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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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How This Small Change in Thinking Helped Clarify My Purpose and Reignite My Motivation

Posted on July 15th, 2016

I’ve been suffering from a bout of a serious “illness” lately, one that bloggers and entrepreneurship gurus don’t seem to cover very often: feeling deeply, darkly unmotivated.
 
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been living in one of the hippest and most inspirational cities on the planet — Berlin — and sticking my toes into what, with the recent Brexit decision, is about to be Europe’s most dynamic locale for technology, start-ups, art, and creativity.
 
But I’ve been having serious blinking cursor syndrome…for weeks.
 
Not only did I have writer’s block and feel paralyzingly unmotivated to work on my usual projects, but some days I couldn’t even think of anything in the whole world to Google and just learn about.
 
I’d pick up a book, read a page, and put it down. Start a documentary, watch five minutes, and turn it off. It seemed nothing in the whole world was interesting to me anymore and never would be. (Well, except maybe techno parties, coffee with new friends, open air concerts, and Berlin itself.)
 
When it came to my professional life, I felt small, alone, lost, and just unable. I had the enthusiasm for work that cats have for baths. What was happening?
 
Then a couple of weeks later, I experienced a shift in my thinking that helped re-spark my usual excitement for life. Along with taking baby steps in the right direction — forcing myself to read, writing the outline of an article, going to just one networking event, staying focused on my health and physical well-being — I re-conceptualized my relationship to the world and to work in a way that got me right back on track.
 
Instead of thinking about things along these lines: “What am I doing in the world?” “What is my purpose?” “What kind of role do I want to have?” “What do I want to create?” “What difference can I make?” “What am I truly capable of?”
 
…I started thinking along these lines: “What are the big issues I care about?” “What ecosystems of people and ideas do I find most compelling?” “What categories of problems really need to get solved right now?” “Where do I want to plug in and co-create?” “Where can I participate?” “What big idea would I be happy to play any role in at all?” 
 
Essentially, I shifted from focusing on my role as an individual — a fundamentally self-centered way of seeing things — to seeing big groups of possibilities and arenas of ideas that I could play in — a fundamentally more collective, participatory way of seeing my place in the world.
 
I took my thoughts from a micro perspective (what kind of things do I as an individual want to achieve) to a macro perspective (what are the larger pieces of work that we as a society need to get done).
 
Here is a small sample of the things I came up with: changing workplace models and driving forward the future of work, experimenting in collective living and purchasing, disempowering “banksters” in America through public investment mechanisms like crowdfunding, exploring the role enterprises can have in improving public welfare beyond traditional CSR models, creating new systems for funding higher education, and advocating for a universal basic income to fight poverty and inequality. 
 
See how these are bigger groups of thought than “I want to be a researcher or a consultant or a banker or I want to start my own company,” but also more manageable than “make a difference, help the poor, improve inequality, and protect the environment?” 
 
Ultimately, a planet of 7.2 billion individuals thinking about what each of us individually wants to achieve and how comfortable we want to be on our own little island of existence is self-destructive. Of course, we cannot deny our innate drive for survival and the right to a comfortable pursuit of happiness, but wouldn't it be better if our individual survival and comfort was met while we worked to meet the larger needs of society?  
 
I know that it sounds like I’m telling you stop your heart from beating by just concentrating hard enough, but all I’m saying is: it’s important to take time to align our personal goals with a more holistic view of work, the world, and our collective future. Not everyone has to or will buy into this line of thinking, but I personally found it to be a much more meaningful and motivating way to look at things.
 
PS. You aren’t alone, so don’t ever feel alone — everyone and everything is all interconnected. Whenever you feel unmotivated or disempowered, connect with others. Connect one idea to the next and up-level your thinking around what you want to do in this world from what you want to do to what you can give and how you can participate in what’s already happening.
 
Because so much is already happening out there. Not everyone needs to be a pioneer coming up with the next big thing like how the media glamorizes individual achievement (note they usually focus on the CEOs and the founders instead of the company, the cause, and the ecosystem of issues it’s working on). There are already so many “next big things” that we simply need to become aware of them, crosscheck them with our interests and capabilities, and devote ourselves to plugging away on them — for the sake of ourselves, our society, and our planet.

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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