Welcome to the Grind

This is an open letter to my friends, old and new (that’s you right?) because I love you.

And because this shit is meant to be hard.

I see, hear, dance, play and otherwise delight with so many people who want to change their life. They don’t want to be chained to a desk. They want to make their own hours. They want their own freedom. They want the ability to enjoy life without having to write in a gratitude journal every day to convince themselves that their lives are amazing.

They long, ache and desire for more.

And yet they don’t move. Like trees they stay stagnate in the wind. Planted roots amongst a world that sweepingly changes on the breeze, occasionally touching them. A facade of masks they layer and swap throughout the day. Even the most self assured sometimes wondering who the hell they are even are anymore.

And then I hear the reasons.

I have responsibilities. I have a mortgage. I have kids. I don’t have time. By the time I get home my brain is fried. I don’t know what my passion is. I have too many passions. I’ve no idea where to start. I didn’t study that. I don’t know enough about so. There’s already hundreds of other people doing that. It seems overwhelming. It’s too big an idea. I’d need investors.

So it’s hard?

So freaking what.

Of course it’s hard! It should be hard. If it wasn’t, everybody would be doing it.

Stop marrying mediocrity.

One of my all time favorite quotes comes from the irreverent, perceptive and nearly always on cue Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

Missing a train is only painful if you run after it. Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.

I don’t pretend I’m a perfect person (I absolutely never will be nor will I ever aim to be). I don’t pretend I know everything. In fact, the things I don’t know – and the books I haven’t read – are the most important to me. I don’t pretend to be particularly talented – I’m not. I don’t pretend I’m not lucky – I absolutely freaking am by just the place I was born and the family I grew up with. And I sure as hell don’t pretend I’ve never ‘failed’. If I’m not failing (though I don’t believe in that word) at things – I’m sure as hell not pushing myself hard enough.

But I do work my ass off. I will get up at 5am and get to it. I will stay up til 1am to get it done. I will look into the future so that I can live – and take action – in the present. I do know what its like for your head to feel exhausted and all you want to do is watch the Kardashians. For years I worked full time in the corporate world, I travelled 2+ hours every day for work, worked out 5+ times a week, lived in a house in a relationship, cleaned, washed, cooked, saw friends and did all the other duties of life. And I studied full time. I went to night classes. I did 40+ hour work weeks in 4 days to go to a 13 hour back to back day of Uni. I did distance classes. And I sat exam after exam. And I know that’s little comparatively to what other people have and do.

But it’s what I wanted for myself and it’s what I believe will make the world a happier place if we all did it. I don’t give a crap what you think about me or the way I live life. I want to live a life that feels pure to me. Where I can just be, make spontaneous moves, help along the way and live happy. That seems like enough motivation to get it the hell done.

I’ve also never watched Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or Hunger Games or or or. I have no idea what they’re even about and I couldn’t care less. There’s no time to sit down and watch crap loads of series when you’ve got shit to do. Does that mean I never watch TV? No, I’ll watch a show or two (like Suits) without the adverts (which kill your brain) whilst I’m editing photos late at night or practicing calligraphy or headstands but I won’t plonk down for session after session.

And whilst some people like to tell me it’s much more important I just learn to sit down for an hour without doing anything and watch a TV show I vehemently disagree. I’d rather be doing something and all my attention doesn’t need to be directed to a TV. It needs to be directed to my friends, family and lover when I’m with them – not to any mobile phones or other thoughts. But during a TV show? I’d rather get better at something or get something done that gets me where I want to go.

And there’s one solution to one of the excuses – get busy already. Because the only way you get better is through doing. Get off the couch. Forget the fear. We all start from zero. Stop apologizing. Screw humiliation – you’re out there doing it. What are you doing to get where you want to go?

I don’t have kids. I can only imagine how exhausting it is and your experience is unique to you. But how much do you want your own freedom? Your own ability to live life the way that feels natural and raw and pure to you? How much do you want that for your children? Forget the ridiculous mortgage and the overpriced private schools – what about the cost to your life?

I know it’s hard. I also know an incredible amount of people doing this shindig who do have kids. So I know it can be done. Whether it’s cycling the world for years on end with your young children or running a business. It’s possible.

As for the rest, we all have responsibilities. Most of us have the majority of those excuses. Some choose not to use them. Be one of those. Look life in the eyes and live the begeebees out of it.

Along your way find people who get it. They’ll lift you higher.

Do you know who I know? I know my best friend Becca hustles her absolute butt off. She creates course after program after course that people adore because she genuinely wants people to change their life. And I know she waitressed like crazy to make it through and is reaping the rewards of years of hard work. I know MCJS travel the world with their kids. On $25 a day. I know my yoga instructor works about 6 businesses, gets up before 4am and hits the hay at midnight. With non stop days and is still one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I know Natasha runs a successful business and online course that she built herself from the ground up. With a son. In a country that does not speak her languages. I know Kevin works his ass off in Nairobi to live a better life, whilst also contributing to the Kenyan community. I know Simon quit everything he knew and found a frustration in rostering staff when franchising restaurants, hustled investors together, created, developed and just launched a brand new app. Whilst getting married, building a house and supporting kids in Cambodia. I’m blessed to know Alan who has a wife and kids and works ridiculous hours, often totally exhausted to establish what is now one of the most loved – and almost cult like – restaurants in Brisbane.

They’re all real people – creating their very own lives. And they’re not afraid of hard work. Because they know hard work is what gets you there.

Develop an addiction to the work. Love the work. Create a life you want and you’ll be doing a lot of it.

Many of my friends have lived half their life. They have 40 years to go. Most of us have 30 to 60. And in the scheme of everything, that is the most ridiculous tiny speck of time ever. And that’s it. Then you’re dead. Game over.

Are your excuses worth more than the time you have left? Will you look back at the couple of hard years you did and smile because gosh look at what you achieved, what you learned and experienced and the life you’ve now created? Or will you look back and wish – just wish – you’d put the effort in for a bit?

So if you want this badly enough – more than I want it for you – welcome to the grind.

Welcome to early mornings when you have head space and silence. Welcome to late nights when you get busy creating and practicing. Welcome to studying harder and to feeling more exhausted than you ever have before. Welcome to not knowing what the hell you’re doing most of the time. Welcome to the start line. Welcome to the place there is no finish because there’s always more.

But also…welcome to the exhilaration.

Welcome to the first time in a long time you’ll know what it means to actually breathe. Welcome to excitement, spontaneity and more fulfillment than you knew could exist. Welcome to the day you bounce out of bed, drink a fresh juice at 7am and realize your days are yours.

I want this more than anything for you. But you have to want it even more than I want it for you. You have to want it as badly as you need to breathe.

I dare you to chase your dreams.

So if you’re in. Don’t give up. Remember why you want this.

And welcome to the grind.

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