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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 to Nurture Your Own Talent and Not Be Intimidated by Other People’s Gifts

Posted on June 24th, 2016

“That is the best salsa dancer in Salvador,” my Aussie friend said, pointing across the room.

 

“Him?” I replied, looking incredulously at the scrawniest, most awkward-looking Brazilian man I had ever seen, sporting big hipster glasses and a sloppy afro. There was no way that guy could be a dancer.

 

As if aiming to prove my inner dialogue wrong, the smoky upstairs of a gritty, crowded club in central Salvador cleared and the unlikeliest specimen of a salsa dancer took center stage.

 

And he was mesmerizing.

 

He literally lit up the room, not one eyeball daring to stray from his performance, not one mouth lacking a giddy smile, not one set of hips not shaking from the contagious effect his dancing had on your body.

 

For me, seeing this kind of talent in another human being is a bittersweet experience.

 

On one hand, witnessing a person who is that incredibly gifted, who has polished his craft into gleaming, dazzling perfection, brings pure joy to the soul. It awes and invigorates, transporting you to a heavenly plateau where art is god and worship is thoroughly, deliciously enjoyed.

 

On the other hand, it serves as a bewildering sort of mirror, begging the on-looker to see himself more clearly, to self-reflect in that unexpected moment. It implores the question, “And where is your talent?” – essentially a frightening reminder that there is not one thing you can do that would clear a Brazilian dance floor and bring an audience to its knees.

 

At least that is how I felt that night, dancing and clapping and laughing through that brilliant performance, with tears of sad joy welling up behind my smile. Raindrops of the disheartening notion that I would never be that good at anything in my whole life sizzled on the steamy dance floor in front of me.

 

That night stuck with me for weeks afterward. However, it finally dawned on me that talent like his is truly an art, a craft that needs to be nurtured like a garden. The seeds need to be planted, the sprouts require ample soil and sun, and the attentive gardener must remove weeds, trim vines, and water judiciously.

 

I suppose I simply plant a lot of flowers, fruits, and vegetables and expect them to blossom with minimal effort and maintenance. And that’s just not how you grow a garden.

 

I do believe there is something to be said for “natural talent.” Gifts have their roots, but it is the proper time and cultivation that enable them to flourish. I like to think that any of us could salsa like that Brazilian dancer if we simply devoted the time, energy, and focus. The real question becomes: to what do we devote ourselves with this kind of passion?

 

As such, I have decided to renew my focus on investing in some of the things I would like to be good at, realizing that nurturing talent requires a combination of opportunity, practice, frustration, and incremental success.

 

I will not beat myself up for not becoming the next J.K. Rowling or Condoleezza Rice overnight. I will make deliberate personal investments in myself that bring me closer to realizing my goals and dreams. And I will embrace the mirror of self-reflection that displays of raw human talent put in front of you. Because someday I, too, will clear my own Brazilian dance floor.

 

 

 

Do ever feel intimidated by other people's talents? How do you allocate time and energy to developing yours? Share in the comments section below!

 

 

Did you find this article helpful? Please share with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

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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