A friend of mine asked me yesterday: how are your financial freedom and spirituality connected, and are they? It was a great question. The immediate answer the came was: they are one and the same for me. And it made me thinking… And my thoughts took off, jumping around but staying around the same subject. So I just share them below as they came, hopefully it will spark some realizations and a-ha's in whoever is meant to read them :)
What is spirituality to me? Being able to flow with the Universe and manifest what my heart desires. And what my heart desired from early age, but it took different shapes throughout years, is freedom, and desire to live the life I want, be my best self and reach for highest potential. That's why I got into personal development years ago. And as I realized I wanted to be free financially and time wise after reading "4-hour work week" book by Tim Ferris years ago, it defined my goal to create financial freedom. That's what motivated me to commit to it and reach my milestone of retiring last year. In different times in my life different goals took place, and excitement around learning and growing changed focus. At some point it was around life purpose exploration and tools in life to create overall happiness (when I overall felt unhappy, trapped and uninspired), which took me to transformation and life coaching. Then it was relationships that drew my attention, which inspired me to learn about everything that makes them successful: getting clear on purpose for my relationships, communication, sexual chemistry, tantra, love, mom/dad healing that minimizes projections on romantic partners, being real and vulnerable (yes, there is science and 10 super effective tools for that too :) ). Then it was financial freedom. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, be the master of my time, and not depend on a job, or a boyfriend/husband, so mastering financial game became my goal for years. That motivated me to learn about business, investments, taxes, corporate structures, until I found my journey to where I am not (having passive income coming in from website investments that allow me to live my life without a need for a job or business to support my lifestyle.)
I also had some realizations and flash backs, while talking to another friend of mine later yesterday on the same subject. I remembered I used to have a belief that spirituality and business success are two separate things. And another belief that people who are really good at business have no interest in spirituality, and vise versa: people who are really good about spiritual matters are bad at and have no passion for business and finances. Years back, while I was searching for "my tribe" (people that I click with for friendships and romantic relationships, my kind of people), I realized success and entrepreneurial motivation is important to me in the people I clicked with. But I also was fascinated by spirituality, energy, the magic of manifesting things without direct "action-result" link. So seeing those as separate put me at a fork in the road, I kind of felt like I have to choose what was more important to me then. So at that time in my life my journey took me to Sedona AZ, a very spiritual place where regular coffee shop talks were about charkas, angels, energy work etc. At a time before Sedona due to my project management job and my techy circle of friends, I was surrounded by lots corporate people so I had no lack in people motivated by success but I craved more of the unseen, magical parts of life, so the spiritual woo-woo Sedona was so perfect for me to fill that cup. And by the end of the year I lived there, when it was time to move away, I realized something. In my experience most people I've met in Sedona were very spiritual in their own unique ways, with lots of gifts, but not many of them were "practically" spiritual. Yes they talk about energies, and transformations, but didn't necessarily applied it to their lives, especially to the financial matters, or if they "tried to" apply it, not so many of them were successful. And many of them had inspiration and trust in the universe, but lacked commitment to their goals and taking action towards it. So it seemed a bit off balance, and I realized I didn't click with that any more: spirituality is great, but without a tie to the real world and having an impact on it, when those intuitive insights through some action can make a real difference, it wasn't enough for me.. But I got exactly what I needed in Sedona at that time: I got my "spiritual" fix, and more clarity towards what people are my kinds of people. Neither corporate people who were climbing the career ladder without a clear purpose, nor spiritual people who are constantly broke were my tribe. I needed not just people who were spiritual and value personal growth, and not just people driven for success, but the ones that master both and balance them well. Now the quest became: where do I find such people?
The answer came a few years later :)
When I attended Digital Footprint conference in Atlanta this past April, where I was invited to speak about my financial freedom journey, I had a huge a-ha. I was blown away by the quality of people there. Organizers, speakers and attendees. They blew my mind. Never in my life I came across such a high concentration of people I admired, respected and clicked with, totally felt like my tribe, my kind of people. People with purpose, integrity and success. I was surprised that most people I met there who "made it", who achieved a huge level of success doing what they love are deeply spiritual, and also surprisingly to me humble, compassionate and very relatable. And I had a huge realization/shift: business success and spirituality are not separate at all. More so: successful people practically proved that their spirituality "works" by manifesting and creating something amazing, that people value in many ways including $$. And I realized: maybe to look for my tribe, instead of finding a big group of spiritual people (like in Sedona) and among them look for few driven ones, I can instead meet entrepreneurs on their journey and most of them (who are driven by purpose of course and not just by money) turn out to be very spiritual and committed to their growth!
And thinking further on the topic: none of our areas of life are separate. We can't really separate finances and spirituality. Yes we sometimes compartmentalize them by focusing of finances, relationships, health etc… But they are deeply connected, and part of the same whole: who we are, our life, and how we move through it. If we expand, learn and grow as people, we have to attend to all those areas with equal priority. We cannot expand far in life if we are focused on just some of the areas of life and not the others in the long run, as it becomes off balance and not harmonious (we all know people who focus one-sidedly on work for example, and that negatively affects their health or relationships)… I read a book few days ago about raw food, and the author said how we can't just focus on food by itself, we have to pay attention to food, exercise, managing stress, purpose in life etc. if we want to achieve Health with capital "H", we have to master all those elements. For me for example my current passion for raw food, detoxes and such is also deeply connected with me wanting to be my best self and strive to achieve my full potential, to expand my awareness and intuition, to keep my body vessel in best shape possible to live my purpose, at some point give birth to healthy kids etc..
And that brought it full circle for me: my passion ultimately and always was and is to be my best self in all areas of my life, and by that create ultimate freedom and self-expression (by manifesting the life of my dreams), inspire others do that same and create magic all around. To do that I have to grow and expand all areas, skills and learnings in balance with each other. Not necessarily all at once (I notice I take turns in time): financial aspect of my life (that I feel I pushed far in the last couple years), health (that I am moving forward by now being 1.5 years fully raw, fasting etc.), relationships (friendships, business, romance, family etc), creative self-expression (dance, art, jewelry making, writing etc.). Sometimes I focus on one areas more than others, and then a switch comes that other areas take priority and have more passion and excitement, which I follow to maintain that balance.
Good old "wheel of life" coaching tool comes to mind (google it if you must): where you rate yourself on the level of satisfaction on each areas of life. That usually shows best visually which areas are balances and ok, and which were neglected and need attention.
I noticed I don't define my next area of growth and expansion logically any more (decide which area I need to focus on), but rather intuitively following my excitement, and do what I feel excited about. Bashar has a great video on following your excitement, how it works, and why we can just follow it without trying to always logically make sense of it. At different times I felt excited about different things: coaching, dancing, business/finances/investments, personal development in different aspects etc. Currently I am most excited by two areas of life: raw food/health and everything to do with it (I am studying the theory, reading books and watching courses, watching youtube raw food recipes, recreating those and creating my own in the kitchen, doing cleanses etc) and relationships (love and sexuality aspect of it, that goes so deep and I feel I am barely scratching the surface).
Following excitement is one way to define what to focus on next. But sometimes we don’t hear it, or we hear it but ignore it for whatever reason (fear, discomfort, unknown, feeling trapped, etc… ). Sometimes when we ignore what we need to expand, motivation might be not excitement but rather pain which, if not attended to, usually increase in time (can take shapes of depression, drained energy, stress, etc.). Sometimes when we ignore something for way too long, then we might just get a kick in the butt from life helping us to propel forward in a shape of job loss, illness, break-up etc., which we may dislike and resist when it happens, but looking back we are always grateful for it. We all have experiences like that. In those moments it's important to remember that everything happens for the better, and stay positive, to create the most expansion with least friction. And once the growth is created, life becomes balanced again and life usually takes a leap to another level.
I will leave you with this: when we go through big changes (positive or painful), there is no need and it’s usually not most effective to do it alone. Besides supportive friends or family members, there are always professional resources that can help. If you need knowledge, tools or skills, it can be books, courses, trainings etc. If you need emotional support, change in perspective or just want to feel better, there are people who are professionals and specialize in what you need. If you don't know such people, reach out to others and ask for referrals. Find the people who are professionals that deal with your specific area of growth, find who you click with and learn from them. I am a coach myself, and I regularly hire and get support from other coaches, intuitives, healers, consultants, mentors and other advisors when I feel like I want to get to the next level. For me I also learn well through books, so when I come across the challenge or something I feel very excited to learn more about, very often I come across a book that gives me what I need. Your learning style might be different. In the past I used to do a lot of group workshops, seminars and trainings in transformation and business that worked great for me, now I found I mostly hire people 1:1 and get most results that way. It's not a sign of weakness to get help when you need it, it's a sign of strength, smartness and courage to ask for it. Most people who created something awesome in this life didn't do it alone.
And of course it all starts with intention: what do we want next in life? Clarity on that plus commitment to find the way usually attracts the right tools and resources, then our job is to follow the path, the yellow brick road of excitement and take inspired action. The main trick is to not wait to commit to the goals and intentions until we see a clear How (I am guilty of that sometimes too), as then it may never happen. The How is usually revealed in the process, after you already commit to your goals, very rarely before. And if it's the right goal for you, it's very often magical and synchronistic.
I bought my first site with Income Store and started making my first fully passive income in December 2014. A year later (from what I saved up in that year from my salary) I bought another one, and mid 2016 I knew I would buy one more and I am done. Each year investing more, and in different types of websites as they evolved with their offerings, bringing bigger returns. And in the process I actually loved what I did as a PM! My boss was the best manager I've ever had in my life (that we no joke had great telepathy with, that gave me enough freedom to be at my best and was just a great person altogether!), work was fun (I had lots of fulfillment in managing people, being effective and organize things in the best way), and of course very fulfilling part of it was that it allowed me to get to my goal of retiring soon.
So my plan was to keep working there till the end of 2016 and then quit, but life had a different plan for me in store. July 2016 I went on a two week trip to Russia, and when I came back I knew something was different. I couldn't focus any more, I was sitting in front of the computer but couldn't concentrate or being as productive as I know myself to be. For couple weeks I tried to putt myself together and nothing I tried was working. I even had a chat with my boss telling her I am not at my best and not sure how to fix it. She said she noticed, but we didn't really find any solutions. Maybe a week later it got very clear to me: it was time. I had to go, I was done. Logical part of me didn't like that. As I didn't make enough money yet for the third site, and if I quit now I won't make it by Dec 2016 as I planned. But I knew as many of those other times: it wasn't logical, but it was clear on so many levels, and yet again I had to trust.
I gave notice end of August 2016. We worked it out as the best win-win possible: I stayed for another couple weeks onsite, then sometime remote part time (while I travelling in Europe) while they found me a replacement. I finished my knowledge transfer and then in early October I was fully complete. Right around by 34th birthday.
And talking flow: usually for my website investments it takes 3-5 months to get the site and start receiving monthly distributions. And yet again I got a synchronistic miracle. I reached out to Ken and Bill saying I am getting ready for my next investment site and asked what new and great options they had for me, to which I got the perfect answer: they had a website, in the new mix of regular site and facebook advertisement, that has the best growth potential they found so far. Plus they just bought the site for someone else, and that person all of a sudden wanted a different topic, so they were looking if someone wants to take this one over. As the acquisition process was almost done, it shaved off months for my timeline. With a little bit of creative borrowing from my friend to get the full amount needed (that I paid back within couple months), I got that site mid September with my first payment being in November!
So technically, I was done with my job fully by mid October and my income coming up to my goal in November/December. I retired even ahead of my planned date by December 2016! :) Universe again showed me a solution, when I stepped with trust following my intuition.
LESSON: when you get a clear intuitive hit, acting on it even if it doesn't make logical sense, follow it! It very often pays off. :)
So I retired even earlier than my planned two years! Crazy awesome, I thought. And then in November I went to my calculation to double check my numbers for whatever reason. And I realized I made a little mistake in the formula, and I was actually $2K a year lower a year on my income than was my goal. Interesting how our minds think. All of a sudden I went from celebrating the magic of my early retirement to "wow, I missed my magic mark by $2k. I failed", and I felt crappy. It thankfully took me little time to collect myself and get back into positive thinking and flow. First of all, I didn't fail yet as it's still November and even if I don't see how else I can create more passive income, I know it's possible. And second, even if I am $2K less by then, I didn't fail! I missed my $$ goal, but still retired and have my freedom! :) And of course then I remembered I lent some money to a friend with $200 monthly interest payments, which added up to a little over $2K a year. :) and it is passive. So I met my goal after all! :) And this year one of my sites made $1K more last month than guaranteed minimum, so I am sure I will even exceed my target goal before the end of the year in many other ways:)
As crazy as it seemed to a lot of people, as much doubt I saw around me. With my internal knowing that anything is possible that feels right and exciting to me, it only motivated me.
LESSON: Whatever you put attention on grows. When you focus on achievements and celebrate your successes, there will be more, going down the rabbit hole of worry and focusing on the negative isn't very productive and is not worth it. And anything that you truly want is possible, even if you don't see the how yet.
BONUS CREATIVE INVESTMENTS IDEAS
Other things that helped me along the way to create some $$ towards my investments was real estate.
I started renting my house on Airbnb many years ago when most people didn't know yet what it was.
I just got a thought one day: if I rent my house for the week-end, it will cover the cost of me to go on a trip somewhere. So I can travel for free :) That's how it started. I rented a few week-ends and went for weekend trips. Then I got someone who wanted to rent the house for the whole week for the amount equal to my monthly mortgage. Then it started to fill up more and more. Sometimes I rented the house and got out, sometimes I rented a room or two and stayed in. But very soon I got to the point that airbnb was covering my mortgage, and sometimes more. So I didn't need to come out with mortgage expense out of pocket, that very much helped with saving.
In a little while I was tired of being in and out of the house, as well as of sharing my personal space with strangers. Plus I wanted to get into remodeling.
So I got an old house which I remodeled to have two separate spaces and two entrances (like "mother-in-law). That way I thought I could live in half of the house all by myself, rent the other half and let that pay the mortgage, while I have my own private space. It totally worked out! I got an older house, remodeled it with this in mind. I of course invested significant money into remodeling but equity grew even more than that, and I got all my money back out through cash out refinance. I lived like I planned for some time (living upstairs, renting downstairs), until of course I realized that renting the whole house is making more money, plus I took off travelling, so I started renting it as a whole too haha :)
I did couple regular flips since then. As I am writing it, one has already offer accepted and in the process of closing, and another one just got on the market. Another chapter coming to completion.
THE END. OR THE BEGINNING :)
So now I feel like a big chapter in my life coming to an end. I retired from work. I am completing on my two flip projects.
I moved to live in Playa del Carmen Mexico for some extended time. I realized I LOVE hot weather and sunshine, and now that I don't have a job in Seattle, no reason for me to stay there.
Will I stay here for long? I don't know yet.
Do I plan to do nothing forever now that I am retired? Definitely not! It's just now I got to a place that there is NOTHING I have to do (well, maybe except taxes haha), and can now start focusing only on things I want to do! And that to me is freedom! :)
Do I have a plan? Nope, I don't. I am yet again at a point when I have no answers what I want to do next.
BUT this time is so different. I have no financial or time pressure to figure it out. Sure, the achiever part of me wants to set the next goal, but I get to tame this horse this time. :) Doing my best in taking this time to rest and recuperate, and celebrate this freedom I created for myself instead of getting into my habit mode of being busy haha. Enjoying the present moment. Having no expectation or plan for "the next thing". Having fun, meeting great people and enjoying amazing food!
Did I mention that a little town of Playa del Carmen has 5 restaurants that I discovered for far with dedicated raw vegan dishes?! (I am raw vegan since January 1 2015, but that's a topic for another post :) ). And fresh coconut water here costs $1.5 for liter!!!! Heaven on so many levels :)
Sure I still do things, like researching real estate investment opportunities in Mexico, finishing taxes for last year, dancing kizomba, but they are all on the back ground of space, joy, flow and freedom. I am looking forward to answers to my questions "what's next" revealed to me in perfect timing and in the flow.
Did retirement solved all my problem: heck no! Like the other day, I started to get stressed that I have nothing to do in the hottest hours of the day 12-3 (beach is off the table, and I can only do so much facebook and youtube haha, and I felt lazy to do anything else, even reading books or learning Spanish). I felt really off not being able to figure out where to direct my energy and do something forwarding for my life and other people. And then I reminded myself, other people would be jealous to have problems like that :D So I let it go, and decided to write some blogs ;)
CREDITS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Lots of people, books, trainings and workshops contributed to my journey here. Too many to mention.... But I will list the ones below that I think might be most supportive for your path, if financial freedom is on your list of goals.
I can't tell you what will be the path for you or what you should do (only you can know that).
Below are resources I that I think might be helpful, use the ones that resonate for you and ignore the rest :)
Mind expanding books:
Coaches (I worked with at different times in the last few years):
Investment vehicles (that I used):
Ahh life is so amazing!!!
Good luck on your journey, wherever you are and wherever you are going! I wish you the best, lots of magical moments and synchronicities, enjoy and have fun in the process!
Read the previous part of my retirement story here: Part 1, Part 2.
SEATTLE. ROUND 2.
End of 2013 I came back to Seattle. And actually faced quite challenging times. First time in my life I found myself in debt that I didn't see a way to pay off. I took some 0% credit cards (that offer you zero percent interest for a year) to pay for those business trainings and didn't keep track when 0% period was running out. I also counted on the income from my job which now ended. I have never been in debt in my life, nor did I ever struggled with paying my bills. Asking my family for a loan was off the table (I had too much pride then haha). Getting more 0% cards was off the table too as by then my credit wasn't perfect with those ones maxed out. I was in the situation, where for once I didn't have a plan or way out. I was looking for a new job but nothing was coming up as fast as I would like.
Luckily at that time I met a man, who really supported me, and not financially :) He kept reminding me that I have all I need to resolve that challenge, that I created miracles time and time again and this will be no different. And that I need to enjoy time off while I can haha :) Even though our lives went different directions, that relationship was one of the most transformational ones I had in my life on so many levels, and I am so grateful for live bringing me that person in that time in my life.
I did my best to stay positive, and take any inspired action I felt (sending out resumes etc.). Eventually all the financial puzzle got resolved, and even better than I hoped for! :) I went through a dept consolidation, and bank agreed to forgive me half the debt if I pay the rest in full (which I didn't have the money for). And my previous client company asked me back in couple months (on a different project, but same area, and almost same manager). And because this time I went with a different consulting company (and they were taking much lower % cut than my previous one), my salary almost doubled me doing almost the same job! And I sold my house in AZ and made some $$ even while owning it for less that a year. A buyer came to me and made me the offer that I couldn't refuse even without me putting it on the market.
Now very shortly not only I was out of debt, complete with my Sedona phase of my life, back to Seattle and had a job bringing me good $$.
LESSON: Set the intention, stay positive, do the best you can, take inspired action and trust the solution will present itself.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM. PLAN REVEALED.
All this time I still had financial freedom on my radar. The way I thought I get there didn't flow (doing coaching full time), but the goal stayed, and I was certain I still want it.
Sometime in that coming year, when I was working at my project, feeling grateful for being out of debt, I had a genius thought that set my plan in motion. I realized I somehow thought I need to figure out what I love to do (i.e. something like coaching) that will allow me to make $$ and create the freedom I desire. Then it dawned on me: what if it's not the only way, or what if it's just not my way? I was still being attached to the HOW. And it was unnecessarily sequential: first I need to figure out my life purpose and what I love to do, then do that, and that brings me financial freedom. And since I didn't have full clarity in my purpose at that time, I felt powerless to create my freedom until I figure that out. And then in one of those monents questioning my beliefs in dawned on me: what if instead of trying to make a living doing what I love (which may take a while to figure out) with the freedom of doing it from anywhere, why don't I make $$ doing what I am really good at and like well enough, then invest that money to create passive income, that will bring me all those freedoms, and then I can take time to figure out my purpose and mission. That felt wayyyy better! And in the flow. I was already making good $$ and saving well. Now it was just the time to find the right way to invest them and a strategy to produce enough passive income that will replace my "comfortable" amount of salary.
Then also kind of out of the blue (like best intuitive insights) I started playing with numbers and thought: what if I find some investments that can bring me consistently 20% ROI a year, with low risk, how much time will I need to retire (aka create enough passive income to pay for my comfortable lifestyle). And surprisingly plugging in the numbers, I realized it will take me a little over two years after I start investing there, to get to that place! I liked that a lot!!! I always have been "out of the box" kind of person, and the strategy to take decades to retire didn't really resonate with me. This felt right along my alley :) And I started looking for investments that would bring me 20% or more, low risk. People who asked me and I shared it with said I was crazy, there is no such thing as 20% returns with low risk, but my intention and the intuition was clear, and I told them: "This is your reality, not mine. I respect it, and I believe differently. I know I will find it." And inside my head I said "Watch me" :D
When I have that "knowing", belief is not necessary, and somehow with this I was 100% convinced it was possible, and so it was.
In December 2014 I went to my last business seminar called "Never work again" which was all about different ways to create passive income. It was a multi speaker event and I learned a lot of possible ways to do it (starting with traditional real estate, stocks, tax liens and deeds, etc. and going into other avenues like owning ATMs, opening your own bank, and other ones I wouldn't even think of! Many of them sounded good, but none of them really resonate with me. Except one.
It was a company called "Income Store", and they offered investments in websites. Simple business model: an investor gives them $$, they go and buy a website that is already making money, take it over, keep maintaining and growing it. Investor provides initial cash, they provide website search, acquisition and ongoing support and profits are split 50/50 between Income Store and the investor. And they offer you a guaranteed minimum (that if for whatever reason (within their control or not) income drops lower, they still pay you no matter what and they either fix the site to bring it back up or replace it with another at their own expense). So far it met two of my criteria (low risk with no downside, and completely passive (I give them the money and do absolutely nothing after that). I came to the back table to talk with the co-founders of the company, Ken and Bill, to get more details. And it immediately felt right. I loved their vibe and got and intuitive yes on them as people and their integrity (very important), and on the amount of money I saved up by then and was planning start investing, their deal was 20% guaranteed minimum. When i heard that, I knew I was in. :)
And that my 2 year clock has started. In December of 2014 I set my goal to retire by December 2016.
LESSON: when you have a goal, you need to commit to it first without knowing the how, and then the perfect HOW for you will be revealed in the process.
To be continued. Final run in the next blog post....
Read the previous part of my retirement story here: Part 1.
Read the last part of my retirement story here: Part 3.
Ahh I am sitting here, in my sunny apartment in Playa del Carmen. Why am I inside you ask? Avoiding sun today, because I got really burned couple days ago having too much time on the beach hahah :) ahh the challenges of being retired. you know, we still have them, they are just different ;)
4-5 months ago I retired from my corporate endeavors. And by retired I mean I created enough passive income to give me the comfortable income to live so I don't need to work. Ever. Unless I want to. But then it's not work, is it? :)
First things first.
HOW DID IT ALL STARTED.
First seeds were planted many years ago when I read a book by Tim Ferris "4 hour work week". That book changed my life, as when I read it I realized that what Tim describes is exactly what I want to do. He talks about freedom lifestyle, how it's so unnatural to work the whole life deferring your fun life till retirement and retire when you are old and your health is not the best, so you can't even enjoy much of it. He on the other side suggests mini-retirement throughout life, conscious lifestyle design and creating a source of income that gives you enough $$ to sustain the lifestyle you want without having to work 40 hours a week (hense the name).
Having read that book, I knew without a doubt this is what I want to do, and this fits my free spirit much more than 9-5 job forever..
But... nothing changed overnight :) for many more years I worked as a project manager consultant, and not much changed. I had the inspiration but nothing further....
Couple years passed by. I grew a lot in many ways, attended lots of personal development workshops, even got certified as a life coach and started doing it as a side business. One day I woke up and a thought crossed my mind... I achieved many goals in many areas of my life (moved to US from Russia, became a project manager, had a house, a car etc etc. Tremendous progress in relationships, finances and career achievements but not much movement as I could see in creating freeedom lifestyle. And then I asked myself "Why?". And it got so clear to me! I "wanted" it very much, but i never really set it as a goal with a timeline, and haven't really COMMITTED to it (be and do whatever it takes, thanks Lisa Kalmin and Lynne Sheridan :-)). Then I asked myself: if I were really commit to it, what would I do differently and how do I BE different to create a different result?
The answer that came to me was a bit scary (as anything would be that stretches comfort zone), but I also knew I had to go for it. The answer was: I had enough savings to sustain me for a few months. I need to quit my job, unplug, go with the flow, travel around, have lots of free time, and pursue my life coaching as a full time endeavor. That way I can do coaching on skype or phone, will have my locational freedom (live anywhere), time freedom (choose my own hours) and financial freedom (make enough money to sustain my lifestyle). If it works, great! If not, I can always come back to consulting and find another project. So next day, I told my boss in my consulting company and my boss at the client company. They were both shocked but understood me. And then I got a surprise offer: my client boss wanted me to stay working for them, even if it meant me working remotely and work less hours so I can do what I want. That was unexpected and was so delightful! As that meant I didn't have a timeline to run out of money and can really do it for longer.
So I took the step towards my dreams, and the universe supported me with surprising creative "how" that I myself didn't think of or plan.
Lesson 1: Trust your gut, take inspired action and don't be attached to the "how" or specific outcome. :)
A YEAR OF RESET
I packed my Audi with essential things, rented out my townhouse on airbnb and took off travelling in US. I didn't have a plan, just woke up every day and asked myself what I want to do, where I want to go and followed it. My car was perfectly equipped for sleeping there: when I lowered back seats it created flat sleeping space, plus I had tinted windows and also membership for 24 hour fitness for restrooms and showers :). So if I stayed at places were I had friends, I stayed there, and if not I was perfectly fine in my "mobile home" :D I drove around quite a bit through western US coast (Seattle, crater lake, Oregon, San Francisco, LA and Las Vegas and Sedona, AZ.
It so aligned that I decided to stay in AZ for longer. I rented a place with a friend, then also unexpectedly met a guy and ended up just having fun, sleep, rest, hike, and not doing much coaching at all LOL :D I thought I would enjoy my freedom, but surprisingly for myself I felt very stressed not knowing my plan, even waking up in the morning and not knowing what I want to do felt stressful, I also put pressure on myself to be productive and to pursue my coaching (since I felt like I quit my job for it). But also I realized in a short time that pursuing coaching full time didn't feel right. I didn't want to depend on getting clients to be able to pay my bills. It took me many months to release that pressure I put on myself, let go of predetermined plan and go with the flow and actually enjoy it, replace stress with fun and amazement. I even bought a house there. It made good financial sense and buying monthly was waaay cheaper than renting. I bought a beautiful spacious house, rented part of it, and lived in it as well.
So as I figured if coaching is not my way to financial freedom, some other business might be. And I really knew not much about it.
Another discovery I had around financial freedom attending their free Millionaire Mind intensives was my internal block that was in the way. I noticed that no matter how much or how little I worked, I always kept the same amount of savings.. I knew very well by then, that my belief system as my comfort zone creates my reality. So I wondered why didn't I save more? Thinking about that, surprisingly I felt stressed! And I realized that I felt fear and heaviness around investing. And my smart subconscious decided that if I don't have much savings I won't need to deal with that :D So then I figured the only reason I am afraid of it is because I don't understand it. So all I need to do is to learn more about it, and the fear would go away, and I can start saving move. Then I dedicated that year to learn all about it. I took courses in business in general, marketing, real estate, stock market, tax liens and deeds, you name it....Little that I know that in one of those courses I will come across my retirement strategy only couple years later...
And around the time that I finally started to get used to it, enjoy my life, and let myself be lazy when I want to, universe threw me another curved ball: my project that I was working on remotely was ending. I got a generous two months notice, but this was it. I had a choice: stay in AZ without a job (in a small town with no IT PM gigs whatsoever), or come back to Seattle and look for another job. It actually felt right to come back. My time in Sedona AZ was magical, nurturing and transformative in so may ways, and I also felt very complete.
LESSON: it's important to have a clean slate before inviting something new into your life. And being lazy is not a bad thing :D
To be continued...
Read the follow up parts of my retirement story here: Part 2, Part 3.
Are you going through a break-up or just gone through one and feeling not so hot. Read on below for 11 steps you can take to feel empowered and centered and use this experience for the most growth possible.
Why this article?
I know for myself when I was going through break ups, especially if I wasn't the one who wanted to end the relationship, I usually feel pretty vulnerable, at different points there were some hurt, some anger (towards myself or my partner), worry of not finding another as great of a partner, and overall resistance to the situation. There is some level of disempowerment and all sorts of old records playing in my head (different flavors of I am not good enough" and "why did it have to end?"). In the past when I was not careful that dragged me down into some deep sad states for weeks and months on end. My first relationship took me 3 years to get over and open up to start dating other people, my second took 2 years, but from then on through inner work the duration reduced to months and then weeks, and now it takes me days or sometimes even hours to snap out of a bogged down state. I learned that it is possible to go through any experience (including break-ups) with feeling of empowerment and peace in the background, no matter what emotions or thoughts are on the forefront, and how intense or loud they are. My recent break-up with my partner of 9 months was pretty emotional and taught me a lot as well. And I would like to show you how you can too go through break-ups in the most harmonious way, and use them for the most growth possible.
So here you go, 11 steps to empowerment in a break-up:
1. Resistance to acceptance
Unless you were the one initiated the break-up, most probably in one way or another you might feel resistance. Resistance is anything that is not acceptance. It could take the following forms:
2. Victim to responsible/empowered
Often you might feel like a victim, disempowered, asking yourself "Why did this happen? What did I do wrong?". You feel like it happened to you, and there is nothing you can do. Any perspective where you don't feel POWER and GRATITUDE is victim mentality. It's normal. We all do it. How to get out? Ask yourself one of these questions (choose which resonates):
3. Pain to healing
Ask yourself: what is it about this break-up feels triggering? Is that a certain thought? Belief about yourself or life?
If any event by itself is neutral, and we color it with emotions based on how we look at it, what is the story you are telling yourself that you feel triggered and disempowered?
My trigger was "What I wanted was taken away from me". How did I know this was it? Because when that thought crossed my mind tears started to roll down by cheeks and I knew. Use this opportunity to tap in the past hurt and heal it. Most probably, if this situation is especially painful, it probably reminds you of some situation in the past, or "pushes a button" installed in you a while ago. Use this opportunity as a gift to connect to that part of you and integrate it, which will bring you to feel more complete and balanced. Observe yourself, your thoughts and emotions, dig deep into what the beliefs might be that cause you struggle, and be grateful that you can use this situation for your benefit and growth.
4. Feelings to relief
What do you do with emotions? You feel it. Fully, and with acceptance and embrace. Trying to be strong and positive and stopping the feelings won't work, not in the long run. They will come and bite you in the butt later. Remember "what you resist persist". Feel it. And here is the secret: when you accept and feel something fully, it doesn't stay long. You release it, and it's gone, and then there is space. For balance, peace, happiness, something new. The trick here is to do both: feel it fully and accept it. If you try to feel it fully with the intention "to get through it", trying to get through it quickly to feel better, you are still in resistance. If you think about it or being intellectual or logical about it, that's not the same as feeling it. You need to tap into the feeling and feel it fully.
5. Find empowering perspective
As someone smart said, there is no point trying to control the feelings as they are the outcome of the perspective. Change your framework out of which you operate and the feelings will change. If you've always felt miserable at break-ups, try a different perspective. How about the following options to start with:
6. Worry to Trust
Whether you are spiritual, religious or atheist, you have a choice. You can believe God, universe, the world, your higher self, life etc. has always your best interest in mind, or that it's there to hurt you, punish you or take away from you. Which one is true: we will never know, there is no proof one way or another. It's all a perspective. You can choose either. And believe me, living from a perspective that all that happens is for the better, for you and for all, in the long run, life experience is a whole lot more fun than the other way around. Try it for yourself.
7. Isolation to connection
Reach out. In the moment like that it's easy to get sucked into disempowering thoughts and self-pity. And disconnect from the world and everyone around you. But I guarantee you: what will heal you most is connection. People who you're close with, friends or family, showing you that they care. That they love you. Reminding you of all the good things about yourself, the ones that you in those moments forget. Reach out to people who usually lift you up, love you and accept you, remind you of how incredible you are.
8. Emptiness to fullness
As a good friend of mine told me, when you break up and the person is no longer in your life, you naturally feel emptiness (as all the space the person occupied in your life, thoughts, emotions is now vacant). You might feel like you miss them. It's normal. It will take time to fill up those empty spaces in your life by other things you do, hobbies, friends, other people etc. Don't rush it. Take your time. For some especially when the connection and love was deep, to truly move on (and not deceive yourself that you can be friends and still keep all those attachments intact) it might be best to stop communicating with the person for a while until this feels complete. Once that space got filled up (whether it takes weeks, months or in some cases years), you can be friends with the person again, if you want.
9. Logic to Intuition
Stop thinking what you SHOULD feel or do and feel into what you intuitively want to do. Logic might tell you to "be strong", but if you listen to your intuition, it might whisper that you need to go yell in the pillow. :) Follow your intuition to guide you on what is best for you to focus on. It may take practice to still your mind to even hear the voice of intuition. What worked for me is to just take a quiet time, ask myself a question and see what answer comes up. Intuition speak to different people in different ways (for some it through thoughts, for others it's through images, feelings, body sensations or pure knowing). Be open to it all.
10. Nurture yourself
Whatever it is like for you. For me best nurturing is getting a massage and eating delicious raw foods, going for a walk in the nature, sauna, or traveling to warm places. For some it might be manicures, facials, or shopping. Whatever it is that you can do to spoil your inner child and treat your body, do it! By you showing respect and care for you, among other things you assert that you matter, and the world will reflect it back to you!
11. Be kind to yourself
Most important - be kind to yourself. Love yourself with all the emotions, with all the "stupid" thoughts you have or old tapes playing in your head.
The purpose of this first stage is to come back to balance.
To accept yourself and all your emotions.
To feel at peace.
To feel empowered.
To adjust your life to being single again and enjoy it.
The purpose of this stage is not to "get over" or "stop loving" the person (if you try it might not work, believe me). The purpose is to clear the attachment, the dependency part of it.
And it may be an incremental process. One day you feel all good and empowered, and the next day you feel like you are back to resistance. It's OK, this is how life is, like a spiral. You are never back to square one, just one cycle over. It might be layers of healing and growth. Flow with it.
And once you feel whole, complete and centered for a while, you might be ready to attract the next person in your life if you so choose. But that's a topic of another discussion....
Have you ever been in a place that you want to figure out what you want to do next in life and feeling frustrated that no matter what you do you can't see it? When you have this feeling that you want to do something meaningful and maybe knowing the general direction, but not clear on the details and being stuck in that place for a while?
Well, on and off I've been in this place for the last 5 years. I got glimpses of what I want, but never the full picture. And every time periods of clarity were followed by the periods of disillusionment and back to now knowing.. Once I figure out what i want, it's usually pretty easy for me to get it, but it's that phase of figuring it out that has been the most challenging for me.
And now, about a month since my last job, my over-inflated desire to know what's next and not having that clarity created a big discomfort. I noticed that I was in this loop of resisting this "not knowing" state that I was in and so being stuck in it. Remember the old saying "what you resist persist"? Well, me as a life coach and knowing it very well, I was in double resistant: feeling resistance, and than feeling bad about having the resistance.
After I got back to Seattle on Wed, I decided to try an experiment: only focus on and do the things that feel excited to me. Listening to Bashar on the drive reminded me that excitement is what shows us what is ours to do and if we just follow it to the best of our ability in small things and big things, it will lead to the path that brings fulfillment and satisfaction as it will be our unique path.
Yesterday I got glimpses of what I might be interested in: helping entrepreneurs move on the dreams and projects where they know what they need to do but not doing it. I even drafted a questionnaire that they would fill before having a strategic session with me and drafted the outline of the program, and after showing it to a friend and getting some feedback from him, where in an intent of helping me to make it better he mostly focused on what needs to change or isn't clear, I noticed the feelings of deflation, like nothing I am doing is good enough, and wanting to give up coming up. I didn't let them take over, but my energy and excitement went down for a bit.
Today reading "Reality Transurfing" book reminded me that if we are dissatisfied with something, we are transported tot he life tracks where we just get more things to be dissatisfied with and it's not the place at all where satisfaction or clarity might be available. He wrote: "“The more you want, the less you’ll get.” When you want something so much that you are ready to risk everything you have in order to get it, you are creating a huge excess potential, which upsets the balance. The balancing forces will throw you onto a life track where the desired object doesn’t exist at all."
I know two ways to dissolve this excess potential when simply lowering importance is not easy: to find the good in where I am at right now and accept it, and to take some action.
So I decided to do two things: write about "what's good about it" and to walk my talk and reach our to my Harmony Integration coaching community with the request for a 5 session journey to tackle this resistance and create a space for clarity once and for all. The request for coaching has already been granted, we start next week. And here are my thoughts on why this is perfect that I don't have this clarity right now and struggling about this:
Next steps: working with my coach, and enjoying life and following my excitement.
Off to some kizomba dancing tonight.
Wow it's been the busy couple weeks. Last day at my job, preparing to leave Seattle for a month and a half etc. Just now finally got a minute to publish my results (calculated them a few days ago). Here is where I was on Dec 4:
All this time as I was wondering whether I am on track or not. It started with when I realized that I wasn't clear on how I will measure: but cash I will get by Dec 4 or by cash that got committed by Dec 4 but not necessarily make it to me by that time. Lesson learned for future challenges to be super clear about measuring the result!
I think to be on the safe side and stay in integrity I would consider it that I didn't meet it (as I did create $15K in cash by Dec 4).
I have mixed feelings about how this went:
So sitting in this dualistic feelings here is what I decided:
Now my job at Boeing is over. Friday was my last day. For the first time since 2003 I on't have a job and don't plan to get one yet. Looking forward to the next few months of rest, exploration of what's next and going with the flow while still taking inspired action on what calls me.
I will keep sharing my adventures!
Wow time flies! Couple days ago I was at my half mark, 2 weeks of my 4 weeks.
So today, Friday evening I decided to balance out my $$ created by now. Here is what I got by now: $3330 generated in hard cash and $6873 generated in created opportunities that will result in cash in December but I don't have cash in hand by now (I will categorize them as bonuses to my game at this point). So for now I have $11670 to go! I'd better get my ass in gear!
Wins since my last post:
Ready for a week-end of work and play! I will finally create time to get very clear on my target clients I want to work with, update my website etc. I will also do some de-cluttering and feng shui my abundance area of my house to create space for the money flow!
Have a great week-end everyone!
Wow tiredness getting to me. Not having enough sleep, doing intense work and still wanting to stay present to this commitment, I started to notice that something gets to change. I also noticed that I started to put lots of pressure on myself, that I am supposed to do something about this goal even when I have no free time or energy. Something to process and integrate next time I do a session.
Wins/Insights for the day:
Off to sleep now, I can't believe it's only day 3 of the training. 4 more to go! Looking forward to creating a breakthrough in the abundance in time and my energy level!
Day 7 started great! I got asked to teach a kizomba class as a body movement in the morning before Harmony Integration training starts. I had an evening to prepare and had the biggest class I had to date (around 70 people). This was a big stretch and a great learning for me. The dynamic of working with a bigger group is way different from 10-15 people classes. Excited that I stretched my comfort zone and got a few people inspired by kizomba enough so they want to seek out classes in their local area :) Mission accomplished!