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Monday, April 18, 2011

Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun... Days 104-108

Wow, it feels so good to be home.  I am sitting in my own bed as I type this out during the wee hours of a California morning.  As much as I love traveling, love seeing the world, love experiencing new things, and love my job... I am really craving some consistent at home time.  As I have gotten older I have fallen in love with where I live for different reasons than my younger days.  I crave the serenity the beach and mountains provide... it keeps me grounded, focused, and provides a great retreat from my full speed ahead, sun up to sun down lifestyle that I live.

The last few days in Brazil were really great.  In the midst of the long days and nights of work I was able to sneak away and see some beautiful sites.  I made it to the top of the Sugar Loaf, up to the Christ Redeemer statue, walked through a couple beautiful parks, and capped it all off with hang gliding before I jumped on a plane for 16 hours of travel home.  I look back at the pictures from my trip and I have to admit, I am really proud of myself for all I was able to see/do while in Brazil.

Past work trips I didn't accomplish as much.  I would toss my "ME" time aside and instead make myself 110% available for work.  While my focus, anyone's focus when having the opportunity to travel for business should be on their job, their clients, their main purpose for the travel, it does not mean they have to give every single second of their time for that.  We all are still entitled to a few hours each day to call our own.  And it is in those hours we have the opportunity to go out and explore the world around you.

I have received several emails talking about "how lucky" I am to be able to have the opportunity to go to all these places and do all that I am doing.  I am not a big fan of the word "luck" when used in this context because to me it is implying that I won something, like I won the lottery for work.  I instead prefer the term "fortunate" and I will tell you why.

The opportunities I have created for myself to travel have come because that is what I wanted.  When I travel for pleasure it is a result of consistently setting aside enough money in cash so I can pay for the trip out right.  I budget the trip out in advance, estimate my costs: food, transportation, housing, what I want to see etc... and start saving according based around that estimate.  I am not going to lie, on some trips in order to save a few bucks, I'll spend the night in my rental car and then take a shower at the gym the next morning.  It may not be glorious, but many times it saves me enough money and is the difference maker between me being able to go somewhere and me having to wait longer to go.

When I travel for work it is much different.  First, I am in the position where I can travel for work because I spent years and 1000's upon 1000's of hours over the last several years building myself and my business up to the point where my clients valued myself and my service's highly enough that they would want to take me with them on some of their work trips.  I have been fortunate enough to find my passion for work right away.  It has made it easier to dedicate as much time and energy to that which I do because I am so passionate about it.  My clients have seen this consistently for many years; and it is that passion, that determination, and that desire to help people live richer, fuller lives that has put me in the position I am today.

When I am given the opportunity to travel for work, I get to go to places that I financially may not otherwise be able to at this time in my life.  Once I am there though, what I do with that time is on me.  I can tell you from talking with other people who were in Brazil due to similar circumstances as myself, no one did or saw as much as I did - we were all there for the same amount of time.

I say the above not to brag, but rather to illustrate the difference in how people choose to use their opportunities.  Lots of people were stoked to have the opportunity to go lay by the beach, or out by the pool in their down time.  Others, wanted to sleep and re-cover from the long travel there and prepare for the long travel back.  Myself... I do things a little different.

One of the greatest compliments I have been paid this year came from one of my very close friends and clients who lived in Hawaii for a number of years.  Upon returning back from Hawaii she told me, "I lived there for all that time and I feel like you did/saw more than I ever did.  It makes me want to go back and explore."  Take advantage of opportunities as they are presented to you.  Many of you live in places I would love to go and see and explore... I would love to experience and learn about the culture.  You have opportunity in your back yard, take advantage of it! 

When traveling somewhere for work depending on the schedule for the day to come I will usually knock about 1-2 hours of sleep off of my normal sleep, meaning I go to bed an hour later and get up an hour earlier.  By doing this it frees up two extra hours for exploring.  Another trick I do is that I combine exercise with exploration; a lot of those beach pictures I shared with you it was because when I went for a run I would run with my camera so I could add in some exploring time with my dedicated exercise time.  I plan!  I can't stress how important that is when you are traveling on a time budget with work.  Typically you have an idea of what your work required duties are the days to come, where it will be at (hotel conference room or other location), and with that knowledge you can anticipate what you may be able to do/see.  There were 100's of more things I would have liked to experience/do in Brazil, but I got to do what I did because of utilizing the above strategy.

And staying true to the 1000 Challenge by trying to do as much free stuff as possible you will note from the nearly 40+ things I accomplished on my list, almost every single one of them were free.  Of the three or so that cost anything, only hang gliding was expensive.

I am sharing the above with all of you because it has nothing to do with luck... I am fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity, but from then on it is up to me to go out and make the most of it.  It is my choice to sleep or explore, it is my choice to research and plan or to not to, it is my choice to seize the opportunity put in front of me to go out and see and experience as much as possible in what little time I have.

The above luck vs. being fortunate is a very important distinction.  How many times in our lives do we give up on pursuing an opportunity someone else may have and justify it as the other person being "lucky."  Luck gives us an excuse, it gives us a way out, it gives us a way to let ourselves off the hook for maybe not working quite as hard as we could have, for not maximizing every minute that we could have.

I can say Richard Branson, one of my hero's, is very lucky because he has these big companies and gets to go to all these places and has all this money and does all this fun stuff.  That's not the reality though.  He is one of my hero's because he had a learning disability, grew up very poor, but despite those disadvantages he didn't let himself be deterred.  He instead maximized what he did have... his tenacity, his ambition, his desire to succeed and built the Virgin empire up from a small newspaper/magazine ( I can't remember which at the moment) company that he ran out of a tiny loft, into what it is today.  In those early days he never dreamed of music or airplanes, but they came about because what he did dream of was achieving goals and doing business in his own unique way.

It is not about luck ladies and gentlemen.  Are their people that get lucky in life and win the lottery, sure, yes.  The odds of winning the jackpot are something astronomical like 1 in 42 MILLION!!! Those aren't very good odds, I prefer to go with the following strategy.  Hard work + passion + desire - self doubt - excuses + Carpe Diem (I had to throw that in there!) = the opportunity to create the life of your dreams... the life you choose to live.  Life is not about getting lucky.  If we spend our life waiting to win the lottery that means every day more than 42 million of us are going to wake up and be disappointed.  The United Sates has a population of approximately 400 Million people if we all live for the lottery then only 10 people each day are to be happy and the rest are left waiting for when it is their turn to get lucky??? Why?

Not every single one of us is going to have the opportunity tomorrow to go to Brazil, to go to China, to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, to go on an African Safari, or travel to the Moon.  However, just because we may not be able to go tomorrow doesn't mean we can't start planning for the future.  And just because we are planning for something big in the future doesn't mean we can't do something small today to make our tomorrow better.  And just because not all of us can do complex math, (algebra, calculus etc...), doesn't mean we all still can't practice the daily math skills of a very simple formula that goes something like this: Hard Work + Passion + Desire - self doubt - excuses + Carpe Diem = ________________ the opportunity for you to fill in the blank with whatever you want.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,



  1. Nice post jesse, yes, you are very fortunate! Your philosphy is practical and attainable. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Usted no me deja de sorprender y de enseñar Jesse, siempre me supera,se supone que yo soy mayor y debería darle experiencias de vida, pero es siempre usted quién me las termina dando señor"afortunado" como usted bien a dicho. Felicitaciones, gracias y no cambie nunca, el mundo lo necesita y yo también. JULIA-------You do not stop me surprising and Jesse teaching, always it overcomes me, it is supposed that I am major and it should give him experiences of life, but he is always you who "lucky" Mr. ends up by giving them to me as you well to saying. Congratulations, thank you and never change, the world needs it and I also.

  3. I know what you mean. I am not a rich person and never have been. But while I was a student, I was able to go to Turkey, Crete, Austria, Florida, Estonia and Romania. To Turkey I was able to go because it was our class trip (we saved for it for 3 years), to Crete because it was part of my course (part of where our religion was born, we visited monasteries etc.), Austria because it was a school thing again.

    I was an exchange student in Florida for almost a year, Estonia and Romania were work trips for a company where I did my internship. Oh I forgot England and Wales... They were part of English course. One reason why I chose the schools and course I took, was that they offered trips. Of course I had to pay something myself, but it was a lot cheaper than just going by myself.

    So basically I agree with you with the lucky thing. It is the choices we make that matters. :)