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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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Our Single Biggest (Self-Imposed) Barrier to Success

Posted on January 27th, 2014

action

 

Photo credit: The Daily Digi 

 

A few weeks ago, I found myself hunkered down in a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in Midtown West, slurping up spicy red curry and intensely discussing 10-year plans with a good friend of mine, fighting our hangovers with New York soul food and good conversation.

 

He’s a former investment banker turned financial analyst for a major national sports league, but dreams of becoming a movie producer. Already having some impressive career changes under his belt, he is still enamored with how to make the Hollywood dream come true.  

 

I myself was back in town after out-maneuvering the cushy management consulting ladder in favor of becoming a legally nomadic media agent.  

 

As my dear friend pondered film school and moving out to California, I gently prodded after a thoughtful swig of ice water. How can I break this to him…?

 

“You know, if you want to become a movie producer, you can do that. Today. You just have to go out and shoot some scenes, learn how to edit them together, and post your creation on YouTube. Your portfolio is waiting for you to start it.”

 

He seemed bewildered by my simple solution, which brought fears shared by many of us bubbling frantically to the surface: Action allows room for failure, dreaming and planning doesn’t.

 

A few nights later, I nursed a beer in the Lower East Side, locked in what is always vibrant conversation with the West African correspondent for a major news network, who I met in Nigeria months ago. We were bemusing the various paths to a successful career at one of the biggest media companies in the world, and it became clear that my perception of the “impenetrable nature” of the news reporting industry was slightly skewed.

 

If I wanted to become a news reporter, he urged me, I simply needed to start, well, reporting on the news. We mulled over Anderson Cooper’s story for example, who rose to fame by simply going places the networks weren’t covering and sending in his reports as a freelancer. Eventually CNN realized his talent and ability to “get at the news” and hired him!

 

I had traveled to plenty of countries and witnessed dozens of unwritten stories. Had I submitted any of them for publication? Was I even really trying to reach my goal?

 

Nope, and there I was, getting my own advice tossed back at me, a fast underhand pitch that landed me back in the dug-out. My “wise words of wisdom” were now packaged up in the paradigm of my own hopes and dreams, the paralyzing myths I believed expertly debunked and laid disassembled on my doorstep. 

 

Humph.

 

What I realized is that we often create perceived barriers to entry for ourselves, while the real crux of the matter lies in our ability and willingness to simply take action. There are exceptions to this (ie. if you want to be a doctor, medical school is not really optional), but generally our dreams can become a reality once we make up our minds and find the courage to try.

 

If you want to become a writer, you need to write. If you want to be a singer, you better start singing. If you want to speak Chinese, learn some phrases and start speaking. If you want to own your own business, go out and get your first client.

 

For many of us, the planning and talking and dreaming allows us to feel successful and portray an admirable sense of drive to our peers. We fool others and ourselves into believing in our potential versus seeing our results

 

And at the end of the day, the results, the change you’ve made in the environment around you, is what matters. Did you make that movie? Did you become that foreign correspondent?

 

So next time you ponder a 10-year plan, especially if it involves getting an expensive degree or moving 3,000 miles away, think about how you can skip the ladder-climbing and just start creating, writing, developing, filming, sending, organizing, managing, delivering, running, changing, upgrading, interviewing, acting, teaching, learning, drawing, selling, buying, moving, doing, and BEING.

 

Lead your life with an action verb at its core. Focus on turning potential into product, even if it means bearing your imperfections and facing failure head-on.  

 

  

What do you think about the potential for non-linear career paths generated by simply DOING what you say you want to do? How do you balance planning with action? 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.

 

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