If you feel sick with the prospect of being an employee for the next 20 to 30 years of your life then I hope that what you will read will put you a minute closer to showing the teeth to the crazy idea of scheduling the best years of your life to a time when your body is frail.
Free beer on Fridays is not enough freedom
I always thought to be ‘successful’ meant having a permanent job, earning 40k, working for 7,5 hours a day and then spending the rest of your time in cool places doing the things you really ‘love’ doing.
When I finally made it through the muddy and cold waters of internships and low-paid entry jobs and I got my first permanent job, I instantly realised how wrong I had been all along.
I would not only do my 7.5 or 8 hours Mon to Fri but I would add a 2-hour commute plus another hour getting ready and planning for work. Only this way I could deliver my work to the highest standards. Because any negative feedback at work would make me feel anxious for weeks or even months.
But it didn’t end there. The roles I was doing were designed to continuously get me promoted to the next level, which was great in the sense that my companies cared about my career progress, but this meant I needed to work overtime to make sure I excelled on the long-feared wintery appraisal.
Instead, watching others climb ahead of me would effectively make me feel like a loser. In this context, seeing my colleagues getting promoted while spending their weekends partying until dawn made me jealous. “I don’t have any energy for that, I am so wiped out during the weekend that all I want to do is stay at home quietly and do productive activities” I used to say to myself.
But wait, I was too tired to do anything productive!
“I am investing my whole life in the benefit of somebody else and I don’t have enough time to do the things that really enrich me, like playing guitar and learning languages.” I thought.
“Will this go on until I’m 65 or before (as long as I die before that age)?”
Reading the four-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss didn’t help, for it made aspire that freedom to design your lifestyle but didn’t really convince me to pursue it, which in turn made me more frustrated.
Life puts you where you belong
Unexpectedly, I met someone who had recently done what I wanted to do so bad. He wholeheartedly encouraged me to quit and follow my dream. I was almost convinced.
A final kick by the most important person in my life put me straight in that meeting room handing over my notice and negotiating the end of my contract. I felt the wings popping up from my back.
The first thing I did was going on an amazing road trip to celebrate such a milestone in my life. I don’t go on a road-trip every day, but I still celebrate that decision EVERY SINGLE DAY.
This post commemorates the first year of my life after-employment. I must say my 7 years of higher education (bachelors and two masters’ degrees) didn’t teach me half of what I have learnt in the past year. And I have been able to not only support myself but also…
- Create a brand
- Design a range of awesome service products
- Deliver a talk to an audience of local entrepreneurs
- Move to an amazing location in Spain on a protected natural dune.
- Get a rescue dog
- Learn how to sing to a ‘cringe-free’ level
- Learn how to play two of the most difficult classical guitar pieces ever written
- Have experienced life-affirming near death experiences while surfing
- Fire a client (and loving the result)
- Get married with the love of my life
- Visit Thailand
- Lose my fear to surfing
- Join a martial arts club
- Work one week in Berlin
- Take two road trips to South of Spain
- Visit Lithuania and work from there
- Learn how to record and edit videos
- Complete a 3-month coaching course that changed my life
- Wake up whenever I want (early anyway)
- Experiment with intermittent fasting regimes
- Fully express myself with my family
I am not a millionaire nor I aspire to be one. I am something more powerful than that. I have seen what is possible when you commit yourself to living on your own terms, and I am fully committed to continuing optimising my lifestyle and thus reminding myself that the sky is the limit.
I am so passionate about growing and consolidating my dream lifestyle that I will never stop. And I promise you, if I run out of money somewhere in the process, I will grab my guitar and busk on the streets rather than work on somebody else’s terms.
Here is how you can get started (this is what worked for me):
- Work with a coach to make you set and stick to your goals
- Create very specific products based on what you know creates value
- Get a website and build your own brand
- Read your email once or less per day
- Put effort on the non-income-generating things you love doing
If you are not exuding joy at your current job but think it somehow is the best thing you can get (as I did when I was in that position), you are wrong. The world has nothing but opportunities ready for you to take them.
Are you ready to commit?
Peru Buesa is the founder and digital strategist at Gozen Media, an agency determined to help innovative ideas and products reach far.