Day 11 – The UNbusiness Model

Phew! Sorry guys I’m a day late posting this one! We had a guest coming in from Iceland yesterday and there was a ton of stuff to do and I was already exhausted from this week’s earlier trip.  Forgive me :)?

*****

Ok so now it’s game time in the 30-day blogging challenge.  We’ve gone from feel good questions like, ‘Define your freedom business‘ and ‘Describe your perfect day’ to meatier topics like ‘The key ways to making money online‘ and ‘How to choose a business model and why‘.

Meaty is good right?  Absolutely – except when it feels like gristle.  And this challenge brought up some of those tough feelings that I’ve chewed on way too much.

For a long time, I’ve loved Brian Johnson’s concept, Philospher’s Notes.  I also know all the models fairly well (you can learn more about them here), but when I’d try to put all the elements together for my site, I’d draw a blank.  I just couldn’t get excited enough about any of the ideas.  It used to drive me crazy, I’d feel like, ‘Hey, I should know this‘, ‘Why don’t I know this? I help people with this all the time‘, and I’d walk away frustrated over and over again.  

Since then, I’ve learned, sometimes it’s a waste of time to try to force it. And to beat your feelings into submission or guilt yourself into doing what you think you should be doing is a senseless task.

In the past I’ve done that.  I tried to ignore them, stuff them, push them aside, barrel through, whatever it takes.  And in the end, even if I got something done, the results felt lackluster and the experience definitely was.  So even if I did accomplish something, I still felt bad, which would just help to further reinforce those ‘not good enough‘ feelings.  And my inner critic loooooves that type of ammunition!

Anyways, I know that what I’m about to say may be hard for the overachieving, perfectionist in us, but sometimes…it’s just best to let things be.  

I know it probably sounds crazy.  Even I can hear my inner critic saying, ‘Don’t listen!  She’s out of her mind!  She’s just advocating being lazy!’ But, hear me out.

For over a year since I’ve started the site, I’ve been pushing myself to work on ideas.  And I felt bad, real bad because I thought it should be easier – but it wasn’t.  Sure, I was making some progress on my follow-up book.  But after taking this site from idea to launch in less than 2 weeks, I figured by now I should be a heck of a lot further.

It wasn’t until I let go of the desire to create things for others and just started writing for me that things started to come together.  

At first the whole thing felt a little counterintuitive and a tad bit selfish.  Isn’t the whole point to meet the needs of others?  How could I not be thinking of others?  But there was no use beating a dead horse – nothing was happening.  

So one day, I decided, ‘You know what? I’m just going to continue to learn and optimize areas of my own life, then jot down my thoughts.’  I started this little  journey, I called ‘writing my fears away‘.  Originally my goal was to read all the interesting books on fear I could find and hopefully rid myself of some of my own useless feelings.  

But after reading the first book, it led to me studying a totally different topic and that lead to another.  Suddenly limiting thoughts and preconceptions I previously held started to unravel. Fears started to unravel and tear apart at the seams.  And I felt great!

Soon it started to become a pattern – try to focus on business strategies and tactics – NOTHING!  Let go and just live with my passions and suddenly tiny little sparks would start to ignite.  

And as I sat back and reflected on all this, I realized that there are a number of other people whose online businesses I admired that started out in similar ways:

Mark Weins whose passion for travel and eating around the world lead to Migrationology.

This guy is a genius!  He goes around the world eating and taking these videos of his reaction to trying different foods and has made a business out of it.  

Chris G whose love for travel and finding deals led to all sorts of different things.  In his book, 279 days to overnight success, he shared this:  

A funny thing happened the other day. I woke up and discovered that I am now a full-time writer. Wow — I’ve  become a Problogger, without putting ads on my site, praying that an article will get ranked highly on Digg, posting five times a day, or many other conventional blogging strategies.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I’m sure Chris probably had some sort of strategy in mind, it just wasn’t typical (which makes sense, I mean after all his blog is called The Art of Non-Conformity :))

Now I’m not trying to suggest that you shouldn’t explore different business models and tactics because its good to know your options and if it helps go for it!  

I’m simply saying, that if you’re like I was and you’ve tried and thinking about all this adds more confusion than clarity, more pressure than passion – leading you to an ugly little dirty word everyone hates –  inaction.

May I suggest a different approach? 

 

The Unbusiness ModelRelax.  Do what you love.  Try your best to show up everyday and sooner or later, it will find you.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 10 – When Resistance Becomes a Habit

I saw it coming at me like a speeding truck.

The moment I saw yesterday’s question: name your favourite online business, I knew today’s question was going to be something about our own (I’m sure you saw it coming too).  It would either address how we could adopt the things we love into our own offerings OR help us decide what to offer…ick!

I know, I know – this is supposed to be the exciting part.  The point where I jump up and down for joy because I’m on my way to building my freedom business – right?  Wrong!

Now sure – yes, I’ve done this before (for other entrepreneur’s businesses  and our own), so I could probably fairly easily discuss the process or at the very least recant what Natalie shared and picked one but I’m not going to do that.  

Other ‘how to’ sites can do that.  

They’ll tell you to think of something you’re good at, combine it with something people want and voila instant business!  Simple as 1-2-3!  

It can be, but sometimes…it’s not.

And I don’t want to act like it’s always easy, simply because I’ve done it before.  Like I said, other sites do that. Instead, I want to tell you a story – a story of when it’s not so easy.

For me, as far as this site is concerned  it hasn’t been (notice the missing Services page:)?)

It’s not that I don’t want to do something, it’s just that I don’t want to do just anything. 

Remember when I talked about ‘building a business that demands from you what you want to give‘? That’s what I want

 

I don’t want to continue building websites simply because I’ve done it OR design just because I’m good at it OR coach because people think, I’d be great at it.  (Besides, although I enjoy talking to people, I wouldn’t necessarily say I love it.)

And as far as products go, I never saw myself as a writer.  Even when we published our own magazine, I rarely wrote –  people would have to twist my arm. 

 

It wasn’t until I took the course that accidentally spawned my book, The Elephant’s Little Secret that I realized I actually liked writing.  The reality is, I  forgot that I loved it so much.  As a child, I loved to write but totally blocked it out of my mind due to fear. I thought it could never be an option.  

I actually had myself convinced that I didn’t want it to be an option too.  When I use to ponder Brian’s idea, Philosopher’s Notes, and the possibility of doing something similar, I would think, ‘Man!  That’s a whole lot of reading and a whole lot of writing – I could never do all that. Even if I could, it might be a year before I finish and monetize anything’  and ‘There’s no way I’d be able to narrow a book down to six ideas, I highlight everything.’  

If those reasons didn’t dissuade me enough, there was always the nagging thought that would say, ‘Hey, do you really want to be a copycat?’  Sure, I knew that there wasn’t really anything that could be considered original.  If ideas weren’t stolen, they were borrowed or influenced.  Heck even Brian admitted his idea was inspired by someone else!  But I thought I needed to do something different, even if I loved the concept – so there I stood blocked by all these reasons.

And I got used to being stuck. Over time, it became like second nature.  Occasionally, I’d get inspired to add an offering to the site and Resistance would automatically deploy like a software program.  In milliseconds it could quickly recount all the reasons and excuses I made in the past and then, I’d be blocked.

Day 10’s  challenge threatened to be no different.

It was coming…
I knew it was coming…
And I felt Resistance grab me by the hand, pull me towards it and whisper in my ears, ‘run‘.

And for a split second, I felt the urge, but this time, it was different. 

 

Maybe it’s the meditating I’ve been doing that’s been teaching me to be aware rather than react or the studying I’ve been doing on self-compassion that’s been helping me to own my voice.  Or possibly, it’s the Morning Pages that have been teaching me how to enjoy my expression or all this blogging I’ve been doing lately for this 30-day challenge, that’s shown me I can be consistent.  I think it’s probably a culmination of all these things.

So…back to today’s question:

What are the key ways in which you want to make money online in your chosen business OR Which are the key online revenue streams you want to focus on in your existing business?


OK, since I know I enjoy reading, love writing and constant traveling, I think I’ll stick with something product-oriented and digital (ebooks, virtual courses, online programs etc).  I’ve been working on a follow-up to The Elephant’s Little Secret called Taming Emo. It’s kind of like a guide to taming emotions with a creative twist.  (Fingers crossed it will be really helpful and intelligently designed so you’ll want to use all those nice adjectives I used to describe Brian’s work LOL.  A girl can dream right :)?)

I also really love the idea of giving other people a platform or an avenue to explore and share what they enjoy with others.  It was something that was important to me when we were doing the magazine.  Even though our writers were happy enough just having a writing outlet, when I could I wanted to give them unique opportunities to be able to learn from and connect with people in the areas of their passion. 

 

I always want my vision to be able to support the visions of those that are supporting me. I really love the way the Entheos Academy does this and the whole approach is pretty neat – it even employs a creative twist on affiliate marketing (did you notice it?)

Anyways, there’s some more I’d like to share on the process part, ‘building a business that demands from you what you want to give’ and how to approach crafting offers with that in mind, but you’ve been ever so patient with me today enduring this lengthy post and all :).  So, I’ll save it for another day (maybe not tomorrow but someday, I promise :)).

For now I’ll leave you with these 3 questions:  Is there something that you think you can’t do or told yourself you couldn’t do?  Could your resistance in this area be based on a habit?

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 9 – Whose online business do you admire most and why?

So, my peoples – it’s Day 9 and we’re now on Act 2 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. In this next section you’ll be riding along with me as I explore ‘How to Build an Online Business You Can Run from Anywhere.’ Sound juicy?


Today’s CHALLENGE: Whose online business do you admire most and why?


Hmmm good question…I think I’d have to say hands down… Brian freakin’ Johnson.


I have loved this guy for years and I sleep with him almost every night (shhh…don’t tell my husband!). Kidding kidding…I actually sleep while listening to Brian’s Philosopher’s Notes – it’s like food for the soul.


Never heard of them?


They’re transformational Big Ideas from great books distilled into simple, inspiring and super-practical 6 page PDFs (+ 20 minute MP3s).


Think: personal growth books meet Cliff notes.


He takes literary classics, old school philosophy, spiritual books, conscious business books, etc and creatively condenses them.


Not only does he optimize your learning experience by crafting these cool, intelligently-designed mini notes – he makes learning fun and sexy (and no this has nothing to do with his good looks :))


More wisdom, less time‘ is not just a fancy little tagline, it truly represents the core benefit of his product line (actually all his endeavours for that matter).


One of the reasons why I love his online business so much is because he’s found a way to get paid for two things I love: reading and writing!


The concept is pretty darn genius if you ask me:


  • Read books to optimize your own life

  • Write about what impacts you
  • Share the knowledge
  • + Make a profitable business



Heeeey – wait a minute! Less the business, isn’t that what I used to do throughout 4 years of high school aaaand he gets paid for it???


(Dang Brian! You really are the man!)


I really admire that he truly demonstrates that you can get paid to do what you love in service to the world.


*******

P.S. Beyond this, he and his beautiful wife Alexandra have also expanded to create the Entheos Academy, another great concept where they gather world-class teachers to share their wisdom on optimal living – virtually!


Their courses cover everything from: general self-development, to nutrition, positive psychology, creativity, relationships, conscious business and more. I swear, if this was available when I was considering university options, I probably would’ve grown up to be a less dysfunctional adult LOL


Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 8 – A Day for Rest

Psst…pssst…shhhh….over here….


Hey comrades :)…it’s Day 8, well techincally it’s Day 9, but I thought maybe if I whispered Day 9 wouldn’t mind if I infringed on it’s territory. (I know, I know, silly attempt at humour)


Firstly, I apologize – with everything going on yesterday, I totally forgot to tell you that Day 8 ended up being an assignment-free day of rest. So there was no challenge, well at least not a writing one. Though I really did miss our daily exchanges, given the circumstances I was grateful for the reprieve.


Sadly we lost a truly incredible man…Rest in peace M.D., you will truly be missed!


Since there’s no official challenge, I thought I’d give some love to Natalie Sission who started me on this crazy writing journey (hopefully you’re enjoying the ride :))


She’s released a new book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur and I thought this quote from it was fitting given what I’ve been feeling lately.


‘There’s no circumstance that you can’t make the most of. Nothing is holding you back but you.’ @suitcasepreneur




Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 7 – Today is the Day

Elephants Little Secret Emo

Today’s challenge: Which key tools will you turn to regularly to maintain your mindset and how will you use them effectively?


It’s day 7 and sadly, one of my best friend’s is losing her father today, so apologies, but it feels a little trite for me to be blogging about tools and resources to maintain my freedom-based mindset.


But at the same time, maybe not


Loss…any loss – of life, health, jobs, family etc can be devastating. And it’s times like these that are helpful reminders of how important it is to make the decision to live on your own terms nowwhile you still have a life, while you still have your mind, while you still have a choice.


Nothing – not our job/business, nor our health,  nor the love, loyalty and commitment of our family is promised to us and most certainly not our lives (no matter how young, healthy and immortal we may feel at any given moment).  


Things can change in a split second, at the drop of hat…swiftly…suddenly…instantly.

And knowing that loss (of any kind) rarely if ever comes on our own terms, how much more should we decide to LIVE on our own terms now?


How much longer do we continue to endure unfulfillment, dissatisfaction, the lackluster, the humdrum and ho hum of life on others’ terms?


Why settle, why wait, why hesitate…


Choose today because….


There’s no time like but the present!



*****


P.S. One useful tool that really helps me maintain my mindset: sitting elephants!

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 6 – Moving Closer to Living on My Own Terms

Well guys, it’s day 6 and I’m going to cut right to the chase…

Today’s Challenge is this question:  What are my 3 priorities for the next 30 days that will move me closer towards living on my own terms?

As I stared at this question, I could almost feel the colour draining out of my face and Writer’s Block setting in like rigormortis.

3 Priorities…  *blink*
30 Days…   *blink, blink*
Move me closer… *gulp*

Life on MY OWN TERMS!  *GASP!*

The words jumped out at me, sticking up from the page like daggers.  And even though, deep down I knew they intended no harm – they still felt menacing because I was seeing, no perceiving something entirely different.

Obligation…
Commitment…
Paralysis…

RUN!

Holy crap…it’s Resistance

Generally, operating in stealth mode, in the past, I’d miss it coming.  I might interpret it as valid concerns or genuine fear.  Having lived with it for so long, believing its fabrications were like second-nature.  They were familar – a familiarity, I had often mistaken for the truth.  But, what I’ve come to realize is, clearly it’s not the truth and after yesterday’s Perfect Day exercise, reality really started to set in.

For the most part…
I…AM…already experiencing my perfect days.

Aaaannnnnnnd… The only real thing that has ever and could ever stand in the way of me experiencing them is…M.E.

So, my priorities are really simple….

  •     BE AWARE – not just for 30 days but forever.  


Just because I feel things, doesn’t mean they’re real.  I need to question, explore and investigate my emotions, thoughts and fears.  **note to self: Meditation improves awareness – don’t stop!**

  •     BREAK THE NOT GOOD ENOUGH HABIT


Stop inflicting yesterday’s wounds today.  Those childhood memories happened years ago and regardless of what was said yesterday or could be said tomorrow, I decide what I hear today.  **note to self: I will be my biggest cheerleader, advocate and supportI will choose to be there for me.

  •     ENGAGE


I once heard Marie Forleo say, ‘Clarity comes through engagement, not through thought‘ – Avoid analysis paralysis and DIVE IN!

***
Now, I have to admit, when I started this list, my first inclination, was to try to come up with some sort of tactical list or a strategic gameplan, but I’m going to bench that urge and embrace the fact that…Freedom has already been unfolding all around me.  

So take that Resistance – take that!

 

30 day challenge

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 5 – My Perfect Day

It’s days like today that remind me just how grateful I am for the perfect day.  Today wasn’t a bad day but it was busy…and long…and now I’m exhausted.  But, I’m determined not to miss a day.

Today’s Challenge:  Describe the Perfect Day

  1.     IT’S NOT BUSY!!!


I hate rushing, I hate frenetic paces and I absolutely hate running around feeling like a chicken with its head cut off.  I can endure them – but why?  I used to foolishly think it was cool to be busy – it marked success, being sought after, needed.  Busy-ness was a habit I got accustomed to, now it’s one I could easily live without.

I spent a good part of last winter in Chiang Mai, Thailand and in contrast, the pace there is incredibly relaxed, almost comatose in comparison.  I think that’s why my perfect day starts there and I’m absolutely itching to go back so I can finish my busy detox. :)

So…My perfect day:

Today, Natalie asked us to answer a series of questions to help us form a clear picture.  I’ll list them below, in case you’d like to explore your own.  It’s a great exercise that I’d highly recommend if you’re interested in designing your perfect life. Knowing what your perfect day would look like is an excellent place to start.

How would I spend it?

Eating, eating and MORE EATING!  I know, I probably sound like a broken record by now but I can’t help it, I absolutely LOVE food! Yet another reason why Chiang Mai is the perfect place for me.  The food is cheap and deliciousmy two favourite qualities.  I could hardly believe it when I learned that many of the locals don’t have standard kitchens because it’s so much more convenient and affordable to graze street food all day.  I was like, ‘Hold up! Did I miss the pearly white gates when I came into this city? Where do I change my citizenship?’

Ok, important things aside –  in between all that eating, I’d include: yoga, writing, creating, reading, meditation, relaxing, enjoying nature, cycling and at the top of this list – helping people.  

With whom?

I’m really fortunate to spend a lot of time with my husband, being copreneurs it’s really unavoidable.  

Life with him has been exciting, spontaneous and unpredictable.  That, I wouldn’t change (but don’t tell him I said that though, or he’ll try to use it against me when I’m being demanding LOL). Also, I’d like to be around other like-minded people.

Where would I be?

I think I would continue to spend 1/2 the year in Thailand or somewhere else in Southeast Asia as a base while travelling to other countries.  Then the second part of the year, I’d still like to be based in either Windsor or Detroit.  

There’s just something about the pulse of both cities – the struggle, the striving, the hunger and creativity. Despite the hardships both areas have faced, I see a lot of potential in their futures and I want to be a part of that.

Would I be working, playing or both?

My mind says work, my heart says play and the two are in a desperate battle.  Between you and me though, the reality is when I look at how I actually spend my day, my heart is winning.  Don’t tell my mind though – it would have a fit! LOL

What does that smell, look and feel like?

It smells like aromatic flavours and spices.  It looks like city blocks with row after row of delicious food trucks and stalls and it feels like…heaven.  Dangit, I just can’t seem to get that food thing off my mind :).

Contemplate how business fits into your perfect life.

Ack! This is where I sometimes get stumped.  I think it’s mostly because I’ve been trying to monetize the things I love and maybe that’s not the model.

I’ve toyed with the idea of being a food or a travel blogger, but I feel like the work would take the joy out of the experience.  I’m really fascinated by the restaurant business too, but I think I’d rather watch Kitchen Nightmares rather than own one.

The great thing (which I’m really trying to embrace) is despite having mixed feelings about all this –  there’s no real immediate pressure (other than my own internal ones). Nathan and I have been able to build a couple businesses together that now require less and less of my time. Hmmm….I think that may be my sweet spot – developing/integrating processes and systems to simplify business so you can have more life- to create it, but not have to maintain it

Yeeeeesssssss, maybe that could be a hint.  What about a serial entrepreneur?  A professional dabbler?  LOL  –I guess this section is going to require some more thought :).

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 4 – Location independence,not just for travel seekers

CHALLENGE: What is your definition of location independence?

 

It’s kind of funny to me really –  to hear people get all crazy excited about this relatively new coined phrase ‘location independence‘.   Funny because 12 years ago when my husband and I ventured into our own entrepreneurial journey, the concept wasn’t so ‘cool’.  Back then it was called having a ‘home-based business‘ and it was stigmatized.  Nowadays it’s sexy, dons fancy heels and wears pretty lipstick! 

 

Oftentimes, when we told people we worked from home, it drew strange looks and the occasional pity. On the rare occasion, we’d come across the odd person that would get it, but those moments were far and few between.  Now to see how far the concept has gone and how far we’ve been able to go because of it (and I’m not just talking travel miles here :)); the decision to embrace it seems like a no-brainer.

 

There’s sooooooo many benefits and not just travelling although that’s definitely near the top of my list.  Exciting new places, unique and interesting people, rich vibrant cultures and don’t even get me started on the tantalizing food (my mouth is watering now just thinking about it).  It’s no wonder people commonly mention, ‘wishing they had travelled more’ as one of their bigger life regrets.   But as wonderful as all that is, for us, it’s just the icing on the cake (sweet, thick gooey mounds of buttercream goodness!)

 

Not to sound cliche, but location independence has truly given us more than we ever imagined.  Aside from the obvious like setting your own hours, low overhead and NO BOSSES :), the biggest benefit to me has been the ability to be present for significant moments, special occasions and tough times too.

 

A few years ago, my mom went through some really serious health challenges and thankfully, I was able to be by her side for a month.  I didn’t have to beg my boss for time off or call in sick, I just picked up my laptop and headed off.  I was able to take care of her, coordinate an estate sale, pack her things and relocate her to our home and help maintain the business at the same time without impacting our clients at all. I didn’t have an office that I needed to shut down and because the team we built is virtual, I could virtually be anywhere.

 

Location Independence also means no rush hour traffic, no traffic jams and no car for that matter :).  We work from home and live downtown, so we’re walking distance  to all the major amenities and our favourite restaurants (although I’m not so sure that’s a good thing LOL).  And, since we found our car spent more time in our driveway than it did on the road, we got rid of it.  Now, we ride our bikes pretty much everywhere and if we ever do need a car we can rent one really cheaply (but I’ll leave that topic for another post :)).  Another positive by-product of this is we’re healthier for it too – an added plus I didn’t expect when we first made the decision.

 

Want more advantages?  What’s happening in the local economy doesn’t really directly impact us.  Being location independent depending on your business means there’s no limitations on your client pool and we’ve been fortunate to have clients work with us and customers that purchase our products from all over the world.  That means we can make money at anytime from anywhere regardless of what’s happening in our local economy.

 

I think another significant plus that often gets overlooked is – you can be anywhere and I don’t just mean travelling.  Like for example, my husband and I used to live outside a major city and we were able to relocate to a smaller city where we were able to get more home for less dollars.  The cost of living in our area  is also much lower, so it makes everything – even simple luxuries – more affordable. 

 

I really could go on and on.  No really I could (now look who’s crazy excited LOL)! But I should probably go now and get ready.  I’m headed to Toronto for a couple days – a last minute trip I booked yesterday, so I could be there for a friend.  That is my favourite benefit…the ability to help and be there for people when they need you – location independence strikes again.

 

P.S.  Did you see the picture?  That’s my mom – now healthy and strong :).

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 3 – Freedom in Business, What’s Your Definition?

CHALLENGE: What’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?

 

There’s something I heard Jonathan Field’s say one day that has forever been etched in my mind:  ‘You should design a business that demands from you what you want to give.’ It’s so simple and yet at the same time so profound.  It goes beyond the normal reasons we use to qualify our choices when starting a business, like:

 

  •     We have a certain skillset or talents OR
  •     People say we’re good at it OR
  •     We think we can do it better than the crappy boss we left OR
  •     It’s just something we love to do

 

But when you build a business that demands from you what you want to give it encompasses so much more than that.  An entirely new set of parameters come in to play.  You start to consider not only the obvious like what you want to give and why you’re doing it, but you explore things like the way you want to give it, where you want to be when you’re giving it and when you want to give it.  And this last one is a biggie, who exactly you want to give it to (and we’re not just talking about target markets, niches or ideal clients either, we’re talking about your “perfect people”).  Call me crazy, but I think building something that takes all these things into consideration and not just the big picture view, but the finer details and subtle nuances –that’s freedom for me.

 

Like for example, and this is just a small trivial thing, but I think it helps to illustrate where I’m coming from – I’m not a big fan of getting up really early.  I like sauntering into my day instead of rushing into frenzied paces of productivity so now I start the ‘working’ part of my day in the afternoon.  Everyday, I like to get up, meditate, write, join my husband at 9:30 for yoga and then go back to reading/writing, mixed in with a bit of relaxing or tidying up.  And I LOVE my afternoon naps.  I find that I tend to be most creative and open to new thinking and ideas after sleeping so by adding my afternoon siestas, I get two opportunities for that.  

 

Now, embracing this routine was no easy feat especially being in North America where we’re all about “being busy”.  I originally thought I should always be working when my clients are.  But that’s not really what I wanted to give and the funny part was, they didn’t even care.  I remember the first discovery meeting I had with one of my new bigger clients.  We were on a conference call and I was connecting from Thailand.  I remember wondering, ‘Should I discuss where I am right now?  I mean I don’t want them thinking that I wasn’t serious about the project and that I took off with their deposit and now I’m living it up in some exotic country.  But then I was like, ‘Hey, this is part of what I love and who I am.  I didn’t win their business because I promised I would work from North America.  I won it because I’m committed to giving them my best – quality work, valuing their needs and great service.   So when I told them where I was, guess who was even more excited than I was :)?

 

The first time we chatted about their project and they showed me examples of what they wanted, I almost walked away because I just couldn’t feel good about doing it.  I explained to them that although I could easily handle what they were requesting for the price, I wouldn’t feel right because I thought their vision deserved better.  But if they really wanted it, I’d rather walk away and have them work with someone else.  It’s probably one of the most ballsy things I’ve ever said to a client and frankly they could’ve considered it an insult, but…they stayed.

 

And I felt free not only because I could do what I wanted and what I believed was best but because they trusted me and believed in me.  Now they’re loving the work and valuing me for it.

 

We have other clients that really value us being ourselves and we value them too. They’re not only great to work for, they’re just plain ol’ fun to be around and that helps bring the best out of us

 

And nothing says freedom more than the freedom to be yourself.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 2 – What if You Were Free to do Anything?

CHALLENGE: If I woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything I wanted with my life, what would I do and who would I be?

 

Dangit Natalie!  If I knew that, I wouldn’t be taking this challenge now would I ;)?  Haha – all joking aside.  Honestly, this is probably the umpteenth time I’ve answered this question or questions like this in an effort to understand what my ideal life looks like, so you’d think I’d have a solid answer by now – I don’t…yet :).  Usually, my answer generally sounds a little something like this, “You know, I’m really not sure.  I love travelling, learning, eating, reading, writing, eating, relaxing…did I say eating :)?  But,  I’m really not sure what I would want to do.  I love helping people and I enjoy anything to do with building businesses – I think I would want to be a DRAGON – like on Dragon’s Den (to my American Friends that would be translated: a SHARK – like on Shark Tank),  but no crazy hours, no less than ideal clients and most importantly I want a team to help me, so I can enjoy life, my husband, my family.  And I most certainly don’t want to work hard for my business, I want it to work hard for me.  Hmm, maybe I want to be more like Brian Johnson from Philosopher’s Notes/Entheos Academy.  His days are mostly comprised of all the things  I mentioned above in addition to other things  I enjoy like yoga, meditation, teaching and daily massages!  I see him and I think, ‘WOW! I love THAT life, that’s real freedom – that I can get with!  

But here’s the clincher, I have most of that (not to the same magnitude of course ) and yet still at times, I feel…it’s not enough.  Sometimes, it’s made me question whether it IS enough

But that’s silly isn’t it?  (As I’m hearing what I’m saying, I even want to pull out the world’s tiniest freakin’ violin!)

Silly, because how can something I admire and desire in someone else’s life, suddenly not feel good enough when it’s in my own?

***Excuse me while I go beat my head against the proverbial wall.***  

I’ll tell you why….because this ‘not good enough’ thing is just a feeling…it isn’t real.  What it is – is a habit.  Something, I’ve been conditioned to think and got used to hearing and feeling even before I started to want or create this freedom life.

I think for me, the freedom-based mindset starts there – asking ourselves whether we’re willing to debunk, demystify and disidentify ourselves from the beliefs that hinder and prevent us from not just creating but embracing a life we’ll love.  Because if we can’t do that, we may end up creating a life we love, only to struggle to love the very life we’ve created.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Day 1 – Welcome to the 30-day Blog Challenge

So I’m joining the 30 day blog challenge and guess who gets to join me for the ride….you :).  You can learn more about it here.  The aim of this series is to inspire you to build a blueprint for creating an online business and a lifestyle you love. Now, I know those of you who know me or have been following me are probably thinking. “Don’t you already have both?”  And you’re right, but if the inconsistency of my posts haven’t given it away already, it’s time I step up my game and get serious with my own dreams writing.
So behold: Day 1

 

CHALLENGE:Write a post on why you started your blog, who you wanted to reach, what you wanted it to be all about. Then state why you joined this blog challenge and what you want to get out of it.


GEESH Natalie – lead in with an easy question!  LOL. Thankfully you can’t hear my tone dripping with sarcasm :). I wish it was an easy answer, but it isn’t.  I guess I figured it was just the thing to do.  One day, suddenly inspired by something I heard, I wrote a story (The Elephant’s Little Secret) by accident, wanted to share it and the people that read the story felt like the journey shouldn’t end.   I guess in a lot of ways I didn’t want it to end either, but I wasn’t exactly sure where it would go or could go for that matter.

I guess my blog started out as a rather elaborate accident.  And as accidents go, it was unexpected.  I was barely ready to be a writer much less ready to share anything with the world.  Kind of ironic because part of what I used to do everyday is encourage people to share themselves with the world.  But isn’t that how life goes?  The very thing you can easily do for other people, you struggle to do for yourself.  So I figured, what the heck, why not give it a shot?  I’d share my journey here, talk about the things that helped me, shaped me, saved me (and not just the good stuff but the bad stuff too – the struggles, the frustration etc) and let people come along for the ride.  Who knows maybe through it, I could change my fear and help others change theirs too.  That’s all I really wanted it to be about.  The trouble is as a struggling recovering perfectionist, my expectations of myself were way too high.  So at times I would find the process challenging and the crazy thing for me is it wasn’t because I couldn’t write.  Though at the time I was convinced that I had Writer’s Block, what I really had was Dreamer’s Block – an inability to dream because I couldn’t embrace the one thing that my dreams were comprised of – my writing.

And here’s the silly part, as far as dreams go, I pretty much have everything I set out to accomplish years ago when my husband and I started our business.  We’ve built a really great supportive team so I can work because I want to not because I have to.  I love learning and enjoying life and large part of my day is comprised with non-stressful activities like yoga, meditating, relaxing, reading, afternoon naps and cycling by the waterfront.  I hate winter and because we’re location independent, we’ll be spending the winter in Thailand again as we did last year.  I have a loving husband that I get to spend lots of time with everyday and we enjoy and appreciate the same things…like even stupid little trivial things.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot the silly part.  The silly part is this, some days, I haven’t felt “good enough” (I know sounds crazy, but it’s true) and this has been the real root behind my own fears.  Now I won’t go into all the details of my childhood, but I’m sure you know the familiar story – how behind most over-performing, over-achieving children, there’s likely an over-bearing, over-protective parent that may have been told they weren’t good enough too.  And what’s needed is some compassion, mixed with a good dose of self-acceptance, self-care and a healthy serving of self-love to heal its negative effects.  Sounds simple right?  But it’s not and that’s where the real fun begins.

Anyways, the blog wasn’t initially intended to be about any of this, but this is where I ended up when I started investigating my own fears and it’s changing me.  So now, I’m here, doing this blog challenge, to try again and be consistent.  I figure if an accidental start led to all this, a purposeful one should lead to something even better for all of us.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Every Child is an Artist

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. 


One of my first real memories of drawing was a picture of a bird.  I remember having a real fondness for Robert Bateman’s work – the attention to detail, the natural settings and one of my favorite subjects: animals.

I remember being really inspired by a particular picture and spending so much time trying to recreate it – crafting each line, blending  every shadow with my fingertips in an effort to make it as realistic as possible. At the time, I didn’t only enjoy drawing, I loved it!  I loved how it engaged my mind, heart, imagination and hands.

The experience of drawing for me was kind of like a journey through a good story.  It would start out slowly, gradually bringing you to its climax as you finally hit the point where you could actually see that the lines you were adding to the page were actually forming something real.  Then it would take you from that place to the bitter sweet end – a finished piece –  satisfaction that the journey was complete, but equal sadness because now the experience was over. 

That day, when I was done with creating what I thought was my masterpiece, I showed it to my father.  And in an effort to “help” me, he proceeded to erase the head and re-draw it to show me how to make it better.  In mere minutes, my time and effort disappeared before my eyes.  I was gutted!  Not so much by his need to correct it, but moreso because by the time he was finished, the picture was worse.  Even he admitted it.

But this experience and people’s other  attempts to “help” me, later took all the joy out of drawing and trying.  I can’t blame anyone one person specifically, my bruised ego  had already gotten used to the habit of auto-correcting itself.  I no longer needed “help” convincing myself that everything I did needed fixing, so I stopped drawing. 

The one thought that I let torture me the most was: You’re not a real artist, at best you’re a copycat because you can only draw what you see, not with your imagination.  I didn’t realize that the lines on the page were my imagination – my interpretation and my creation.  Despite how the journey started, it was mine.  It kind of sounds foolish because don’t a lot of artists draw that way – from inspiration?  At the time, I had no idea.

When I was younger, I used to look back at that day and wish my dad had shared his insight using words instead of his eraser. Or maybe at least instead of re-drawing my version, drawn a version of his own – at least, I’d still have my masterpiece.   I even thought that maybe without that experience and several others like them, I’d still be drawing.  But that’s silly.  Those experiences didn’t take it away from me, I chose to take it away from myself!

Case in point, when I first started learning how to ride a bike, I fell, a number of times.  But I still kept on trying and that determination has me riding to this day.  Funny enough, I even gave up my car and now it’s my transportation of choice.  Falling down, being corrected and “helped” didn’t hinder my desire to ride.

On the flip side of that, I didn’t learn how to swim until adulthood because I struggled with floating and would often sink.  For years I didn’t bother trying because of that and by the time I was willing to take lessons, I hit adulthood and felt embarrassed to try to learn with a bunch of kids.  Eventually, my desire to learn outweighed the potential embarrassment and now I can swim.  My earlier decisions only delayed the process.

For every situation where I let a weak start, an unkind word or negative thought discourage me, I can think of several others where I didn’t.

As you can see failure didn’t really stop me, my choices did.

The artist, the cyclist, the swimmer, the author, the dreamer etc were all inside me.  They’re inside all of us.   It’s not a question of ability but of choice.  There’s no need to ask yourself “Can I?” but only “Will I let them remain?”
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

To Leave or Not to Leave…Is there even a question?

It’s been over 13 years since I left my last job in 2000 and I can say without a doubt, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  My very best decision was marrying my husband and I’m ever so grateful he decided to go on the journey with me.

Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend that I didn’t have doubts along the way but now with the Internet being what it is today, there’s far more opportunity, knowledge, resources, outlets and comrades you can meet along the way to help minimize the uncertainty one may feel when deciding to take the plunge.  

Having said all that, it still can feel a little bit scary.  But it’s not because of the seemingly harsh realities that face us if we fail.  For many of us, it’s simply because we’ve been brainwashed to think security = job.  We’ve also been trained to think success and the so-called American Dream (or in my case Canadian :)) is a big house, a fancy car, beautiful clothes and stuff, lots of unnecessary stuff.  

Another lie?  The route to this success is:

A good (mind you expensive) education —-> The “secure” high paying job —-> The Dream

I made it through 50% of the route on both those journeys and quickly realized neither of them led to my dream.  Maybe they led to my boss’ boss’ boss’ dream or the the guy that owns the company you work at, that jetsets around the world while you remain a cog in the machine that lines his pockets.

It makes sense for the System to teach us this mindset or otherwise who would be the cog?  How else would the rich get rich?  Little did I know, I was being played in a game, I didn’t even realize I had entered.

Soon enough, my education, my job and the rungs up the ladder to so-called success felt meaningless.  So then I wondered, how could things that feel meaningless really equate to something meaningful to me?  And if they didn’t, I could literally waste my whole life dedicated to something invaluable.  

That didn’t sound like a dream, that sounded more like a nightmare.

And if you’ve ever felt any of this or can relate even just a smidgen, then I ask you:

If you do take this leap…what do you really have to lose?  

Could it be possible that there’s more to lose by staying than leaving?
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Fear: To serve and protect

Fear can be a very precarious thing.  
 
We think it’s there to protect us.  
 
  • Shelter us from harm, 
  • Warn us of impending danger

Yet at times, it feels like it does the exact opposite
 
Fear makes us:
 
  • Avoid risks
  • Shrink back at the thought of uncertainty
  • Doubt ourselves and the list goes on.

By doing this, in a lot of ways we “feel” protected.  But as we listen to fear’s voice – our happiness decreases. As we circumvent our dreams and the risks that come with them in hopes of playing it safe – our world becomes smaller and smaller as we cease to experience new things.  And our hope diminishes because when we serve doubts…doubt grows.
 
So which is it fear?  Are you for us?  Against us?”
How are we supposed to know the difference?
 
Discerning the root of emotions like fear can be one of our biggest challenges.
But it’s an important one because it helps you uncover whether the feelings you have are truly helpful to you.
 
Sure fear may have a protective quality, but what you truly need to know is, is it serving you?  
The real YOU…your BEST you.
 
Here’s two ways I use regularly to help me do that.
 
  1. Name your fear.  Instead of just recognizing and responding to the feeling when it shows up.  Ask questions.  Get your feeling to show you specifically how and why it feels afraid, not just what it’s scared of.  I usually find that doing this helps to expose deeper root issues.  Like sometimes I find that my fears aren’t mine, they’re things I heard from my parents that have never been qualified for me.  And oftentimes, I also find that probing fear in this way helps me understand what I need to confront, to move past and through it.  When you make fear this big, huge mountain, it becomes really hard to overcome it.  It’s easier when you look at it on a case by case basis.  I’ve often found in doing so that some of my feelings are innocuous.

  1. Who are you here to protect? Think about it for a second in order to achieve the incredible, you must take risks, you have to face uncertainty.  There are no rewards without it.  It’s like standing in the crowd at a blackjack table at a casino hoping to make a big win.  It will never happen.  How can you win if you’re not playing the game?  Sure you may experience a certain level of excitement watching the game from the sidelines, but spectators don’t feel like players do.  Not only do they get to experience the win when it happens, but they own it. And since we’re on this player analogy anyways, let’s just say you do lose.  The reality is, losing hurts for a moment but there’s ALWAYS other games. Besides, if you don’t get in the game, you’ve already lost.

 

What other ways do you use to help regulate your fear?  Please feel free to share yours below and if anyone has ever used the tips above or anything similar, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

When Life is But a Dream

So we finally made it to Chiang Mai, Thailand and it’s even more than I ever could’ve imagined.  The unique blend of sights, smells and sounds are intoxicating to my senses.  I knew that I would enjoy it here but I never dreamed I would fall in love so deeply.  For the first time I can finally fully appreciate the phrase “Home is where the heart is”

It inspires me, it cherishes me, it stimulates me, IT LOVES ME!  
And yet…it perplexes me.

I know, it probably sounds ridiculous, how can I feel perplexed in a place that embodies so many of the things I love?

The food is amazing – the weather?  Same same LOL .  The people are incredibly friendly, welcoming and loving.   And I never stop hearing how beautiful I am.  I’ve even had people stop me on the streets and ask to take pictures with me – the perfect therapy for my occasional bouts of low self-esteem.  Here I’ve experienced more creativity, more understanding, more acceptance, more peace and more rest.

The place feels perfect..it’s like a dream – my Dream.  My heart loves it and my mind…well let’s just say it keeps playing tricks on me.  

I’ve been here for a month now.  Initially we were supposed to be here for 3 weeks but we were enjoying ourselves so much that we decided to call the airline to see how much it was to extend our trip and were shocked when they replied, “Nothing, actually you can change it as many times as you want at no charge.”  So we ended up extending it another month seeing as we can work remotely from anywhere. We have the most ideal scenario – working from home means we can work from ANYWHERE.  I was ecstatic!  This is exactly the way I wanted life, exactly the way we had envisioned things.  Every year, I would say to Nathan, this is the last winter I want to be in Canada.  And according to the way we planned things, it was going to happen next year.  But my dreams showed up one year earlier. 

I didn’t expect it but I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on taking advantage of this opportunity.  The trouble is my mind wasn’t ready for it.  My mind was used to wanting, used to striving and waiting.  It had become so accustomed to it that it wasn’t sure what to do when my Dream showed up.  It started to say things like, ‘maybe it’s time to go home now’, ‘don’t you think you had enough?’  Then it would try to remind me of trivial responsibilities.

To tell you the truth, it was a bit mind boggling, thus my perplexity.  I mean isn’t this the same mind that had been plotting and planning with me?  You’d think things would feel entirely different, but they weren’t.  Here I was standing inside the Dream I had always envisioned and standing there right beside me was EMO.  My emotions both for and against me, my thoughts both for and against me.  But my Dreams?  THEY were for ME!

I was reminded again that although helpful at times, thoughts and feelings aren’t to be trusted – at least not entirely unless their voices share the same sound as your dreams.

Life is but  a DREAM.
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Edible Tips to Minimize Emotional Breakouts

Storms can feel pretty crummy emotionally sometimes, especially when you’re not equipped for them.  The good thing is like everything else in life, they’re only temporary and I’ve found that even in the midst of them, you can learn some really valuable things through the process.

For me, the challenge mainly comes when I dishonour this process.  Whenever I’ve been tempted to focus more on the pain than its purpose or the opportunity found within it, my emotions can take me away like a landslide.  

In the end though, I always return to this simple truth: It’s really all just a matter of perspective –it’s possible to choose to let yourself be wiped out by a crisis, just as easily as it is to choose to be not.  

Even when I get bombarded and crisis seems to be stalking me like prey, these emo-friendly tips have helped me bear it and grin :).

When crisis hits, unbridled, our emotional elephants are likely to go stampeding through the forest, trunks trumpeting at full blast.  That being the case, my first recovery move is to quickly tame that savage beast to give my rider a better chance at regaining some mental control.

Digestable Tips

Tip #1.  Rescue Remedy – The natural tranquilizer
The name probably says it all.  This unique blend of flowers is a natural way to get some emotional relief…fast!  When I see my elephant heading sideways off my normally peaceful path, I head for the drip.  It’s quite an effective tincture, just a dosage of 4 small drops underneath my tongue or placed in water helps to relax me and calm that sucker down.  It’s funny someone originally recommended Rescue Remedy to help bring some calm to my rowdy little puppy – back in the day he was quite the handful.  I tried it a couple times on him and never saw much of a difference so it just stayed kicking around in the cupboard until one day, I decided to give it a try.

Other alternatives: St. John’s Wort

Tip #2.  Daily Nutrition
One of the best things I’ve learned about managing my own emotions is it’s better to make it a regular practice to give yourself stability support daily rather than wait until an emotional breakout hits.  These next two items I take everyday and when I don’t, I notice and embarrasingly so does my husband LOL.  

A daily multi-vitamin including the daily recommended dosage of complex B vitamins.  There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to vitamins and it took me a bit of time to find the best one for me but I love it.  Jordan Rubin’s Garden of Life is made from raw foods so it’s uncooked, untreated and unadulterated.   It’s also more bio-available. That’s just a cool way of saying that it’s much easier to absorb and this is important because those daily nutrients won’t help you if after taking them there’s less in your body than there is in the toilet…ewww did I just say that? LOL. Seriously it makes a huge difference! 


Now not sure if you noticed the special mention of complex vitamin Bs.  This is really important, B vitamins can help to improve your mood, memory and they provide better stress-coping ability among many other wonderful benefits.  It’s a good idea to choose a blend that’s right for you, so I would recommend contacting your doctor to ensure that you find a good fit for you.  

Omega complex fish oil…this is an ultimate in brain support.  I think it’s probably beneficial for most people in general but the right blend of EPA and DHA is especially good for those creative types with ADD.  My personal favourite is Omega First by a brand that’s only available in Canada called Health First, but I’ve had pretty good success with others like Platinum Naturals etc.  What I like about OF is that it’s one of the only fish oils I’ve taken that doesn’t taste fishy at all.  It has a really light lemon-flavour which was perfect for me because I used to have a really tough time swallowing large pills so I would always have to bite them.  It’s smooth going down and because it has no fishy after-taste, it’s good coming back up – no fishy burps!

Other Alternatives:  an extremely good well-balanced diet with all the recommended nutrients…if you can get it :).  In this fast pace world it’s a real challenge to do this consistently, so for a quick and easy fix, I’d recommend finding the above. It takes less work to maintain this kind of daily habit and much less effort on your elephant to keep up the routine.

Ok so these digestible tips round out my first set, I’ll be posting some more soon.  I really like these as a starting point for myself because it makes dealing with emotional ups and downs easier with virtually little to no effort. You see the problem with storms is they attack and effect your mind – the very thing you need to help you through the battle so it’s important to get yourself back to a neutral place so you can start doing the real work of changing your thinking.

Got some more edible tips?  Please share them below.

Snowbirding before 40 and why I refuse to wait

My father in-law, Ron was one of the most generous, kindest men I’ll ever know.  The sad part is, I never had the privilege of meeting him.  Even sadder.  He died on my birthday a year before I met my husband Nathan.  At 51, a heart attack shortened the life of an incredible man and he never made it to retirement.

Three years ago, I watched retirement advance on my mother much earlier than we all expected.  It wasn’t a choice.  Suddenly my mom became a fraction of herself riddled with paranoia and confusion. In the span of 3 months, she seemed to age over 20 years.  Unfortunately for a year, no one could properly diagnose it so she suffered.  We all suffered.*

Through these circumstances, I learned a valuable lesson:  Life is not guaranteed.  You could wake up one day and on the next, you have no tomorrow.  Or you could wake up tomorrow and suddenly be a fraction of what you were yesterday.  Now, I really hate to be a drag, but this is a reality.  It doesn’t have to be our reality, but it could be.

Question: Do you really want to risk your dreams betting on a tomorrow that’s not guaranteed?  I know I don’t.  Why should any of us when we really don’t have to?   

One of my dreams was travelling the world, visiting tropical places and because I simply can’t stand the cold, at the end of every winter, I’d say to Nathan, “OK this is the last winter, I’m spending in Canada, next year, we’re going somewhere warm.” But each winter, where did we find ourselves?  In Canada.  Sure, we’d take a trip to Florida each year to visit Nathan’s mom, but it was hardly the type of Snowbird life I had envisioned.

From time to time, I would think about Ron and I would ask Nathan about other male members of his family secretly wishing that he wouldn’t suffer the same fate.  I knew their lifestyle and eating habits were vastly different, Nathan made sure of it.   He plays basketball 3-4 times a week, he eats healthy and he loves what he does.  He’s designed his work in a way that minimizes stress.  Caring that much about his health and valuing a balance between work and play was sadly a lesson he learned from his father’s death, not his life.  But it’s one of the main reasons why we started to take our dreaming seriously.

Big life lesson 2 in this area was my mom.  I think I naively always thought my mom would work until her death bed.   I probably imagined my life would be the same too.  It’s not so much that I was a workaholic, I just found work fulfilling.  I had the opportunity to help people live out their dreams and visions and I was passionate about that.  I just wasn’t exercising the same passion to live out my own.

But then watching my mom go through some really tough battles with her health, I realized, if I don’t take my dreams seriously, no one will.  Your work isn’t going to put itself on hold and sometimes your health isn’t going to wait for you to decide – sickness can just show up unannounced.  Anyways because of these things my desire to retire early went from dreams to plans.

And it was easy, so easy, I almost wanted to smack myself for not starting earlier LOL.

Here’s the steps I took:

Step 1.  Decide.

Armed with life’s harsh experiences mentioned above, I knew waiting for tomorrow was no longer an option.  So last year, we didn’t just say, “This was going to be the last year…”, we picked the place – Thailand and set some dates.

Step 2. Devise a plan

The next step was getting the money.  Aside from finding time, this is probably the other biggest potential hiccup.  Thankfully for us, time wasn’t much of an issue.  Working from home and running our own Internet-based business meant we could be very flexible.   Our office could pretty much be anywhere we could find a stable Internet connection.  We use it to connect with our team and clients everyday from Canada so why not anywhere else?

So, back to the money.  Moving from dreaming to planning was a crucial part in my achieving.  When I started to get serious, old ideas and new opportunities started to find us.  Suddenly, I remembered a saving game a friend and I played to help fund our trip to Florida many years ago.  Instead we paid for everything in cash and any coins we received as change  went towards our Florida fund.  So Nate & I  decided to do the same thing and sock away all our change and any monetary gifts we received.

Now mind you a trip to Florida and a trip to Thailand are vastly different in price, especially flying from Detroit (the closest airport to our location), so we were going to need to ante-up to make it.  In comes opportunity – Airbnb!  I won’t give you all the backstory, you can learn more about it here.  But after using Airbnb to book accommodations for a business trip in Chicago, we figured why not try it ourselves.  Nathan’s host shared an interesting story about how she pretty much covered the monthly rent for her downtown condo using this awesome service at $1400/mo that meant we should be able to easily make enough for the trip.  And that we did!  Booking odd weekends and holidays, 4 night stays here and there, within less than 6 months we saved enough for 2 return tickets not to mention the quaint condo we booked on Airbnb for our one month Snowbird test run – Thai style!  

Step 3.  Don’t get discouraged by setbacks

I know this all probably sounds too good to be true and you know what – it was.  Even though the end was great everything didn’t go as planned, but even that cloud had a silver lining.  During those months we were saving, one of the big projects we had scheduled to work on hit a massive delay.  This proceeded to throw off our cashflow so our emergency savings followed by our travel fund took a hit.  It could have been an emotional nightmare, but it wasn’t.  And I was really thankful because if we didn’t have it, we may have resorted to credit cards as a backup or took on a lot of extra work, or jobs we weren’t interested in, but we didn’t have to.  The funds were replenished as the project came together and we started to get a flurry of activity on Airbnb too.  And let me not forget my husband’s genius plan inspired by Ramit Sethi to get a TD Travel Visa.  We’ve been using it to process our regular monthly payments both business and personal.  And within only a couple of months of using the cards (including their introductory bonus) we managed to accumulate $600 in travel dollars that we’ll be applying to the airline tickets – booya!

Everything is set and now my only concern is…whether I’ll come back!

 

Step 4.  Go!

 

Sa-wat-dee ka:)

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Screw the latte factor!

Some of the people considered to be the greatest financial minds around will tell you, to mind your lattes.  Just $3 a day amounts to $90 month….ooooh!  Sure, I agree if we’re not mindful with some of our obsessive habits, they can become costly but trying to manage your willpower regularly in such a menial area can become taxing to the psyche.  I prefer Ramit Sethi’s suggestion, instead look at your largest variable spending areas and make the cut there instead.  More impact, greater gain, less effort.  And step 2, to ensure this change is manageable and long-lasting, instead of doing it suddenly you can do it gradually.

For me, this was great!  I’m no latte drinker, my vices are apps and SaaS and like lattes, they can quickly add up.  The challenge is, I’m also married to a techie ( more like a certified tech junkie so he’ll give me every opportunity to exercise my addictions – actually, come to think of it he’s the reason I became  an addict) and it’s really hard to argue when the apps either make my life easier or save me TONS of time.  


So instead of focusing on the counter-productive task of reducing my expenditures here, we took on one of our biggest variable expenses – our SUV.  The Murano was one of my dream rides as a teen so when we outgrew our last vehicle, I caved in and got it.  It was absolutely the way I had imagined it and more but after relocating to the downtown area, it now spent most of it’s time parked in our driveway.   So we got rid of it and use our bikes. The savings between the lease, gas, insurance and maintenance? Over $10,000 freaking dollars a year…now how many lattes do you think I could buy for that?!


Now, I know it’s not the most convenient thing for most people to get rid of their cars and replace it with bicycles or walking, but if this isn’t your speed, what other changes could you make?  
Could you carpool or car-share, sometimes walk, bike or take public transport to help reduce your expenses?  How about possibly getting a cheaper car or an e-bike etc.  Or could you organize your tasks and errands in a way that you could do them together instead of taking multiple trips? There’s a lot options- just remember you don’t necessarily have to drop your vehicle entirely (although the financial benefits not to mention health & lifestyle benefits are truly amazing), implementing just one or a few of the above options even occasionally can have a  substantial effect.


But let’s not limit this idea to simple transportation – what other major areas could you find that could make a huge dent with minimal effort instead of giving up your beloved lattes?  Your home? Entertainment? Eating Out?  


You may be surprised at what you can find!

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Saying Goodbye to Debt…

For a long time, I’ve let the word debt hang around my head like a noose simply because I still had some financial debt to pay off not realizing that debt involves so much more than money. 

 

The reality is I stopped being in debt a long time ago.

 

Sure, like everyone else, I have bills to pay, but I pay them on my own terms.  

 

I haven’t brainwashed myself into thinking that I have to pursue making ends in a career I don’t love just to make ends meet.  

 

I’m not in debt to societal norms that say, ‘keep a job til your 60 and enjoy life later’.

 

I  choose to enjoy every moment now!  

 

I’m not in debt to the little girl I was years ago who had dreams of a life of writing, I’m working on her book right now!  

 

And I’m certainly not in debt to the voices that try to encourage me to resist the urge to dare, take a chance, risk.  

 

That’s what dreams are made of and I’m ready to double down.

 

 When you have dreams, you hope that some day they come into fruition.  

 

When you own them, you make choices daily to walk towards them, live by them and breathe through them.  

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Got a Travel Bug?

Well, I’ve got a little something that might help scratch that itch.  Have you heard of Airbnb?  If you haven’t by now – you need to :). I stumbled on this little hidden gem last year.  Nathan had a business trip in Chicago, so I was checking out hotel prices downtown and they were horrendous. For the timing, it was hard to find a place that was less than $200/ night.  And considering he needed to be in the area for a few days that would easily put us in the $1000 range for a short trip just a few hours away – RIDICULOUS!

 

Anyways, we already found a steal of a deal in transportation.  We booked a ride on the MegaBus – a leisurely ride, comfy coach seats with free wifi.  It was like having an office on wheels and at $25 return from Detroit to Chicago, how could we resist?  The crazy thing about the Mega Bus is, it can get even cheaper than that.  You can find one way trips under 30 bucks to all kinds of places and if you’re lucky, book well in advance and you can even find trips for $1.  For real?!  YEAH ferreal! Now pick your chin up off the floor ;).   

 

So you know after getting such a great deal on the transportation, I wasn’t down with paying nearly double my mortgage for a few days in the Windy city.  I can’t remember how we got there, maybe a google search for deals or cheap or something resulted in an ad for Airbnb.  Now before I get to the deal, I should probably explain the concept.  Basically, Airbnb features great places you can stay, in other people’s homes.  Some of them are shared accommodations, so you’d be renting out a single bedroom but there are condos and single family houses too.  And get this – there are even castles!  The site has really grown from its humble beginnings in 2008 to include all kinds of unique spots to tickle your fancy.  There are pretty places, rustic retreats, green getaways, boats, planes, earthships, but before I get too distracted with all that, let me get back to my favorite thing about Airbnb: The deals!  Nathan and I were able to find shared accomodations in a nice condo, right in the heart of downtown for less than a third of the price of other hotels.  It was perfect, not only did we benefit from the added affordability, he got to hang out with a local and learn some really cool things about the city – yet another thing to love about Airbnb.

 

Ok I know what you might be thinking, ‘shared accommodations?’  Weren’t you worried you might be sending Nathan to stay with an axe-murderer?  Not really, although crazier thoughts have crossed my mind LOL.  Airbnb has a great system –  there are guest reviews, links to social tools like Facebook and a lot of the places have pictures that have been verified by Airbnb representatives so it’s remarkably safe.  So safe, Nathan convinced me to add our place online and we love the experience!   We get to host some really interesting people from all kinds of places, learn fascinating things and share stories.  They’ve come to Windsor for weddings, family reunions, to watch shows, to perform in shows – we’ve even helped people with their plans to relocate here.   I would probably pay for some of those experiences but the neat thing is, I get the money which in turn gets added to my travel fund savings for my Airbnb vacation in Thailand!  Sweet deal eh?

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Leaving the Shore

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

 

Last week was pretty monumental for me.  I learned something new about myself…I love water.  No, I mean I LOVE water!   I’ve always known I had an appreciation for it, but I thought it stopped at wanting to own a waterfront property so I could enjoy the view.  Until last week, I had no idea that our love affair included more than my desire to enjoy its rhythmic movement by the shore.

 

So what changed?

 

Well, I spent a week at New River Retreats in a beautiful cottage by the waterfront in Dublin VA.  (Am I the only one who thought it was strange that there’s a Dublin in Virginia?). To be honest, I was filled with excitement, anticipation and a teeny tiny bit of anxiety about the trip.  For one, I was going to be spending a week with a set of friends we barely knew, their parents and another couple that we never met at all. And secondly, the week promised a barage of outdoor activities, mostly including water sports AND I am not a strong swimmer.  I’m not even a good floater.  Little did I know, water is one place being skinny doesn’t have benefits – ever since I’ve been a child, I’ve struggled to float – I can even sink in salt water LOL. 

 

Knowing that I’ve always struggled with water, I never really bothered to explore it much.  I used to dream of days, I’d be able to snorkel or dive, but everytime anyone had ever tried to teach me to swim, their attempts failed because I could never get myself to float.  And knowing this made me tense which made it worse because I could never relax.  And you can’t float without letting go and relaxing.  So eventually I guess I just told myself I didn’t need to swim, so I didn’t.

 

Last year, that started to change.  We planned a week of vacationing in Jamaica and I got to thinking that it sure would be nice if I could swim.  So I started to take a couple free lessons at the Y and quickly realized that sometimes, it’s not that we can’t do something, we just never had the right teacher.

 

Brian was amazing!  He explained to me how floating works and the science behind what the body was doing when we swim.  He empathized with my challenges and explained that I wasn’t weak, it was simply because I had little fat and that even many muscular people struggle with the same thing because their muscles make them less buoyant.  Really?! And then he looked me in the eye and said, “It’s still possible, you just have to understand how your body works and you can do it.”  

 

And for the first time, after 37 years, I floated.  Not very long mind you, but it was just enough that I managed to get myself moving a bit and awkwardly complete a half lap.  And I went back a couple times and managed to manouver a bit more, but that’s where it stopped.  After our Jamaica trip, I never bothered to go back.

 

Which brings me to Virginia.  I had planned to try to go back for more lessons, but it never happened so I can’t say I was extremely thrilled at the prospect of dealing with a kayak.  I like boats, but I prefer bigger ones, you know the kind where there’s a safe distance between you and the water.  The ones that are impossible to tip.  Canoes and kayaks don’t fit that criteria, but nevertheless I got in.  The Canoe was first, it was a two person one, so it put my mind at ease to know Nathan would be there in the boat with me.  

 

When I got in and we drifted out, it was beautiful!  So calming, so peaceful, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else and for that moment, I felt lost in time.  I couldn’t believe that for decades I spent my life relegated to the shore and was missing all this.  

 

Next up was the kayak – I never really planned to do it because it was a single person boat.  So if I flipped, I would be on my own in water that averages between 700 and 1300 feet deep (a tiny fact, I’m glad I didn’t know until after the trip).  When I got in and floated out in the middle of the river surrounded by nothing but an expanse of water nestled amidst sloping scapes of Appalachian mountains, I felt…safe.  Strangely, I felt safer there than I did looking at it all from the shore.  It was jarring and a bit mind blowing to think that something so potentially scary, especially for a non-swimmer like me could feel so freakin’ good!  I didn’t want to leave…EVER!  So we stretched out and laid back on our kayaks, holding hands, staring at the sun and letting the current float us back to shore.  And as I looked up at the sky, I wondered, what other things did I love and love intensely, but had never known because I didn’t have the courage to leave the shore.

 

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

I can be a pretty driven person sometimes. When I get my mind set on something I want, I want it now.

 

I think that’s generally why my fear bothers me. I just can’t stand the notion that the something stopping me from having what I want is…me.

 

But yet on a regular basis me likes to get in the way. Not the passionate visionary ME, but the me that was told in school that being good wasn’t good enough but you have to be 3x as good. Not the ME that loves writing and is exhilarated when I express my creativity with clarity and conviction, but the me that’s uncertain, that hears those doubting voices persuading me away from giving myself up to the passion. And definitely not the ME that is living a life that is more than I dreamed – an amazingly loving husband, a life that allows me to grow, a beautiful home, the freedom to choose when and where I work. More than not, it was the me that magnified tiny flaws fixated on getting rid of them.

 

Considering MY REALITY, this version of me shouldn’t have even existed.

 

Considering my reality, she has NO business showing up. She was made by someone else’s opinion, created through someone else’s fears and shaped by someone else’s expectation. Temporary circumstances do not define ME, my true meaning lies in an eternal constant truth. And when I stop for a moment and question her perception, instead of blindly accepting her as truth just because she has spoken – she starts to unravel a bit at the seams. Then I see that what’s underneath her. Her meaning, her reasoning, her understanding, had nothing to do with who is really ME at all.

 

Ending Option #1: Because you see, your fear is not a true reality. It’s a mirror with cracked glass. And though a mirror’s purpose is to show you your reflection, once it’s cracked all you can see is its distortion. So what you see isn’t really YOUR insufficiencies, the mirror has the defect – not YOU

 

Ending Option #3:Because you see, your fear doesn’t show your true image. It’s like a mirror in a circus funhouse – it shows you several distortions of yourself, none of which are true. And though you might assume that like a mirror, fear’s purpose is to show you your real reflection, it isn’t really YOUR reality, the mirror has the defect – not YOU

 

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Will you take a chance and roll the dice?

We would throw the dice because all that would matter in that moment was a chance to win. The outcome is finite, we either win the cash and life changes or we don’t win the cash and life stays the same – no change.

 

Now granted, this opportunity would probably rarely happen this way.  To make loads of money, you generally have to invest, whether it’s buying a chip or a lotto ticket.;And if it’s Lotto, your chances of winning are generally slim because that same stack of cash is in front of thousands of other players so chances are you’ll have to be committed to playing and playing often so on some level you have to become an addict.  And the tax man will come and take part of that pile away and if they don’t rest assured some long lost relatives will.  Even in something as simple as this, there are strings attached, but it doesn’t deter many of us from taking the chance because all those strings could be attached to a pretty decent life if we win.

 

Now the funny thing about all this is I’m no gambler at least when it comes to casinos and lotto tickets.  There’s too many variables I can’t control, too many others competing for a piece of the same proverbial pie, besides, I don’t know the first thing about gambling.  What I do know about is myself.  I know the types of things I enjoy, I have an idea of the types of things I like to do and who I enjoy doing it with.  And I realized to feel fulfilled in the end, I don’t need a whole lot of money, I just need a life that gives me the ability to multiply that.

 

Isn’t that what retirement is supposed to end up like?  

 

So we work our butts off to try to make a ton of money in the hopes that later on we’ll get a chance to do that – enjoy life.  And often times we’re working our butts off doing things we don’t enjoy with people we hardly like left with little time to spend with those we love.  And while we’re working that hard, we could be risking our families, our health, our enjoyment and in the worse cases our lives?  

 

And you think your desire to follow your dreams or start your own business sounds crazy?  

 

Isn’t it awfully risky to dedicate say 40-50 years of living life this way and not even be sure if in the end you’ll have enough money to live life your way or even worse, what if you don’t have much life left to live at all???  You’re too tired, too unhealthy or perish the thought, too…DEAD!

 

Yeah, I know.This probably sounds pretty harsh, but so is the reality  especially if you’re not pursuing your dreams now.  And that sounds even riskier if you ask me.  You might feel afraid because you think Plan A is too risky but have you ever stopped to think about the even riskier game you’re already playing right now?

 

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Struggling through Creativity

I’d be a fool to suggest that creativity never comes with a bit of struggle sometimes.  Ocassionally, I get these frantic bursts of inspiration where I start writing with chaotic frenzy, but a lot of times I look at my blog and my twitter feed and I’m like so what now?  I’m a writer…SO WHAT!  
 
Where is this going?  What do I want to do next?  What can I do?  What should I do?  Why can’t I feel more inspired?!
 
I think it’s B.S. for people to think that as soon as you find your passion, immediately the world will open up for you.  But I think it’s even sillier to complain about any aspect of life if you’re not pursuing your passion at all.  Our passion is the foundation of living a life of meaning.  If you’re not doing what you love and you feel like life sucks…SURPRISE!  Shouldn’t that be enough to convince us that we should be doing what we love?
 
We’re plagued when we’re without it and we’re plagued again when we’re in it LOL.  But that’s another story :).  
 
The funny thing is, while I was sitting there contemplating all these questions and considering my options, I was tempted to feel…well a bit lost.  But as soon as I opened up evernote and hit that “new note” button to start writing something, anything…it suddenly became clear!
 
I think sometimes those voices of uncertainty arise to stop you from starting. Don’t write because you’re not sure of the topic.  Don’t dream because you don’t know what direction you’re going in.  Don’t start a business because you don’t have a plan and don’t even think of travelling because you don’t have the money.  Come to think of it, don’t do anything because you don’t have a clue what you’re doing.
 
Well screw it!  You can do all these things and I’m going to show you how I did them all and am still doing them all, despite the doubts and regardless of feelings so YOU can do it too.
 
Haha, guess what?  I think I just found my topic!   There’s something to scratch off the list :).
 
Lesson one…
 
If you want to write and can’t think of a topic…start with what you feel, what you see or what you’re experiencing and write from that place.  Open a blank page, explore, let your expression flow…follow it and see where it goes.  Eventually you’ll find a common ground that will connect you with the needs of others. Then fill that space with your words and imagination.  Now GO!
 
P.S.  Don’t even think about putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.  Keep it simple , this is about you…just you.  Need some extra coaxing?  Send me an email :)
 
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Resistance is Futile

My journey would not be possible without my supportive co-preneur, and husband, Nathan. Not only is he supporting me in my growth—but he’s growing too—both in his business and personally! Today, Nathan is sharing a guest post about his latest, Matrix-esque insights on fear.

Today has been one of those days…

 

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to be stacking up against you?  Like someone is intentionally trying to barricade the door to your happiness with anything they can get their hands on? Old baggage, new obstacles, emotional upheaval … maybe an elephant?  

 

I feel discouraged. I’m thinking negative thoughts. I’m consumed by resistance – and it’s stopping me in my tracks. Part of me feels unable to get past the negative thoughts—but strangely—at the same, I feel aware of a light at the end of the tunnel in my mind.  Ironically, this is all happening during a time of a positive step forward, and a big financial win!

 

I feel a bit like Neo in the Matrix … before he learns to control it, but about the time he begins to realize there is actually a Matrix to be aware of. 

 

I’m conflicted, yet hopeful. And thankfully,  I live with an Elephant Tamer (more on that later, if you haven’t yet you should read The Elephant’s Little Secret ) and she has opened my eyes to the circus of emotions I’m feeling right now… and after a quick talk, I’m crawling excitedly towards that light.

 

Now I’m beginning to feel like Neo, this time when he starts to realize that to beat the Matrix, he needs to let Agent Smith (let’s call him The Resistance) touch him… become one with him for a short while in order to destroy the control from the inside. 

 

So I’m embracing this saying with a new meaning today: Resistance (capital R) is Futile … I am stopping, looking Resistance in the eye and realizing that IT… not my attempts to defeat it … is futile. Why? Because I realize there’s this emotional world on top of what’s real — and if you can see through to the code behind that, the Resistance is really just an elaborate array of emotional smoke and mirrors — hiding what really matters for your life and happiness.

Hi I’m Nathan. I’m an optimist who loves to solve problems especially for others, and even more when that problem seems unsolvable – nothing sets my mind going like a challenge…. Read full bio

Life should be like cooking…season to taste

Isn’t it about time we change our perspective on failure?  I mean what’s the big deal anyways? When did it all become so black and white?
 
I think our approach to pursuing dreams in life should be like cooking.  We pick an entree, we put together some ingredients and start cooking.  
Then we taste and get one of 3 options.
 
1. YES!  We hit it absolute perfection – plate and serve!  OR …
 
2. Hmmm, not too bad, maybe it could use a bit more salt.  So we add a little to enhance the flavor OR …
 
3. Ewww!  Maybe I used just a tad too much oregano, so we find something to counteract the taste.  We experiment a little, try things out and we don’t freak out if it doesn’t taste perfect the first time because we can always try it again.
 
As we practice, just like any other experiment with adjustments things can get better each try and if they don’t why not try another entree?  The great thing is next time and there’s always a next time, you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next meal – no biggie!
 
Now come on, doesn’t that make more sense? :)
 
Forget about highs and lows, ultimate success and the grand failure … life is all about experimenting, season to taste ;)
 
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Failure is necessary

Failure is necessary

Sometimes people are afraid to dream because they’re afraid to fail, but is failure something we should really be afraid of?

 

Many years ago, my husband and I published a magazine for a small niche. Arguably considering the niche, it was probably destined for some type of failure right from the beginning. Ramit Sethi wisely suggests there are two things you should strongly consider when launching a new business. Choose a market that is both willing and able to pay. Unfortunately our market lacked a substantial amount of people who were either. And in the end, that and other factors impacted the long-term viability of the magazine, so we bailed.

 

For two of those years while we published the magazine, we incurred a significant amount of debt. With financial security being near the top of my list of ‘must haves’, it was challenging to say the least. In my estimation, at times, I felt like we failed … How can one call something a success if there’s no sustainability and more losses than profit?

 

To me, it was failure…
what a lot of people who dream dreams are afraid of.

 

But the truth is, at least from my experience, failure isn’t really what it seems. Now on the other side of that whole experience, I can appreciate that it was never really about success and failure, as it was a journey through trial and error. I remember clearly before launching that magazine having this strong sense that it was going to be a stepping stone. And it was! Because from that experience, we gained knowledge, we gained experience and we grew a lot as people. We made some really fruitful relationships and we learned more about ourselves. That magazine was the catalyst to us establishing our design business. And even that business came with its failures, but those challenges pointed to more opportunity that led to even greater knowledge and experience than the last—and we were able to sustain ourselves better. To be honest, I’m really grateful that the magazine didn’t end up the way we imagined because we wouldn’t be where we are now.

 

But this isn’t some pie in the sky story about how when you live through the error you get to taste success. Although, it’s true, there’s an even sweeter ending because we got to taste success in the midst of the trial. I don’t know if you got to read my earlier post about my financial situation and having to dip into my travel funds while we waited for a lag in projects to pass. It’s been tight, the kind of tight that years ago I wouldn’t enjoy. And many, many years before that, I wouldn’t have been experiencing while in my 9-5 job. But yet, I still don’t regret leaving, even after over a decade of ups and downs. Why? A couple weeks ago, in the midst of that ‘trying’ time, I boarded a plane to sunny Arizona and was treated pretty lavishly. We stayed at a beautiful resort shared with David Beckham’s soccer team, enjoyed NCAA games and PGA tournaments and ate incredible meals on someone else’s dime. And as amazing as all that was, the best part of it was spending time with people I would consider more as really good friends than clients. We appreciate and value them tremendously, and to know they share our sentiments enough to do that for us is amazing.

 

Loss brings out our truest self – Danielle Laporte

 

Sure sometimes when you try, it may not go well…but those experiences help to mold and shape you. And beyond that, you’ve got to try and fail with some in order to find the ones that matter. It’s necessary. When you go after your dreams full throttle, inevitably you become more of yourself. People sense that passion and they value it. The beautiful thing is, you get to love being you more, and they get to love that about you. And the tight times don’t feel all that tight anymore, and even ‘failure’ gets a little glimmer about it.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Emotions are just like the weather

Emotions are just like the weather

Emotions are just like the weather, they come and go.  The danger comes in believing it has to be sunny all the time. – Mark Silver

 

Crappy situations have their benefits.

 

In fact, I believe there is not only opportunity—but also joy—in challenges.

 

You’re probably saying, “Come on, Sherice … Get real.”

 

I am being real.

 

I have to admit, I used to be pissed off at the sentiment.  There’s this line in the Bible from the book of James that starts out like this: “Count it all joy when you go through trials and tribulations…” and I used to be like “Come on James! What the heck?!” Sure yeah, I understood the fact that despite how trying situations could be, at times when you see it through, there’s some merit or you grow etc.  I got that. In fact, I’ve gone through enough experiences to attest to it. That’s what inspired my saying, ‘There’s always an opportunity in the challenge’. And I really believe that. But joy?!

Ok wait, it’s not really just the joy part, it was the count it all. How can it ALL be counted as joy? Life can deliver some really cruel punches and even when you overcome them, going through it isn’t always fun, much less joyful!

Buuuuuttt…

The truth is, he’s onto something.

You see, I had a vice. Me and debt are not friends.  Being short on funds would generally be the quickest way for me to start freaking out.  And being self-employed, with fluctuating cash flow, I would get a fair bit of practice trying to tame my emotions in this area.  Over the years, I improved at taming my emotions, and could even find ways to see benefit from the situation.  During tight times, we would find new ways to be inventive, get more strategic, save money or make more.  Though I wouldn’t count those experiences as joyful, the lessons were invaluable. It’s pretty much how I decided ‘there’s always an opportunity in the challenge.’

 

My new favourite lesson is just learning to sit back and fully accept what is.  Over the years, even though I changed a lot, there were still times if the drought lasted long enough, I started to crack.  And it was easy to tell, because, I’d be start cleaning and organizing EVERYTHING ’cause I just had to control something.  

 

Today was one of those times, and I had to dip into the Travel Fund.  We were saving up for a trip to Thailand so I could literally ride my elephant  LOL.  We’d come so far, and still refused to let our credit cards solve problems, even knowing that what we were experiencing was temporary.  So to cover some bills, I decided that our family was more important than any dream … so down went the Travel Fund, and the funny thing is, I’m ok with it.  Not only that, I’m really, really good with it.  I even found myself singing around the house and just relaxing in the midst of things- something I would NEVER do.  And the crazy thing, I can sense that even my super-laid-back husband is tenser about it than I am.

 

But I feel void of concern, void of tension, worry-free and wait for it…I feel joy!  Seriously, I’m beside myself with joy. It’s not that negative situations are necessarily joyous, but you can consider them that way.

 

My problem was that for me to feel good, situations had to be good. If things were “bad” in my head, I felt “bad.”But then I realized that I am not my feelings. My feelings are not a reflection of who I am, or even the situation I am in. I choose my feelings.

 

In the area of my biggest vice, I had changed completely and suddenly I was really grateful for this crappy situation, because without it, I would’ve never had this breakthrough.

 

Will I never feel anxiety about money again?  I hope not, but if I do, I know it’s just a feeling and I can choose.

Emotions are just like the weather, they come and go.  The danger comes in believing it has to be sunny all the time.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Rendered Speechless…

Not sure if you heard, but yesterday, March 13th was Elephant Day in Thailand.
 
This month my plan was to head to Chiang Mai for a month to frolic with the elephants, to celebrate the beginning of a new phase of my journey – change{fear} and to renew my vow to explore the world and of course ride an elephant! Due to a number of different things, I had to postpone those plans until later in the year.  It was a bit disappointing for a moment, but I knew the timing wasn’t quite right.  Lucky me, I have the most awesome husband in the world…even though he couldn’t take me to Thailand quite yet, he was still determined to get me that ride.


The sneaky little bugger asked me to take a bicycle ride with him along the waterfront.  He said it was too beautiful a day not to ride.  And I was like, “But I’m going to ride all over the city tomorrow.”  “Nope!” He simply wouldn’t take no for an answer, he was determined.  To tell you the truth, I should have suspected something because the last time he was this determined to take me by the water – he proposed:).  Anyways, I went with him and it was beautiful, we were headed towards the Ambassador Bridge, when I saw….AN ELEPHANT!


I burst out laughing.  I couldn’t believe it!  Nathan had brought me to a huge statue of an elephant along the riverside for my own personal “ride”.   There we were in the middle of Windsor, a bright sunny day, riding…on Elephant Day!


Thank you Nathan for giving me yet another reason to know without a doubt that marrying you was and still is the best decision I ever made.  I LOVE YOU!

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs

CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs

Having Dreams vs Owning Dreams | Take 2


I’m back home now from Arizona and ready to get at ’em!  So this morning, I decided to enlist the help of my husband and I tell him, ‘Nate, I want to do more with my blog.’  He says, ‘What do you mean?’  So I proceed to read him my last post about having dreams and owning dreams, thinking he’ll immediately understand, and he says, ‘Sherice, it’s interesting, but you’re coo coo for cocoa puffs!’

Ok…that wasn’t quite the reaction I was hoping for.  I was thinking that he was going to back me up with a resounding YES and suggest some ideas, not think there was something wrong.  He even thought that I might want to take the post down because it was more emotional than accurate.

Really, take it down?  I couldn’t possibly do that.  After all, I don’t really believe the thought I had about owning my blog was wrong, it made sense to me.  I know there’s more I could be doing, but yet he wasn’t seeing it the same way, so I asked him to explain.  He tells me that suggesting I haven’t been ‘owning’ my blog is ridiculous after the hard work I’ve put into it.  ‘Sherice,’ he says, ‘You are way too hard on yourself!  You’ve accomplished more in one month than some people do in a year.  You wrote a story, designed it, made a website for it, made another website, you’re tweeting quotes nearly everyday. You made another website and you’ve been regularly blogging and you reached out to two of your mentors.  You’ve done nearly everything there is to do in that book you’re reading by Dave Navarro (How to Launch the **** out of your e-book). How could you say you’re not owning it?!’



Eeek!!  I couldn’t help it, I almost wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe it was that easy for him to see that, and I didn’t see it at all. I was too busy being hard on myself. Because of how I was perceiving what I heard, instead of appreciating what I’d accomplished, I was busy focusing on what I didn’t do yet. The Producer strikes again! 

Owning it was really about a turning point.


 When you’re on a journey and the GPS says go right, you don’t beat yourself up about the turns you’ve made me before or blame yourself for not getting to that road faster.  You simply turn.  And unfortunately I sometimes get into the bad habit of being extremely hard on myself and thinking it’s warranted.  For heaven’s sake, it’s life not the army!  I just need to turn right and continue coasting and trust like everything else in my life, the path has already been laid out before me.

It’s funny, at the time I saw the image at the top of the ‘Having Dreams vs Owning Dreams’ post, I instantly connected with it without really appreciating why until now. The chasing is over.  I don’t need to follow my dreams, I’m already in them!


Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

What exactly is ‘self hacking’?

Someone asked me the other day, ‘Sherice, what exactly is self hacking? It’s not some kind of self-mutilation is it?’


Gasp! OMG NO! You’ve heard of Travel Hacking right? No? It’s where you find creative ways to experience the world on a limited budget – well if you replace the word travel with self -ok wait…it’s not that.


Hmm, maybe Life Hacking… You’ve heard of Life Hacking right? No? Well, Life Hacking is the act of making small tweaks to everyday activities in an effort to make them easier and more efficient. Often times this can be computer or desktop related, but… Ok, it’s not quite that either!


So, what exactly is Self Hacking?


To me, Self Hacking is similar to Life Hacking, but instead of small tweaks to everyday activities, those tweaks or Hacking applies to my ‘Self.’ Special tactics and sometimes tricks are employed to make me more effective at improving myself with an emphasis on moving past psychological barriers, hence the necessity of the hacking.


Let me give you a really basic example…I like to go to the gym. Actually, let me clarify that, I (the logical side of me) likes to go to the gym but I (the emotional side of me- let’s call her I-emo), sometimes she doesn’t ‘feel’ like it. The stupid thing is, when I-emo gets to the gym, she feels better. She’s enthusiastic and full of energy. She lifts weights, admires her progress, closes her workout session with some quiet time in the sauna and feels better for it. But yet, when I-emo is sitting at home, her memory tends to recall things like, ‘it’s winter, it’s probably really cold outside’ and ‘oh man, that’s going to take at least 1 1/2 hours out of my day.’ And then, like a stinker, she may end up saying, ‘I don’t wanna go to the gym!’ You’d think that knowing how much she enjoys it, she would want to go, but no dice!


So, what I’ve decided to do with my I-emo is watch her, observe what she responds to and assess the psychological barriers that prevent her from doing what she really wants to do and figure out ways to adjust the circumstances so she can be more consistent. I also consider the things that naturally inspire her, and make an effort to design opportunities to allow her to make the right decision. For example, on Sunday evenings, there’s women- only time at the YMCA, and for some reason, all of the women tend to use the pool. What that means for I-emo is that she ends up with an entire work out area all to herself. The sauna? Empty! The hot tub? Also empty! All good reasons for I-emo to want go to the gym. The result? She’s much more likely to go – that’s one day down.


Another thing that motivates I-emo is being with her husband. Now the funny thing is, in the beginning it was enough for her to go at any time with her husband Nathan, but eventually she and Nathan’s enthusiasm would wane because his I-emo didn’t always feel motivated to go to the gym either–and trying to encourage both hers and his was a lot of work.


So I would proceed to hack again. Now, Nathan knew a thing or two about his I-emo too.  He didn’t necessarily like going to the gym to work out, but to play basketball was a whole other story. Four days a week, pretty much every week, he was there. So I decided to use that to motivate my I-emo. Maybe I-emo didn’t feel like going to the gym, but the idea of going to see Nathan was a lot more exciting. (Come to think of it, it’s probably odd because seeing as we’re co-preneurs we get to see each other all the time – but who cares? It still works LOL).


Now unless something extremely pressing is going on, I-emo has 4 additional opportunities during the week that she’s likely to head to the gym. So instead of arbitrary unplanned times during the week, the plan was to have her meet Nathan after basketball.


And what about those reasons I-emo mentioned that kept her away before?


Since she claimed it was cold, I made sure she had the perfect outfit – leggings, track pants, warm socks, boots, a t-shirt, sweater hoodie, warm jacket, ear muffs and gloves lined with fur and a hat! Now she’s quiet:).


And when the expectation of 1.5 hours is too much to bear, and when I-emo gets stubborn, Tim Ferris taught me a little trick:


Practicing the act of just going to the gym is beneficial for building habits even if you don’t spend a lot of time when you get there.


Tim even sites research from Nike to back it. So this knowledge helped me to create a new expectation for I-emo. You only need to go for 5 mins. So whenever that ‘1.5 hours is too long!’ thought comes up, I’m able to respond, ‘No silly, we just need to go 5 mins.’ To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever gone for just 5 mins! But it’s been enough to get me to go. And the even better part is, in the 4 Hour Body, Tim suggests this workout regimen that I’ve adapted (adopted) so I’m effectively able to get the same ideal results out of my body working out for 20 mins that I got before when I was working out for 1 1/2.


Now, I know this is probably long and my gym story is an overly-simplified explanation but I think you get the drift. It’s basically my process of finding ways to get myself to do what I want to do without being overly forceful and tiring my emotions out. And it just so happens to work for my husband too. He has ADD so I have lots of practice with him, but that’s a whole other story:).


I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea of hacking yourself. After all, if you don’t hack yourself, the hackers will. So, if you’re a good security administrator, you must learn about the various hacking tools that might be used against your environment, become familiar with them, and use them. Roger A Grimes


And this guy isn’t even talking about emotions!

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Having Dreams vs. Owning Dreams

It’s 6:23am. I’m about to head out to Arizona to meet with some of our favourite clients!   Not only do we get to abandon the cold – YAY – these guys are wild and fun!  Our first stop as soon as we get off the plane?  An NCAA game!  Go Wildcats!!  I haven’t been to a basketball game in ages but I’m looking forward to screaming my head off at young guys running around in shorts haha.


Anyway, I was trying to rest before I finished packing, but I kept hearing this thought…


‘It’s time to own it!’


And I felt prompted to get up and write.


At the middle of last month, after several years of not really wanting to make my life an open book and delve into the world of blogging, I suddenly shifted.  I realized this was so much bigger than just what I wanted to do or felt like I could do. 


The deadline


Adam @ ManvsDebt had contacted me to do an interview for his podcast.  Being one of the top 10 in the class to get rid of the most debt, he asked if I would share my story.  Now, unless you know me well, I’m a pretty shy and private person.  Far more introverted than my husband who amazes me to no end with his ability to talk the ears off of strangers.  But I figured if sharing my emotional battle with money could inspire others, I should do it (even though on most days, it’s probably the last thing I would want to be that transparent about with strangers).   Then after getting over that hurdle, I thought, you know what, if I’m going to do that, I might as well bite the bullet and start my blog.  


So I used the timing of that interview as motivation to kick it in high gear and work on my blog.   With only a couple weeks and my responsibilities at our 2 other companies, I arguably had many good reasons why I shouldn’t feel pressured to make my first blog a big deal.  But I have a habit of putting unusually high expectations of myself, or at least that’s what they keep telling me – although I’m still not convinced:).  I guess I will give them this, I find it really difficult to do things half-a$$ed. This has always felt like more of a flaw because it means I over think things. My husband says, I dive headfirst into things, which I find funny because I definitely don’t see myself as much of a risk-taker, but he’s right.


Case in point


  • Years ago, we had some friends that had a magazine that we wanted to help bring into Canada. Two weeks before the event we were going to launch it at, they backed out so I created a new magazine and we launched it ourselves.
  • I read a really good book on investing in real estate in Canada, and it was all I could talk about.  Immediately, I started looking at buildings to buy, then ended up turning our first home into our first rental property.  
  • When I feel like it’s time to move on, I move.  I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it.  My husband and I have been married for 10 years and we’ve relocated almost twice as many times as years married.

I could go probably on…


Back to the blog… I had two weeks before the interview with Adam was scheduled, and I dove in hard!  And I finished it and launched it the night before the scheduled interview, but then guess what happened the next day?  No interview LOL.


I was literally in hysterics, I found the whole thing hilarious, but it really didn’t bother me in the slightest even though it had already been rescheduled once before.  The deadline served its purpose…now I had a blog.


Here’s the thing though, it’s been almost a month and I haven’t really done much with it.  Sure yeah, I’ve posted on it, told a handful of people, commented on a couple blogs, shared it with Chris G, but that’s pretty much it. Ok maybe that doesn’t sound that bad but for Pete’s sake, I own a web development company – I know what to do.  And for whatever I don’t know, there’s the Internet so I can definitely find it.  There’s really not much room for excuse.

You feel me on this, right?  Sure, I know, we could easily come up with a myriad of reasons (most of them probably psychological) why we simply, ‘have a dream‘.  But I realize, for me, now’s not the time to simply have dreams…
it’s time to own them!  


So as soon as I get back…No more ‘having dreams‘, it’s time to own this sucker

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

Don’t Wake Me…I’m Dreaming

The last couple of weeks have been craaaazy and I should’ve expected it after my last post.  How dare I have the audacity to call out The Producer and suggest that he had lost all control and I just wanted to create?  
HA…I don’t think he liked that very much because now, it appears as if he’s trying to teach me a lesson.  
 
Here’s the situation:  Financially, we ended last year on a good note, I even had over a month worth of bills paid in advance.  Even so, I knew it would be important to start some new projects as early as possible in January to stay ahead of the curve.  We had some big projects with even bigger clients on the horizon. They were supposed to begin shortly after the holidays but none of them had culminated as of yet.  
 
It’s now the middle of February and the flow in my cashflow has reduced itself to a slow drip as those would-be projects stand waiting in the wings.  And the safety cash stash that I’ve reserved for times such as this? It’s  now been depleted, so naturally the desire to produce is hovering in my midst.  He’s whispering things like, “If you had spent the last couple of weeks pounding the virtual pavement to find new leads rather than creating, you probably wouldn’t be in this situation.” “And maybe if you hadn’t invested so much of your time, energy and resources into this idea, you’d have more money.”
 

Voices Blast Like Trumpeting Elephants

 
The thoughts steadily increase in frequency and they’re getting louder. “Here!” he says, “Why not take this?”  He tries to tempt me with a chance to make some quick cash with a less than ideal project.  The thoughts persist; their voices hit a fever pitch as they blast through my eardrums like trumpeting elephants.  Negative thought after negative thought try to bombard me and induce panic.  I could almost see my elephant preparing to squat right over my head; the shadow of his butt darkening my presence and then…I remember.  
 
I remember all the times, I let emotions and thoughts like these stop me from dreaming.  I remember how excited I was and intense with passion when I finally let it all go and started creating.  I remember how it felt to write that first post, express my pure thoughts, be vulnerable, transparent…open.  
 

I remember…

 
I remember the love affair I have with The Creator…so I write.  And as I write I remember that I have control and I choose to dream for I am a dreamer…I don’t need ideal circumstances to convince me that I have permission...
 

I am…therefore I dream!

 
And if the price of this pure bliss means that I may temporarily face the occasional financial trickle…I’d rather endure that, than have not loved at all.
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

The Creator vs. The Producer

I used to be subscribed to this daily blog, Income Diary from Michael Dunlop which has really good tips on ‘blogging effectively,’ ‘getting more recognition on Google,’ ‘monetizing your blog,’ ‘the benefits of SEO’ – and this was just the tip of the iceberg.


I used to enjoy it because it helped to reinforce the benefits and values that I often shared with others to help them build their own sites. I used to enjoy it – when I wasn’t blogging. Now, not even a week into launching my own blog – I had to unsubscribe. I realized that reading those daily tips were beginning to subconsciously affect me. I looked at my site and suddenly wondered if I was missing out on it’s “potential.” Potential???


I started to notice that the titles of my posts were ambiguous and that I probably hadn’t considered any keywords when I was writing. And the newsletter that I had tried to creatively name “The Rider’s Way” had meaning to me because it was an idea I came up with for a book concept, but would it really entice someone to subscribe? Subscribers? By now I could almost hear Dunlop’s voice. ‘You definitely want people to subscribe so that when you craft your offer, you’ll have a list of potential customers you can present it to. And where are the affiliate links?! You have four well known entrepreneurs and bloggers on your site that offer products and you even go so far as to mention the impact they’ve had on you. Why are there no affiliate links for these incredible products you mention? Where is the monetization?’


After two weeks of designing and building this blog, I started to see all these things that weren’t there…all these things I hadn’t thought about, explored or really considered. You see, the truth about my fear hit me and I got this idea to write a story and just started running and running. Now, I was free to dream-out of fears’ vice grip-freed to be me fully and express it on a page – the good, the bad, and all of the ugly. I was determined and resolved not to let it catch me again! And here it was again right in front of me trying to pressure me to produce when all I wanted to do was create.

All I wanted to do was create…



Oh wait…but I did think about those things. Though I wasn’t being specific at the time, I did think about them when I decided that I was doing this for me. Without me realizing it, I had already taken it all into consideration when I said, ‘I just want to write…I just want to be me…I don’t want to care what others think or expect or be tempted to focus on what I can get…I need to do this for me.’

And this isn’t some desperate cry from a tortured artist.


It’s a stand from the soul of a little girl who once let go of dream’s hand, who now years later – a woman, found her dream again and will not allow herself to get distracted. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like all those tips aren’t beneficial and valuable – it’s just that for me, for now, they can serve the dreams of others…


So today, I unsubscribed because I understand how my mind works and I know how easy it can be to lose focus and be tempted to trade good things for the best thing for me. Will I ever consider these things in the future? Who knows maybe. But I understand where I am now and I’m learning more everyday about who I am and this is what I need to do to preserve it.


My Lesson for today? Feed the creator, starve the producer.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

The Year Of The Elephant

Elephants Little Secret Emo

It’s the year of the elephant…



And no, this has nothing to do with Chinese horoscopes:). This is about you and me taking on our emos! This is not a time to sit back on our laurels stagnated by fear. This is about living intentionally, no regrets, no what ifs, no buts!


After being inspired by a concept presented in Switch, I wrote my own story, The Elephant’s Little Secret.  At the time, I had no idea where it would go, it was just an impulsive reaction to a concept I heard (I should probably explain). You see, I was having a bit of a ‘dreaming problem.’ You know the kind where you feel like you can’t pursue your own vision because you convinced yourself that you didn’t have enough time or money? Well, the trouble was…it wasn’t quite true and even though I could see it, I was having trouble accepting it. I had grown so accustomed to telling myself something different that even though my situation changed drastically, my mind hadn’t! And I knew it, but still, I was emotionally stuck and for the life of me, I couldn’t get myself to dream My Dream. I had NOOOOO problem dreaming for others. And if I was really honest with myself, I knew I had accomplished a lot of dreams of my own, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Adventures of Me vs. Debt


Well, there’s no use making this long story short so…here it goes:). Determined to change my debt-perception, I took Adam Baker’s course, You vs Debt. I figured that if I could download enough information to re-affirm my new life, my fears concerning My Dream in relationship to money and debt would become unglued. On the second day of the course, Baker shared the concept from Switch– ‘How to Change Things When Change is Hard’. He briefly enlightened us with this metaphor of The Elephant and The Rider and explained that our emotional side and our logical side were represented by the size and relationship of the two to each other. When he uttered those words, they immediately connected with that dark fear inside me and…SWITCH! Suddenly, I started writing in a panic. As my fingers flew across the keys frantically, I wrote my story and the self-healing began.

The only way I can explain it is through this incident that happened to me a few months back.  I have an allergy – a nut one – almonds, walnuts, pistachios and the dreaded cashew.  So I go to this Asian restaurant (if you can call it that, it’s really pseudo-Asian – a westernized fake version of Asian cuisine, complete with sub-sized dinner rolls as appetizers?!!) Anyways, so I order these avocado spring rolls that aren’t too bad.  They came with this really sweet dipping sauce which was quite tasty.  I guess by now, you’re probably wondering what the problem is.  Well…nowhere and I mean NOWHERE on the menu did it say that the sauce had cashews in it.  My husband was smart enough to suggest inquiring, but me like a dummy seeing the light pink runny quality of the liquid thought ‘nah, it’s probably just a plum sauce,’ so I proceed to ‘dip baby dip’ like a hoochie in a 69 Boyz video.


That’s when it started…


My tongue started to itch…and I was like ‘Dangit,  I think there are nuts in this sauce Nate!’ The horror, by now I was about two spring rolls in and my stomach started to roll like a tootsie (ok sorry enough with the puns:).  I called out to the waitress and was like, ‘quick, bring me some…bread.’  And I ate and ate but the pain was excruciating, so we called it a night and went home.

That evening the pain persisted, well into the night and it was awful…really bad, like stabbing pains that came through my stomach and ravaged my whole body.  By now, I’m literally wanting to die, it’s too much for me to bear, so Nate pulls out Stin. She has these recorded meditations and there’s this one for sickness and rebuilding your immune system that’s quite effective.  So he plays it for me and the pain becomes worse but then I start to feel something. I don’t know how to describe it, but the words must have connected to whatever was reacting to the nuts and suddenly projectiles flew across the bed.  And I couldn’t stop vomiting.  I think I brought up everything I ate that day and the day before if not the entire week and I felt immediate relief.  It was over just like that.

That’s how I felt the day I wrote the story -just like that.  The concept sparked an image that connected with a limiting belief within me and that bugger projected across the room and I found my voice again.  And I knew after 10 years of waiting that I found my it!


The Great ‘Cubicle’ Escape


You see over 11 years ago, I escaped the cubicle.  Now lifestyle businesses are trendy, back then if you said you worked from home.  The response was like…”Oh..cool” but the looks were like, “So you don’t have a ‘real business'”.


My husband and I are copreneurs, best friends and lifetime soulmates. We see and work with each other everyday and after a decade we still love it! With the inspiration and influence of another unconventional nut like us (and I say that lovingly Chris G:)), we managed to establish a business where we’re not trading dollars for hours anymore and money is made even when we’re not working ‘in’ our business.  It’s given us freedom, flexibility and the best part is, we get to do things we love for people we love.  But even having all that, there was something missing…this was missing!  I’ve always wanted to share this way of life and help others pursue their passion in a big way but the missing element was always how.

Entering Fear, Stage Right


Though, I’m still working out those details, this is a start.  Change{Fear} is dedicated to all of you, like me, who are done with being held back by limiting beliefs. It is in honour of those who have helped me pave my way.
The journey? To change fear, not simply tactics and affirmations, sure sometimes they can help, but the real deep-seated psychological barriers are going to require a little self-hacking. Sometimes, it may get ugly ’cause confession time folks…I’m intensely passionate sometimes to a fault.  Writing is part of my self-healing and if leaving my heart on a page can help anyone muster up the strength and courage to follow their own, then do I really have a choice?


If we truly want to live our dreams and abandon fear, we needn’t dwell on questions like ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ There’s only one answer… NOW!
Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).

The Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four

 

You know there’s this saying, ‘If you want to know how successful someone will be, don’t look at that person, look at his or her mentor.’ The right mentors are great, they stimulate you, motivate you, support you, they’re honest with you in a way that respects where you are but encourages you to grow into who you’re destined to become.

 

It’s crucial that you pick the right ones and it’s important to surround yourself with people that are like-minded and can help you go where YOU want to go. After all, you’ve got enough crap in your life that’s pushing you to do otherwise. These four have really made changing easier – through their lives, they’ve shown me something to aspire to, through their transparency, they’ve given me freedom to be even more comfortable with who I am.

 

It’s not always easy to stumble across the ‘right’ mentors in life, but thanks to the Internet, it’s become much easier to find them. And for me, it’s not really about what they say or what they do, for these four it’s definitely about ‘who’ they are. I don’t know all of them firsthand, but considering what they’ve imparted into me, sometimes I feel like I do. They’ve been a huge part of my journey and I’m sure some of you may be familiar with one if not all of them. If not, I’d like to introduce them to you and share what they’ve meant to me. Depending on your passion, if you’re ready to change your fear, they definitely make for good guides.

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The Authority Challenger – Chris G.

 

Easily considered a non-conformist, he writes, he travels and helps people take over the world. Chris G. is my all-time favourite guide – I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday! My husband Nathan had been following his blog and then later, we started his year-long Empire Building Kit (an awesome program to help build or launch your business).

 

Within just under 3 months we were able to re-shape our business, launch a digital product making regular passive income and position ourselves in a niche that immediately connected us with our ideal clients. He had inspired so much change in our lives, we just had to meet him and he was really chill, humble guy. At the time, I had all of these images in my head of what I would have to be like if I was to write or speak again and they all just melted away when I saw him. Chris is just Chris – naturally organic with no added preservatives:).

 

If your dream is to see the world or dominate it:)…he’s the perfect guide! Watch this certified travel addict dominate the world on his Art of Non-Conformity blog, but be careful, his travel bug is infectious!

 

Check out the complete profile with my favourite posts and other cool stuff

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The ‘But’ Kicker – Ramit Sethi.

 

If you have a ‘but’ -and I mean anything stopping you — he will kick that right out the door – painfully. And I love him for it! If you have a job and want a better job/dream career or you have a job and want to start your side thing – he’s the one to do it. He is no fuss, no fluff, no nonsense! He’s down and dirty and with him I find it near impossible to get paralyzed with analysis.

 

I don’t like keeping things that are hindering me, especially aspects of self – it’s probably why I’ve always been a self-hacker so I love that he’s raw and gives little breathing room to unhealthy thinking and emotions because too many times we coddle them. Just five minutes on his blog and you’ll quickly realize, there’s no freakin’ coddling here! If the thinking and feelings aren’t right for you, he doesn’t entertain them, he just deals with them!

 

Just a warning, he’s not for everyone, but he definitely works for me. He’s abrasive to hindering emotions so proceed to his website with caution:). But don’t let that scare you because Ramit, will definitely make you grow.

 

Check out the complete profile with my favourite posts and other cool stuff

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The Passionista – Marie Forleo.

 

She’s the passionista! I remember when I first saw her videos, in my mind I was like, ‘this chick is craaazy!’ But I love her for it! She’s zany, she’s nutty, she’s a heck of a lot of fun and screaming with passion. She has this way of smacking you hard with life truths and business principles in a way that has you soothing sore cheeks while laughing hard at the same time.

 

 

If you’re already down the path of lifestyle business enlightenment, then get ready ‘cause she can take you up through the mountains and have you blazing through trails!

 

Check out the complete profile with my favourite posts and other cool stuff

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The Debt Crusher – Adam Baker.

 

And then there was Adam. Oddly enough, I was originally introduced to Adam by Chris (which probably gives you a hint to what he’s about). He was probably the most unsuspecting to me of the bunch but in hindsight considering Chris G is also his mentor, I should’ve known.

 

I took his You vs Debt course mostly because I knew some things concerning my perception of debt needed to change. After moving past fears in several areas of my life, I couldn’t get this one to shift.

 

For $97, I would’ve happily taken a solution just for that, but surprisingly for me there was a lot more in store…by day 2 of his course I was ignited! The information in this program is good, but the way he does things is even better — the subtle nuances, the timing, the action steps and the community all instigate action. It not only crushes unhealthy debt perception, it can cure other deficit disorders too. There’s a catch though, to get the best results you must be committed. If you’re willing to invest in yourself (you should know you deserve it) do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to this fearless guide:).

 

Check out the complete profile with my favourite posts and other cool stuff

 

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Anyways, these guys are my fantastic four! I hope you’ll take the time to check out their sites, read their blogs, their manifestos, partake in whatever they have to offer. There’s a lot of good free info on their sites too and the paid stuff is even better! And just so you know, in no way do I benefit from anything presented here – it’s just that these guys have been such an instrumental part of my journey; it only makes sense that they become a part of yours.

Hi I’m Sherice, I wanted to be a snowbird before 40. I wondered, “What’s the point of waiting to travel the world and do work I love?” Today, with my husband, Nathan, we run thriving businesses from the comfort of our own laptops. We spend 6 months a year in Thailand, travel frequently — and spend the rest of our time at home in Canada — at least that’s the plan for now, who knows what the future will bring ;).