Before I get to today’s guest post from Paige Burkes I just wanted to give you a heads up on something.
The ‘A Daring Adventure’ Community on Google+ is up, running and thriving with well in excess of 300 members and thanks to all of you that have not just joined but embraced the concept.
If you haven’t joined yet and would like support in making beneficial changes in your life, you can click here and sign up.
It’s free and there are already a lot of people getting some great results.
All I ask is when you do apply to join and I accept your request, check out the READ THIS FIRST forum to start with to get any idea of how you can benefit most.
If I Can Do Something Crazy Like This, You Can Too
What would you say to quitting your job, selling or putting all your stuff in storage and taking off in unknown directions with no plan in order to find your purpose?
Crazy? Impossible? Irresponsible? Psychotic? Amazing? Scary?
Yes to all of that. But I did it anyway and it was the most amazing experience that forever changed my life. I found myself, my purpose and my happiness.
Do you think doing something like this is impossible for you?
People from every walk of life, at any age and with any set of limitations that you could imagine are making a choice to live the lives they were meant to live.
A quick Google search will show you people in your exact situation who overcame their perceived limitations to venture into the unknown and find their own amazing purposes and passions.
My story started back in Boston. I graduated from college and went straight into my corporate career as an auditor with one of the big public accounting firms.
Go to college. Get a good job. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Live happily ever after.
That’s what we’re all supposed to do – right?
I got as far as “get married” and couldn’t get to the next step. We looked at houses and talked about kids but taking real action in those directions never felt right.
After seven years with the firm, climbing the ladder and working my ass off to make partner faster than anyone ever had (I was about a year away from accomplishing that), I started asking myself, “Is this all there is to life?” My answer was loud and clear: “I hope to hell not!”
I started to wonder. If I didn’t follow the tried-and-true path, doing what I was supposed to do, what else was there? I didn’t have an answer but, over the course of that year, the pain of staying where I was (“good job” with good pay and benefits) was too much to bear.
I left the big firm to work for another company for about 50% more money, thinking that a change of scenery might help. After three months, I was more miserable than ever and left. The money wasn’t worth it.
This is my life we’re talking about and no amount of money can buy real happiness.
Not knowing what to do next, I put all of our stuff in storage and moved to the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts, where my pilot husband was based. In the middle of winter.
We managed the B&B where he was staying. I waitressed at one of the three restaurants open on the island in the winter.
Never let your ego believe that you’re too good or too big for anything.
Learning to Let Go
After work one night, I was talking with one of the other waitresses (ahem – servers). She had planned to visit Costa Rica later that month but her travel buddy bailed at the last minute and she didn’t know what to do.
I had always wanted to visit Costa Rica so, on a whim, I said that I would go with her. Three weeks later, we were on a plane to San Jose with our backpacks, Lonely Planet guide, no return date and no plans for what to do while we were there.
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
It took me the first week to figure out that everything worked much better when I gave up trying to plan and control everything.
Serendipity and being open to the adventure allowed us to experience the country, the people and the beauty in ways that no planned tour could ever allow. I almost didn’t return to the US.
We spent a month and a half meeting the most interesting people and having experiences and adventures beyond my dreams: whitewater rafting with the locals, horseback riding at night through the rainforest with magic fireflies lighting our way like little fairies, swimming in the hot springs in the shadows of an active volcano, hiking through the cloud forests, horseback riding along the beach at sunset with macaws flying overhead and monkeys screeching in the rainforest, relaxing in hammocks hanging from the palm trees along the beach, learning passionate forms of dance from the locals at their pubs, hidden from the tourists and eating local delicacies while making sure that scorpions didn’t crawl into our shoes.
Alas, I did return with a deep knowing that I could never go back to life as usual.
Go West Young Woman!
For the first time in my life, I heeded the call of my intuition which started to scream at me, “Go west and do something with horses!” Huh??? Where the hell did that come from? What was I supposed to do about it?
I didn’t have any answers. All I knew was that I had to do something.
We packed up the Jeep and headed west in search of “something with horses.” Now, mind you, I had been a city girl up to this point who knew nothing about horses, the west or the great outdoors (Ew! dirt and bugs!).
Driving west, I felt that “something” would happen along the way or we would end up at my brother’s in San Francisco. Well, nothing happened and I spent a couple weeks at my brother’s searching for my next step.
For a woman who had never spent any time in the outdoors and had no relevant experience, enrolling in outfitting school was my obvious next step.
What is outfitting school, you may ask? It’s where you live in a tent for a month and a half, deep in the woods an hour outside of Jackson Hole, WY in May (a time when the weather doesn’t know whether to rain, snow or shine).
You learn how to fish, hunt, pack horses (there’s that “something with horses” thing), shoot big guns, guide hunts, survive in the woods and other manly things.
This was the first time in the 25 year history of this school where they had a woman in the class and, in this one, there were two of us.
You might say I was stepping out of my comfort zone a bit on this one. Something I highly recommend as often as you can.
Once again, it was an absolutely incredible experience where I learned all new levels of self-sufficiency. After that, I knew I could do anything I decided to.
From there, I managed a dude ranch for a year, learned how to train horses and did a variety of other “horse” things. As I discovered more of my true self, I realized that my marriage worked much better in my old life in Boston (a place where I was never going to return) so we amicably divorced.
There Is No Failure Only Feedback
After each experience, I learned what worked for me and what didn’t.
I never saw anything as a failure.
Everything helped me to get to the next step and I was having a blast not knowing what was next.
While managing the dude ranch, I met my current husband who managed a wildlife center where I took guests. In the winter, when things were slow at the ranch, I played with the wolves at the wildlife center.
After a couple years of all this, I decided that I wanted my own ranch with my own horses. The easiest way to get that was to return to a corporate job – but on my terms.
I found a great job with lots of interesting challenges. We bought a beautiful home on twenty acres in the mountains of Colorado where we’ve lived for the past thirteen years with some of the mountain lions from the wildlife center and a few more that we adopted.
I frequently work from home and ensure that I have a fairly flexible schedule that allows us the lifestyle we want. My husband has his own businesses and we have three amazing little kids.
I’ve learned through decades of experience that no one has to live the life that others expect of them. We all have the freedom to live life on our own terms.
Attitude and belief make just about anything possible.
What’s Possible for You?
After reading my story, you may be thinking that it was easy for me. It’s true that I didn’t have kids or a big mortgage at the time (I do now).
Decisions to make big leaps like this aren’t easy regardless of your situation. It’s human nature to dream up a million reasons excuses why it won’t work for you. That’s total BS.
I’m constantly reading about families with up to seven little kids who sold their house and most of their stuff to RV across the country or around the world or live on a sailboat.
There are people who have left big, powerful jobs to start fly fishing businesses in Alaska or simply travel the world. Or people who left the craziness of city life, bought a farm and started growing and raising their own food and living off the land.
And these people are radiantly happy after making the big, hairy, scary decision to stop doing what they thought they were supposed to do with their lives and do what’s in their hearts.
Know Your Values
Are you happy with your life and with yourself? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Google other people who have overcome your excuses to create amazing lives.
Get inspired. Identify your values. (maybe click the link and buy Tims amazing book that helps you through this important process)*
Find your “why” and go after it.
If not now, then when? If not now, what will your life be like in five, ten or twenty years? How does that feel?
Take the first baby step toward your own amazing life right now. Go. NOW!
* Note: Paige actually never said by my book, but I know she loves it and I’m pretty sure she was thinking it ;-)
Paige Burkes inspires her community at Simple Mindfulness to see the world in a new light through mindfulness. Download her FREE Mindful Living Guide to discover the simple steps you can take to create more joy, peace and happiness in your life.
Check out her new Mindful Body Program, a comprehensive program that uses mindfulness to transform your health and generate more happiness.