March 8

Changing Plans


So the Quest for Freedom goes on.

I know in this episode I was going to talk about some of the life changing moments that I experienced at New Frontiers and Enspiral Summerfest but given that this episode’s name is called “Changing Plans”, I’ve changed my plan for this week!

And the reason for that is pretty simple.

I’ve been tossing up between two completely different paths that I can take and as I mentioned to you when I started the Quest for Freedom, I did say there’d be an element of choose your own adventure in it.

Now I’m pretty close to making this choice but there is still some sway here, some room for you to have your say.

And so, today’s episode is about why it’s okay to change your mind. Why you can choose to change your mind and why you are free to change your mind. And of course as always I would love your feedback on this episode.

It all kind of started recently. If I am really honest I’ve talked about this decision to take a business sabbatical this year and while I am still doing that, the business sabbatical itself has changed quite a lot in my mind.

I think at the time I made that decision I was very much like, I am so over 7 or almost 7 years in business and I am over doing all these things and I am just wanting a break.

And as I’ve stepped away from my business a lot of people have asked me, “How are you doing it”.

I am happy to explain that in this episode, but as I’ve removed myself bit by bit, I’ve realized it’s actually pretty hard to remove yourself from your own business when your business IS you. When you are a personal brand.

Had I chosen to go into the software development business, or a kind of a customized service that was part of a team and not dependent on me, it might have been way easier.

But I realized that some of my stuff is actually flawed, because the key things that I guess I give to my business, that are sort of irreplaceable (and I am not saying that from an ego driven perspective at all), but the things that I bring to my business that nobody else can really replace are the social capital that I have.

The relationships that I have with friends, with influencers, with partners, with companies who have been on this journey with me as I’ve grown my business, who have supported me along the way.

Where we’ve done promotions together, we’ve partnered together on really cool education aspects and we’ve gotten to know each other at conferences, at events and experiences.

And that’s stuff that you just can’t hand over to somebody else that’s coming in to replace you.

You can’t just say, “Hey! Here’s this awesome person that will be dealing with you now.” It just doesn’t really fully cut it.

This is by no means me hanging on to my baby or holding on to my business. This is the reality of things.

The things that drive revenue on my business all come down to relationships.

I’ve even noticed a little in my community just with saying, “Hey! I am going to be on a sabbatical!”, that people have been really supportive of it and saying things like, “Hey Natalie! That totally aligns with who you are and what you always preach to us.”

But I also feel there’s been a little bit of a drop away from people in the community, like just this general dip, and I am going to be straight up honest here. – my business over the last couple of months took a bit of a dive.

I think part of it was related to the brand new website, which was received extremely well. But changing hosting companies and SEO rankings kind of going down the toilet with that change …well we always knew that there’d be this momentary aspect when some of the rankings would drop and things would decline but then they’d stabilize.

We also switched over to all new systems ConvertKit, Teachable, Clickfunnels and while I think they’ve been an excellent change, there’s just that hand over time, in that change over there’s things clicking together and sticking together and working.

And all of that combined being done all at the same time, kind of played havoc with the business.

I think that in combination with the community kind of going “Where the heck is Natalie at?” in combination with ‘energy in versus energy out’.

I am a big believer that the more energy you put into something, the more energy you are going to get out.

“If you do a half-hearted job, you’ll get a half-hearted result. If you go all in, you’ll get amazing results.”

And so I think those three sets of combinations all affected the business. And had you talked to me a couple of weeks ago, I might have said:

“You know what? I am not sure I can take a business sabbatical”.

Things have kind of changed the minute I made that decision and made it public. Things changed –  it was like my business said to me, “Well, if you are buggering off, I might bugger off too.”

So the good news is that recently things have started looking up again and stabilizing and you know, the business is pretty self-managing. My awesome, humble, nifty, agile and talented team are doing a great job. They know what they are doing.

And I, as CEO and founder of my company, I am happy to step aside to a point, but I’ve also been somewhat reinvigorated (ironically) with the business.

I still love my community. I still love what I do and I think just even the thought of taking a break from it gave me a break from it.

Does that make sense?

Have you ever experienced that in your business?

Like when you kind of put everything in place to go  ‘I am going to step back for a bit’, and you think about how is that going to feel and what it’s going to look like.

And you start removing yourself a little.

You take a little less responsibility.

You put more responsibility onto others.

They do a great job.

You see things starting to work and you just ease off a little bit and you place time and importance on other things: new networks, new relationships, new friendships, new areas of learning.

And it’s like you are already having a bit of a refresher. It’s kind of like you are going on a mini holiday in real time.

I guess that is what’s happened to me in the last couple of weeks.

So as I said I thought I’d bring in some snippets from New Frontiers, but I don’t think this is the episode to do it in. I am going to bring that in in the next episode.

Because today’s topic is all about changing plans and why it’s totally cool if you want to change your mind.

And this is where I want to insert a little message from one my community members, Kim Morrisson, because she posted on my Facebook page the other day and I asked her to turn her comment into this audio message. So it could be included in this episode and here is what she said:

“Hi Natalie, Kim Morrisson here from Portugal. First congratulations on your book deal, so exciting! I loved reading your original Suitcase Entrepreneur book. In your Facebook Live, you said that it’s as if the world is opening up some fantastic new opportunities for you. And as a result you haven’t rethink what your plans for this year might be.

While I accept it, we need to plan in order to achieve our goals or we can drift aimlessly. Isn’t being able to change exactly what freedom is all about? The ability to change direction, follow your heart, rather than stick to what you originally planned otherwise we are just locked into a world that we can’t move from.

After all, your lifestyle property was one of your goals anyway. Maybe not in your plan for this year but does that really matter? I believe that your true freedom is actually having the opportunity to choose what you want to do and the direction you’re going. And that of course can change. I hope that helps.”

And I sat back and I thought, you know what Kim, you are actually right.

Like I’m always attempting to do the right thing, to be a guide to others, to show people the way, to prove that you can do whatever you want, that you get to design your lifestyle and you get to design your business to support that lifestyle.

And in doing so I kind of feel like I’ve become a little bit of my own poster child for be adventurous, be free, travel the world, do whatever you want.

And one thing that I wanted most was just to:

  • sort of settle, and be
  • own a lifestyle property
  • grow and develop my relationship with Josh
  • have chickens and a dog and;
  • BE in one place for a decent period of time  and;
  • experience my first winter in something like 7 years.

I realized that was okay. That was more than okay, because that’s what my heart desired.

Yet somewhere in this bubble of my intuition, in my years of experience in building this brand of adventure and freedom, I thought that might not be okay.

So thank you to Kim for bringing that up, and for the multitude of awesome people in my community and my friends and my networks, who have all been really supportive of this decision to step away from the business and to go on a business sabbatical.

And so when you next hear from me, I might have some very exciting news.

At this point of my time, I have two options:

The first option,  which I am going to tell you right now is the one that I thought I’d naturally be taking. At the start of the year I thought, “Great! I’ll hand over, train people up, get the business to a point that come first of April, my birthday month, I am going to take that entire month off for sure (and probably several months after that). I am going to go to Bali and run my retreat. I am going to celebrate my birthday in Bali with my family and friends and then I am going to head on to Portugal and surf and read books. I am going to go to Tony Robbins in London. I am going to stay in Europe for summer. And then I’ll come back to New Zealand, kind of like I do nearing summer. And just take it from there.”

Sounds tempting I know.

And then the second option was, “No I am going to commit and I am going to stick around in New Zealand. And I am going to build a community in my hometown of Wellington, where I grew up, but actually don’t really have a strong base of friends and people because I’ve been away for 10 years.”

That sounds really appealing. The sense of community on the ground. Not just globally, not just online and not just having to travel so far to meet people that I care about, but right here in my hometown.

And I’ve been away long enough that that excites me.

And then I thought I’d take that further like:

  • What about business opportunities here?
  • What about being on a co-founding team of a tech startup?
  • What about creating other business opportunities?
  • What about partnering with Josh?
  • What about partnering with my sister?

All these things that came into the light.

What about living in one place for more than three months at a time?  What about owning a place that feels like a real home?

Not that my apartment in Wellington isn’t awesome, but it’s kind of.. I am a little bit in transition when I am here. I’ve had Airbnb guests all the time. I’ve been away a little bit and even though I have loved having it as a base because it’s right in the heart of the city, it’s awesome.

But it’s not a home with nature on your doorstep. It hasn’t got animals right there. It’s not a real home. It doesn’t have a fireplace. You know?

Not that you need a fireplace to have a real home but.. I don’t know why I said that. So there are my two options.

And if I was to allow you to choose my own adventure, I’d say this.

  1. If you’d like Natalie to head of to Bali and onto adventures in Portugal with surfing, lovely people, sunshine and the freedom to do whatever you want, turn to page 45.
  2. If you’d like Natalie to go into an adventure, spend all her money on a big lifestyle property that she has no idea how to handle, get a dog and some free range chickens, turn to page 72.

I can almost hear you guys kind of going, “What the heck?”. Those are two such different decisions ….and they are.

This relates back to probably the first episode where I talked about what is a quest? And even the second episode where I sort of talked about this paralysis by analysis. This paradox of choice that you actually need limitations in order to be free.

Because when you have no limitations it can actually be quite devastating, which sounds so freaking ironic. But earlier this year when I had these big choices to make I was really in limbo.

I was just wishing somebody would give me a limitation. Say to me, “Natalie you need to stay in New Zealand for a whole year.”

If somebody has said that to me I would be like, “Okay, great!”.

Now I have a limitation, what are my freedom aspects within that? What can I do within that limitation? And I was like, “Oh my God! I could explore all of New Zealand. There are so many things within this country.”

If they’d said, “Natalie, you have to stay in Wellington”. I would have been like, “Great!”.

Even more of a limitation, but with so much freedom within that because the thing about limiting the number of decisions you have to make actually gives you more freedom.

That’s why Steve Jobs used to wear the exact same outfit to work everyday. So he didn’t have to think about or make a decision or spend time on what his wardrobe was.

That’s why people like bodybuilders eat the same thing every single day, which might seem really odd to you and me and boring, but they know exactly what they are going to eat, they know how to prepare it. It’s satisfying, it’s nutritious, it’s probably tasty, it’s one less thing to think about.

And I know when I was doing my body sculpting competition, I got into such a great routine being at the gym at 5:30 every single morning. Similar food every single day: chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, eggs.

It actually made it incredibly freeing, because if I think back on that time I had very few decisions to make and that freed up my time to be able to do more thinking, to engage more in the work that I was doing.

It allowed me to be more present for people around me because I wasn’t filled with, “Where do I need to travel next? What do I need to book? How do I book the accommodation? Who do I need to see? How do I get there? What should I pack? How can i do this? How can I do that? How do I run my business at the same time? Who do I need to speak to? What timezone am I on?

Like seriously, it gets exhausting.

First world problem I appreciate, but one that I am kind of ready to put a little hold on.

I want fewer decisions. I want less freedom (weirdest thing ever but just stick with me). I want less freedom so that ultimately I have more freedom in the things that I really want to do.

If that didn’t really make sense to you I would love for you to listen to episode 4 where Connie and I talked about why freedom has dropped off her values list. It used to be number 1, it’s not even on it anymore.

We talked about why wanting freedom so much can actually make you a slave to it.

Now I just want to bring your attention to a short snippet about how to think less and live more – analysis paralysis. And this is by Preston Smiles, who’s a pretty big motivational guy on Youtube who does sort of beautiful poetry to get you to think about life abundantly.

This one I thought was just so pertinent what I am discussing here. How to think less and live more, let’s hit it:


The key part I’ve included in my podcast audio is this:

“You got to do something. You got to step up in your life and jump! So many people are sitting on the fence of life: watching and waiting and trying to figure out if it’s time. Well, it’s never going to be the right time.

The right time is now. Now, now, now, now! Every time.

Don’t wait for the right job or the perfect mate or the right money. “I got to pay my mortgage off before I live”. “I am going to take that trip two years from now when I get the right job”.

Live it now! Because you never know, you never know when that day comes.

We all have an expiration date and I have seen it too many times where people die with the dance still in them. We don’t want to die with our dance still in us.

You want to die with it all out on the field. You want to know that you left it all out on the field.“

So that’s where I am at. I am at this point of the time is right, right now.

I don’t feel like I’ve ever been a person to hold back on life. I feel like I’ve lived it to the full but one thing I’ve noticed on my journey through adventuring around the world is this absolutely desire.. just hear me out on his.. to have a dog.

I am a big animal lover and for those of you who have travelled with me, or been with me in person you will know that I pretty much stop and say hello to every single dog no matter what.

Like I got ringworm from a dog in the Caribbean because I was patting this stray dog and I didn’t realize I got that. But the point is you know, I am not afraid of dogs. I love them to bits and they just strike out this emotion of happiness in me and playfulness and abundance that I love.

And I’ve realized it for the last couple of years I’ve been talking about, “Oh I’d really love a dog, but you can’t travel with a dog when you’re living out of a suitcase.”

And I thought about it in the last couple of months, around Christmas time and I was like, “Well, Nat, you get to make a choice here. If you really want a dog then you need to adapt your lifestyle to have one in it.”

And it’s not like dogs are a huge problem that means you can never travel again. I have plenty of people that I’ve actually had as case studies in my book and on my blog who travel with their dogs every three months, they go somewhere different.

They go through the immigration and the forms for the dog and they come with them. And I’m like, “Awesome!”.

You know, it’s a bit more work but they get to have their lovable pooches with them. I’ve done house sitting where I’ve absolutely adored being with dogs and cats and any other animal.

I was like, if you don’t make time for this what if tomorrow never happened and you never had that opportunity to have a dog in your life again.

I’ve had a dog once in my life for about a year when I bought my first house. I was a lot younger and it was just a lot of responsibility and I loved Zoe to bits, but I rehoused her with an awesome family and a little dog when I sold my house a year later.

We had the coolest adventure year together. We were like best buddies. She is a beautiful dog, a Huntaway German Shepherd X, and just the lickiest, cuddliest dog in the world.

But that was ages ago, that was 2002 and I thought about it and I was like, “Is my lifestyle actually stopping me from the very things that I want to be in it?”.

So dog is one of those things I want to be in it.

The second thing that I want to be in it is nature. Nature on my doorstep. I want the ability to have a garden. I want to have an orchard. I would like to grow my own vegetables. I would like to get into organic farming.

I would like to understand and learn more about permaculture, which came to my attention big time at New Frontiers. I would like to build tiny houses. You guys know I am a minimalist. I would really like to understand how to build a tiny house. I would like to put tiny houses on my land.

I would like to help with the housing shortage around New Zealand and actually frankly, around the world.

And this just stemmed into a bigger and bigger and bigger vision that all started with sticking around in one place and following my dreams. So did you choose page 45 or page 72?

Let me know in the comments below.

And now I am going to divulge a little secret, I may have put an offer on a lifestyle property with Josh on Monday night, February 27th.

What the heck is a lifestyle property?

A lifestyle property sounds really fantastic doesn’t it? It sounds like you’re just going to live the dream. You are going to have an awesome lifestyle. You are going to relax with your pool and your tennis court and your beautiful house and your block of land.

But for most people who I know who are on a lifestyle property, it means you are taking on a project and a lot of work. So it might sound like you are going to sit back and relax and live the lifestyle but ultimately you are making a big decision.

So the property that we have put an offer in is over a million dollars (Crazy!).

It has over a hectare of land which is around 2.5 acres.. It has four bedrooms and two bathrooms and just beautiful space and a really lovely entertaining area and a deck built the whole way around it.

It has ability to host family and friends which a the big thing on our must have list. It has a beautiful garden that can be even more beautiful if I get my hands on it and figure out how to garden. My mums an amazing gardener.

And it has a massive barn/implementation shed which the minute I saw it. I was like, “Oh! Co-working space. Oh! Tiny house creation. Oh! Crossfit gym. Oh! Office. Oh! So many things. Art workshop. Oh! holding events and retreats. So you know whatever I look at here in my life is always a business element to it.

And excitingly we saw this house on a Sunday. We put in an offer on the Monday. Our offer got shown on the Wednesday. It got accepted on the Friday. And it is subject to somebody else who has put an offer in the house who have to sell the property first.

So at the time of this recording we get to hear one way or the other: whether we got it and the other contract was relinquished or whether we didn’t.

And either way I am okay, because this entire process of looking at properties, figuring out our wish list together of what’s really important to Josh and I, of going through financial analysis of how to afford this – because that is a pretty big financial commitment, even for two people, has been great!

Understanding the commitment behind this like looking after the land, tending to a vegetable garden, creating an orchard, having animals like chickens and dogs and maybe more, as well as maintenance on the house, maintenance on the land and furnishing a house that’s a lot bigger than I am used to as a minimalist with really not much to my name – it’s all quite the change.

So pretty massive endeavor here, but I realized in this entire process of going through this analysis with Josh and doing a weighted matrix on what’s important to us and non-negotiables and everything that we wanted if this was our dream property, has proven to me big time that I would drop everything in a heartbeat to have a lifestyle property in New Zealand right now.

Right here, right now. Right here, right now. You know that song. If you don’t know that song I am not just singing to myself.

That is super exciting to me and I guess I just want to ask you this question right now is:

What are you putting off or telling yourself that you think you want? When you might be wanting something entirely different.

What are you not living up to in your life right now or pushing down the priority list because you think that you have to be a certain other way?

Or you think that you should be dealing life in a different way. Or you think that you need to be supporting other people before you support yourself first.

It’s your Freedom plan. It’s your quest for freedom. You have the right to change your mind. You have the right to choose.

  • I choose lifestyle property.
  • I choose creating a life with my partner Josh and all the exciting dreams that we’ve been scheming up.
  • I choose to go on a shorter business sabbatical but I am still going to my sabbatical.
  • I choose to run my business in the manner that fits me and still stay excited about it while stepping back from it.
  • I choose to build a community in my home country.
  • I choose to travel less for now. And I choose to be happy with my decision and to remain in the present.

And as you know this whole quest in Season 1 is about personal freedom and for me that is very much coming back to being present, being mindful, being grateful, being happy and choosing the best version of freedom for me in this moment.

And that’s exactly what I want for you.

So if you’ve enjoyed this, if you want to weigh in on this, If you want to help me choose my own adventure even though you pretty much know that I’ve made up my mind – then comment below and have your say!

Plus tune in next week for hacking happiness.

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changing plans, Choose my next adventure, drip, freedom, lifestyle property, natalie sisson, quest for freedom, suitcase entrepreneur

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