I’m writing this from Cape Cod. I’m here with my wife and kids, visiting my parents, brothers and friends. It’s our first time back here since we moved to Florida in April, and we’re about a week through our 2-week stay.
We’ve spent time on the beach, at the pool, getting ice cream, and binge-watching True Detective (what a cool and creepy show!). We’ve all had plenty of time to catch up with each other and reconnect without feeling rushed by a quick departure. It’s been really nice.
And through it all, I’ve been able to keep my business going just like I was home. I’m not working as many hours as I usually do, but I’ve had time to tackle all the normal responsibilities of my job like holding client meetings, doing research, writing blog posts and answering emails. Honestly, it’s just as easy to do all of that here, 1,500 miles away, as it is in the comfort of my home.
A little while back I wrote that to me, the idea of financial freedom really comes down to a single word:
Financial freedom is the ability to do what I want with my time. Simple as that.
I was thinking about that as I sat down to write while the sound of my kids playing with my mom filled the background.
I’m not all the way there. But I’m a heck of a lot closer than I’ve ever been.
The very fact that we could take a two-week trip without answering to anyone, and that I could still accomplish all the things I needed to accomplish to run my business while we’re away, shows just how far we’ve come.
I couldn’t have done this at my old job. Well, maybe I could have (my boss was pretty flexible), but it would have been a lot more complicated and there would have been more people to answer to. It wouldn’t have been the same.
Nice months ago, when I decided to stop looking for a job and start my own business instead, I was scared. I was scared about whether we would run out of money. I was scared about whether I had what it takes. I was scared simply because it was so unknown. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know, and that made me afraid.
And I’m still very far from having it all figured out. I’m not making enough money yet to support our family so our savings is still holding us over. I still worry about whether I’m good enough to make it work.
And I still don’t even have all the logistics figured out. I should have done more to work ahead before this trip, and I should be doing a better job of setting aside dedicated time for work and dedicated time for vacation. Certain moments on this trip have been stressful for me simply because I haven’t been as organized as I’d like to be.
I’m still learning.
But that’s kind of the point. I don’t have it all figured out, and yet it’s still possible. I don’t feel totally comfortable with it, and yet it’s still happening.
Not having all the questions answered is not an obstacle to making it happen.
Too often we push back our dream because we’re scared of the unknown. We know how our life works now. We don’t know how it will work if we make the jump to chase our dream. That uncertainty is scary and it stops us in our tracks.
If we stop ourselves often enough it becomes a habit, and pretty soon we’ve lived our whole lives without reaching for any of the things that truly excite us.
This has taken me a long time to learn. Too many times I’ve played it safe, sticking with what was comfortable instead of what I really wanted. I imagined obstacles and made up reasons why I was playing it safe.
I held myself back.
But in the last nine months I’ve learned that there’s really only one thing that holds us back from our dreams: fear.
And I’ve learned something else too.
When you find something that both excites you and scares you at the same time, you should start running towards that thing as fast as you possibly can.
Like I said, I still have a long way to go to make this dream a reality, but it’s exciting to see how it’s starting to take shape.
And all it took was a little leap towards the unknown.