtual assistants with me for automating actions. I was recently on Steve’s AppMasters Podcast to catch up with him. Listen Here.
- Dave Lent – Introduced me to the power of visualization and The 5 Keys to Mastery.
- Jacqueline du Plessis – Became my coach, helped me pay off my debt, and heavily influenced practices and layouts of The Sweet Ass Journal (Wins, Minimalism,Visualization, Reflection).
- Honorée Corder – Taught me how to find my voice in writing, create a habit of writing, and self-publish.
- Jason Moore – Mentored me on leaving my job for full-time travel and created LocationIndie.com, which has become the anchor for all my friends, masterminds, and other helpers including my editor, bookkeeper, and more!
- Dan Norris – Taught me content marketing and automation techniques with his incredible books and helped me realize that being your honest self is the only way to to go.
- Tom Corson-Knowles – Taught me the power of Kindle publishing and free Kindle giveaways to grow an audience, as well has techniques for creating a writing lifestyle.
- Bri Seeley – Opened up my mind to the idea of expanded visualization techniques.
- Jason Berwick – Taught me how to create and scale an online arbitrage business on Amazon. He’s become a best friend and business partner.
- Valerie Groth – Introduced me to the power of giving, which is the fastest route to immediate happiness for all of us. She is the founder of the Ryan Banks Academy in Chicaco, IL.
If I hadn’t started that podcast on a whim, I would never have met any of the people above. My life would be immensely different. This is the power of reaching out and connecting. As hard as it may be (and I promise, my introvert struggles are REAL AF), when you tell others what you are passionate about, and you listen to what they are passionate about, you can then work together to support each other. I know it seems crazy, but people WANT to help you create the life you love. This world has more good energy than you may think.
When people watch your transformation from the back row, although you may not ever hear anything from them, your story is giving them inspiration to make changes themselves. We are all connected. The people you need to help bring your visions to life are all within reach—you just don’t know it yet. There is power in numbers.
You can listen to any of my podcast episodes for free on iTunes or on my website at www.heatharmstrong.com/interviews. It’s kind of cool to hear how terrible and awkward the first few episodes were, and how much they progressed over the course of the 115 interviews I completed. There is some incredible stuff in there for all types of creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs!
On my show, I occasionally had conversations with people who were making mad stacks of cheddar cheeeeeze (money) by selling things online, whether physical products on eBay or Amazon or info products on various platforms. One of the dreams I’ve had since I was a wee lad was to make my own products. I wanted to create ideas, invent them, and bring them to life. All these conversations about selling things online hit a soft spot for me. Because of the age of the internet (and the internet is still a sleeping baby), there is infinite opportunity and possibility to be a seller in an online marketplace and to be successful at it. The demand is outrageous! Do you know anyone who doesn’t buy stuff online? You can get groceries delivered to your doorstep now! Weed too. WTF. Crazy stuff.
I had Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com podcast and blog on, and his story about replacing his wife’s $100,000 salary within one year by selling linens online blew my mind. I had serial entrepreneur and Aussie legend Tony Barber on the show, and he had spent his entire life inventing and selling awesome stuff. Trajan King was the founder of several successful seven-figure businesses and became a good friend of mine. Numerous other guests appeared who were dabbling in the online sales atmosphere, and eventually lead to my introduction to Jason Berwick, the man I’ve talked to the most over the last few years. I’ll touch more on that a little further down.
When I started podcasting, I kind of bought into the notion that it would be an income-generating system. As most podcasters figure out, unless you are in the top 1% and have hundreds of thousands of downloads per episode, the chance of profiting from your episodes is pretty slim. I was trying to pay off debt, and I was also funneling money from my day job to support the cost of the podcast. Between the equipment, software, VA help, server host, and the time to make it all happen, I felt financially and emotionally drained. I knew the value of continuing my interviews for personal growth and opportunity, but I also knew that if I wanted to leave my job and stop working 80-hour weeks between the job and the podcast, I’d have to create a side hustle.
I was already bringing in a little side income building websites, but that business wasn’t going anywhere. I had established Lexington Web Solutions before I started podcasting, and even though it did bring in around $5,000-$10,000 extra per year in income, there was one huge problem. I was trading my time for money, and I wanted a freedom lifestyle business that I could automate and scale. I had been doing contract work as opposed to creating a monthly recurring revenue plan, and it just wasn’t working out. I had no passion to move forward with it.
A few months into my podcasting adventure and my commitment to make a change, I tested out a new idea to create a podcasting service modeled after Dan Norris’s WPCurve company (probably just like every other person on the internet). I wanted to create a system where people could get unlimited podcasting services for a low monthly fee. I jumped waist deep into looking for clients and helpers, as well as getting the site built and creating the brand for my new service. It was called PodcastPal.
Throughout the 40-ish interviews I had already conducted, I had been told over and over that opportunities for making money would present themselves if I continued to network. I was told that when they showed up, I wouldn’t know until many months later, so the best thing I could do is keep in touch with everyone possible that aligned with my visions. Honestly, I had no idea what that really meant. It sounded like playing go-fish and hoping for the magic match. But, the more you play, the more likely you are to hit that match. I took their advice and kept connecting because the alternative meant that I’d stay exactly where I was. I certainly wasn’t down for that.
On September 30, 2014, I was trolling twitter and replying to messages from listeners of my podcast (The Artsy Now Show – view on iTunes at HeathArmstrong.com/artsynow) when I got an auto direct message from a guy I had added as a friend because he looked like an interesting case to interview for the show. Yeah, I know auto DM’s are annoying as fuck, but this turned out to be the most valuable auto DM of my life (so far—I’m still hoping I get one from Arnold Schwarzenegger one day).
His name was Jason Berwick (I call him Beardick), and he was an ‘adventurepreneur.’ He had one of those epic pictures hanging from a cliff or something and his lifestyle seemed to be right on par with what I wanted: location independence and freedom. I grew up in the Knoxville, TN area and he was in Asheville, NC, so it was easy to break the ice.
We started jabbering back and forth for a few weeks, and eventually he came on my podcast. One of the beautiful things about running your own podcast is the value you get not only during the show, but in the pre and post chat as well. Jason had left his six-figure job in the finance industry to take a giant risk in creating his own lifestyle and business. He traveled around to different stores and bought stuff, reselling it online for a profit, and also built websites and did online marketing. I thought this was an interesting angle, because as a child I was very much into raiding garage sales for valuable stuff and selling it on eBay to make some extra cheese to buy some sweet kicks, but it had been years since I had done anything like that. Plus, the garage salers in Kentucky started freaking me out because I soon realized that they did that every day, not just once per year. Every. Single. Day. Hmm.
Regardless, Jason’s story fascinated me, and it challenged my mind because I was under the impression (like most people) that everything on Amazon was sold by Amazon directly, and it was the best deal you could find. So how could he be making money by selling stuff on there? I’m not sure if I was in the right place at the right time, or if it was just meant to be, but he showed me how his system worked, and what kind of sales he was getting. In return, I was leveraging my network that I had created through the podcast as a possible resource for him as well, so I think there was a little value from both ends.
Jason introduced me to the world of retail arbitrage, which is the act of buying products from retail stores and selling them online for a profit. He was sending me screenshots everyday with sales over $300-$400 per day, which was a HUGE deal to me at that time. I had been trying for years to make money online in various different ways, and revenue numbers like that could actually back up my quest to leave my career.
I wish I could tell you that retail arbitrage immediately changed my life and I was able to quit my job and make ass-tons of money and live out my life without worry, but that’s not exactly how it went. I started studying what Jason was doing, devouring ebooks, and annoying the piss out of him with my questions (no joke). Because I worked a full-time job where I had to travel hundreds of miles every day, the act of visiting stores and scanning the barcodes of products on shelves to see if there was resale potential on Amazon was actually pretty draining. If you ask Lindsay, she will most likely tell you of the days when I first started, and how I’d drag her to department stores and ask her to help me scan shelves. I’m lucky she didn’t leave me. Who wants to spend their time scanning cheese graters, and then take them home and pack them up to send to Amazon?
February 13, 2015 came along (the exact one-year anniversary of the message I sent to Amber Ludwig), and I officially made my first sale on Amazon. I had my phone set up to make a “cha-ching” noise every time an order processed. It made me feel invincible, and it drove me into a raging craze to source more products and make more sales. I could see the potential of growth down the road. I had this tunnel vision that if I could make it work, I could indeed leave my job. I’d spend hours a day, before or after work, wandering around Walmart, Target, and even Kohls.
And then, yes—just as you are thinking—I realized how fucking stupid the whole thing was. I was so desperate to figure out a way to leave my career that I was spending huge chunks of my life inside Walmart which is perhaps one of my biggest nightmares. Why in the hell would I want to exchange a job making great money working from home, for hours upon hours inside Walmart inhaling the armpits of America’s finest breeds?
I was done.
Just a few months into retail arbitrage, I told Jason that it wasn’t for me. I admired the way the system was working, but I felt like I had created another job for myself, and I just wanted to create a freedom lifestyle where I could travel the world and still make a living. Spending time watching people shove rubber hot dogs down their throat at the Target deli wasn’t the freedom lifestyle. It was miserable, and to be frank, made me feel rather greasy. See what I did there?
Jason said he was working on a way to transition the business model to an online platform, which would indeed solve the problem, but I shifted my focus back to my PodcastPal project and told him to hit me up when he figured it out. He was onto something big—I just didn’t know it yet.
In March of 2015, I had Jacqueline du Plessis on the podcast to share her story. She was a digital nomad who had been traveling the world and making money from her laptop through various outlets. Her story not only inspired me, but it infected me. Her energy differed from anyone else I had interviewed up to that point, and the universe kept sending love letters to my gut to study her methods. I had been devouring self-help books during my miracle morning practices, and I consistently heard successful people that I interviewed talk about the value of finding a paid mentor or coach. Other than the obvious education and wisdom you receive from the coaching, investing money into something is more likely to make you take it super seriously. She was doing everything I dreamed of doing: traveling the world and hacking the systems. It felt right to ask her for coaching, and within a few weeks we started our first session.
There are no words to explain what Jacqueline taught me. I feel like she passed some sort of energy into me that changed my entire perspective on what is possible in life. She helped me map out my dreams, then create a system that allowed me to manifest them. I had over $20,000 in debt that I sobbed to her about, and she asked me, “How long do you think it’ll take to pay it off?”
“Around three years, minimum.”
“Good,” she said. “You’ll do it in one.”
I thought she was crazy. There was no fucking way I could pay off that much debt in one year with all the expenses and side projects and loans I had. I was only making a mediocre salary at work. I had car loans, two mortgages, a straight loan that I took out to finish my basement, and mounds of credit card debt. There simply wasn’t enough money coming in to even have a chance at paying off the debt.
Jacqueline didn’t care about that. She knew it wasn’t about how much I had coming in, it was about teaching me to create new opportunities to bring in money that weren’t already present, and to stop spending money on things that weren’t directly in line with my vision.
She helped me realign my awareness around what money is and how I choose to use it, and set up a debt-smashing spreadsheet that turned my mission into a game. It worked for me, like magic. I got really into it. You can learn more about that system here, and even download your own for free.
Jacqueline could have only taught me this one thing and I would have been satisfied, but she didn’t. She taught me so many more incredible lessons that still stick with me today. She is one of the single biggest influences on the sections I included in The Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days—a project which she encouraged me to create—and you can read more about her in the guide that is included with the journal if you’re interested.
One of the sections of the Sweet Ass Journal dissects my journey through minimalism and the freedom I gained after shedding my physical distractions. I won’t get too deep into that process here because I laid out the system in the journal, but it’s worth mentioning because of the importance of the role it played.
As I interviewed entrepreneurs on the podcast, I soon noticed that many of them preached the power of eliminating physical distractions. Some of them only owned books. Others had downsized from dream homes to tiny apartments. Others only owned enough to pack into their car and hit the road. Some just lived in empty homes, surrounding themselves only with creative inspiration for optimal focus.
Jacqueline had mentioned The Minimalists to me because they had a powerful story of transitioning from the corporate world to a life on their own terms, all through the freedom exposed after minimizing their physical belongings. I lived in a four-bedroom house, completely packed with physical junk. I had more TV’s than I could count, a bar stocked with various types of Scotch and gin, five fish tanks, and every closet was packed with stuff. I always thought I would “need” this stuff at some point, so I never got rid of anything.
Thanks to a game prompted by The Minimalists, I decided to attempt one of their “challenges.” The challenge was to get rid of something every day for 30 days, adding one more item for each day of the challenge. So, day one meant getting rid of one thing. Day 10 meant getting rid of 10 things, and so on. Long story short, I became severely addicted to the feeling of freeing my surroundings. Over the next six months, this practice laid the foundation for optimizing my focus and only surrounding myself with things of absolute value in my life.
Read more about this game in the Sweet Ass Journal, and learn how you can start your campaign as well.
Just a month before I met Jacqueline, I was in the middle of my stalking rampage to hunt out people who were doing awesome things in life all the time, under their own rules. Because I wanted to work for myself, create income from my laptop, and travel the world, naturally I was getting sucked into this craze about the lifestyle of “digital nomads.”
I already felt like it was possible to create businesses online, as I tried my best penetrate the wall of resistance and build a side hustle army. While driving around for work all day (I put 280,000 miles on my truck in just three years), podcast episodes about travel success lifestyles started filling my brain with motivation. Instead of sobbing and feeling bad for myself for my current situation, I started feeling thankful that I had so much drive time to absorb such incredible information. It was like getting free education while working full time.
I quickly fell in love with the Zero to Travel podcast with Jason Moore (I refer to him as Lord Moore). Jason has a humble personality, and unlike a lot of other seemingly inauthentic fluff parading around the podcast world, I could feel the honesty and caring nature behind his messages. He had been traveling the world for years, on his own terms, and he had an extreme gift for putting his techniques and interviews into a format that really got my emotions all hot and bothered. He also just seemed like a dude who would be easy to approach in person, and that always makes my introvert mind relax a little.
By the end of January 2015, I had been a raging fanboy the Zero to Travel podcast for a few months. Jason often collaborated with another psycho goon named Travis Sherry who ran yet another awesome travel podcast called Extra Pack of Peanuts. Travis has enough fan boys already, but I still latched on to his teachings as well. With the travel wisdom and motivation generated by these nomads and the guests on their shows, Lindsay and I booked our first big trip to Asia, set for May of 2015.
I asked for two weeks off to go on this trip. I only had 10 vacation days per year, so my boss wasn’t thrilled with the idea of my taking them all at once. He was one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, but he told me he had never taken off for two weeks in a row in his entire career because it just wasn’t what we were supposed to do. That frightened the fuck out of me. Two weeks didn’t seem like nearly enough time for a trip across the world, but I knew it would change my perspective on everything. I was definitely taking all 10 days, paired with my three sick days and two long weekends.
Jason and Travis conveniently launched a new online community called Location Indie in February of 2015 to connect all their like-minded listeners and friends through digital interaction. Joining Location Indie was one of the biggest confirmations of the importance of mingling with people who believe in common progression.
Not only did it open up doors to connect with and study people who had been traveling the world for years, it also allowed me to join masterminds and interact with people who were in positions just as my self—trapped in a job and looking to create a freedom lifestyle.
It’s crazy that we can spend our entire lives around the same people, thinking they are our best friends, until the day we discover our true tribe. It’s like an explosion of fucking bliss. There is nothing more exciting, inspiring, or motivating than coming into contact with a mass of people who share the same dreams as you. All those insane thoughts that made you feel odd or different your entire life suddenly find a supportive and electrifying community. The power of the combined energies is far greater than you can imagine. Push yourself to find your tribe.
As I entered into the Location Indie community, I interacted with as many people as possible. In a world of conformity and tradition, too many of us spend our lives not expressing our true feelings or self in an attempt to fit in with everyone else. But inside this community, I learned to be open and to be myself. It didn’t matter what crazy ideas I had, because in the world of conformity and tradition, every single one of us in the group were out of our fucking gourds. We are taught that it’s insane to dream big because the chances are slim. Good thing we are insane, otherwise we’d never make it in this crazy awesome lifestyle.
Looking back now, I can point out some of the most incredible relationships that I’ve acquired from being a member of Location Indie. Jason and Travis are now incredibly close friends, and they have both influenced me to keep promoting who I really am. Despite joining the community with no real source of side income and no clear path on how I would create a freedom lifestyle, my life now feels like a fairytale.
It’s been almost three years since I joined Location Indie, and here are just a few examples of relationships I’ve built within the walls:
- I watched Cliff Highman leave his career, sell his house, and start traveling the world with his wife. He now runs a location independent bookkeeping service and manages the books and payroll for my business. He’s still traveling full time.
- Lily Fouts travels around the country in a motorhome with her husband, and she is my editor—correcting my third grade vocabulary. She was the clean-up mind behind the Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days and all my other projects.
- Lindsay May dominates many different location indie endeavors, and she is my right hand when it comes to high-level virtual help with my website, social promotion, landing pages, project management, products, launches, marketing and much more.
- Lord Moore and Travis Sherry helped me find my voice, and they drastically blew up the potential of the launch of the Sweet Ass Journal by including it in their 2017 Paradise Pack – a marketing bundle that raises money to build schools across the world.
- Raymond Blakney, Tiffany Noro, JC Spears, and Lily (from above) are my mastermind anchors. They are all working on unique projects to take over the world, and I owe endless gratitude to each of them for their support when I cry like a baby in our meetings. They are all doing incredible things to change the world, like building the world’s largest free language learning platforms, organizing belly dance academy trips to Egypt, influencing and consulting aspiring overlords on how to take over the world, and sharing wisdom from the experience of being a fugitive child on the run for seven years. You all are WACK! You make me feel normal. I love it.
- Jeremy Enns is just one of several people who understand the importance of doing something bigger in life. For his 27th birthday, he is raising $10,000 to bring clean water to villages around the world that have never seen it before. I’m honored to have him as a friend and co-maniac.
- Paul Lam is a fellow podcaster, interviewing insanely baller guests on creating a path to freedom. We often exchange ridiculous Instagram pictures and giggle at the absurd nature of the beasts. Word up Paul.
- And then there is this awesome dude, Jamie Atkinson—a newer addition to Location Indie. I’ve watched him come in, blow my mind with his blogging skillsets, and actually create a feasible plan to save up money, leave his job, and start traveling the world. Just a few weeks ago he started his journey, and it’s people like Jamie that inspire me more than anything in the world. I see myself in him.
I could go on forever listing best friends that I have made through Location Indie, but I want to reiterate that they aren’t just best friends. They are part of me. We are all working together for something we believe in, and I cannot express enough the importance of surrounding yourself with people who inspire and challenge you.
In Location Indie, there was a lot of talk of gatherings of like-minded people around the world. I learned about a conference called the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon (headed by Chris Guillebeau) where digital nomads and unconventional life enthusiasts from all over the world gathered to celebrate location independence, network, attend classes and seminars on personal and business growth, and even break world records. Portland is a notoriously weird city, and the thought of an even bigger gathering of people with the same mindset as myself outside of the Location Indie community really made my nipples hard.
I signed up for the email list to get notified when the tickets went on sale, but I pretty much swallowed the actual thought of attending due to my campaign to save money and pay off my debt. To save more money, I was also eliminating most of the material junk I had around my house that didn’t contribute absolute value to my visions. I found comfort in reading, writing, meditating, and even working from the floor, rather than the furniture that crowded my house. As we sold off all the unnecessary items, indescribable freedom filled the voids. We had just booked our plane tickets to Thailand a few weeks earlier, so between that and the debt-destruction cycle, money was tight.
One morning, while meditating and finishing up my miracle morning practice, I heard Lindsay give a slight yell from the basement. I went down to check on her and found her standing in about three inches of water that had flooded our recently-finished basement. For some reason, the washing machine had malfunctioned when she started it earlier that morning, and it never stopped filling. The water managed to escape the washer, clog up the drain, and flood out the basement.
Now, believe me, I was on the verge of absolute freak out mode. The gremlins attempted to fill my head with anger and rage, followed by the rabbit hole of thoughts about how my entire campaign to save money was now fucked.
But because I had just meditated and my head was calm and clear, I actually put the meditation tool to use and stayed calm, witnessed the situation, and ran back upstairs to lock myself back in my sacred space. I opened my computer to find a new meditation to help get me back on track, and my email popped up by default. There was a new email from Chris Guillebeau about a secondary release of World Domination Summit tickets. There were only a few left, and due to the insane demand, they wouldn’t be around for long.
The tickets cost around $600, and I felt like I had just been kicked in the stomach thanks to the situation downstairs. There was 100% no way I could afford to go. Because I was in such a state of mindfulness, I started considering the WHY behind the chaos that had just ensued. What if this was a test from the Universe? Because of my awareness, I considered that I was meant to see this email, at this exact time. It’s possible that I’m just an absolute maniac, but I used this feeling of universal synchronicity to overcome my fear of the current state of madness, and I booked the ticket to WDS without hesitation.
To be honest, it felt insanely good. It felt risky and exciting. I opened up the confirmation email of payment from Chris and proudly replied to it:
“Totally stoked. I booked the ticket despite no vacation days and my basement flooding at the exact moment of booking. Meant to be, for sure. Fist pumps all the way! Thanks for organizing and inspiring.”
Chris sent a quick message back immediately that made me laugh:
To have him respond, one of my favorite authors and inspirations, made me feel so included. The moment reassured me to continue surrounding myself with like-minded awesome people.
If you ever feel insane amounts of comfort in a decision, do the extreme opposite of what you would normally do. The doors that open on the other side of your comfort zone can lead you to experiences that will become the anchors in your quest to create the life you love.
As the end of May rolled around, Lindsay and I launched off to Asia! We flew into Bangkok, then hopped a flight to Chiang Mai where Erik Stenqvist, a friend and fellow podcaster whom I had met through my show, greeted us at the airport. Originally from Sweden, he had been living in Thailand for quite some time, teaching mindfulness techniques to professional poker players.
I fell in love with everything about Chiang Mai. The food, the culture, the golden Buddhist temples, the landscape, and most importantly, the common sense of community that revolved around the absence of time.
Nobody freaked out about what time it was, ever. Actually, it seemed nobody ever even knew what time it was. People started, enjoyed, and ended their days with leisure. Stores and restaurants opened late, at random times, and closed early, at random times. Nobody was freaking out, stressing out, or shitting their pants over a missed deadline for work. It felt surreal, because I had always worked in the concrete construction industry where everyone just loses their shit 24/7, no matter what. The stress is so high, and the businesses stay so busy, that employees and owners barely ever get to relax or spend time with their families.
I loved the relaxing state. Our phones were disconnected from “work life” back home. For the first time since I was a kid, I truly relaxed for more than a few days at a time.
We headed to Cambodia and spent four days touring The Kingdom of Angkor and the Angkor Wat temple system. I can’t put into words the energy we absorbed in this magical land. It’s like being thrown back in time 1,000 years and seeing the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It infected me with inspiration and drive that changed my life.
What I learned in Thailand and Cambodia was that the happiest people in the world start being happy at blank o’clock. I wrote a woo-woo post about it when I got back on my old blog here. Lindsay and I brought this relaxed sense of energy back with us, and immediately I knew that I just couldn’t continue to work in such a high-stress industry that I hated. Despite my plan to figure out a way to make money and leave my job, for the first time I actually felt in my gut that something special was on the verge of happening. I returned with a new superpower: the ability to give no fucks about anything, ever. If it wasn’t part of my love cycle, or in line with my vision, my care was nowhere to be found. It was a blessing.
Plus, I had WDS coming up, and since I had no vacation days, freaking out about how I would weasel my way out of work wouldn’t have done me any good. Instead, I just stayed calm, gave zero fucks, and continued planning my trip to Portland. I continued to show up and perform my best at my day job, trying to keep my mind wrapped positively around all situations. For the first time in awhile, I felt grateful for this job which allowed me to support myself while I ventured into the unknown waters of my side hustle. So many of us complain about our current situations because it’s easy to get sucked into the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality. However, everything you have ever experienced and accomplished has built to this point in your life. Forever is made up of nows. Without the now, we would never be able to support ourselves as we work toward something greater.
If you are currently unhappy with your situation, try to reframe your mind to be thankful for it instead. Your journey to make a change needs to begin with some positive fuel.
When July came around, I was fully submerged in podcasting and the idea of my PodcastPal business. I headed off to WDS with a warm fuzzy feeling, just like the one you remember getting when excited as a child. I stayed in a spare bedroom at an Airbnb in downtown Portland, within walking distance of all the events. I met some of the members of Location Indie, who were also attending. I also got to meet up with another good friend I had met on my podcast, mindfulness expert Jeena Cho, and it really felt like we had known each other forever already. Jeena does some really awesome guided meditations that you can check out also.
WDS is full of speakers, events, meetups, extracurricular activities, and so much more. Over the next five days, I mingled with massive numbers of people who had mindsets that matched mine, which boggled my mind. I ran the waterfront with the running club, went brewery hopping on a beer tour, and attended several classes on finding purpose, meaning, and expanding my mind.
I sat through intense speeches by some of my biggest influences such as:
- Derek Sivers – Founder of CDBaby, serial entrepreneur
- Jonathan Fields – The Good Life Project
- Jon Acuff – NYT Best Selling Author & Speaker
- Jeremy Cowart – Photographer & Founder of The Purpose Hotel
- Brad Montague with Kid President (Robby Novak)!
There were many other speakers as well, but each one of these sticks out like crazy in my mind. They all shared a common theme to better the world. Derek actually sold CDBaby and gave all $22 million to charity. Jeremy travels the world and fights war, hunger, poverty, global warming, racial tension and more with his photography. Robby battles a bone disease and is the probably the most inspirational kid in the world.
Apart from the leveling up I achieved by listening to the speakers, perhaps the most rewarding part of WDS was uniting with the online crew with whom I’d been collaborating for so long. The WDS staff had set up an event for an attempt to break the world record for the largest breakfast in bed, and several of us from Location Indie (including Lily and Cliff) were involved. They handed us Voodoo donuts to dominate as we walked in, and then we all waddled over to our assigned beds which were set up in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. They handed out waffles, and we all had to take a bite at the same time for it to register. I still have my certificate for breaking that world record, and it’s pretty cool be a part of something like that. Those experiences with my online friends led to stronger relationships. Lily is now a part of my mastermind and my editor, and Cliff does my bookkeeping and spanks me when I donkey-up my finances. I trust everyone from Location Indie because it’s a community of people who not only believe in a freedom lifestyle, but we believe in helping each other create a freedom lifestyle. The bond of accountability allows us all to evolve into better versions of ourselves, everyday, all while creating the life of our dreams.
I’ve always been a weird dude, especially growing up in the Southeast. I never had much of an interest in most of the things that excited those around me, but I often played along because it made the situations more comfortable. I worked in industries where everyone acted liked they loved each other during industry gatherings and events, but then the drama ensued immediately as people walked away from conversations. Everyone talked about everyone, just like middle school. It became normal to be absorbed in adult crybaby finger-pointing festivities.
WDS was a hop out of my comfort zone. No matter what I wanted to say or do, it was awesome. Everyone expressed who they truly were, and even though it felt uncomfortable at first because it was so different than the fake personas I was used to, it opened my eyes to the side of the world where everyone was truly themselves. I felt like I had found my home.
I met an awesome dude name Kyle McKee who had recently ridden his bike all around the US. He informed me that the previous weekend he had participated in the Portland World Naked Bike Ride—a gathering of thousands of people to ride their bikes around Portland naked. The city supports this event, as the police close off the route roads and spectators come to watch. It started as protest against motor vehicles and emissions, and now gets publicity all over the world.
It made me uncomfortable just thinking about it. I couldn’t comprehend taking my clothes off and riding my bike around naked with thousands of other people. In the Southeast, the police squads would roll in hard, beat everyone, and probably tack on hefty jail sentences and fines for something like that. Because tradition had shaped me, the thought of including myself in such an event waved a huge red flag in my mind.
But those thoughts emanated from my conformist, comfort mind. They were from a mind shaped by tradition. They derived from a false insecurity that most of the world feels when they think about their body in comparison to what it “should be.”
I thought it was fucking awesome that Kyle did it, and I knew I had a lot of growing to do if I could ever break my comfort zone and participate in something like that. I knew I needed to move past my fears. Being aware of our handicaps is the first step in growth. Once we are aware, we can make the right decision within each moment to grow outside of our comfort zones. I dedicated myself to strengthening my mind. (Earlier this year, I participated in the Naked Bike Ride!! Cheers to slaughtering resistance!)
I called my girlfriend, Lindsay, and paced up and down the streets with excitement. I told her Portland felt like home. I had no doubt in my mind that we were supposed to be there, and I couldn’t wait to bring her out and show it to her. The conversation rings in my head clear as crystals. Clarity took over my visions. When I walked into WDS, I didn’t know what to expect, or have any sort of plan for working my way outside of Kentucky. In that moment on the phone, I knew that I would eventually end up in Portland. My gut screamed. My heart screamed. My logical mind even wiggled its weenie a little bit. I made a note to add the Pacific Northwest (PNW) to all of my affirmations and vision board when I got home. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I was going to dedicate every choice I made to target the transformation. Lindsay would end up playing a huge role in that!
Lindsay and I both felt like we were different people since our visit to Thailand. Things that had seemed so important to us in the past didn’t matter any longer. When I returned home, we made a pact to create our visions around the life we truly wanted together. This generated a lot of adversity when we started mentioning our plans to our family and friends.
Lindsay had gone to school for Animal Science, and she had been working on various dairy farms, horse farms, and other odd jobs to help pay the bills. She loved working with animals, but didn’t agree at all with the ethics of the industry. In the gigs where she helped breed racehorses, she was fully exposed to the way they treat the animals. It wasn’t what she had dreamed it was, and so I challenged her to look deep within at what kind of work truly lit her up.
Lindsay had played lacrosse in college, and she absolutely loved the sport, but there was something deeper about it that she REALLY loved. From my perspective, I didn’t see her smile that much when she was spending nights on the farms and working her ass off without rest. However, I noticed that she glowed when she worked with middle school or high school girls on the lacrosse field. She coached a local high school girls team, and when those practices and games rolled around, she looked happy, her heart smiled, and anyone around her could feel the love.
I asked her if she ever thought of pursuing coaching, instead of working on the farms, because it seemed to me like her true passion was helping to develop young women into not only better players, but better people—internally and externally. She truly loved helping younger girls grow within their confidence, purpose, and mindsets.
She acknowledged that she loved it, but immediately wrote the idea off as impossible. How could anyone ever make a career coaching lacrosse? It would never pay the bills or satisfy her parents, and it wouldn’t be possible to leave an industry that she went to school for, right?
We had some heated arguments over the next month. I wasn’t sure it was going to work out. I saw the beauty and passion in her when she worked with the girls on the field, and I saw misery and stress as she continued to consider interviews with corporate companies in animal pharmaceuticals and other related industries. I wasn’t happy working in the concrete construction industry, and I had also followed it because I thought it would pay the bills and up my status with my family and society. I knew that following a path to make money and impress others didn’t work at all, because I was stuck in the middle of it. I loved her too much to let her follow that same rabbit hole.
We had considered what would happen if she took a corporate job in another city, and I simply told her that I wouldn’t follow her anywhere unless she was doing something that she loved. It was a tough spot.
I didn’t forget my experience in Portland. Lindsay loved the outdoors as much as I did, and she loved travel, too. She spent many years climbing mountains in Colorado with her dad, and we bonded over our love for the West and all the adventure it had to offer.
One day, Lindsay had an interview in the corporate world with an HR guy who asked her what she wanted to work toward in life. They got into a conversation about sports, and he mentioned that he wished he’d stuck to coaching when he was younger instead of diving right into the corporate world. Wait, what? Signs from the universe? An HR guy recommending that she follow her passion? What are the odds? He even introduced her to an extremely successful coach who had 100% made a career out of coaching. Bam!
After that conversation, something switched inside Lindsay. She seemed inspired and motivated to explore a lifestyle filled with “work” that fell in line with her loves and interests. At that moment, I could feel our bond strengthen. Now that we were on the same page, we could use our combined minds to mastermind a plan to escape the careers we dreaded and create a life we would truly love together.
We set up a time to create vision boards together, and targeted the Pacific Northwest as our future home. I printed out a picture of a little cabin in the woods and wrote “my cabin” on it. I spent hours meditating with that vision in my mind. I remember using a meditation that Kim Nicol made for me that walked me through visualizing the life I wanted to manifest. You can download that same meditation free here.
The largest issue we faced in our plan to transition was the fear of the unknown. We really had no idea how we would bring in income, and I was in a tough position with my career job. My awesome boss had been training me for years to take over his position upon retiring. It was a killer opportunity, and I looked up to him like a second father, so the thought of leaving my job was only hard because of the relationship I had with him and a few of my customers. I didn’t care about the job because I had no passion for covering the beautiful green world with concrete, but I certainly respected the time he spent training me, and I felt like a complete asshole for not having the passion to stay.
I think sometimes when we are trapped in those kinds of bubbles, it’s too easy to think that the bubble is the ceiling. For all the years I had worked there, I had always pictured myself working there for the rest of my life. It wasn’t until my rock-bottom breakdowns, and the inspiration I’d gained from my interviewees on the podcast, that I even thought another path was possible. Yet, no matter how much I hated myself for standing on the verge of disappointing a boss who had been nothing but incredible to me, there was something inside of me that just knew I had to leave. I no longer felt like becoming an incredibly successful salesman in the construction industry. My bubble popped when Amber Vilhauer inspired me to push further. My bubble popped when Kim Nicol taught me how to meditate. My bubble popped when Lindsay decided to be my sidekick in this journey for freedom.
I now understand that we should never conform ourselves to a job, relationship, or any other experience that doesn’t fall in line with our values and visions. It’s hard to conceive of another world out there when you are stuck in the bubble, but that’s only because the bubble distorts the world on the other side. All it takes is your willingness to pop the bubble. Go out and surround yourself with those who live outside of the bubble. They will teach you how!
I didn’t have any true side income yet, but I was working on PodcastPal and absorbing as much information as I could from the entrepreneurs I interviewed. I knew I had to create an income stream to be able to leave my job. I was still paying off my debt, and every day I brainstormed ways to create a money cushion for our escape. It didn’t help that Lindsay also had no real plan for side income yet. And, to actually make money in the coaching world, you basically have to volunteer for years before you’ll be considered for a paid position, especially in a low-grossing sport like women’s lacrosse.
At any moment, we could have let that situation cripple us and bailed on our plan, but we knew that would mean conforming to unhappiness for the rest of our lives. Instead of letting the big picture overwhelm us, we let it motivate us. We used our large visions to break down the small steps we could take to get there. Our vision boards continued to guide us, and we took small actions every day to work toward the vision.
We wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. Lindsay wanted to coach lacrosse and help develop young women. She also loved yoga, and thought it would be cool make some side income teaching it. Maybe she could even teach yoga to athletes! I wanted to create a location independent business where I could work from my laptop and travel freely.
So, our vision became this:
“We live in the Pacific Northwest. Lindsay teaches yoga and is the assistant coach at a college. She also has a side job on a farm or another place where she can bring in extra income until she makes enough through coaching and teaching yoga. I have an online business where I make $2,000 per month to live on. I am debt-free, and I have some money in savings from selling my house. I will get a side job if needed to help pay the bills while we work toward sustaining ourselves.”
Lindsay didn’t know where she would coach or teach yoga. I didn’t know what my online business would be, although at the time I thought it would be PodcastPal. I wasn’t sure about the resale value of my house, or if I’d make any money at all since I had put zero down and had two ass-pounding mortgages. Since the idea of disappointing my boss terrified me, I came up with an approach that would allow us to ease the transition and hopefully bring less stress to the situation.
Lindsay could search for a position in the Northwest, and if accepted, I could use love as an excuse to follow her! Hopefully by then, I could figure out a way to make a side income and sell my house. If she moved first, I could stay in Kentucky and work relentlessly to create my business. I could use her as motivation to make shit happen. And, I could give my boss plenty of notice and help him find and train a replacement before I left. It was the least stressful idea I could come up with, and we’d have time to validate whether our visions would work out or not. Of course, I refused to not let them work out. Now it was all about applying our attention to our intentions. What could we do to start working toward this plan?
Lindsay found a local school where she could train and earn her yoga license, so she signed up to start the program. It was expensive, and we didn’t have any money to spare, but it was a sacrifice we decided would be in alignment with our vision. She also started coaching at the collegiate level as an assistant at a local school. This would allow her to get a little college coaching experience before applying to a position in the Pacific Northwest. The wheels were turning. The blunts were burning.
Over the next few months, I had brought on my first few clients with PodcastPal. I envisioned creating an online marketplace where podcasters could find help for their shows (editing, show notes, consultation, etc.) and people who provided podcast services could find new clients. I wanted it to be open-ended, like Fiverr. I had quite a bit of cash stashed up in a briefcase in my office closet as a result of the savings game that Jacqueline had taught me earlier in the year, so I pulled some of that money to invest in the development of the PodcastPal website.
Because I didn’t have many clients, and only a few people looking for podcast editing work, I did most of the work myself in the beginning. I helped launch a few shows and quickly realized I didn’t have much interest in editing shows that weren’t mine. Working a full time job, traveling every day, trying to run my podcast, working on websites for others to keep side cash coming in, and trying to keep my head from exploding overwhelmed me. I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and went to sleep around midnight, squeezing projects into every buttcrack of time that made a presence.
The work didn’t bother me because I believed that if I kept hustling, I would come out with an income stream that would allow me to leave my career. I was willing to put in the sweat. What did bother me was dealing with clients and having to trade my time for money. I admired systems, automation, and business models that offered a product or a software solution in exchange for payment. I knew PodcastPal had the potential of being an online marketplace where people could connect with others and exchange services for payments, and I would simply scrape a small percentage off each transaction.
I studied the model and tried to figure out a way to growth hack the platform, but the long hours and client work sucked my energy dry. The thought of having to do all the heavy client work upfront until I could get some others on board who offered services distressed me. I began to experience a bit of a bubble with the podcasting service world. I saw tools and resources pop up left and right, way more advanced than what I was working on. I had spent thousands on a website working with a foreign developer, and the developer kept sending random charges that escalated far beyond what we had agreed upon in the contract. I felt like I was approaching a cliff. Still, I determined to continue on with this platform, despite the mass of gremlins standing in my way.
And then I got a few calls that brought me to a crossroad.
I’m a huge believer that the universe sends us signs. Some we notice, some we don’t. But the more we look for the signs, the more we notice them. After a long day of driving and work, I sat in a hotel room just outside Chattanooga, TN, ready to crack a beer and work on the next phase of PodcastPal. Just a few days earlier, Jason Berwick (the thug who had taught me retail arbitrage) had started texting me again like a maniac. He asked if I was still interested in Amazon FBA stuff, because he had figured out how to do it all online. This obviously appealed to me because I wanted to be location independent and work from my laptop. I wasn’t sure how to respond.
He started sending screenshots of his sales (around $300 per day at the time), and gave me a brief overview of the process. That warm fuzzy excited feeling grew in my stomach again, but I knew if I started back down the Amazon trail, I’d have to sacrifice time I was spending on PodcastPal. Internally, I was kind of sick of working on PodcastPal anyway, so my ears were wide open.
I kept wondering why he wanted to help me so much. I couldn’t ignore the fact that he was offering me mentorship without anything in return. I knew he wanted to create some information products to teach the process to others, but I couldn’t believe that I was just “lucky” enough to be the person he wanted to test it on.
Now I can look back and see that it wasn’t sheer luck. I placed myself in that situation by keeping in touch, interviewing him on my show, and creating a friendship. Luck tends to favor those who are prepared!
So there I was, in the hotel room, staring at my to-do list for PodcastPal. My mind felt like scrambled eggs, and I wrestled with internal conflict about which direction to pursue. PodcastPal was already breathing, and I had already invested so much time and money into the system, but the Amazon stuff sweetly massaged my gut. I felt like a lost little boy, wandering through a forest of fuckery.
All of a sudden my cell phone went bonanzas! The stress gremlins grabbed at my soul as I thought it was another work call that I’d have to deal with after hours. In the construction industry, there is no cutoff time for people to call each other. It’s insanity. You’d think I was an ER doctor on call.
I looked down and saw ‘Jason Moore’ on my incoming call screen. No shit! What!? Why is he calling me? We had become friends and kept in touch through the Location Indie community and email, but he rarely called me. My stress turned to excitement because he is a dude who just gets it. By this time, he’d been living the location indie lifestyle for years and creating various streams of income. His sincere honesty drew my attention. He never seemed to bullshit, preach get-rich-quick schemes, or teach things that he didn’t fully believe in. Jason has a gift for lighting up the truth in any situation, and then making it comfortable to discuss, analyze, and move forward. He’s just one of those dudes whom I trust without question, so naturally, I take his advice very seriously.
I don’t remember exactly what we talked about leading up to the beef of the conversation. That he would call at that exact moment when I felt so much turmoil surprised me, and when I answered he just said he wanted to check in because he had been thinking about a few of the members of LI and how we were doing. Something told him to call me and check in.
That’s pretty cool, yo. Even in my immediate life, not very many people ever called to check on how I was doing. In reality, I wasn’t really calling anyone else to check on them either. Yet, here is this awesome dude I met online who truly cares about my transition. I had been podcasting for awhile now, and I was starting to understand how helping others was truly a passionate game. Whenever I figured out a way to help someone out, I’d feel a sincere connection with my internal happiness. Jason’s call to help me reflected this principle. Trav and Jason built the entire Location Indie community on the idea of helping one another create a lifestyle that we love (which just so happens to be location independent work and travel). Without either one of us realizing the impact the call would end up having, I started venting about the struggle gremlins that were eating my brain.
I updated him on the PodcastPal project and where it stood. I also talked about the rebirth of the Amazon idea, and how I had this maniac who wanted to teach me his system (Jason Berwick). I rambled for a while about the pros and cons of each, but it wasn’t as complicated as my mind was making it out to be. Each project had the potential to become an income stream that would allow me to leave my career, but it was hard for me to analyze which one made the most sense.
Jason simply asked me one huge question that immediately cleared the gremlin distraction poo from the windshield of my clarity. It had nothing to do with which project would make the most money, or which one could make money the fastest, which is what I kept grading them on.
He asked a much more important question: Which one feels right?
You know when you flip a coin to make a decision, and when the coin goes up in the air, you already have a gut feeling on which one you want it to land on? If it lands on the side you were thinking, you get super excited, but if it lands on the other side, you may even flip it again?
Jason’s question catapulted my situational coin into the air, and my gut wanted nothing to do with PodastPal. All my emotions internally backed the Amazon adventure. It just felt right. I had an awesome friend who wanted to guide me, and that meant I could immediately start taking actions to work toward an income stream. The universe not only delivered a mentor, but it sent me a messenger to confirm the path, also.
I hesitated to give up PodcastPal completely, because I questioned whether or not I was retreating due to fear. If something scares me, I want to move toward it. If there is an obstacle, I want to defeat it. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding if it’s the right obstacle to defeat. I think in these situations, we have to just surrender to what truly feels right. What really excites us? What can we taste?
PodcastPal didn’t feel right anymore. I had lost my passion. When I thought about selling things online through Amazon or eBay, and working to automate and scale the sales, that’s what lit up my circuit. I knew what had to be done.
That night, I moved all my PodcastPal files to a new folder and put it on the “back burner” list. Usually, that just means I may or may not return to it in the future, if it makes sense to pursue. I notified all my clients that I would be moving out of the service space, and I felt a huge surge of relief.
Although I had been working toward it relentlessly, I felt so good when I finally surrendered to let it go. I respected the importance it played in my life, and as a lesson on my journey, but I no longer needed it to move forward. I paid my respect to the resolution of the project, as one would to a pig before a roast, and I sparked up the coals to start cooking. It was time to fuel up the spaceship.
The other day in my private Gremlin Smashers Facebook group (get free access through the bonus link inside your Sweet Ass Journal), Bri Seeley and I were doing a live Q&A about her new book Permission to Leap. I pulled so many hardcore nuggets of inspiration away from this magical call. (Watch the replay here.)
One of the things Bri said that hit me like a fat man trying to fight his way to some tater chips was, “Clarity is a natural byproduct of commitment.” I didn’t know it in the trenches, but as soon as I made the decision to cut ties with all my projects that weren’t working, the steps I needed to take next became clear.
At the end of July, 2015, I was still slaying through interviews with my podcast. Even with a team of assistants, it was costing me valuable time and money. I had no income besides my job other than tiny payouts from helping with podcasts. But with my newfound clarity from my hotel awakening, I knew my direction with Amazon, and I had limited time.
Just a month earlier, phase one from Lindsay’s and my Pacific NW vision had started to manifest. We were attending a company weekend meeting at a state resort in Kentucky, which usually consisted of all the concrete company salespeople and management personnel sitting around and slamming insanely impressive amounts of hooch for three days straight. That afternoon, Lindsay had an interview lined up for the assistant coach position at a D3 school in Walla Walla, Washington. Walla Walla isn’t in the mountains, but it’s in the PNW. It’s a funky little high-desert town that sits in the middle of some of the most wicked natural landscapes I’ve ever seen. Not only would it get Lindsay out of Kentucky, but she would have a mentor until she felt comfortable enough to take the next leap. It was part of our vision, and I fully supported that, but I struggled to think about the time we would spend apart if it actually happened. If she got the position, she’d be leaving in just a few months for the start of the season. I encouraged and supported the move because it was what we were asking the world for.
I headed to the banquet hall to have a few drinks with some customers and associates while Lindsay interviewed over the phone in the hotel room. After 45 minutes, she walked in. I asked how the initial interview went. What better place to discuss it than in front of all the people I worked with who had no fucking idea what kind of shenanigans we were masterminding? When she told me she got the job, I about shit and pissed all over my pants and the floor. I thought it was just an initial interview, and I had no idea that she’d come out with the actual job. She was starting in August.
I felt insanely excited and crazy torn—simultaneously happy, relieved, nervous, and unsure. Our vision had come to life, so it felt magical. If Lindsay was really going to leave, that meant the heat was on me. I still had a house, a career, and no real side income. If I wanted to be near her, I had no choice but to rage hardcore and create the opportunity.
When some entrepreneurs discover they’re having a baby, they hustle hard enough to make things work, and I looked at our situation like that. The girl I cared the most about in the entire world (well, tied with my pup Loki) was heading out into the great unknown, and I felt challenged to fight my way through the fuckery and earn a position at her side. While we drank heavily that night in celebration of uncertainty (which made us feel really alive again), we did open our mouths to a few others about Lindsay’s accomplishment. I knew this would spread through the industry pipeline immediately and people would question me about it. But I welcomed it. Because I felt terrible about transitioning away from a position that my boss spent so many years molding me to fit, this was the first step in easing that tension.
Shutting Down the Podcast and Eliminating Distractions
Lindsay’s new job started in a month, and we planned a road trip to drive her across the country to her new pad. This lit a fire under my tiny white ass to figure out how to leave my career and join her. I listed the steps to jumpstart my online selling. I needed to follow Berwick’s guides and direction in setting up the system, and once I got started, I could use my obsession with automation and delegation to collaborate with him on a system to scale our businesses.
Because I had been studying successful people for over a year, I knew I had to set not just any goals, but measurable goals. I needed to use math, numbers, and estimates, and work toward those estimates. If I wanted to bring my vision of working for myself full time to life, I had to dial back the activities that weren’t making money, and go hard as a mutha-fucka on the ones that were.
Based on the screenshots Jason sent on his sales from Amazon, I knew his method had the potential to bring in direct income, quickly. When I calculated the sales required to cover all inventory expenses, reinvest 10%, and pay myself enough to live, the number came out to about $35,000 per month. It was a big number, but I had no doubts. I saw some of Jason’s daily sales numbers, and I was already familiar with how the business operated because of my brief retail arbitrage rampage earlier in the year. I knew how powerful Amazon’s platform was, and I believed in my ability to automate and scale certain tasks so I could spend more time focusing on the growth and inventory.
I sent Berwick a text, asking him how long it would take me to scale my Amazon business from $0 to about $35,000 in sales in a month. Could I do it within four or five months? He said it would be pretty hard, but it’s possible.
The barriers would be with finding enough product to resell, as well as raising enough capital to buy the products. His response didn’t phase me. I only needed him to say it was possible. He’s just as “unrealistic” of a lunatic as I am, but sometimes it just takes another lunatic to make the “unrealistic” dreams seem attainable. I was ready to rage.
Beyond the barriers of sourcing product and finding capital to buy the products, one more major obstacle blocked my world domination. I still worked full time, driving eight to ten hours a day, and I was also podcasting, doing some side client website projects, and continuing to absorb all information I could digest on self help. My mind was stuffed like the fat kid who is forced to eat that giant cake in the movie Matilda.
Often, it takes a point of view outside of our own to dissect how we can improve and move forward. I’m not saying let others create your path, but if anyone is supportive of you as you work toward your vision, it might help to listen to some constructive criticism, especially if they are in the position you want to be in.
“You have to stop doing your podcast. It’s draining your energy and taking up all your time. If you want to create this business and leave your job, you gotta give it up and focus 100% on the business. You’ve learned so much from your interviews and you’ve got endless content whenever you need it, but right now it’s not in line with your vision. Axe it and return to it later once your business is thriving. Then, you can be the one being interviewed, and not doing the interviewing.”
Those weren’t the exact words, but that’s essentially what Jason suggested to me when I complained about not having much time to work on the Amazon stuff. I hated hearing it at first because the only authority I really had in the internet world was the podcast. I engaged in incredible conversations with creative entrepreneurs and reported their habits and strategies to the world. I felt an important connection with channelling the information to others in an attempt to help them accomplish what I was working toward: freedom.
Axing the podcast was like killing my baby. Without it, the last year of work would feel wasted. Not only would I run out of content to share with others, but I also wouldn’t be able to have any new conversations with creative entrepreneurs. There wouldn’t be any way for me to learn new habits, discover new magical tools, or make new friendships with influencers. Plus, I didn’t want to be a baby killer!
But that was exactly Berwick’s point. All those things had served an incredible purpose in my transition from lost and confused to a mountain of clarity. Without the podcast, I never would have even met Berwick or any of the 100 other amazing interviewees that influenced my path. But the magic from the interviews had finally manifested into an opportunity to create a real business with real income. That was the goal, right? So if I wanted to actually create this real business, my focus needed to be in line, and not out searching for more secrets from other podcast interviews. It was a REAL opportunity to make enough money to leave my career and move out to Washington with Lindsay, who was scheduled to leave in just a few weeks.
Jason’s advice was hard for me to accept, but he was right. I had absorbed and consumed plenty of information to prepare me for the next big step: making the business. My attention needed to be on the business, and although the podcast played a giant role in creating the business opportunity, continuing it would only slow down my new vision. I meditated for a few days on the situation, and I took a few walks in the woods. It’s crazy how much nature can help us see the light.
Ultimately, I realized I was okay with shutting down the podcast. It was actually starting to wear me out, and the thought of freeing up all that time to work on a new, exciting business pumped me up. I felt light, happy, and clear-headed. My gut overwhelmingly took the side of pausing the podcast platform, so I readily jumped aboard.
Shutting down the show by itself wouldn’t be enough to center my focus. I participated in quite a few online communities and social media black holes. Like most of us, I constantly checked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my email. I had most of the podcast sharing automated through the platforms, but I personally engaged with any comments or interaction the content received. I used a tracker to see how much time I spent on my devices, and the numbers were scary AF.
My mind felt best when I was in meditation or alone in the woods. I noticed how much better it performed when I shut everything else down. I wondered what it would be like to completely disconnect from the social media, email, books and podcasts all at once. The most productive parts of my days were the few hours right after deep meditation because my mind was clear and focused. What if the entire day felt like that (minus the distractive money hustle from around 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)?
I pulled the trigger, yo. I went into a deep meditation about my future, visualizing how it looked. For some reason, I kept thinking about writing down a date by which I wanted to declare freedom. My coach Jacqueline du Plessis had gifted me The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale (watch free here) and I had been listening to it every morning for weeks. The concept behind the strangest secret is to set measurable goals, look at them everyday, work toward them in every moment, and reap the fruit when they manifest. Since Lindsay was leaving, the faster I could achieve my goals, the faster I could be at her side. There was no room for social media distraction. There was no room for material distraction. In reality, there was no room for distraction at all.
By the beginning of August, I was ready to plan out my first few Amazon purchases to flip products. I set the last few interviews from The Artsy Now Show to release, and declined all future interviews for the show. It felt glorious to let go and surrender to my master plan. Clarity flooded into my life from all directions. I had sold, donated, and trashed everything in my house that wasn’t of “absolute value” to my life, so my workspace felt clean and focused. Time to boogie!
I felt sick, depressed, and uncertain. It was easy to have tunnel vision of how perfect it all would be when I manifested my goals and reunited in the PNW with Lindsay, but the fear gremlins kept sneaking in and gang banging my brain. Some days, I was an absolute mess. Other days, I was a raging creative lunatic surging with inspiration and drive. I was riding a seesaw with poo on one end and gold on the other, dipping into each often. But I stayed strong and believed in my visions. I continued to work on strengthening my mind and creating habits I could use as weapons to destroy my resistance. I had to stay strong to support Lindsay, because without a doubt, she was the most important part of my life.
We loaded up her little Honda CRV with her clothes, some camping gear, and one of our three pups at the time: Manfred. There wasn’t much room in that car, but it felt awesome. She had played the minimalist challenge game with me, so I loved seeing most of her belongings all fit into a little car. When we hit the road to soar across the country toward Washington State, it was a small taste of what it would be like when we brought the rest of my belongings and the other two pups, without any plan to return.
We stopped and camped at so many beautiful National and State parks along the way, including the Badlands, the Tetons, and Yellowstone. We saved some of the others for the permanent trip that we’d take once I built my business and joined her. We always talked about it like it was certain to happen, and I’m positive that helped bring the vision to reality.
In just under a week, we arrived in Walla Walla, a weird little town in the high desert of eastern Washington, not far from the Oregon border. I didn’t get to spend much time there, as my plane left just a few days after we arrived, but I was more interested in spending time with Lindsay, and not necessarily exploring the area.
It was tough to board that plane and leave her behind, but I knew she’d be back in a few months for Thanksgiving. We cried, but I think it was a combination of sadness and tears of joy. I knew that our plan was coming to life, and the next step was the big step: I had to create a business so I could leave my career and join her.
On the flight back, I pulled out a scratch pad and jotted down some notes. I needed $30,000 per month in sales to feel comfortable leaving my job. Until that point, I would hammer out all the business tasks relentlessly myself. Once I hit the $30,000 mark, I could bring on an assistant to help with the lower-level tasks so I could scale the business further.
I knew the importance of tracking this goal every day to measure my progress. In the past, I was likely to set a big goal and never achieve it because I didn’t pay attention to it. If you set a goal with intention, and then you actually pay attention to it and take action toward it, you’ll be likely to achieve that goal. If you set an intention and don’t pay attention, or if you pay attention and don’t have an intention, you are just asking for lack of progress.
Here are some measurable goals I set up and tracked:
- I set a deadline for when I wanted to leave my career and reunite with Lindsay. My favorite month is June, and my favorite number has always been 22, and realistically, I knew it would take me almost a year to achieve the goal. 6/22/17 was about 10 months away, so that became my target.
- I created 100-day wall trackers that required me to sign in and out of my daily habit goals. I set about 5 habits to implement over a 100-day period (like morning routine, no drinking, saving money, etc) and I reviewed them each morning and night, measuring the percentage of my progress. You can learn about this system here and download your own tracker for free.
- I calculated how much inventory I needed to buy in order to sell $30,000 per month, then created monthly charts with daily buy/sell goals in order to ramp up my sales consistently over the next few months. The charts forced me to sign in and out every night, logging whether or not I was on track with my buying and selling goals.
- Each month, I wrote my sales goal on bright orange post it notes and stuck them around my house, car, office, bathroom mirrors, and anywhere else I could think of. Everywhere I looked, I saw the goal. It was always in my face, and always on my mind. It helped me make choices in each moment that strengthened my campaign.
- Every morning, during my miracle morning routine, I got out a new fresh notecard and wrote down the the date, 6/22/17. I wrote it in big dark letters and imagined what it would be like to reunite with Lindsay on that date. I pictured myself driving across the country, happy and free. On the other side of the notecard, I wrote down two actions I could take that day to move toward my goals. Before anything else, I would work on completing those actions. Taking two steps per day toward a vision is crazy powerful. Fuck the big to-do lists. Write down two things you can do per day to move toward your dream life, and it will manifest faster than you thought possible.
I still make a habit of all these systems and practices today. I use them in combination with The Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days, and a few of them are included within the practices of the journal.
They work great for me, and I encourage you to try them out and modify them to your liking. We are all a bit different, but that’s the beauty of the individual. Everything I create and do is a modification or compilation of amazing things I learned from other people. Take other platforms and make them your own!
From August on, I worked like an absolute fiend. I didn’t have the product prep companies and assistants to help me then, so I spent many mornings and nights unpacking orders from retail stores online, removing tags and barcodes, adding new tags and barcodes, and re-wrapping the products for sale. I’d then ship all the items to Amazon warehouses where they sat until sold. It felt like a full-time physical job, but I liked the rush. I touched the products that would make me money, and I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do. My adventure gave me a glimpse into how it would feel to work for myself, all the time.
When November rolled around, I aimed for $10,200 in sales (then $15,000 for December and $16,000 for January). Because I had been hitting my buying targets based off 50% ROI (return on investment) estimates, I knew I shouldn’t have any problem reaching that goal. However, because many of the items I purchased had estimated ROI’s beyond 50%, my sales goals actually passed my mark. I sold just around $13,000 in November, and hit a whopping $27,000 in December. Yeah, it was the Holiday season, so people were buying like crazy, but those numbers pumped me way up!
By mid-November, with cash flow working and all my goals on target, I started to understand the power of disconnecting from everything distracting and connecting with focus. I could sense that December would be a good sales month, but one good month in the Holiday season didn’t mean I’d be able to sustain that throughout the first half of the following year. I needed to take the time I was spending on my business to the next level. I had to remove the gremlins that sucked my attention into the social media world.
Like most people, I constantly refreshed my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I absorbed inspiration from others who posted about freedom lifestyles, but I also got sucked into memes, sports, practically naked models who claimed to be advertising some random product, and political drama. Social media is built to send us clicking down the rabbit hole. It’s a big funnel full of fuckery and magic, but most of us get stuck in the fuckery and not the magic.
I decided to bail on it all until I reunited with Lindsay. With my podcast shut down and my Amazon business up and running, only three big things remained to distract my mind: Social Media, Drinking, and my Job.
By that time, I had tunnel vision so bad that my job didn’t distract me much anymore. I respected my money hustle, and I was thankful to have the position so I could build my side hustle. I got pretty good at not letting my career stress me out.
A week before Thanksgiving, I did a test run with no social media or drinking for seven days. The amount of clarity and productivity I discovered was absolute insanity. After a few heavy meditations and perhaps the most stressful internal battle ever about breaking the news to my boss that I wanted to leave, I announced my hiatus on all social media. I stressed out so much about how my boss would react when I put in my notice that I was barely sleeping and keeping it together.
I didn’t wait until May to put in a two-week notice and bail without warning. I’m not that kind of dude. Plus, I’m a firm believer that you should never burn bridges, no matter how much you may despise a situation. It was tough, but I felt like I holding onto the secret would destroy my focus. I couldn’t think about anything else. Staying would kill me inside. In the end, success is only how we feel about what we do. I would never be successful doing something that made me feel miserable every day.
I broke the news to my boss that I planned on leaving mid-2016 when I could get my side business ramped up. He knew Lindsay, and he knew I wanted to be with her, but he didn’t exactly agree with the decision. I can’t blame him. I was taking a huge risk, and I was doing it without being “realistic.” To him, it must have looked like I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life, but it didn’t matter. I felt nothing for a future inside the construction industry.
I knew that once I informed the company of my plans, they could dismiss me to hire someone else faster. I offered to stay on until May to train my replacement, and I desperately needed the money. Thanks to Jacqueline, I had paid off my $20,000 debt, but I still wasn’t even close to making enough on the side to support myself.
I had never felt more alive in my life as I did when I walked out of our meeting. I felt like a child again, getting ready to go on a big trip to somewhere mysterious and unknown. I hit a level of high that alcohol and drugs could never provide. I was free!
Here is the Instagram post I made about taking a social media hiatus and starting a new project “On Happiness” that eventually became the Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days. I was honestly half faking it because the revenue I needed wasn’t there yet, but I convinced myself it was anyway. I believed I was my future self, and I played the role until it manifested.
After giving my notice at work and disconnecting from social media and drinking, peace and tranquility took over. Every day, I did my morning routine, wrote my freedom date of 6/22/16 on a notecard, filled out my goal trackers, and watched the business grow. I lit up on all levels during this transformation to my new lifestyle. I don’t remember much about those next five months, maybe due to my eagerness to pack the car and hit the road. You know how the trip to somewhere exciting always feels way shorter than the return trip?
I had been eliminating my physical belongings for months, and my house was almost empty. I spent hours and hours sitting on my empty floors, working like a maniac on my new business. I built mindmaps of how I wanted to delegate tasks, automate systems, and turn it into a company that gave me location independence.
My sales over the next few months continued to rise. I started shipping products to prep companies and paying them to prep and pack them for me. After all, if I was going to travel the world, I couldn’t have packages waiting on me to prep them. Every business decision I made automated the system more and more.
Jason and I threw around the idea of hiring and training assistants to find leads for us. The hardest part of our business wasn’t finding the money to spend, it was finding the products on which to spend it! Finding the right inventory took time and energy.
We needed people to find products, buy products, prep products, and handle customer service and administrative tasks. I knew it wouldn’t all happen at once, but I listed out the hierarchy of how it could be implemented, and took action toward each baby step when the time was right.
Here are how my sales turned out leading up to my big move:
August – $5,170.23
September – $4,946.98
October – $8,090.49
November – $12,253.90
December – $26,872.39
January – $13,030.72
February – $23,581.80
March – $35,137.06
April – $31,217.92 (Hired first full time admin assistant)
May – $33,207.38 (Left my Job)
In March I started remodeling my house to put it on the market, and within five days of being listed in May, it sold. My closing date came just a few weeks before 6/22/16. Talk about the magic of clockwork!
I packed everything I owned into my Xterra and a 4’ x 8’ trailer, including my huge pups. I only kept some clothes, sentimental artwork from our Thailand trip, a few tools, and our outdoor gear. Lindsay flew into Louisville to ride back with me, and when she arrived, it all felt surreal.
On the day of my closing, I handed the keys over to the new owners, popped into the fully-packed car in the real estate office parking lot, and headed to Louisville to spend the night before hitting the road. For the next two weeks, we paraded around the United States like champions of life, exploring every national and state park we drove anywhere near.
On 6/22/16, I sat in a bar in Walla Walla, Washington with Lindsay, sipping my favorite beer and reflecting on what the fuck just happened. It all seemed like a video game level wrapped up in one big shot of awesome sauce. It’s hard to explain what it feels like when you realize you’ve become the person you always wanted to be. A certain sense of gratitude takes over your emotions and the highest form of peace settles in. When you level up, you create a new opportunity to level up again. When you become your vision, the only thing left to do is set a new vision. It should be exciting every time. It should light you up more than anything else. Always work toward the next big high. Never stop peaking.
Since June of 2016, I’ve experienced so much that it feels longer than the previous 10 years. I continued to work toward delegating actions and automating the business, and I’ve also continued to work on my personal habits and mind strength. Between the two of us, Jason and I have hired over 10 assistants to help us with a wide array of projects.
By the end of 2016, I had sold over $600,000 in products online. My beautiful fiancée Lindsay and I moved to Portland, Oregon, where she coaches full time and is about to graduate with her Masters degree.
I took another large offline period last winter to write the Sweet Ass Journal and launched it to the public in May 2017. Lindsay and I spent large parts of the summer traveling around and working with a school in Uganda, and I just got back from some life-changing experiences in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Earlier this year, I participated in Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride with thousands of other people. That is the direct result of mental strengthening and growth since I started my journey! I walked outside and rode my bike to the park where it started, just down the street from where I live.
To date, I have sold over $1.2 million in products online, and am getting ready to launch a Kickstarter for my biggest passion project yet: The Domination Deck: Affirmations to Motivate Your Maniac Creative Mind. I’m also about to launch a new, no-filter podcast called “Never Stop Peaking.” Stay tuned!
A good shot from our school trip in Uganda this past summer:
I get a lot of questions about how I invest in my products, and I’m going to be 100% transparent when it comes to my method. I will not consider my methods smart, and I take huge fucking risks that most people would call insane. Throughout my quest to scale my business, I had periods where I put over $70,000 on credit cards with trust in the supply and demand research that I personally did for the inventory. Had anything bad happened, I could be laying under a bush right now peeing all over myself, eating grass blades and grabbing your ankles as you walk by. Earlier this year, I had an issue go south and I thought I would go bankrupt. Situations that we must face in life can get pretty dark, but it’s how we choose to react that makes all the difference.
I never stopped believing in my gut. And, I was willing to man up and face the consequences of my actions if they didn’t work out. But, what was really the worst that could happen? I’d end up living the exact same life I was already living, before I left my job.
I felt right about everything I was doing, and here I am, happy and free. Gremlins still attack me and my projects daily, and not a day goes by where I don’t face adversity and stress in some fashion, but I am who I always wanted to be. I make my own decisions, I travel freely, and I influence others to create the life they love, too. Lindsay is living a lifestyle that she was told was impossible. Life is mutha flippin gouda.
I feel like an asshole when I think about my old view of people. Being an unhappy and grumpy introvert, I always just wanted people to leave me alone and let me sulk with the birds. I had no idea how magical people actually are, mainly because I surrounded myself with the wrong people. All 23,000 words in this post describe memories and stories that wouldn’t have happened without the right people. Being lost and depressed in the tub triggered something inside of me to reach out to Amber Villhauer, which is something I normally would have never attempted. Amber was the right person and my gut knew it. If I’d never sent Amber that message, I would never have met Paul or Hal. I would never have started podcasting, doing a miracle morning, or learning about the power of building habits. I would never have interviewed 115 incredible entrepreneurs and turned their teachings into a Sweet Ass Journal. I would never have met Jason Berwick who taught me how to build a business on Amazon, or Jason Moore who taught me how to approach and create a life of location independence. I would never have attended WDS and met my tribe who inspires me every single day. I would never have had the strength to encourage Lindsay to give up her career, move across the country, and follow her dreams. I would never have had the time to float around the world and work with a non-profit in Africa because I’d still be glued to two-weeks-per-year vacation at my job. I would never have become the person I always wanted to be, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this to you, right now. I would never have met my editor who is making this legible for you, either. 🙂
The truth behind leaving my job, selling all my stuff, paying off all my debt, and creating a business that sold over $1.2 million on Amazon has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with people.
It was the help that surrounded me and my willingness to study the habits of those to whom I look up. It was the energy that infected me from those who encouraged me to create my own path. It was Kim Nicol for teaching me how to meditate and Jacqueline du Plessis for showing me how to eliminate my debt and celebrate my success. It was because I set goals and took baby steps every day toward the goals. It was because I created metric tracking sheets and sacrificed everything that got in the way. It was because I laid on the floor in an empty house, crying sometimes, and laughing like a raging maniac other times. I was because I encouraged Lindsay to move away from me for an indefinite period of time, which forced me to be brutally honest in my decision making so I could be with her again. It was because Lindsay believed in me and knew I would figure it out. It was because I worked 20 hours per day and took risks most people would never fathom. It was because I showed up every day at 4:30 a.m. to do my morning routine and meditate. I was because I listened to the universe, my gut, and the advice of those who were living magic. It was because I believed.
It was because of the four big changes that I made in my life:
- I decided to be my true self, no matter what. My voice is my voice. My thoughts are my thoughts.
- I stopped caring about the things that tradition wants me to care about (money, materials, status).
- I started ignoring people who weren’t in line with my visions, and befriending people who were.
- I created habits to strengthen my mind and keep myself from making weak decisions (which I learned from the new friends I sought out).
You see, when you surround yourself with people who are working toward a common goal, everyone benefits from all success that is shared individually within the group. Everything is applicable to all participants, at all times.
Now, let me be extremely direct.
If you want to create the life you love, stop letting your fears control your mind. Stop hanging out with ass-weenies who suck your good energy into black holes of wasted time, money, and momentary indulgences. Stop being the person that everyone else wants you to be, and start being the weird fucking lunatic you are behind closed doors. Be relentless in pursuing what you want, and quit caring about what everyone else thinks.
We all have a creative maniac inside of us. You know exactly what I’m talking about. That enlightened person you are in the shower when nobody else is in the house. The person you are around your closest friends from childhood whom you trust more than anyone else in the world. The person you are when you are creating with passion, without any external motive. The person you are when you rip a nasty fart in public and giggle quietly to yourself as others around you freak out. The person you are when you cry yourself to sleep because you can’t handle the misery of your current situation. Don’t be ashamed of that person, because that’s the person who understands the importance of attacking your dreams. It’s the real you.
Be that person, and leave the other behind.
You cannot become one love with your life until you truly love yourself AND your life. This all starts with being confident and proud of who you really are. You must open up. The world needs your weird.
It’s no secret that I’m weird as fuck. I talk about poop and gremlins by choice. I turn my phone off for weeks at a time just because I think it’s funny how people react. Most others are probably terrified when they receive a text from me because it’s likely to be NSFW. My walls are covered in 100-day habit trackers that I initial every morning and every night to keep myself accountable. I burn incense and meditate more than anyone I know, and I will stand behind my argument that all of my ideas come from the universe in these moments. I collect rocks from hiking trips all over the world and place them around myself in a circle when I create. I sit on the floor by choice and am happier in an empty room with zero furniture. I have drastic highs and drastic lows, and I often spiral into depression and rage when I lose track of my vision. I probably complain more than you, and I laugh like a deranged lunatic when the gremlins come knocking at my door. I say things out loud that most would consider far beyond inappropriate, and I’m usually amused with the reactions afterward (despite the slandering I may receive for the disrespect). I’m 100% okay with not being normal. If I was normal, I’d still be working in the construction industry, pretending like I’m something that I’m not. I’m just me. Nothing more and nothing less. I don’t care what everyone else thinks.
You must find you.
I’m just a crazy dude who had no idea what I was doing. But I embraced my true self, reached out the world for help in conquering my vision, and refused to give up. I still battle resistance on a daily basis, but I do it with pride. I had no idea what kind of magic would unfold by simply adventuring out of my comfort zone, but I’m forever grateful for all the people, experiences, and adventures I’ve danced with along the way.
I didn’t get here alone. In reality, had I never opened that podcasting app and heard Amber’s interview, who knows what the hell my life would be like? What if she had never responded? What if I had listened to a show about boobs and beer instead? I’d probably be buttchugging IPA’s and motorboating racks somewhere in eastern Kentucky. I owe my happiness, business, and lifestyle to every single person who helped inspire, encourage, and challenge me along the way. I am the sum total of all of you.
And I’m here to be that person for everyone else who wants to level up.
Do it, dude.
- Decide to be your true self, no matter what.
- Stop caring about what everyone else wants you to care about.
- Ignore people who aren’t in line with your vision, and befriend, study, and help people who are.
- Create habits to strengthen your mind and help make strong decisions in line with your vision.
Also, Be respectful and grateful for your current situation, because it allows you to support yourself while you work toward manifesting your magical, higher self.
After all, you are just a big sexy hunk of magical meat strapped to a skeleton made of calcium, collagen, and stardust, raging through space at 67,000 miles per hour around a giant ball of fire that’s 300 times the mass of earth. There are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy, and more galaxies in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth. Your emotional fear is an illusion. Your rocket ship is real.
I’ll see you in Space.