I’m not the only one who has a love-hate relationship with technology. On the plus side it’s what allows me to communicate with all of you.
And the internet has made self-employment accessible to hundreds of people who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to reach potential customers all over the world.
But there is a downside:
- Smart phones with the never ending stream of emails tethers you to work 24-7.
- Friends now text instead of phoning or getting together.
- The expectation to share the minutia of our lives on social media.
And I, for one, am not celebrating the airlines making the friendly skies the on-line skies.
I’m increasingly convinced that this being constantly tethered to technology is the source of so much stress, overload, and alienation.
You could get yourself a new invention out of Japan called The Hugvie. The cuddly vibrating doll you hug during those long distance Skype calls is supposed to reduce the sense of isolation.
A doll won’t help you gain the clarity you need to change course. But breaking out of your usual routine and surroundings will.
1) The Coffee Shop Approach
Stop into any local coffee shop and you’re bound to see one or more small business owners clicking away on their laptops or meeting with clients. They even have a name: “Starbuck’s entrepreneurs.”
You don’t need to have a business (yet!) to benefit from being in a cozy or if you prefer, a high-energy setting to engage in clarity enhancing activities like journaling, mind-mapping, planning, or networking.
A mere mile from my house is the fabulously funky Lady Killigrew café. It’s one of several small businesses housed in a restored mill known as the Montague Bookmill.
This sun-drenched café sits along side a raging stream. It’s the kind of rare place where you can’t help but feel both totally productive and utterly relaxed at the same time..
So instead of going to your usual joint, why not shake things up even more by trying a totally new spot? There really is something about the newness of the décor, the people, even the menu that can get your clarity juices flowing even more!
Lady Killigrew café also offers outdoor seating. True, the setting is especially lovely. But even in the most congested cities, given the choice, people love to dine outdoors.
Why? Because being outside is r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. That leads me to the next strategy…
2) Get Outside
When do you feel most stressed out, confused, or over-whelmed? If you’re like most, your high stress times are also when you’re farthest from nature.
Now imagine stepping away even briefly. Picture yourself sitting on a park bench or under a tree or along a body of water or atop a mountain or even at a sidewalk café. How do you feel?
Chances are your breathing slowed… your mind felt clearer… your anxiety level dropped.
Unfortunately more of us are suffering the effects of what Richard Louv dubbed Nature-Deficit Disorder™. In Last Child in the Woods he describes the alarming consequences of children spending so much more time indoors than past generations. LINK BOTH BOOKS
His latest book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting With Nature in a Virtual World makes the same case for nature-deprived adults. Click here for an excerpt.
The restorative power of nature, he says, boosts mental acuity and creativity; promotes health and wellness; builds smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthens human bonds.
Spending time in nature is also a great way to tune out the noise of the world so you can tune into your deepest longings or the next great idea.
3) Help Yourself by Helping Others
What if you could get outside, have a major change of scenery, and lend a hand at the same time?
Since 1991 Earthwatch has paired some 91,000 travelers with site-based scientific studies all over the world. Volunteers work along side researchers to dig up mastodon bones in South Dakota, study black rhinos in Kenya, monitor pink dolphin populations in Peru’s Yavari River, or dozens of other expeditions.
Trips range from $1,600 to over $6,000 and include accommodations. Check out the “reduced contribution” link for last minute deals.
There are other ways to get outside of your comfort zone and have fun doing it. Montana-based Bunkhouses Working Ranch Vacations founder Karen Searle pairs travelers with one of 20 working ranches. (Very cool idea, Karen!)
In addition to the usual ranch chores – riding horses, mending fences, herding cattle – there’s time for the fun stuff like cooking over a campfire, cooling off in the local swimming hole, and local day trips.
Expect to pay between $1,500 to $1,900 including meals and accommodations for six-to-seven-day trips.
4) Use Your Vacation to Explore Other Careers
If you really want to make a life change, then you’ve got to carve out time to focus on what you want… and what you need. And it’s all but impossible to do when you’re distracted by the usual (and significant) demands of day-to-day life.
But there is a solution: Get away from all those distractions and demands so you can give your dreams the attention they deserve.
For instance, maybe you think you’d like to be a television producer, a fishing outfitter, or a cheese maker. But you’re afraid to invest all that time and money only to find out it’s not right for you.
5) Go on “Vacation” With Me!
Most people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do figuring out what they really want their lives to look like.
Seems to me, if you want to work doing something you love…if you want more control over your time and your life…if you crave a better balance of family and friends and work…then you have two choices:
1) You can continue to go through the motions week after week, waiting for inspiration to strike.
2) Or you can pledge to make a serious commitment to change and really focus on your dreams.
After the hugely successful retreat I held in Ecuador I decided I wanted to combine the benefits of a hands-on workshop with me and clarity that comes from spending time in nature.
So this July 9-13 I’m holding my second Work at What You Love Workshop and Entrepreneurial Retreat and Adventure here in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts.
It’s your chance to get away and get clear on what you want and how to get it. To get live coaching from me on how to turn your interests into income both before and during the workshop.
It’s also your opportunity to connect with a small intimate group who will form your ongoing Dream Team.
Best of all – with all the fun excursions I have planned, you’ll take steps to change your life and have fun at the same time.
The cost is much less than you might expect for an experience like this – especially if you register by June 11th to take advantage of the $1500 off early bird savings.
And to reward action-takers, when you sign up by this Wednesday May 23 you’ll receive a $250 Travel Voucher. Spend it for travel, for shopping, or put it toward your new life!
You’ll find all the information at www.RelaxRenewReinvent.com