Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, almost without realizing it until a couple years ago, is the idea of living an unconventional life – a life that breaks out of the mold, is out of the ordinary, a life that will make a hell of a memoir down the road, filled with stories that will captivate friends, family, and strangers alike.
And I recently realized that my attraction to this kind of life is a huge part of the reason I love entrepreneurship. While of course I like the idea of building my own business and legacy, being my own boss, and having more control over my income, I’m also just hopelessly addicted to the stories behind successful solopreneurs.
I couldn’t care less about start-ups created in the conventional, business-school-dream-come-true kind of way – ones that grow into massive global corporations, or start off with huge amounts of investment capital and then get grown quickly and sold off to another company, or ones that scale super-fast in order to have a blockbuster IPO. Yawn.
Solopreneurship is what I’ve always been most interested in, and I think a lot of the attraction has to do with the people doing it and the stories of their lives. Working from home, having a flexible schedule, being around for their kids, presenting at conferences, publishing their stories, having family adventures, traveling, and building memorable, unique lives…this is what I love to hear about, and it’s everything that I want for my family.
And it’s funny to think that it’s taken me this long to realize that my interest in entrepreneurship is tied so closely with the idea of an unconventional life, although I guess it’s always been there in the back of my mind. When I sent out an email to my corporate colleagues last summer, telling them that I was leaving my job after seven years, here’s what I said:
“More than a career change, this will be a much-needed lifestyle change. I’m looking forward to pursuing several artistic and personal interests, as well as spending more time with my family, living a life of creativity, passion, entrepreneurship and adventure.”
So even then, I knew what was in my heart, it just took me a while to really GET that this is the driving force behind my starting Brave New Biz – my desire to live an uncommon life.
And what does that kind of life look like? For me, the three keys to living an unconventional life are adventure, being brave, and creativity.
The First Key: Adventure
ad · ven · ture
1. an unusual and exciting, possibly hazardous, experience or activity
2. an undertaking of a questionable nature with an uncertain outcome
Adventure often implies something on a grand scale, but in reality, it can be big or small or anywhere in between. The key is to incorporate adventure into our lives in ways that fall all along that spectrum – from the tiny, everyday ones to the bigger, life-altering ones.
An everyday adventure could be something as simple as driving down a street that you pass by all the time, always wondering what’s down that road, or maybe trying a cuisine you’ve never had before, like Vietnamese or Egyptian – in other words, going off the beaten path and discovering something new.
Now, while going down an unknown street may be an unusual experience with an uncertain outcome, let’s be frank: it’s probably not going to be all that exciting or risky. But still, it’s there on the spectrum of adventure because it’s something out of the ordinary.
Big, major, life-altering adventures could be things like quitting your corporate job, converting a school bus into your family’s home, moving to Alaska, or traveling around the world.
The point of adventure is to keep introducing new experiences into your life, avoiding the rut of routine. Don’t get me wrong – I love routines and I’m a creature of habit by nature. But breaking out of them once in a while is what makes me feel like I’m actually experiencing life, rather than just plodding through it.
How a Bucket List Helps
This is why I made up my bucket list a few years ago – it’s basically a list of all the adventures I want to experience, from tiny to huge and everywhere in between. Items I’ve checked off so far include getting a tattoo (two, actually), going skydiving, giving birth without drugs, quitting my corporate job, joining a performing chorus, and getting a paid singing gig. Others I’m working on include starting my own business, going paragliding, visiting a long list of different countries, and living abroad.
But I also include simpler items, like watching certain classic films that I’ve never seen, such as Citizen Kane and It’s a Wonderful Life (inexcusable, I know!), planting a vegetable garden, and flying a kite with my kids.
The point is simply to do the things that we dream about, rather than relegating them to daydreams or “someday”. Not only are a lot of these things a bit out of the ordinary themselves – most people don’t go paragliding every day – but also, listening to your heart and following your dreams, no matter how big or small, is itself something out of the norm.
Because really, how many people actually do the things they say they want to do? Not many.
I want to be one who does.
So that’s the first key to living an unconventional life – adventure! In parts 2 and 3, I’ll dig into the other two – being brave and creativity.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on adventure or living unconventionally!
Do you seek to live a life of non-conformity? Does it involve adventure? What’s your definition of that word? Scroll down and share below in the comments!
Photo © Erllre | Dreamstime.com