A handful of years ago – excuse the lack of preciseness, dates aren’t my strong suit – I hopped on a plane on down to Key West, Florida, to partake in a mastermind group with guys who were thriving in the business world. I’d been invited by a good friend who knew I was flirting with starting an online business and he wanted me to get a good start and to be around a few guys who were truly thriving.
To get to Key West I had to spend money I didn’t have. I had to remove myself from my comfort zone and act with a little faith that whatever I’d learn down there would pay dividends in the future. That trip helped start this site. It wasn’t, however, for another 3 or 4 years before this site gained enough momentum for me to actually breathe with some relief and live without the financial worries that plagued me for some time.
You see, after having started this site I kept on with my training business, which did well. Too well, actually. It allowed me to be comfortable. The online stuff didn’t need to thrive because the offline stuff was more than keeping me afloat. It took a year or so of running and working on both to realize what I wanted: to write.
I wanted to earn a living helping people as best I could through writing and the odd video. I no longer wanted to train people or groups or run boot camps. Thus, I made the decision to quit my bread and butter and focus on what I wanted to do: this site. It was a nice sentiment, but the site was making no money and after 8 months I’d run out of everything.
The next 6-8 months were some of the best of my life.
I was living in downtown Vancouver in a rough apartment. My days started early and ended late and were almost exclusively spent in front of the computer trying to figure out how to make a business out of what had previously been a hobby.
It was during these months, months where rent would be paid late and the majority of my stress came from money, that I learned how to budget. It was during these months that I learned how to extend a dollar. I also learned what NOT to do. I found my voice in my writing, and my audience began to grow, even though the bank account stayed pretty damn empty.
I was uncomfortable. I was stressed. But I was improving.
Fast forward a year or so and I’d begun to at least figure out how to provide real value to people on the internet and speak to them (you) in a voice that resonated with what they (you) needed to hear. The stress began to dissipate and for a time I was comfortable.
I had fun. I golfed. I poured money into the business, and paid down my debts. The self-improvement slowed. I needed to feel uncomfortable again. (Read This: You Must Seek The Uncomfortable)
You are a collection of the 5 people you associate with most. Having a good support system is huge. It becomes even more beneficial for clarity. So on a phone conversation with a pal one day I expressed my desire to travel but also my distaste for the ease I now lived in.
Thus began a year traveling alone in Italy, Scotland, Argentina, and Uruguay.
You always meet people when you travel, so you’re never truly alone in this world, but in lands where the language isn’t yours and you’re traveling with no plan nor set schedule, you find real solitude. It’s in solitude that most of us feel uncomfortable because we’re often forced to answer questions that we’d rather not even ask.
Traveling was a wonderful experience. I got uncomfortable and learned and spent a fair amount of time walking the streets of Italy’s historic towns or the mountains of Argentina in complete and utter awe. After a while, though, traveling became the norm and a foundation, a home base became the goal.
On yet another conversation with the same pal that helped clarify the desire to travel, I figured out that I now needed a home. I’d just put a deposit down on my dog, Teddy, and space was needed. Vancouver was too expensive to own anything with a yard, and I didn’t want an apartment, so I decided to save and buy a home in Calgary.
This brings us to the present. I’m in a new town, living in a new house, and after a week of being here am finally getting into a routine. I’m healthily uncomfortable with bills to pay and lot’s of shit to get done. When comfort once again creeps its ugly head I’m sure I’ll figure out what to do to send it back to the abyss. (Read This: Dump and Chase: How to Face Your Greatest Fears and Win)
That’s the thing about life that many of us – myself included – don’t want to admit…
We aspire to live an easy life, yet it’s in turmoil, it’s in those months where I had not a buck to my name, that we find out what we’re made of and we develop skills we didn’t know we were capable of developing.
I don’t know where you are right now in your life. Hopefully, though, you’re in the arena. Ideally you’re setting goals with an ambitious audacity that will force you to become the man you’re capable of becoming.
Whatever you’re going through, you can handle it. More than that, what you’re going through is life-changing, it’s molding you into who you can become and without it you’re relegated to the life as the man you’ve always been.
Don’t change into someone else, evolve into who you can potentially become, and it’s in being uncomfortable, it’s in a life filled with a healthy amount of stress that you realize your potential.
Without extending yourself into the uncomfortable you can never experience the pride of victory nor the honor in withstanding defeat. Go into the deeper waters in life and forge a will that cannot be broken.