EMBRACE THE UNFAMILIAR: 7 LESSONS FROM A DIGITAL NOMAD
This year, I have embarked on an incredible adventure as a digital nomad, starting in Southwestern Asia and the Balkans, where I’ve not been before. By immersing myself in different cultures, exploring unfamiliar territories, and adapting to new ways of living and working, I am regularly stepping outside my comfort zone. It is important for me to do this and lead by example, as I encourage my coaching clients to walk the talk and test themselves!
As an executive coach helping among others, elite sportspeople, directors and leading CEOs, experience has shown that growth and success are closely tied to challenging thinking, the willingness to embrace the unknown, and as a result, to do things differently and transform themselves and the outcome. Here is some learning from my nomadic journey so far:
- Do it now
There is never a right time. The stars may not align. There will be new reasons why not in a few years’ time. I challenge my coaching clients to recognise that they are ready, have everything that they need now to move forward – and take action. I was not 100% prepared when I left in March, reflected by the haste that the suitcase was packed! I’ve learnt as I travel. What do you want to do? What are you waiting for? Tomorrow is not guaranteed…
- Embrace Change
Living as a digital nomad requires a mindset that enjoys change and quickly adapts to new environments. It’s about leaving behind the familiar and seeking the unknown. The digital age and advances in artificial intelligence are speeding this up this skill. What changes will help you?
- Be Flexible and Resilient
Travelling across different countries and immersing in diverse cultures demands adaptability and resilience – try crossing the Turkish / Bulgarian border at 2 am to find this out for yourself! I’ve discovered a new importance of these qualities by navigating through unforeseen challenges and turning them into valuable learning experiences. Remember, that resilience is not just about bouncing back, but also about bouncing forward.
- Expand Your Perspective
“Travel broadens the mind*”, likely, by deepening our understanding of the world. Just by changing room, you will alter your perspective. You also appreciate what works well in the other room. What project are you currently working on that will benefit from a diverse view?
- Balance Adventure and Self-Care
While embarking on this thrilling adventure, it is still important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Brighter Thinkers know that this is vital for effective leadership and to get more done with zero stress! It’s difficult sometimes e.g., when there’s no fresh food available (or English Breakfast tea!), but it is possible to explore new frontiers while still taking care of oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Letting go of perfection is key here, whilst being aware any lapses are temporary. If your daily self-care habits have not gone as well as planned, it need not be a permanent reflection of your behaviour. This is valuable intel: What have you discovered that works, and doesn’t work for you?
- Declutter, declutter, declutter
I am a massive exponent of decluttering and how powerful it is, yet, embarking on this adventure, found that there is always more stuff and belongings that are not required. I have even ditched things whilst on the road. Some more clothes would be nice though, as I now have a strictly limited choice with me! You are not your stuff. What is cluttering up your home or work? What can you let go of to find your hidden energy?
- You take you with you
I did not wake up in Turkey as a different person. I took me with me, as well as my strengths, and my less good traits and habits too. Being in temporary homes and new environments has highlighted what is always present. Plus, helped me to realise that it is not worth focusing on changing certain behaviours because they are not as costly to my happiness or satisfaction, as I had previously thought. What are you focusing on that is inconsequential to your success? What do you think your attention would be better spent on?
*A more recent iteration of the quote from author, Professor Abraham Verghese is “Travel broadens the mind, but loosens the bowels!”
I hope to have inspired you to go beyond your comfort zone. Let me know what you want to do at Let’s Talk and I will happily help you to celebrate taking the first step.