Meditation sala at Wat Suan Mokkh

Building a Business That Fits Your Lifestyle

April 23, 2014 | ,

In 2005, near the end of my round-the-world trip, I did a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Thailand. It was an incredible experience, and something I really hoped I could do again sometime. But once I started working for myself, I assumed it just wasn’t possible to be completely offline for so long.

With my editing business, Nomad Editorial, I had purposely created a business that would allow me to work from anywhere, but in those early years, I still felt tied down. If I wasn’t working, after all, I wouldn’t make any money. And if I wasn’t available to respond to offers for new projects, I’d lose the opportunity (and, I feared, people would start to think I wasn’t available or responsive).

Last year, as we made plans to travel to Asia, my thoughts returned to the meditation retreat, and I started to wonder if I could actually make it happen. (Yes, I know there are plenty of other places in the world to do a retreat, but I really liked my experience in Thailand!)

At some point, there was a simple but profound shift in my thinking as I realized that this is my business, and I can run it any way I want.

It seems so obvious, but we forget this simple fact as we get caught up in the shoulds and all the things that we’re told are part of running a “real” business. We lose sight of the reasons we wanted to work for ourselves to begin with, and instead end up simply creating another job for ourselves.

If I want to be able to go to a meditation retreat, I can find a way to make it happen. And it’s certainly easier for me now than it would have been just a couple years ago; I’ve since added other income streams and business models through Nomadtopia, and also started working with an awesome assistant whom I trust to hold down the fort while I’m gone.

And so it’s happening. This time next week, I will be taking a 10-day vow of silence and embarking on an extraordinary journey.

I haven’t yet solved all of my concerns around this; my May income will likely be lower than usual because of this time off, and I’d like to get to a point where I can make the same money regardless.

But it’s another step closer, another experience that reminds me that I’m holding the reins, and it is possible to build a business that fits my lifestyle in every sense. And, even though there’s technically nothing about this experience that is directly related to business, I have no doubt it will make a difference in my work.

If your business isn’t yet aligned with your ideal lifestyle, take a closer look:

  • In what ways does your business not fit your lifestyle?
  • What kinds of things would you be doing in your life if your business would allow it?
  • What would you like to change about your business (and your lifestyle)?
  • What can you do to make it happen?

What did you uncover in answering these questions? Have you ever taken significant time off from your business?

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