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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Are You Guilty of “Sequencing” Your Life Investments?

Posted on July 30th, 2013

These past few weeks I have been taking advantage of my stuck-in-Lagos-traffic time to devour books in a way I haven’t had the luxury to do in years. One of my recent favorites is Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life? in which this Harvard Business School professor runs an extended analogy of how the theories that build successful enterprises also inherently govern our personal relationships.

 

areyouguilty source amazon

 

His experience watching the personal and professional lives of many of his Oxford University and HBS classmates deteriorate over the twenty-plus years following graduation serves as his powerful reference point. Individuals who had every imaginable precondition for success still wound up unhappy. But why?

 

Without completely spoiling the book, Christensen argues that it is fundamentally because high-achieving people tend to invest their resources – their time, money, and energy – in what produces the most immediately tangible reward. This is usually their career, and their personal relationships tend to suffer for not screaming as loud as the demands of society. As a result, many of these Type-A personalities, hard-wired for rapid accomplishment, wind up lacking meaningful connections to others, and even more devastating, don’t seem to understand the root of their dissatisfaction.

 

At the end of the day, I believe we are all striving for connection – to each other, to our work, to our families, and to society. We want to belong. We want to matter.

 

And this is the same arena where we so often go wrong.

 

We take people for granted. We assume our friends will be there for us when we come out of our caves of selfish pursuit. We assume our parents will always welcome us back home with open arms, as if time apart did not deeply alter the course of our relationship. We assume our boyfriend will “let it slide” when we come home grumpy and oblivious to his needs.

 

Little by little, we unknowingly push people away.

 

“One of the most common…mistakes that high-potential young professionals make is believing that investments in life can be sequenced. The logic is, for example, ‘I can invest in my career during the early years when our children are small and parenting isn’t as critical. When our children are a bit older…then I can lift my foot off the career accelerator. That’s when I’ll focus on my family.’ Guess what. By that time the game is already over. An investment in a child needs to have been made long before then…” (Christensen, 93).

 

Replace “child,” “children,” and “parenting” with friends, parents, co-workers, or lovers and this describes how we inadvertently make these same assumptions with many relationships in our lives.

 

Of course no one consciously chooses to distance themselves from the people they love, but we may not see the tangible value of strong relationships on an immediate day-to-day basis. We see a 3.98 in graduate school or our accelerating paychecks or positive reviews from our managers much more readily than we appreciate how a close relationship with parents who live 1500 miles away enriches our lives in the long-term.

 

We assume we can focus on one area of our lives a bit more than the other, and as long as we compensate for it sometime down the road, things will all balance out.

 

But Christensen writes,

 

“If you defer investing your time and energy until you see that you need to, chances are it will already be too late…The only way to have…relationships bear fruit in your life is to invest long before you need them” (Christensen, 97).

 

He equates realizing the need for meaningful relationships – and then realizing you’ve neglected them – to planting saplings when you need shade on a hot summer day. Once you realize you have problems in a relationship, it’s probably too late. The damage your gradual neglect and lack of consistent emotional investment has already been done. You have silently spoken volumes to that person about who you are and who they do not want to be with in the future.

 

We all should think carefully about how we can make daily deposits of love, kindness, and thoughtfulness into the hearts of everyone we consider important to us. We cannot assume we can focus on ourselves for 60 hours/week and invest a tenth of that time on a one-off call to grandpa or a hasty happy hour with a few friends.

 

If we throw all of our resources into one dimension of our lives, we risk isolating ourselves from the far more rewarding possibility of living a life properly enriched by the experiences of those around us, especially those people we genuinely care about and whom we want to care about us in return.

 

Sometimes I fear our generation will wake up one day as 7 billion people living on 7 billion different planets, when in reality we are 7 billion people living on ONE planet.

 

We have been put here together for a reason, not to be isolated from one another in our individual pursuits, but to love and help one another in the common pursuit of meaningful and interconnected lives.

 

 

What are your thoughts on “sequencing” the investments we make in various areas of our lives, especially during our 20s? Please share in the comments section below or send me an email at elaina@lifebefore30.com.

 

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

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Elaina on Instagram