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In September of 2021, I achieved a life-long dream: I became a Croatian Citizen.
Freedom of movement. Freedom to live in more than one country indefinitely. The freedom to access and use multiple currencies.
But I didn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t want to make the people I love feel bad.
Of course, I know I’m not responsible for other people’s feelings. I’m not responsible for their dreams or actions. I’m not responsible for their efforts (or lack thereof).
But I am also an empathetic business leader.
I want to improve the lives of others through the work that I do. Hurting a loved-one’s feelings goes against those values.
Let’s take a step back.
In 2015 I burnt out.
I’m very open about the fact that I spent about a week unable to get out of bed. I was overworked and totally lost. I was so sick of hustling to run my business that I just wanted to throw it away.
Forget all the hard work and well-earned clientele I had built.
Forget the dream of freedom and control over my life.
My business was making me sick.
A few friends at the time were talking about a book called “The Success Principles,” insisting that I read it. They raved about it, saying they’d read it multiple times and couldn’t get enough.
I needed something. I trusted my friends. So I bought a $4 used copy on Amazon.
I was floored.
I couldn’t get past the first chapters, because I couldn’t answer the questions that Jack Canfield was asking of me. Who did I want to be? What did I want to do? What did I want to have?
I had no idea.
This told me I had a problem. So I sat with these questions for months, struggling to answer them.
What I realized is that I wanted big things. I wanted a location-free business. I wanted a certain level of income (and financial literacy). I wanted dual citizenship to give me freedom of movement. Multiple properties around the world. The list went on.
And it blew. my. mind.
For some reason I was operating under the assumption that none of this was possible for me. The moment I decided I wanted these things, my identity (and my behavior) changed.
But so did my friendships. I started being made fun of for my dreams by the people I thought of as family. They didn’t understand the shifts I was making; more importantly, they didn’t want to understand, because they were living under the same ‘old rules’ I had been.
Success often roots out limiting beliefs in the ones we love. One friend insisted, “I can’t do that in my industry,” to explain why something I was working toward wasn’t possible for him.
A friend who kept asking me about finances would rebut my suggestions with, “I don’t have any money,” while simultaneously drinking a craft beer with me at a brewery (that she paid for).
And when I set out to gain my dual citizenship, a friend said, “Other countries don’t want disabled people, so dual citizenship isn’t for me.”
Hearing these things from the people I love taught me to be ashamed of my success. I stopped talking about my achievements, to the point of which I was missing out on opportunities that were available to me because of the doors that had opened due to my hard work. By hiding, we reduce our capability for leadership.
And that’s not who I set out to be.
Anyone reading this that has had to ‘break up’ with a friend knows how hard this evolution was. I eventually left a lot of those people behind because the dissonance between what I wanted and what they thought was possible was too painful for all of us.
If you know what I’m talking about and you want to surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to dream out loud, come over to SCALING:lab. We’ll support you without judgement, help open doors for you, and cheer for you when you hit a major milestone. I look forward to seeing you there.