The Ultimate Smackdown
Over the past few years, Pete and I have had several short conversations that go like this:
Me: “Hey! I have a new idea!”
Pete: “NO. NOT AGAIN. SHUT UP YOU.”
Rightly so (and it has happened in the reverse as well). Not all of our ideas are great of course, and really, when would we have the time to pursue them anyways? We feel like we’ve struck a great balance between work and fun, between the blog and the side biz and writing books and traveling and more. But it doesn’t leave much room for much else, at least not without some sacrifice of the fun.
That is why the most dangerous threat to this life we’ve created for ourselves is a New Idea that could upset our balance. And that means that the second most dangerous threat comes in the form of well-run conferences which inherently stimulate inspiration. Those damn things only spur on more New Ideas.
A couple of weeks ago, after attending The Social Summit in Calgary, and after a lunch where Pete and I tossed around many what ifs, I posed this question on my personal Facebook page.
My intention was to have an open discussion on the ultimate smackdown between two sentiments that we routinely find at odds in this lifestyle: freedom and ambition.
The responses were surprisingly varied and some, in all honesty, irked me. I partially blame my broad wording for several comments that detracted from the conversation that I had hoped to have. No, posing these questions does not indicate that Pete and I have a myriad of deeper issues to address. I just want to talk about freedom and ambition. No, I’m not crying out because I need “roots” or I am suffering from blogger burnout. I just want to talk about freedom and ambition. (This post, written earlier this year, still holds very true for how we feel today. And if anyone thinks that they know us better than we know ourselves, think again.)
^^ The above qualifies as a total digression to this post. However, I needed to say it.
But back to the matter at hand, because I still just want to talk about freedom and ambition.
We find ourselves at a bit of a crossroads. Our last two years of blog and business have not come without their ups and downs, but overall have been good to us. We’re sustaining, living comfortably, and even saving a wee bit. We could conceivably continue this path for years to come but two issues have us thinking otherwise: (1) the concern of long-term sustainability and doing more to smooth out the “downs” and (2) some of the New Ideas are starting to nag at us with force.
The second point is at the forefront of our minds. In the broadest terms, over six year ago we “ditched it all for a life of freedom”, but that doesn’t mean we also dispelled the core of who we are. And ingrained in both of us are some very important qualities that come into play here: the need to be purposeful, the desire to be challenged, and the drive to work hard.
So when it feels like there are mountains of opportunity just outside of our grasp, those are hard to ignore. And we are well aware that if left long enough, others may step in. However, pursuing them will also mean a sacrifice of the very fun and spontaneous travel that we also desire – it will likely mean reducing our globetrotting to globecrawling. Not a terrible sacrifice, and maybe not a forever one either (I am a big fan of outsourcing once things are working), but it will mean a sacrifice of time and an investment of cash nonetheless.
Is it a detraction from the original mandate we made when we set out on this journey? Maybe, at least a bit. We aren’t fixin’ to be filthy rich by any means, but we do want to be sure that we and ours are taken care of. And the question of “what could we REALLY do if we put our minds to it?” evokes a challenge that does excite us both.
We are blessed, of course, to have the freedom to make these decisions in the first place. And at the end of the day, it comes down to estimating our future and having deep discussions on the values we hold. Easy, right?
But even if we don’t pursue any of the New Ideas after this soul searching, it’s still worth checking in from time to time. (Just maybe not so vaguely on my personal Facebook page again.)
P.S. Want more behind-the-scenes looks at our lives? Check out more of our In Real Time posts.