Tag: lifelong learning


How to Make 2019 the Year of No Regrets


Like most people, my biggest regrets in life have been the things I didn’t do as opposed to things I did do.

One of my biggest regrets was not doing a study abroad experience to Australia while I was in college. I’d waited too late to inquire about it, when I had only one semester of school left.

This was a big regret because I’d always wanted to go to the land Down Under ever since I was a little girl.

Since I didn’t get to go in college, I tried to make up for it several years later by taking a month-long vacation to Australia as a gift to myself for my 30th birthday.


Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

The Cons

There were a lot of reasons not to go on the trip.

Like the fact that it cost a good chunk of money.

And that I was in the midst of a new relationship.

Or that I would have to go by myself since none of my friends could take off that much time from work.


Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

The Pros

But there were also a lot of reasons for me to go.

The trip would occur during my birthday. I’ve always wanted a summer birthday, and in the Southern Hemisphere I’d get to have one.

I’d be gone during winter break, the same time my students at the college I worked at would also be away. Therefore I wouldn’t put an extra burden on my co-workers.

I had enough time built up to take off 7 weeks from my job at the time (and still had an extra 10 days of vacation left over).

Also, being single with no children made travel and travel planning easy. It could be another 18–20 years before I’d have that kind of freedom again!

Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, Northern Territory

Not Letting the “Maybes” Cloud My Judgment

I can remember my initial thoughts when trying to decide to book the trip or not. They went a little something like this:

“Maybe I should wait until I’m married and go to Australia on my honeymoon.”

OR

“Maybe I should wait until I’m retired when I have more time and money.”

I quickly pushed those thoughts aside.

I knew there was no guarantee I would even be physically able to go when I retired.

And why in the world would I want to wait on some man to take me when I can do this now?

So, I hopped online, did a little research, and found a very reasonably priced flight.

I still wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for a month-long excursion, but I had 9 months to figure it out.

I gave myself a few days to sleep on the information I’d researched. And then I booked my trip.


Uluru/Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

No Regrets (Except One)

I’ve never regretted my decision.

In fact, if I hadn’t done it then, I would’ve spent the past 15 years regretting it.

My only regret?

Not doing it sooner.


Kata Tjuta/The Olgas, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

8 Ways to Make 2019 the Year of No Regrets

1. Don’t settle for “good enough.”

“Most people settle for ‘good-enough.’ Their diet, dating partners, job, income, and relationships are all merely ‘good-enough.’ But since their choices are common, that’s what their life becomes.” — Anthony Moore

I could’ve settled with my “maybes.”

I could’ve blindly accepted my initial thoughts of deferring the trip until I was married or retired.

And I could’ve rationalized those thoughts were a “good enough” plan.

But guess what? Fifteen years later I’m still not married and I’m not even close to retirement.

In fact, since then, I left the security of a job with retirement benefits to start my own business (something else I don’t regret).

While today I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, undoubtedly due to leaving a 9–5 job working for someone else, I know I wouldn’t have the energy I had when I was 30 to do all the rock climbing, hiking, and snorkeling I did in the 115 degree heat of the Outback and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Every day I’m so glad I didn’t settle for “good enough.”

I encourage you not to settle for just “good enough.”


Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays

2. End the wrong relationships.

So what about the relationship I’d just started a few months before going to Australia? It ended one week after I returned.

Even though it was heartbreaking, looking back I’m so glad the relationship didn’t work out. (What a regret that would’ve been if it had!)

Don’t wish you hadn’t wasted time in an unhealthy relationship.

Instead, start the year knowing you can make it on your own and you’ll be available for an even better relationship before or by the end of the year.


Whitsundays’ Long Island, Queensland, Australia

3. Say no to opportunities that don’t support your life mission statement.

Speaking of relationships, I’ve written before about how I had to make the decision to end a relationship a little over a year ago because I recognized it didn’t allow me to fulfill my mission in life.

Having a life mission statement in place will help you to say no to choices you’ll regret later.


Whitsundays’ Long Island, Queensland, Australia

4. And say yes to opportunities that do support your life mission statement.

A life mission statement will also help you say yes to some pretty cool things you hadn’t previously challenged yourself to.

Even if nothing materializes from these opportunities by the end of the year, you can know it wasn’t time wasted because these things will have led you further in fulfilling your mission in life, which may lead to something even bigger and better down the road!


Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

5. Learn something new.

Don’t let another year pass having not learned the one thing you’ve always said you wanted to learn.

Instead, end the year knowing you’ve developed a new skill.

I personally have always been a big believer in lifelong learning and continually encourage my clients to embrace also it.

Just recently I signed-up for a six-month Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense program. And in February I plan to take a class on investing.

I hope by the end of 2019 I’ll be more knowledgeable about stock options, and become quicker in my reaction time to defend myself if the need ever arises.


Mount Tyson, Queensland, Australia

6. Start that side hustle or passion project.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

If there’s something you’ve wanted to start, whether a hobby, a side business, or a passion project, what are you waiting for?

Just start!

Don’t put any pressure on it to be perfect or even successful. Just let it be a creative or fun outlet for you from your everyday routine.

Let it evolve and be open to what it might grow into organically.

For instance, a few years ago I started writing a blog about my adventures in stand up paddling and the spiritual parallels of those adventures. It was really just a place for me to record and preserve my thoughts. I didn’t promote it at all.

My little side project turned into my 2nd published book, which eventually helped fund my 2017 mission trip to the Amazon jungles of Brazil.

You never know what can happen with your own passion project. And you’ll definitely never know if you never start.


Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

7. Turn your side hustle into your full-time gig.

If you start to see some momentum with your side hustle and discover a market for it, it may be time to consider turning it into a full-time gig. Especially if you already know how to think like an entrepreneur.

It was much easier for me to start my own business after working it part-time for 9 months before going full-time with it.

But, eventually I had to pull the trigger and take a leap of faith because I knew it would never be the right (or perfect) time to leave my job and pursue my business full-time.

While being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, if you’ve got the desire to do your own thing and you’ve calculated the risks and counted the costs, this year may be the year to give it a go.

If it doesn’t work out, you may have some regrets, but you won’t die.

And you’ll never have to live with the regret of never having tried.

You may even experience freedom and success like never before!


Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays

8. Develop your positive self-talk.

You’ll never be able to accomplish the above if you keep listening to your negative-self talk.

What if I had listened to my “maybes”?

What if I had told myself I couldn’t go to the other side of the world by myself?

Well, I don’t have to wonder “What if?”

Instead, I have memories of the places I visited, the beauty I experienced, the wildlife I saw, and the people I met. Some of whom I still keep in touch with to this day.

When you start to hear the negative thoughts that are determined to keep you in just a “good enough” existence, re-frame them with positive self-talk.


En route to Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

Stepping Out in Faith

Shortly after I’d stepped out in faith and booked my dream vacation to Australia, things started to fall into place.

I found a fun part-time gig to help me earn a little extra money for the trip.

Also, I received a sum of money previously owed to me which covered the remainder of my cost for the trip.

And remember how I said I was able to take 7 weeks off of work and still have 10 vacation days left over? This all occurred because at the time I worked for a state university and for two years in a row we didn’t receive a raise.

To compensate us for it, we were all given 20 extra vacation days on top of our annual 3 weeks’ vacation time for salaried employees.

Add in to that the vacation I’d already accrued and amount the holidays we all got off during winter break and I had it made!

I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family before leaving for Australia.

Then I spent my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Down Under.

Finally, I was able to have a week for some much-needed rest and time to readjust my internal clock before returning to work, just in time for the students’ return to campus.

Without the vacation compensation, I probably wouldn’t have had so much time to really relish the experience.


Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

The timing turned out to be perfect and “the stars aligned” for it to all work out. But I had no way of predicting all those things would happen. I didn’t have a crystal ball telling me it would all work out.

I just had to take a chance while at the same time being smart about it. And I’m all the better for it.

Now I have no fear of traveling alone (or doing anything else alone for that matter).

I have more knowledge about the history of one of the most fascinating continents on earth and a new respect for its native people, the Aborigines.

I no longer have a fear of bugs. (Sleeping on the ground in the Outback where the spiders are the size of your fist will help you overcome any fear of bugs pretty quickly!)


Sydney, New South Wales

If you can commit to all eight, you’ll likely end the year with no regrets.

And who knows where that will lead you in the years to come!

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All photos by Lori Bumgarnerno regrets

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing

Last week I posted an announcement about the celebration of paNASH’s 10-year anniversary. In it I told how I started my freelance business, the fears I faced in leaving a secure job to go out on my own, and how my business’s mission has evolved.

Today, I want to share some of the freelance lessons I’ve learned over those ten years in working for myself. I hope they will serve as an encouragement to those who are thinking about starting their own thing, are new to the freelancing world, or have been in it long enough to have faced some common struggles.

Freelance Lesson #1

I had to be disciplined. Being your own boss requires A LOT of discipline. Why? Because there’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re showing up on time or getting your work done. Discipline has always come naturally to me, and I was raised by a former Marine Corps officer who further instilled this trait in me. This is not to say that discipline can’t be learned later in life. But the discipline required to work for yourself will make things easier if you’ve already mastered it through other methods such as playing a sport, sticking with a commitment, etc.

Freelance Lesson #2

I had to use my love for life-long learning. I’ve always loved learning new things. And I realized the need for constant learning when starting a business because “a skill does not a business make” according to my friend and colleague Melody Bowers, co-owner of VirtualCollective.

You need to either already have some business sense, or be disciplined enough (see lesson #1) and have the ability to learn it as you go while managing your other responsibilities. If there’s something you can’t learn, there’s always someone else who has the knowledge you can pay to either teach you or to do it for you.

Freelance Lesson #3

I learned it was normal to question my decision almost every single day. I also realized it was normal to feel like giving up on a regular basis when things got hard. But, once I began working in a way that was true and authentic to my own personal mission in life, those doubts and insecurities started to diminish. I became okay with the discomfort of a process that isn’t linear. Instead, it looks more like this:

freelance lessons

Entrepreneur Darius Foroux further explains the figure above in his encouraging article Don’t Quit When It Gets Hard. I love it when he says, “If you never feel like quitting, that means life is too easy and you need to take action in your life.”

Freelance Lesson #4

I learned I had the ability to figure out the logistics. It turns out the things that seem intimidating at first (i.e. getting a business license, paying for your own health insurance, tracking your income & expenses/P&L, etc.) aren’t really all that scary. In fact, a lot of this not-so-fun part of having your own business is easier than you think.

And Freelancers Union has made a lot of it very simple. They provide tips and resources on the logistics of running your own freelance operation and even provide access to affordable insurance.

Freelance Lesson #5

I learned what I’m worth. The toughest thing for me was figuring out my pricing. At first it was hard to know how much to charge. And even when I thought I knew, I then had to figure out which pricing model worked best. An hourly rate? A day rate? A package or retainer rate?

Like most people first starting out, in the beginning I was devaluing my skills and expertise. But, after I started getting clients and began listening to their feedback on the services they received, I started to better understand my worth.

Yes, it helps to look at your competition and the average rate others charge for the same service or product to get an idea of what you should charge. But, what helped me most was asking current and past clients if they would’ve paid more based on the value they’d already received. To my surprise, most of them said yes, and even some told me flat out I was undercharging.

Now, most people (both potential and current clients) say my pricing is reasonable and fair. It took some tweaking and trial and error, but now my pricing structure is in harmony with the service I’m providing.

Freelance Lesson #6

I learned when to say no. This included being selective of potential clients, turning down certain speaking gigs/presentation requests, not wasting my time with potential contacts who only wanted to talk about themselves but never wanted to listen or make the relationship mutually beneficial, discontinuing professional relationships when trust had been broken, etc.

This is difficult to do when first starting out. Especially when it comes to turning away money. But, I can tell you the times I listened to my gut and turned away the opportunities that weren’t the right fit for my business, I was always glad I did. The times I didn’t listen to my gut, I always regretted it.

Freelance Lesson #7

I learned not to compare myself with others. My pastor’s wife always says, “Comparing yourself to others makes you either small or smug, and neither of those are good.” I realized because I do what I do in my own unique way, comparing myself to my competition is a waste of time because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The same is true for you because you also have your own unique way of delivering your service or product that no one else can duplicate. Instead of comparing, focus on what makes you and your brand solely yours. This is what becomes your selling point!

Freelance Lesson #8

I learned (and am still learning) when it’s time to shift gears. When learning to drive a stick, you start to develop a feel for when it’s time to shift gears. This doesn’t mean you won’t grind your gears on occasion.

The same is true in running a business or working as a freelancer. You’ll start to learn when to give something a little more time to grow before uprooting it. When to pull the plug on what’s not working. And when to simplify if you’re trying to do too much or be too many things.

This type of self-awareness can mean the difference between success and failure.

Freelance Lesson #9

I realized the real risk. At first I thought the obvious risk of starting my own thing was leaving the security of a full-time job with benefits. I was wrong! Since leaving my job at a prestigious university where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before.

I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

The only real risk I faced was potentially losing any or all desire to work for someone else again. Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to go back to working for someone else after having worked for yourself. But if I ever had to again, I’d be very selective in who I worked for (see Lesson #6).

Freelance Lesson #10

I learned fear is inevitable. Fear is not a reason to not venture out on your own if it’s what you truly desire. Instead, it’s often an excuse. Everyone who’s ever done this has had some level of fear.

Do your research. Prepare (but don’t wait until you feel fully prepared because that will never happen!). Then push through the fear.

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Sunday Inspiration: Be Teachable

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“The Lord…will show us where to go and what to do.”

Jeremiah 42:3 NLT

Twelve bees were placed in a jar in a darkened room. A light was beamed onto the bottom of the jar, and then the lid removed. Instinctively, the bees flew toward the light and couldn’t escape. So they died trying to buzz their way through the bottom of the jar.

Next the researchers took twelve common houseflies and repeated the experiment. Within seconds the flies had found their way out of the jar. Now, bees are more intelligent than flies and their survival instincts are better. Yet it was those very instincts that doomed the bees.

There’s a lesson here. You may be very intelligent, yet your preconceived notions can doom you to failure in life. Assumptions, rigidity and force of habit can cause you to keep doing things that don’t work and make no sense.

Dr. James Dobson says: ‘Until 1992 I wrote books with pencils and yellow pads. I did that for years after word processors were available. The twentieth century was almost over before I decided to join it.’

Are you afraid to abandon an old belief system, or learn a new skill or tackle a new project? When you’re finished learning, you’re finished! The only real limitations are those we place on ourselves by refusing to learn.

‘Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning’ (Proverbs 9:9 NKJV). ‘The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge’ (Proverbs 18:15 NKJV).

Don’t let your fears and preconceived ideas keep you from growing; be teachable.

Source:  http://www.rhema.co.nz/the-word-for-today/item/8546-be-teachable

From the Comfort Zone to the Learning Zone

Last week I shared with you a diagram of circles that pinpoint the ideal “Sweet Spot” for your purpose in life and work. However, to arrive at that “sweet spot,” there are some zones you have to go through.

The Comfort Zone

You’ve often heard the phrase “get out of your comfort zone.”

This is great advice because as you can see from another diagram below, not much happens inside the comfort zone.

learning zone

While it’s smart and necessary to get outside your comfort zone to experience progress in your goals, you have to be careful not to get too far outside your comfort zone. One article by Belle Beth Cooper explains this very clearly:  it all has to do with your anxiety levels.

The Learning Zone

Inside your comfort zone there are very low levels of anxiety (that’s why it’s called the “Comfort Zone”!). As soon as you start to step outside your comfort zone, your anxiety levels increase. As humans we typically try to avoid anxiety. But slightly increased levels of anxiety can be a good thing because anxiet challenges us and motivates us to learn new things. This area just outside comfort zone is called the “Learning Zone.”

The Panic Zone

Where the concept of stepping outside your comfort zone starts to backfire is when you step too far over the line of your comfort zone. When this happens, you end up in what’s called the Panic Zone. This is the place where your anxiety levels increase at an alarming rate, causing a panicked response. When that happens, you become paralyzed with fear and can’t do anything constructive.

Stay In The Learning Zone

The goal then, when trying something new, is to find the “sweet spot” in terms of your anxiety levels. That sweet spot is found within the Learning Zone as illustrated in our next circular diagram:

learning zone

It is here where there is a balance of challenge and support. Too much support, and you’ll remain in your comfort zone. Too much challenge with little to no support and you’ll end up in the panic zone.

Pushing The Boundaries Of Your Learning Zone

There will still be anxiety and fears within the Learning Zone, but not to worry. Next week we will talk about how to overcome the biggest fear most people face:  the fear of failure. If you can overcome the fear of failure, you can overcome every other fear, allowing you to push the boundaries of your Learning Zone!

Until then, join our newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan. It’s designed to move your passions from just something you dream about to something you live on a daily basis.

Source:  http://blog.crew.co/getting-out-of-your-comfort-zone-why-its-hard-and-why-you-should/

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