Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult

If you’re not doing the work you want to do.

If your lifestyle isn’t what you want it to be.

If you feel that you are going nowhere.

How do you fix that?

To get to where you want to be, you’ll need to take some action. Usually the action is simple. But just because the action is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy to do.

Let’s say you work as an accountant in a big firm. The job is pleasant enough: it pays well, you get along with your coworkers, you get a promotion every year or two, and your boss and your clients are happy with your work.

But something is nagging at you. You feel restless. You never went on one of those nine-month backpacking trips that all your friends seem to have gone on right out of college. You want to travel a lot more than you have so far in your life, but you can’t. Not with the four weeks of vacation you get every year.

You’ve heard about digital nomads, and while you feel that the term is cliché at this point, you do like the idea of being able to work from anywhere. You like your accounting work and you’re good at it—it’s just that you want to combine it with traveling, rather than showing up at the same office and seeing the same people 230 days out of each year.

So, the actions you need to take are simple, right? Ask your boss whether you can start working remotely full time. If she doesn’t agree, quit and find a remote accounting job with a different company. Or start your own accounting business. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

No! It’s difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

Moving towards your desired lifestyle isn’t as easy as grabbing a piece of paper, brainstorming, identifying what you want, and then sending some emails to make it happen. More than likely, there are objections in your head that you will need to address. Objections such as:

  • “My wife will never go for this.”
  • “What if something goes wrong? I might go broke!”
  • “I wouldn’t have the discipline to do any work while traveling.”
  • “Clients want to be able to meet their accountant face-to-face. I wouldn’t get any clients if I tried working remotely.”

Now, these are not trivial objections. They are based on real concerns. 

At the same time, I put quotation marks around these mental objections to emphasize that they are just thoughts. You are not your thoughts and you don’t have to let your thoughts dictate your actions. Get caught up in your negative thoughts, though, and it will block you from taking action.

If you have too many of these objection-type thoughts, you might want to upgrade your mindset first. There’s no shame in that. We all have to upgrade our mindset from time to time.

When you notice objection-type thoughts, see if you can reframe them. Perhaps like this:

  • “My wife likes new adventures too. I really should propose this to her.”
  • “What if I discover a new passion while traveling? That would be sweet!”
  • “I’ll probably meets lots more people while traveling than I normally do. Maybe some of them will end up being great business connections.”
  • “After a day of scuba diving/surfing/hiking, I might actually be in the mood to do some intellectually stimulating work.”

The point isn’t to be overly optimistic. The point is that you don’t know what will happen if you make a change. Maybe things will turn out worse than you expected—or maybe they’ll turn out better! (Usually, though, if you’ve done your due diligence before you make a change, things turn out for the better.)

Put differently, our experience of reality is subjective. You can choose to focus on certain aspects of reality, or on other ones. You’ll always have certain worries and fears come up, but you can let go of them and reinforce positive thoughts instead.

This is all a lengthy way of saying that your mindset matters. If you know that you want to make a change, but your mindset is stopping you, then acknowledge that and get to work on your mindset.


— Peter

P.S. It helps to have someone guide you when you’re working on your mindset. It’s one of the things we work on in my coaching program.

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