It's Time to Turn Pro – Learn How to Work From Home
Today I started wondering what the hell I'm doing with… well… everything. It wasn't the existential “Why am I here?” thing; more a “Am I doing something that matters?” thing. Perhaps you've been here, too.
The last time for me was in mid-2015 when I was depressed and anxious about how my life had panned out. I've chronicled this before – sitting on the toilet at 2:00 am, looking for answers on my phone, and the events that transpired afterwards.
Today was different, though, because I'm not depressed anymore. Life is good. In fact, despite a recent letdown of the work/money kind, it's better than it's been in decades.
But still I wondered, was this decision to start Midlife Tribe producing the results I sought? And what was I hoping to achieve by all this, anyway?
The Email That Woke Me Up
Then I received an email from one of my readers – a lovely woman called Susie. It wasn't dissimilar to others I've received from people thanking me for what I'm doing, but Susie said something profound. She said I was one of the few people worth listening to. At first, I dismissed it as unwarranted praise, but over the course of a few hours, it started to dawn on me. I realised that I'm doing this thing to leave the world a bit better than I entered it. Okay, that sounds sickeningly altruistic, I know, but that's pretty much it. Because if I can't make some sort of dent in the universe, then what the hell and I doing here?
Two Years, 101 Posts and a Mission
For over two years, I've shared my experiences and ideas here on the Midlife Tribe Website, and more recently on the Midlife Mastery Podcast. And it's been enormously satisfying. Frustrating, too – thanks to inertia and self-doubt.
But as LR Knost once said, “Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.”
After accepting Susie's remark with the gratitude it deserved, I was struck by a thought. As long as I'm doing what I'm doing, the way I'm doing it, I'll never taste the danger and excitement – and potential failure – of putting myself on the line. It's all too safe.
People can read my posts and hear my podcast episodes, and most of the time, it's hard to know whether or not I'm making a difference. Sure, I see the numbers – the subscribers, the podcast downloads, and the emails – and yes, people are certainly paying attention. And if I'm to believe what they're telling me, I'm making a difference in some people's lives.
But am I just a random guy writing about stuff that makes people feel a bit better, or am I actually teaching something? Am I creating something of lasting value?
We Value When we Pay
To answer this, I considered my own teachers and mentors – each one of them people I respect and admire. They all exhibit similar values and beliefs; they promulgate the same ideals, and that's why I'm attracted to them. But more than that; they value their knowledge enough to sell it. They're pros.
It's true that we value what we pay for. That's why we overeat at the buffet – because we paid for it. It's why I was able to start a podcast – because I paid Pat Flynn to teach me, and so I made sure I got value from his tutoring and followed through with it.
And it's been the same with all my mentors – Corbett Barr, Seth Godin, Chris Guillebeau, Steven Pressfield, Marie Forleo, Laura Belgray, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Yardney, Mel Robbins, and a dozen more – I needed to have skin in the game before I acted on their advice.
I'm stupid like that. I can get the best advice in the world for free and do nothing with it. But as soon as I pay for it, I'm compelled to do something with it… because I paid for it.
All of this brought me to a realisation. I need to create something so good, people will actually pay for it.
Now before you switch off, I don't mean charging for anything I'm already doing. What I mean is, I need to create a high-quality product that guides people through a transformation – one that is clearly-defined and achievable. I need to invest the time and energy into making something people truly want.
I've had a sneaking suspicion about this for a while, which is why I asked you about it in an email a while back. But only today did I realise I must do this.
Goodbye Rush Hour, Hello Midday Shower
And so I've decided I'm going to do it. I'm going to create a course on the one thing I know back to front, and that's how to escape the land of symmetrical cubicles, fluorescent lighting and Powerpoint presentations, to work from home – and all the good stuff it invites into your life.
I'm talking about a 30-second stroll to your desk instead of a daily battle with the morning peak-hour; showering at midday instead of 6:00 am, going for a walk whenever you feel like it and farting as loud as you want, as often as you want. And I'm not just talking about freelancing or going it alone. Oh, no. This applies to a lot of employees, too. I've worked for the same company for 21 years, and I work from home.
Most of all, I'm talking about being free to make daily choices with how you spend your time, how loud you play your music, and which coffee to drink throughout the day. It mightn't be the unfettered freedom you see on Instagram with a palm tree and a lounge chair, but it's a sh*tload more freedom than you probably have now.
So if this sounds like your brand of Vodka – and I know only a tiny percentage of you will respond – please tell me. If you'd prefer to learn something else like how I killed my $140k debt after my divorce, or how I find consulting clients, or how to live a more fulfilling and purpose-driven midlife, then let me know about that, too.
I created Midlife Tribe to do some good in the world. I didn't do it to get rich. If that were the case, you'd see ads all over the site (no thanks!), or sleazy links to affiliate products I've never used.
No, I'm doing this because I want you to have what I have. I want you to realise that your 40s, 50s and 60s are the best time to reinvent yourself. I want you to have less worry in your life, more purpose, and more agency over how you spend your days. I want to help you marshal all of the experience and wisdom you've collected over the years and put them towards living life on your terms.
As I wrap up this post, four days have passed, and I've enjoyed some much-needed time away with my family to read, play and ponder.
And I'm more convicted than I was when I began writing this piece. I'm always learning and growing, and as each day ends, I'm standing up to more of my long-held convictions that no longer service. One of those was the belief that we act on advice that improves our lives. I realise now that this is only partly true. As I reflect on the wonderful lessons my own mentors have shared, it's only when I invest money in my desire that I take action.
Like many of you, I need structure, sequencing, and accountability. Everything we need to learn about living a fulfilling life is available online, and most of it is free. But because there's SO MUCH information, it's hard to know what comes first, what comes fifth, and what to ignore. That's why I've decided, like my mentors, to turn pro and teach you how to work from home because I know it can change everything for you.
So if you want to recover some of your freedom, if reigniting your creative spark and working from home appeals to you, leave me a comment below or flick me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If something else is more important to you, let me know.
This single decision – to forgo the traditional corporate path and work from home – changed my life in so many ways, and I know it has the potential to change yours, too.
If you're ready to learn, I'm ready to show you.
Also published on Medium.