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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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Hate Networking? Try a Kindness-Based Approach

Posted on September 1st, 2017

I work with a lot of people on career transitions: helping them change industries, find jobs overseas, or work for themselves. What many of them don’t realize is that the entire strategy for getting them to the other side lies well within their reach — the opportunity they’re waiting for already exists somewhere in the tangled web of their personal network.

 

They just have to sit down and untangle that web.

 

However, most of these people also hate networking. My job then becomes to show them how painless networking can be if you just take a slightly different approach.

 

The ones who bite the bullet and use my approach wind up changing their lives. One of my clients went from managing a store in Virginia to working for her dream company, Cirque du Soleil, by using this tactic. Others landed contracts on the other side of the world, found their first clients, or negotiated a remote work arrangement and moved to Costa Rica (all true stories).

 

Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way to pull an incredible opportunity out of that mess of interpersonal connections you’ve developed over the course of your life is to start with a very simple step: doing a systematic inventory of everyone you already know.

 

This kind of inventory of your personal network involves spending a few afternoons on Facebook and LinkedIn and going through every single connection you have. You take a look at what everyone’s up to, who they’re working for, where they’re living, and who else they know. Then you start a list with the name of everyone who’s doing something that interests you.

 

Next, you go back and begin to organize your list, not based on who’s doing what’s closest to what you want to be doing, but by your comfort level with each person. How well do you know this individual? Could you send him or her a message on Facebook and readily grab a coffee? Do you have a personal connection to draw on: a shared alma mater, previous employer, hometown, or favorite sports team?

 

Using this approach, you pick the top 10 most interesting people who you’re also reasonably comfortable with and you start “networking” with them by inviting them for a friendly catch-up. Say that their startup or new job or latest travels look awesome and you want to hear more about it. Ideally, you start with people you can meet face-to-face and then progress to short catch-up Skype dates once you’ve exhausted the contacts in your own city.

 

Here’s why I recommend this approach and have found it to be so successful:

 

  • I believe networking is simply the practice of connecting with people around you and openly sharing what you’re interested in. The more people who know you and know what you’re all about, the more potential champions you have out there who can help you find your way.
  • The best way to get started is by “networking” with people you’re already familiar with. Practice makes perfect!
  • Presumably, these people you’ve identified in your inventorying process know you better than a random LinkedIn second-degree connection, so if you casually mention you’re looking for a new marketing gig in New York, they will probably rack their brains thinking of ways to help.
  • Most likely, these friends don’t do exactly what you want to do work-wise, but that’s good because 1) They are still up to something that sparked your interest, so you can learn and grow through that conversation, 2) They won’t suspect that the whole reason you want to hang out is to get a job at their company (which it isn’t), and 3) you never know who knows who. Someone in diplomacy may be able to connect you to someone in engineering — and they’ll do it because they like you and because you seem qualified. (Hopefully you are.)

 

Essentially, this strategy is about learning what other people in your life are doing and sharing what you’re up to, too. It’s about exchanging goals and ideas. Through this process, connections organically expand — and you strengthen existing relationships with people you think are interesting.

 

And here’s the most important part: With every person you connect or reconnect with, you’re on the look-out for ways to help. If someone needs a new web designer, pass along the contact of the person who did your site. If a friend is going to Egypt next month and you’ve spent time there, send them a short email with your best travel tips. You have something to offer to everyone, I promise, so dig into your well of knowledge, experience, ideas, and contacts and be ready to assist someone else first.

 

By getting in the practice of helping others, you put out good karma and people will inevitably reciprocate — maybe not now, but at some point in the future. It also feels good to look out for the needs and interests of others and find ways to help their dreams along. It’s a mindset that seems to get forgotten about in today’s overly-competitive world.

 

In a nutshell, start “networking” with 10 people you know pretty well, then move down the list and pick another 10 and another 10, gradually working up to people who you don’t know as well but are doing things you really admire. They may even be people who intimidate you, but you’ve already gotten a lot of practice at this point talking casually about yourself and what you’re doing, asking good questions of others, listening, learning, and, most critically, helping.

 

By taking this approach, there’s no way you won’t be successful — in scoping out new opportunities, strengthening existing relationships, building new ones, and learning more about yourself and what you have to offer others, too.

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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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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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.

 

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?

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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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram