9 things I learnt during the Escape Tribe
1. After a high comes a low
Having resigned from my job in June, the excitement and joy that the rest of the Summer brought extended into the early portion of the Escape Tribe. Eager and enthusiastic, I gave a lot of myself and probably ended up taking on too much. This high inevitably came crashing down around half-way through.
Action: Try to keep as balanced and level-headed as possible. I am human, so this is easier said than done, and not possible every minute of every day, but this will be my aim. (It was the same in my recruitment job — better not to get too “buzzed up” after a successful fee, or too “low” after a candidate pulling out of an interview, etcetera).
2. Even introverts need interaction
I am an out and proud introvert, which has it’s advantages and disadvantages (just like being an extrovert also does). Though I value my downtime, there were times when I isolated myself and was way too stuck in my head. With Tribe (mostly) just an evening a week, and my Masters just one weekend every 3 weeks, I was spending a lot of time at home, alone, and thinking by myself. Even for an introspective introvert who loves to think, there is a limit to what is healthy.
Action: Get out of the house and schedule more ‘socialising time’. And, as I have to keep reminding myself, sharing a thought/concern with someone you can trust really does help. (Yet, next time, I will likely silently stew over a problem for a good few days/weeks before someone in my family finally notices and eventually tease it out of me! Something I’m still working on…) Oh — and I really ought to rave a bit more often too.
This leads nicely onto…
3. I need to get out of my head more
My need for ‘knowing everything’ and being a perfectionist can seriously get in the way. There’s a fine line between research to help set the course, and endless research to ‘fill the gaps’ and ‘knowing everything before you begin’ — this is impossible, and you won’t ever begin. I’ve experienced that myself, a lot. This is where the MVP (minimum viable product) comes in — or, as I prefer, the MLP (minimum loveable product), a term taken from The Happy Startup School.
Perfection is the enemy of the done.
Action: Take time to consciously create stuff, and put it out into the world. e.g. Writing blog posts like this
4. At this point in time, I want to work for myself — or at least give it a go
This might change, heck I could even change my mind tomorrow. And that’s OK. Nothing is permanent. What’s most important is that I am in control, and have the power to act and try things out. Daniel Pink talks about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (i.e. the stuff at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy) — at this moment in time, I feel that that would best manifest itself building something myself and working on it.
Action: try building something, and see where it takes me. I don’t where it will lead, but I know that I will gain feedback and learn things along the way — both ‘tangible’ things and ‘things’ about myself.
5. There’s something about coming together in tribes…
Before I started on the Escape Tribe, I would hear — time and time again — how past tribees have found the people and the support from the tribe the most valuable thing. I can now see what they were talking about. Bringing together a group of people with a common purpose (in our case, figuring ourselves out and trying to get to a place of ‘more fulfilling work’) can be SO powerful.
There is magic in the tribe
Before Escape, I used to expose myself to a virtual tribe — the likes of Scott Dinsmore, Leo Babauta and Chris Guillebeau — all of whom had carved out work during what they loved. I still continue to utilise this “virtual community”, and it was there for me before I had my real-world Escape tribe.
Back in the day, lots more folks used to go to churches and suchlike, encouraging community spirit and talking warmly and openly about “the big questions” in life. This is what’s missing in the world today (and, I reckon, one of the reasons why UK wellbeing has plateau’d over the last 50 years, and mental health issues are on the rise).
I really think we would all be better off being part of a tribe. The openness and warmth is quite refreshing — you find yourself having the sorts of conversations that you just wouldn’t have normally (even with a close family member or friend) — and there’s a feeling that you’re all in it together, and that you’re fellow tribers genuinely care. You can’t put a price on that. In fact there’s a lot to write about Tribes… watch this space for a future blog post.
Action: Keep surrounding myself with a support network of likeminded people — at this moment in time, this means Escape and my fellow Masters students.
6. Leaps are necessary — whether big or small
I was one of those who had resigned before Escape. I had no clue what I wanted to do, but I had the security blanket of a year-long full-time Masters (combining Positive Psychology and Coaching) to figure things out. When I had concluded, for various reasons, that I didn’t want to be a coach, I panicked a bit. I am now studying just the Positive Psychology, and bar the necessary evil of assignments, it’s a subject I love and I am sure will serve me in the future, in my own day-to-day life if not professionally.
Perhaps there was another way to do this, rather than resign. I could have built something alongside my job, as others choose to do. Alas, I didn’t. There is no right or wrong answer. What I do believe, is that you need the odd leap of faith here or there, no matter how big or small.
Action: No specifics here. Just keep taking giant and mini-leaps as necessary! (Though carefully assess the situation before a giant one)
7. “You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.”
Jim Rohn’s words, and one of Scott Dinsmore’s favourite quotes. Very true indeed, and this ties in with Point 5 (on “tribes”). No matter how strong your sense of self, others around you will inevitably rub off and influence you. To consciously surround yourself with others who hold your values and beliefs, and are trying to achieve the sorts of inspiration things you are trying to, will help you in the long run. You need all the ingredients you can get in making a brave new change — this is one of those key ingredients.
Action: Keep surrounding myself with the right people — my people.
8. No one knows what they’re doing
I used to fool myself into thinking (and still do!) that every successful person who’s built something cool had some sort of God-given talent and it just sorta happened. Then I started reading about founders’ first-hand accounts and realised this just wasn’t true. We just see the end product. Have you seen what Amazon looked like when it first started? And the likes of Twitter and Facebook? Check ’em out here.
In fact, Reddit.com co-founder Alexis Ohanian previously admitted “I have no idea what I’m doing and that’s awesome”.
9. The journey continues. Keep moving forward!
We are never “done”. There are lots of paths. In fact, as Leah Cox writes, there are no wrong paths.
Somewhere out there in a parallel universe, there’s another Jas doing something completely different and manifesting a happy, fulfilling life in some other way. This is how I like to think of it, and it avoids me getting sucked into the perfectionist’s temptation of knowing “the one thing that’s right for me”. Because there isn’t a one thing, and you are doomed if you fall into that trap. Take it from me, I’ve been there.
Action: Onward with the journey. Like a car with headlamps in the dark, it’s actually quite fun being able to see just ahead and not the end point.
To be able to look back at what you’ve done — you’ve got to keep moving forward and keep on doing stuff!
So here’s to moving forward during the rest of 2016 and beyond. Hopefully there’ll be lots to look back on in future months and years!