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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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Small Ways to Make a Big Career Change

Posted on June 29th, 2016

Initiating a big change in your personal or professional life can be overwhelming. Whether you want to go back to school, change career fields, stop smoking, relocate overseas, or start a family, there’s never a right time or secret formula to navigating big moves like these. 
 
In April 2013, I changed my entire life in 30 days by landing an international business development role that would send me to live in a new country every three months, quitting my management consulting job, selling everything I owned in New York City, and packing my life into one giant suitcase, where it has remained until now, more than three years and five continents later.
 
This kind of “life overhaul,” as I call it, is not for everyone. But because it’s been so glamorized in the media (quit the 9 to 5, start your own thing, travel forever, yadda yadda), many people leap to the conclusion that these drastic solutions are exactly what they need, too. 
 
That’s not very original now, is it? And I have to admit, these kinds of stories definitely influenced me when I became dissatisfied with my life in New York. 
 
What I’ve learned over the years, however, is that building a happier life and career is more likely to happen — and be more authentic — when you take a series of small and consistent steps in a new direction.
 
Here are a few simple ways to start making a big change in your professional life.
 
1. Diagram all the potential pathways. 
 
Brainstorm all the different things you might like to do in your life and draw them out on a piece of paper. Don’t censor yourself, just list out what interests and passions you have. Once you’ve done that, prioritize a little bit and try to pick the three most viable pathways. These might be as varied as physical therapist, public policy researcher, and political campaign manager, for example.
 
Then, list what would be the easiest first step in pursuing each one. It might be: talk to a physical therapist, read a book about a specific area of public policy, or read a blog from a current campaign manager — easy things to start gaining insight and building direct contacts in those fields. 
 
2. Conduct an experiment.
 
The next thing is to stay with the theme of easy and straightforward. Don’t even think about going back to grad school or selling your apartment or doing anything drastic. Approach it like an experiment and ask, "What’s the cheapest and simplest thing I can do to experience this possible pathway that will help me make up my mind about what I really want?"
 
For example, I recently became interested in making a career transition into psychotherapy, so I talked to some therapists and asked them how I could get a feel for what their day-to-day is like without going back to school for six years and spending a hundred thousand dollars on a PhD? Their recommendation was to volunteer in a similar setting, like for a rape crisis hotline, or help young people with criminal records transition into the workforce. These experiences would help me get a more accurate taste of what doing that job full-time might be like and are pretty easy to try out. 
 
3. Find a partner.
 
Share your plan for creating change and find a like-minded person to help you stay motivated. Having someone to hold you accountable is an important mechanism for actually achieving your goals, not to mention making the process more enjoyable when you feel supported and can provide support to someone else as ambitious as you are.
 
4. Look at your spare time.
 
One of the most common excuses I hear from people is that they “don’t have time” to take the necessary steps to make a major life change. Eliminate that excuse by looking critically at your windows of spare time and trimming the fat: wake up earlier, go to bed later, stop watching TV, stop reading the news, stop going on Facebook five times an hour, meet less frequently with friends, go out on Friday or Saturday night, go to one less happy hour, and look for pockets of idleness during your 9 to 5. Now align your practical experiments in change with this freed-up time. 
 
5. Choose a self-reflection technique.
 
Commit to just 15 minutes per day of self-reflection, in the manner of your choosing. Whether it’s keeping a journal, sitting in silence, meditating, making a video diary, or free-writing, make sure you spend at least 15 minutes every day alone with your thoughts and inner self as you go about making change. When you have a lot of new information and ideas coming in, you need time to let it all sit, mix with who you are, and come out in the form of new creative energy and direction.
 
6. Read more — and seek out “weirdness.”
 
Cultivate your own intellectual environment by reading at least a book per week (Tai Lopez will tell you to read one book per day), preferably non-fiction. Also seek out areas of “weirdness” where you explore new areas you might have never considered before. I’m notorious for spending at least one night per week on YouTube watching free documentaries on everything from crop circles to the Roman Empire. Some of these expeditions into “weirdness” have inspired huge changes in my life.
 
7. Set up one informational interview.
 
Before you make any more concrete moves, you need to talk to as many people as possible who already do what you want to do, ideally someone who is at your same level, someone five years ahead, and someone 20 years ahead. Dividing your investigation into these three levels helps build the most realistic and comprehensive look at the field.
 
Because I know networking can be awkward and intimidating, just commit to at least one informational interview at first. Once you see how easy, fun, and beneficial networking in this way can be, you’ll be more comfortable doing more and more of these and gradually building a meaningful network.
Try out these straightforward steps to changing your life, one small step in a different direction at a time, and let me know how it goes. Send me an email at elaina@lifebefore30.com and I'll even send you my template for approaching people for informational interviews. 

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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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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

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Elaina on Instagram