It all began about two days before Christmas when I got an email from Cody McKibben at Thrilling Heroics. I discovered Thrilling Heroics while on a deployment to Iraq in 2009. I was searching for God knows what on the internet when I came across his site. I read a few of the posts and was instantly hooked. I, like I am sure many others, admired his courage to go against the grain and live life on his own terms. Since then I have come back to the U.S., moved my family across the country to a new job in Sacramento, California (where funny enough, Cody is from).
The email led me to a contest Cody was putting on to ring in the New Year. He was awarding two scholarships to his Digital Nomad Academy. All I had to do was post a video on YouTube detailing what I would do if
The deadline was on the 29th, so I thought about it briefly and I continued on my way, taking time every so often to look at the email on my phone. “What if?” I wondered. Although I have made it fairly well in my life, I was feeling rather empty.
I have a wonderful wife and two awesome boys, I am good at what I do, but there was something missing. I had almost no time to spend with my family. And when I did have time to spend with them, then I was usually too tired to want to do something cool. Usually I found myself doing something that would just make me numb, absorb my attention, much to the detriment of my family life.
As the days passed, I kept on pushing the decision to act off until the next day. Finally, on the night before the deadline, I decided I would rather try and do this and perhaps fail, rather than not do anything at all and wonder what if for the rest of my life.
Late at night, tired, unshaven and trying to be quiet so I do not wake up the little ones, I made my pitch for the world, reading off notes hastily made into a phone that I could not hold still. It took me about 5 takes to get it right, and then I still was not happy with it.
When I woke up in the morning I told my wife Barri about the “crazy contest”. She watched my video and encouraged me to enter. I posted the submission on her YouTube account and on the DNA Website and then packed the family up and went to the Zoo.
I did not really think much into it until we received word back that I was a finalist for the contest. I looked at the other five finalists. Man, there was some tough competition. I thought Eileen and Rodrigo’s submissions were dynamic. Eventually some doubt did creep in. “Who was I to try to do something like this?” and “Surely this stuff does not work”.
I then had a decision to make. I knew that if I was to have a chance to get one of the scholarships, then I was going to have to enlist all of my friends and family to help me out. If I am to have a chance at winning this I need to let people know (it sucks having to put your personal business out there). I looked squared away, and gave the impression I was successful, but in reality, I was in debt, scared and unfulfilled. Did I really want people I know to know about this? I decided then and there that I was going to give it my best. If people were to judge me based off of my present situation, then they probably were not my friends to begin with.
Shortly after New Years, I got onto Thrilling Heroics during a break at work and noticed that there were the announcements for the winners. I read them and when it came to the two winners, Eileen and Rodrigo, I thought, “totally cool. I loved their entries and I would have picked them anytime of the week” Then I noticed it:
“And, because there was such a flood of outstanding videos, Ms. Claus and I decided to offer another “wild card” scholarship to a third excellent applicant whose story really resonated with us. That spot goes to: Tim Juliussen”.
I left my work and walked down the hallway and went to an area to be alone. I was humbled to have been chosen for such an amazing opportunity. That was a little over a month ago. Since then so much has happened I have decided that in order to save time I will break the events down by timeline:
Within a few days I got an email from Cody welcoming me to the community. He gave me my login information and I immediately went to the site, carefully checking out all that the community had to offer.
Wanting to make the most of the opportunity, I quickly participated in a brief interview survey and posted my introduction on the Forum. Afterwards, I immediately dove into the introductory material.
One thing that I noticed once I dove into the introduction and orientation is that there has obviously been a lot of thought put into this material. It is well organized in describing just how different your mindset needs to be in order for you to truly live the life of your own choosing.
Right from the start you are hit with:
Take a deep breath, look around you, and ask yourself this question, “Did I consciously choose this life for myself? Or am I following the predetermined path that somebody else laid out before me?”
Further into the material you run into a quote that really resonates:
…by American Dream, I mean the soul-crushing pursuit of “respectable” work, so you can live in a “respectable” neighborhood, and drive a “respectable” car, all the while screaming inside for someone to save you.
Maybe Thoreau was right. Maybe we are all just living a life of quiet desperation.
I kept on reading and notice that the community does not promise that I will become a millionaire overnight. It does promise that if I work my ass off, I have a reasonable chance to be successful. It is not just a course full of content, but a community based off of collaboration. I learned that we are expected to all contribute to each other and learn from each other. I also found out that there are weekly conference calls where we have the chance to learn from someone who has been successful and is willing to help us out along the way. This is awesome!
Looking further into the course I found that there are six content modules after orientation, each one building on the knowledge learned from the previous module. I was confused at first as I looked around and said that I do not have access to these modules. Was I doing something wrong? Was I only a trial member?
I finally realized that this is by design in order to prevent one from becoming overwhelmed. Brilliant, because I have the tendency to try to dive in too deep and in the past, I have allowed myself to become overwhelmed when trying to get something new started.
I noticed that all of the previous conference calls are available for download in the Mentorship Call Library. I immediately looked for the more interesting ones to me and downloaded them and put them on my iPod.
As I started listening to them I found myself thinking, “This is great stuff. Where else would you find guys who are actually making a great living doing what they love being so totally accessible?” There is an amazing amount of transparency in these interviews and the faculty is definitely giving their all in answering questions on how to start and improve a business.
One of the expectations of being a winner of the scholarship is that I find a way to contribute to the community in some fashion. Since I have the habit of being an incessant note taker, I start taking notes on the calls so I can form my own lessons learned from each post. I am pretty sure that the “Cliff” notes would be valuable for anyone’s personal DNA tool chest.
Shortly after I became a member of the community, I found out that Cody’s Grandfather has passed away and that Cody will be coming back to Sacramento from Thailand to speak at the funeral and to spend time with family.
I eventually had a chance to meet up with Cody over some coffee and to discuss a game plan for what is to come. Cody is a great guy who patiently waded through all the undeveloped ideas that I decided to unleash on him (who in the heck knows why I do that? I blame A.D.D.). We decided that writing a blog detailing my experiences will be one of the best ways I could contribute to the DNA Community.
So here we are…
From here on out, I hope to write in a way that is much more defined and clear. Unfortunately, trying to write about all of the events that happen in a month was a bit harder than I thought. I will do my best to keep it interesting, partly because if it is not then no one will bother to read it; mainly because if it is not fun, then I will probably not really like it.
My intent is clear. Provide value by showing all my lessons learned in trying to get a Location Independent business off the ground and not look like an idiot in the process.
I will show the steps I did to get to a certain point, and always list all the lessons learned. If I screw it up, you will know. I have decided to leave my ego at the door.
Just in case you are interested, here are some of the major lessons that I have learned in the last month (or had to relearn):
- No one is coming to help you. If you want someone’s help, you have to ask. And do not waste their time. You better be clear about what you are asking for because you will get more out of the answer and you will not waste the other person’s time.
- Good things do not come to those who wait for them. Good things come to those who go after them. Out of over 5,000 readers of Thrilling Heroics, there were only about 20 entries into the contest. Just that people took action is enough to prove to me that they have some edge over everyone else who just merely waits for something good to happen.
- We cannot do it alone. If I did not have a support system in place (my family), then I might not have taken the action needed to get to this point. I was looking out the door and then my wife walked by and kicked me out, transforming me from a dreamer into a doer. Our life will never be the same. The awesome thing about being part of the community is that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Someone has an answer to your problem. You just have to hang the ego at your door and ask the question.
- DNA is for the serious. After listening to most of the past calls, it is apparent that the faculty assembled is both extremely smart and very dedicated to the success of the students. Cody asked me what my favorite part of the community was and I told him the classes on mindset and goal setting. Now I know differently. My favorite part is the ability to interact with some very smart people. The access you get to some of the faculty, such as Dan Andrews, Adam Baker and Corbett Barr (to name only a few) is amazing. I realized really quickly that this is not a passive community and if I was going to make the most of it, I was going to have to get my ass in gear. Sleep will have to wait.
- There is no time to worry about what others are thinking. The concept of DNA that I love is that it is forcing me to go against a lot of ideas that I was raised to believe:
- Hard work solves any problem (sometimes the solution is easier than it seems).
- Go to work for a good company with benefits and you will be successful.
- Work hard and retire at 65 and then see the world.
- If I start a business, everyone will be judging me and waiting for me to fail.
- Online businesses are all scams.
- I couldn’t make a YouTube Video because then it will be on the internet forever and people will be able to see it and judge me.
- Well, I can just try this for about 6 months and see how it all works out. Then I will at least have a good story to tell.
Well screw all of that! It is time to redefine just what my reality is. I’m here to stay.
Action trumps anything else. There is never enough time. It is very revealing when someone (such as myself) rationalizes that I do not have enough time to do something when people like Richard Branson has his own blog. I am positive he has more demands on his time than I do. What the hell is holding me back? The stories revolving around time have got to stop. Action in spite of not having time will always work out in your favor.