What’s Stopping Me?

I’ve talked about wanting to work abroad or live abroad for the past 6 months but am still here, writing this. Why? Well from a logistics perspective, I spent the first 4 planning and finishing my home renos. Then another month renting it out. Then I got comfortable taking my time, exploring my options, planting out possible ways to get the experience I’m looking for.

I am also getting paid to write this right now. Well not actually, but my employment insurance kicked in and I’m making more than my last job. Only difference is I don’t get any equity in this insurance thing.

So I use this time to write, to learn, to grow business ideas. And barely any time figuring out how I’m going to live in another country. Once again, why is this the case?

The rational part of me is saying it’s because Mindvalley is my #1 choice and so I don’t want to apply to anything else until I apply to that. The problem there has been that I haven’t applied yet. The video was daunting. Finding a way to stand out is daunting. Not having a deadline also doesn’t help.

I’ve toned down my initial application since then to get it done. And now it is done. But a part of me is still hesitant to submit it. It could be so much better. I don’t typically go perfectionist on anything, but this is something that would fit all aspects of what I want and so I’m afraid for that rejection.

Writing it all out makes me see just how dumb that sounds. I mean it makes sense, but really? Will my life fall apart? Will I not be able to reproduce that experience elsewhere? And before those questions need to be asked, is there no way to say I just want to work with you and take any opening I can? Of course the ideal is in a sales marketing role, but my primary reason has nothing to do with the role, and more to do with the company itself.

The things I want right now is the experience living in another country. I want to be a part of a team, where people are excited about what they do, where work / play get mixed together, where we’ll still be great friends decades down the road. I want to build my professional network with the people who are changing the world. I want to learn how to market, to build a brand, to create a cult, to influence change.

Mindvalley can offer me all that. It’s the perfect package. However, it’s not the only package. I can join another company that has that communal feeling (most likely a start up). I can continue to learn how to market through the AMP course I’m taking. I can spend my own time reaching out to these individuals I want to build my network around and get that personal touch.

So if that’s the rational side of me explaining why I haven’t applied yet, what does the emotional side of me say?

I think that’s pretty straight forward. Or not. Emotions are never straight forward or rational. I’m scared. I’m scared of the unknown. I’m scared of being uncomfortable. I’m scared of having this whole live in another country thing come out to be a dud, where I get nothing out of it. Where I start back at square 1. Where my finances somehow disappear. Where people view me as a failure. Where everything I’ve been working towards falls apart, and the sacrifices I’ve made mean nothing.

And now that it’s written down, what really is the worse scenario, what probability does it have in happening and what will I do once it happens. Wait But Why’s “book” (lk http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/11/the-cook-and-the-chef-musks-secret-sauce.html on Elon Musk popped into my head when I wrote that. Accept these emotional barriers for what they are, and show it that it has no real logical meaning.

The unknown and being uncomfortable is never going to go away. I was going to say that I seeked out those moments back in my AIESEC part of university, but I didn’t. I still backed away from many rejection like moments. However, I did put myself out there, and got many great memories and experiences from it. I embraced those moments and I’m sure that was also a reason why people looked up to me. I remember always preaching that opportunities will always arise, but it will never be the perfect moment. What has happened to that me since? I got too comfortable living what I thought was my life. But I think I got sucked into societal success again. The old me that I respect would be disappointed at the current me.

Really, what is the worse thing that can happen living in another country. I get killed. I get raped. I become an outcast. Probably of any of those? Higher than here, but so close to 0 that it’s negligible. So what about being a dud experience? I go, I don’t work. I spend all my money. I don’t meet anyone. In other words, I somehow hermit there while spending my money. Chances that will happen? Once again, near 0 – I’d get too bored for that to happen.

So then I do work. What’s the worse case scenario then? I teach english. I work at a coffee shop. I work in exchange for lodging. I’d reach out to see if anyone knows anyone where I am, which most likely will be the case. I use apps to connect me with locals, and who knows, maybe a few fun nights will occur because of that. That’s more likely going to be my worse case scenario and if I come back to Canada after that, I’ll at least have those memories and stories. It won’t progress my career (though I can’t say what that career would be), but it makes me more interesting.

Will my finances fall apart? Yes, it could. I can somehow use all my money, have 0, owe OSAP, owe my sister, and not have anything to pay for the house. In order for that to happen, I will need to spend 40k. The good thing about being such a rational person is that the chances of that happening is pretty much 0. So realistically, what will I spend my money on? I’d spend it on a bachelor / one bedroom if I can’t get over meeting new people. I’d spend it on food. On transportation. On entertainment. On travel.

Of that money, about 32k is accounted for, leaving me with 8k. If I can live in Canada for under 2k / month, I should have no problems doing the same thing abroad. Take out round trip flights at 2k and I have 3 month’s worth of money I can use. And if I’m going to a lower standard of living, this can be some multiple higher. So worse case scenario – I live in another country for 3 months and then come back. Once again, I’ll come back with stories and experiences.

And if I really do run into a worse scenario than that, I either borrow from my sister, or sell the house. It’s appreciated quite a bit so I’d have lots of wiggle room.

So the last piece here – being viewed as a failure, having everything mean nothing. Well, everything does mean nothing. I’ll die one day and none of this will matter. Being viewed as a failure won’t matter.

But in the meantime, I viewed myself as a failure when I switched universities. It ended up being a huge turning point in my life. So what if I do come back, being viewed as a failure? Well, maybe then my ego can finally stop being so pretentious, and I can be okay with failing, with rejection. Maybe then, I can have more opinions and not care. So maybe this scenario will play itself out like the university switch and become another huge moment in my life. A moment that the me in 5 years will be glad happened.

And if not, I still know of people who will still be my friends.

So there you have it. Everything I’ve been thinking about when it comes to living and working abroad. These are all fears that I wasn’t able to articulate when I talked to others. These are all fears that I didn’t really understand myself. And these are all fears that really have no merit in controlling my life.

Now that they’re exposed, I know it’s time to take that next step. To rediscouver that self that I love. That self that was far more confident than the me today.

So first step, sending in the application to Mindvalley. It’s not perfect. It never will be. But it is the inertia holding me back. It’s time to move again.

But what about you – what’s holding you back?