There are ten good reasons I am never going to make it…
You probably know by now that I’m a man of passion and projects. I’m still pretty young (34) but I’ve overcome many obstacles in my life. I wouldn’t say I have done something extraordinary, and I have accomplished many things people around me thought impossible to realize. Thought… that’s what they used to say.
You can’t do that… not now… not you… you’ll have to wait…
I don’t know about you, but I have the impression of hearing these excuses a thousand times. But each time I have heard this in my life, it was like someone just pressed the wrong button. If I was told it was impossible; this was just the reason for me to go ahead and do it. Over the past 15 years, I’ve done many things I’ve been told I shouldn’t / couldn’t do, such as:
- Getting a brand new car and leaving the folk’s nest without a source of income (my dad told me I didn’t have the guts);
- Quitting my first job (and getting stuck with the car and apartment payments) without a new job in sight;
- Getting a job where everybody speaks English except me (I’m French Canadian...);
- Going from a “head office job” directly to a high position in a “field job” (I was told I needed to “take additional classes”);
- Making money with a finance blog (back in 2006, people were laughing at me!);
- Changing jobs, completing my MBA and doing my CFP title all in the same year (all right, this one was just crazy!);
- Telling my boss I will now work 4 days (30 hours) a week with the same paycheck (in a job where people usually do 50 hours/week);
- Telling my boss I’m taking a sabbatical to travel (in a job where the word “sabbatical” is synonymous with “career suicide”).
All these moves (and more) were not something I was supposed to do. They weren’t supposed to be done in our “industrial” world. But all these moves have made me a better person and I have been rewarded with a “better” life. However, each time I plunged, it felt wrong.
Maybe it’s because we are raised this way, we are being told to:
Be a good boy and listen in class;
Work hard to get good marks;
Head for a good position in a good company;
Work harder to get promotions;
Wait until your boss retires;
Work even harder to get his job;
Retire with a full pension plan.
I’m not laughing at this “career trajectory” as I’ve followed it to the letter…. until I realized what I was doing wasn’t right for me. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind for new projects. I think that the routine is not for me ;-).
Excuses, excuses, excuses…
After writing about my final itinerary the other week, I realize that many readers envy my project and find themselves unable to achieve their own dream (regardless if it was similar to mine or not). The main reason is because we tend to focus too much on the reasons not to do something instead of focusing on the ways to do it.
I can’t go to the gym, I am too tired;
I can’t take a sabbatical, I have bills to pay;
I can’t eat healthy at home, I arrive from work too late;
I can’t travel, I have young kids and they can’t miss school;
I can’t read a good book; I am too busy working, cleaning or… resting!
When we first thought of our travel project, we also make sure to cite all these excuses to not do our trip. Then, I started to think about it differently…
Here’s my Magic Recipe to Overcome Any Obstacle!
A recipe is usually a list of steps to follow along with a list of ingredients to use. In this case, the recipe is quite easy as it includes only 2 words:
Two simple words forming a simple question: what if?
When I was a kid, I was a big Marvel Comic Book fan. For those who are like me, you’ll surely remember the marvelous X-men series: “The Age of Apocalypse”. Along the side of the series, there was one that was lots of fun called “What If?”. This was a series where writers were totally wild and could do whatever they wanted. They could think of any possible alternate reality without any constraints.
This is exactly what I’m trying to do when I plan my projects from now on. I put all the obstacle aside and start thinking “what if it was possible? How would I do it?”
This is the moment when you start working on your project instead of worrying about what is impossible to achieve. By working on your project and thinking how you would do things if they were possible, you will open your brain to find solutions. Then, solutions will appear one after the other and you will not even have to think about it.
This is how we figured out how to finance our trip, how to take care of our house while away and how to travel for one year with our kids.
Two years ago, I didn’t have the money to travel…but I started working harder on my websites.
I wasn’t able to sell my house without losing money… but I found someone to rent it and cover my costs.
I didn’t know how to travel for one year with a limited budget… then we found that traveling in a RV was cheap… and fun!
By putting all the reasons why you can’t do something aside, you open yourself to a world of possibilities. This is the same rationale used when you brainstorm. All ideas are good ideas at this point. One crazy idea could eventually lead to something that makes sense. Can you believe that the idea of travelling came from a family of 5 that left Canada to go to Mexico by bicycle? We started to imagine ourselves with a tent on our back and three kids whining after doing 20km…. and here we are with a fully planned trip two years later!
What is your trick to overcome obstacles? Have you tried the “what if” method before?