I started doing the work from home. I got a taste of that freedom and said, “Oh my God. This is awesome.”
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This week’s episode of the podcast is all about building the life and business of your dreams on the road.
Have you ever wanted to work from home? Are you ready to be location independent? A digital entrepreneur?
Get ready for an honest discussion of what it’s like to be working from all kinds of remote areas. You’ll learn about the twists and turns and how vital it is to set your priorities and be grounded in your values — and then hold yourself to it. Kalyna Miletic shares so much good stuff. You don’t want to miss this!
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About Kalyna Miletic
Kalyna is the Founder of Kickstart Your Work, a storyteller, and global explorer.
She’s coached over 1,500 hours with clients in 20 countries and started her first business at 19 years old.
She’s been adventuring since 2014 visiting 25 countries and living in Aruba, Brazil, Indonesia, USA and Canada.
Kalyna has a blast running an online business and believes feeling good at work needs to be the new normal. She loves yoga, Brazilian dance, trying new foods and searching for the world’s best beaches.
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About Jen McFarland
For over 12 years I’ve tackled business problems and provided simple, powerful solutions. I’ve led 7-figure projects and helped entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive.
I teach women how to build their business, not around spreadsheets, bottom lines, and formulas, but around equity, leadership, mindset, courage, and resilience — you know, the things we are born to do.
Are you starting a business? Confused about how to grow? Check out my favorite business growth tools.
Jen also loves appearing on podcasts. Here’s her Podcast Guests profile.
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Here’s what my mug says. Throw more love at the problem, not less.
Kalyna: Oh, I love that. That is perfect. I was just having this discussion the other day. That’s perfect. It’s like, what’s it all about? It’s like, you’re gonna tell me it’s all about love. Yeah. I actually am. That’s exactly what it’s all about. Anything that you possible … There’s this big … Gosh. I could get into this whole thing around fear and then anger and that whole thing around, “Okay. What if somebody screws you over?” Right, or something goes wrong. That mug tells it like it is.
Okay. Are you gonna try, and screw them over? Are you going to now say, “Okay, well, everyone’s a terrible person, because this one person hurt me?? Whether it’s in business, or personal, right? It doesn’t matter. It’s, are you gonna believe that people are good and trying to do the right thing, and throw more love at the situation, or are you going to believe that everyone’s gonna try, and do you wrong and take advantage of you.
I’ve been called naïve, and I’ve been called all sorts of things for believing in the latter, that people are good and that love should prevail.
I’ve been called naïve, and I’ve been called all sorts of things for believing in the latter, that people are good and that love should prevail. It seems like this romanticized idea, but how else do you wanna move through the world? How do you wanna live? It’s not like I’m immune to people doing hurtful things, because I choose to believe that people are good, it’s that I get to walk around feeling pretty good, because I believe the best about others. That’s … I mean … Can we just start … We just started with huge philosophical realization.
Like I said, it’s not that I’m immune and that no ones hurt me, since I’ve adopted this way of thinking, and that everything is rainbows and now I just, I eat marshmallows. It’s not that everything is perfect. It’s that I’ve chosen to put my attention or my focus on the better feeling side of the equation.
Kalyna: Yes. Completely. What you said was really powerful too, around focus. Right? It’s not that. Like I said, it’s not that I’m immune and that no ones hurt me, since I’ve adopted this way of thinking, and that everything is rainbows and now I just, I eat marshmallows. It’s not that everything is perfect. It’s that I’ve chosen to put my attention or my focus on the better feeling side of the equation. That doesn’t mean that the other side doesn’t exist, or that the shadow self, or that the challenge, or that no ones going to do your wrong ever again and that you’ll never be hurt.
It’s just that … Like you said, you’ve got to acknowledge it, decide what you’re gonna do from it. It’s really informative. If, when something’s really painful, it says to you, “Hey. I really don’t like that. That really hurts.” It’s like burning yourself on a stove, right? Not gonna do that again. Not good. I think there’s learning there. It’s important. It’s just as important as the good stuff. Exactly, to what you said, where are you gonna choose to focus? Where are you gonna put your intention? That’s not something to just ask yourself once or journal about.
This is something I’m asking myself all day long, every day. Where do you wanna put your focus? Where do you wanna put your attention? Somebody says something hurtful or that you don’t agree with, or does something that you don’t agree with, or that’s hurtful. You’ve got to make that choice of, “Okay. What do I wanna focus on? How do I wanna see this person?” Do I believe they’re doing the best they can? Am I doing the best I can?” This is a constant dialogue in my head, that has changed the way that I live and respond to just about everything in my life.
Because you’re a digital nomad and I think it’s really awesome, sometimes I do feel like you do fly around on a unicorn and get to do what you want. I think that what I’m curious about is, what made you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
Kalyna: Yeah. Totally. I will play into the unicorn fantasy for a little bit, and then I have a story that happened yesterday, that totally brings some reality into the fold. A couple parts of this. There is definitely a unicorn. I do feel really grateful and lucky for the choices that I’ve been making. I do wanna touch upon that first piece, which is what you said. You said, I choose to be happy. It was a choice. It’s exact same thing. This started as a choice. I was working at a law firm in my second year university. I did an internship. I thought, “This commute is terrible. The bureaucracy is awful. I hate this and I don’t wanna do it.”
It was that simple and yeah, maybe not easy in terms of, I didn’t just snap my fingers and teleport to this moment. It was that simple, in terms of, making the choice. My manager said, “Okay. You don’t like this, but we wanna keep you, so start a company and we’ll hire you as a contractor.” That was really the impetus to everything. I got a company laptop. I started doing the work from home. I got a taste of that freedom and said, “Oh my God.” I was maybe 19. It was like, “This is awesome. I’m never gonna …” I made the choice and said, “I’m never going to do anything else.” That was a first sort of step, of saying, “Okay. Here’s my choice. I’m taking ownership. It’s a big responsibility.”
I started doing the work from home. I got a taste of that freedom and said, “Oh my God. This is awesome.”
There have been a billion times along from that moment of starting my first company, to now, where I’ve said, “You know, maybe I could get a job. Maybe I should just …” You know, those thoughts do come up. The difference, I think, between me making this happen consistently over the course of years, is really it not being an option. Even if the thought passes through my mind, it’s never been a real option that I’ve played into for more than, maybe an hour browsing on Monster, or you start thinking, “Oh, maybe I could work … Oh, yes McDonalds drive through.” They pay consistently.
You have these little vision of what might be more secure or better option. Truly, from that day that I made the choice and I got that opportunity, it was like, there’s just no other way, there’s no turning back. It was that decision and really wholehearted, yes to this flexibility and freedom that has made it possible.
When I started my coaching business and left digital strategy, it was like, “Okay. I have to make sure that this is mobile. I have to make sure that I can travel and do this. All my clients are online. We’re meeting … I mean, I’m in Toronto. You’re at home. We can meet …
Kalyna: from online. I’m planning a retreat in Chiang Mai, in Thailand right now. I just had a call before this, five women from all over US and Canada, planning this retreat, that’s gonna be across the world, totally doable. We’re so lucky to have the access to the technology. It’s been like, everything that I choose to take on, teaching at a coaching college … The only thing would be speaking events, which yeah, you sort of gotta show up.
Even that, I did a keynote for a career day. I was on Zoom. They put me on their auditorium screen. I was in a Aruba. It’s been one of those non-negotiables. Really, that’s how you make it this, fly in on a unicorn thing is, everybody gets to set their standard and set their boundary. People will work with you. You’ve gotta be really clear on what that standard is.
I think a lot of people are willing to waffle on their non-negotiables. That, I think is the key to my whole journey. Like you said, I mean, I’ve worked from Fiji and Aruba, Brazil, all over Europe. I mean, whatever, Bali, Canada, US. Everywhere. It’s cool. It’s super cool.
The one factor that remains constant is me. You have to have, or I’ve had to have that real steadfast non negotiable view of the remote element of it. Opportunities will come up and they’ll be enticing. They’ll say, “Do you wanna be rooted in this office in, wherever, in Alaska?” You’re like, “No. I don’t.” The money or some other elements can be really enticing. You’ve got to know what you’re non-negotiables are. You’ve got to know what those two, three, five things are that you just absolutely know you must have.
Now, for the unicorn, the second step I would say is that harsh reality of yesterday, I had a bunch of calls. I was driving from Indianapolis to Toronto. My network was terrible on my phone. I stopped at some place in Toledo, near Detroit, went for lunch, needed to have this call. Had another call on the road in the car. Reception was cutting out. The unicorn was nowhere to be found. I was ready to lose it. I’m trying to hear the person on the line. It’s not working. I needed to have this call. I had another call after with a potential client. Couldn’t you know … Lost credibility there. Had a tough time. Was ready to just call it quits.
It’s in moments like that, where you really don’t feel like there’s a unicorn. The tech of it is annoying. The flexibility is like, “Shit. You know what? If I was just in an office, if I just sat with a reliable wifi connection I could have gotten a solid days work in. I lost that, because I’m on the move and this is annoying.”
Fiji. I had to take a 20 minute boat to get a wifi connection. Were the Instagram photos glamorous. Sure. I had to take a 20 minute boat to be able to do any work. It was like there …
Jen: Okay. I’m gonna stop you right there.
Jen: I don’t want to hear you bitching about Fiji. The end.
Kalyna: The point is, is that the unicorn does come with stuff. It comes with having to make compromises and sacrifices and jet lag, feeling lonely, feeling like things are not working out, losing opportunities, because of a wifi connection, or time change difference. There’s all sorts of stuff, but it seems really glamorous. When you’re on the road and they lose your luggage and you’re there with your toothbrush and your carry on with one pair of pants, believe me, the unicorn feels like it’s pretty damn far away. It’s cool, but it’s not perfect. It’s really not.
Jen: Okay, well now I’m believing you a bit more on that.
Jen: Don’t roll your eyes at me. Nobody can see it. It’s not as fun.
Kalyna: Good. That’s the whole point.
How do you define non-negotiables and what are some of your other non-negotiables?
Kalyna: Yeah. I think that’s a really great question, especially for people that can … The first thing is like, “Okay. What are you, some diva and you make people sort your Skittles or something.” It’s not this long list of agreements or anything. I think that’s really important to say too is, really the only thing for me is that I’m location independent. Pricing is something that’s negotiable-dependent on how much work I’m doing, or what it takes.
Even, if I have to be somewhere … Like I said, for a speaking gig, I’m happy to go to a place. That’s really it, when it comes to something steadfast. I’ve taught, I’ve done volunteer projects. I speak. I’ll do group work. I work one-on-one. The nature of the work … I think the non-negotiable there is that, I feel very [inaudible 00:15:38] about what I can contribute and the impact.
If I hear about a project or there’s a potential client, whether it’s an individual or a company, or a potential opportunity, a gig, an event, anything, the only other non-negotiable I’d say is that I feel really excited about doing it. Even this, to show up with you today, it’s like, “Hey yeah, I wanna talk and share and get to collaborate with you.” Even if this thing wasn’t recorded, you’re awesome and so I want to be able to connect with you.
Jen: Thank you.
Kalyna: Being able to serve your community or even one other person through this conversation, means so much to me. That … It’s that feeling. It’s gotta be location independent. That’s non-negotiable, because I want to be able to be where I want to be. Of course, even with that right? Like I said, if I need to be somewhere for a day, two days a week, whatever. Really, the first non-negotiable is that I’m just super excited and fired up about whatever that thing is. If I’m excited and it feels like a good use of my time, I’m there. That is so key too.
People will take opportunities because of the money, because of whatever, the seeming prestige, or they should, or all these other variables. It’s like, I have to be fired up about the opportunity. And then, I also have to be able to integrate it with my lifestyle, which means location independent. The rest of it, price, the compensation works itself out. The timing works itself out. The people … Everything falls into place. As long as you feel good about it, and for me it’s the location independence. It’s two things. No Skittle sorting required.
Jen: I do like that idea though. I really need you to sort out this …
Jen: Please sort out these Skittles for me. Having a Skittle emergency.
Kalyna: Yeah. You know what I mean. Some people about non-negotiables now, she’s gonna be this really tough person to work with. That’s not the case at all. I just want to be excited about what we’re up to. I want to be able to do it from my living room, or the beach or wherever. That’s it.
What’s the digital strategy for a digital nomad?
Kalyna: That’s a great question. That’s really where this coaching business has evolved to. I was doing the digital strategy thing for clients, and it didn’t feel that empowering. I was editing websites and doing SEO, and really taking companies and helping them to improve on their digital strategy. That was one way where I was impacting.
It was like, “Oh, this is cool. I get to help people with their websites.” Another side of me was like, “This is not really giving the impact I wanna give.” Through the coaching that I’m doing, now, the whole emphasis, the whole mission behind it for me is to help women specifically at this point, but help women specifically be able to take their work …
Kalyna: At this point, but help women specifically be able to take their work online. So when that comes to digital strategy, I’m not so focused on, let’s say helping them with their Facebook ads, or their funnels, or their website. For me, it’s really helping them take whatever their genius zone is, their service-based business and … Yes, of course, the website is an element of it and yes, you might have to have ads or you have to make sure your online presence is really parallel to what you’re actually offering in real life.
But my real point of intervention with them is to say, “If you have a service, and you want to be location independent, and you’re doing it for a company, let’s take your service and find a way for you to offer it as an independent with the freedom, and then offer it to clients so that you’re able to do it from anywhere.”
So the digital strategy piece of it is really actually starting with that choice, I think, for women to say, “I wanna be able to do this from home because I have kids at home or because I’ve had enough of the office, or because I wanna travel,” or whatever it is. And then they’re really … And I’m trying to link this to digital strategy, but the reason why it’s a digital strategy is because they’re compiling a list of clients, they’re getting their clients in there, and they’re executing from home. So really the simplicity of the strategy is just do you have an email address? Do you have a company website? Can you cultivate the leads, create a proposal, get the work and then deliver on it? And if it’s a service, you can do it from anywhere.
So that’s the real point of it.
I love how you put that because it is really simple, and the biggest piece is being able to be independent. So that’s probably the most challenging part, is it’s not the digital part, it’s not having a company website or a company email address. It’s having the courage and the support, and this is where I wish I had that when I started, because yes, I had someone that said, “Go ahead and do this.”
But then I really had to figure out all the pieces. I had to figure out how to incorporate, and what does it mean to have a company and okay, I have one client, but how do I get more clients? And how do I deliver to these clients so that they’re happy with what I’m delivering? And how do I build a team around this? How do I get support when I can’t be the one doing everything? And, oh my God, are they paying me enough? Or what do I charge, or do I charge per hour?
All these different details came in to the fold, and I wish I had the support around that, around not so much the digital strategy because that piece is simple, but more around a supportive element to say, “How do you navigate this, being by yourself in your living room?” That can be really daunting and scary and a big obstacle that people put up for themselves. They say, “Okay, now I’m gonna sit in my pajamas everyday, and not get anything done, and you think I’m gonna make the same money that I make going to the office?” And the reality is –
Jen: No, I think you’re gonna make more.
Kalyna: Well, yeah. Yes. And there are certain things that you need to do in community and you are direct example and evidence of that community. Having the community of Thrive, of professional development communities. Continuing to feel a part of something even though I am by myself right now in a living room, that is critical. It’s been critical for me to continue moving this forward. Because if I felt alone, and if I was just in my living room and not feeling a part of something bigger, I think this would be impossible. So that’s another element that has been huge and keeping me going, I think.
But I think a lot of people still live in this dream world where if you build a website, people are gonna come, and it’s gonna solve everything. If I have a website, it’s gonna solve everything.
Kalyna: Well, that’s a big pressure to put on you or a support system. I think it builds credibility. I think it’s important for different structures depending on what you’re offering, and you can absolutely have a model that’s totally just … I met a guy while I was traveling who sold banana cases, these plastic things that cover your banana when you take it for lunch. Yeah, anyway, but this is what the guy was selling, and that was his business, and he was totally, that was his deal. So, if you wanna sell banana cases, or any other kind of product, and you wanna put up your website and just funnel ads to it, it’s a viable business model.
But like you said, there’s so much more to making that a reality, and being very clear on why you’re doing any of it, and your mission around it, and what you’re gonna do when you put that site up and maybe people don’t show up right away, that’s so important, right? Having that bigger picture, so yeah.
Jen: And that’s why I’m not building websites any more either. People need to back up a bit, even the banana case guy. There’s more to it than that, but yeah, I mean he’s –
Kalyna: Fascinating guy. And that story, it’s so funny, because you meet people … As I’ve been traveling and stuff, you just meet people doing very fascinating things, like this one lade is running a website for aunts. So gifts specifically for aunts. So it’s like a 30 year old, or so professional woman that’s never had kids, but she spoils her nieces and nephews, and so it’s this gift site for that.
Not to make an advertisement for this woman or anything, but just to say I’ve met people doing all kinds of really niche, or niche, showing my Canadian here, but really niche things. And that’s just … It’s served as inspiration for me, too, to say, you know, whatever your non-negotiable is, whatever that thing is that you’re like, “This is what I really, really want, am I being too much, am I asking for too much? Is this over the top or am I being needy,” or whatever. I think especially as women, men too, but women, it’s like the moment you start asking, you feel like you’re asking too much, or it’s just selfish, or people won’t wanna do it, or you won’t be liked.
And as long as you can flex on other elements, whatever your non-negotiable is, and whatever that crazy, banana case, gift selling, coaching, consulting, whatever that dream is, the only person that really you’re doing a disservice to in not following that is yourself because there are people doing all sorts of weird, weird things and making all kinds of money doing them. So to say that it’s not viable, it’s just that that excuse doesn’t work anymore, not in the time when everything’s so readily accessible, and you can really start a business for so much cheaper than ever before. You can start and get profitable right away as a sole proprietor. You don’t even need to be incorporated, and you can start making money.
It can really start from your garage. Look at the whole tech deal. These guys are doing it in their dorm rooms and their garages and whatever, and it seemed like a crazy thing. If you told people about Uber 10 years ago, they’d think you were nuts. I’m gonna get into a stranger’s car and get driven around and then like, what? But it works.
Jen: Well, I think it depends. So 10 years ago was, no, it was longer than 10 years ago that I was getting in stranger’s cars in Kazakhstan, because that’s how taxi cabs worked. When I was in Peace Corps, you just stuck your arm out, and they pull over, and you’d be like, “50 tenge, I just need to go down the road.” And they would either do it or they wouldn’t. But everybody was a taxi, and I think that that’s where we get some of these things that we consider digital disruption, or these businesses that seem crazy.
I think if you open your mind enough to travel, and you open your mind enough to talk to people, then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Holy shit, there’s a lot going on in this world.” And you learn that you can make money doing anything, and then there’s certain things like taxi cabs, ’cause that’s how cabs work in a lot of places. You just stick your arm out and you get picked up, and you think, “I could make an app for that.” And then they did. And Lyft, and Uber, and all these different places are born. Same thing, I think, with Airbnb. When I was in Kazakhstan, I had people pulling me in off the street to feed me and stuff. In America, we call that kidnapping. In Kazakhstan I call it how I met my best friend in that country.
So I just think that once you say, “Okay, there’s more than one right way to do things,” and you open your mind to that, then all bets are off.
Kalyna: Oh, I love that. And that ties in so nicely to something that I think has been so instrumental in making me adaptable and able to pivot, and really creative in this whole thing that I call my business or journey. It’s all just so integrated. My business is me. I am my business. People are like, “Oh, are you traveling for personal or business?” It’s all the same to me. I don’t know. It’s me, and that’s what’s so cool about doing your own thing, too, is you really get to make it your own, and you and totally encompassing of your values, and it’s awesome.
And travel has been so instrumental, I just love that you mentioned that story around meeting your best friend, and just about anything. When you come up with these ideas … I was traveling, I saw this one company that was doing this retreat with this other company, and they have spaces and, now I’m running a retreat in Chiang Mai in November. I’ve never been to Thailand, I’ve never been to Chiang Mai, but I’m running a retreat there, and it’s gonna be amazing. And I’ve got some awesome women on board, and it’s gonna be so cool, and it’s being able to be adaptable and thrown into any situation knowing that I’m resourceful and can figure it out.
That skill set has been definitely ingrained in me through the movement, not only as a younger kid. I moved a lot around the GTA, the Toronto area, but then after graduating school, just getting out there, doing a Europe trip like a lot of people do, and then just saying, “This is way too good to stop here. I don’t wanna live in the real world, whatever that means, and I gotta keep going.”
So, travel, instrumental, I think the conversations I’ve had, the connection I’ve made, the phenomenal places I’ve seen, but to me travel, the people. Like you said, you meet somebody, you have a conversation, it gives you an idea, you go to a place, it’s breathtaking, you learn the history of it, you get a different perspective. That stuff, it’s maybe intangible, maybe, but to me it’s the life changing essence of what … And again, it doesn’t have to be international. Maybe it’s starting from just not going to the same Chinese restaurant every Friday night, and the same bar, and then going to the same … Maybe it’s taking a different way home. Maybe it’s exploring even around you.
I was so dead set on getting out of Canada and exploring the world, and what I’ve realized recently, is like I did a road trip up from Vancouver up to Kelowna, so the west coast of Canada. And I did a road trip with my mom in Newfoundland, and seen the east coast of Canada. And then there’s Quebec and even northern Ontario, there’s so much beauty around wherever you’re at from even a local perspective, that just that change of environment I think is so powerful in creating new ideas and spurring some creativity and just getting you reinvigorated when you see a new place and meet new people, and just get out of that hamster wheel. It’s the hamster wheel that is a killer, I think.
Jen: Wow, yeah totally, and every once in a while I do podcasts episodes where I’m not interviewing people, and I recorded the first half of one. First half was about taking imperfect action, so it’s about getting out there and doing stuff. And then I was like, “Okay, so what’s important after taking imperfect action or what is the component of that imperfect action?” So imperfect action for you is, I’m gonna get on a plane, I’m gonna go work, I’m gonna go to Thailand, I’m gonna lead something. I’ve never been to Thailand before, who the hell knows what’s gonna happen. It’s just gonna be awesome.
But it’s that step that takes place either before the imperfect action or immediately after, which is the curiosity. So you’re just like, “I’m curious. What would it be like to go to Thailand and put together a program?” Or, “What would it be like to go work at a different place? Or I did this thing and it didn’t work out, what’s next?” And being really curious about that, because that seems to be where the innovation and the magic happens.
So, at least that’s how I’m thinking about it. So how does curiosity factor into the work that you do?
Kalyna: Oh, my goodness. I love what you’re saying. I had a call earlier today, I’m doing some great work with university students and it’s like, what an inspiring group of people that still believe in possibilities. I think somehow as we get older, as people get older, it’s like there’s something around I know how things work and I know how things go, and so this is how it is.
And it’s like, that’s nice. Certainty in feeling secure and feeling like you’re competent is important, but curiosity? That’s such a … I don’t wanna say an innocent quality to have, but it’s something that I think some people lose as they get older because they want the certainty. They want to know how things are gonna go, and yeah, I think it’s pivotal.
In the conversation … I just had this conversation earlier today. It’s so cool that it’s circled back around, and really what we came up with some of these questions you were asking was, yeah, you know what? Get curious. Act, and imperfectly is a good word to throw in there, but take some action. And then really reflect upon what you’ve learned. And those are the three steps and I think I iterate on that from literally every part of my life, whether it’s my relationships, my business, where I wanna go, what I wanna do, it’s all … Yeah, get curious. How could this be? What could it be? What would be fun? What would be exciting?
Start asking questions, then start doing some stuff, because if you stick in the curiosity phase, I think you’re gonna get screwed, to be honest with you, because –
Jen: Yeah, you have to do something.
Kalyna: The dreamer that doesn’t ever iterate in real life, it’s a nice place to live in terms of in your head, but your reality might not be as exciting as it could be if you’re not living some of those things out. So then you start doing, and imperfectly, is that a great word, because that is so what I’m doing. It’s definitely not perfect. It’s a lot of learning. But then that third step, and this is what even the conversation earlier today that I had … It’s so funny how this has come full circle. But it is about that learning. It is about touching that hot stove and saying, “Okay, I did this, that did not work out how I wanted. But here’s what I’ve learned from it so that I don’t keep burning myself.”
A lot of people will keep burning themselves and just readjusting their hand on the burner, and it’s like, “The burner is the problem. Do not touch the stove! Move away toward the refrigerator.” But people will just … It’s like, “Oh, but I have to go this way.” Because they have some predetermined … So if you can act, and then get really curious even about what there is to gain or learn from the situation, even if it feels shitty, even if it’s that thing where you’re like, “This sucked! Why did I ever think that was a good idea?” That’s a key moment to say to yourself, “Okay, I know I didn’t like that. Why didn’t I like that and how do I move toward things that I like?”
People, it’s like, “Oh, you want me to journal, or do you want me to just sit in my feelings?” People resist that a lot. They’re like, “I just have to do things. I wanna be productive. Don’t make me sit and think. That’s stupid. There’s no point. I just wanna keep acting.” But the reality is that hamster wheel. If you keep doing the same thing expecting a different result, you’ve heard it a thousand times, your life’s not gonna change. If you keep going to the same Chinese restaurant, you’re not gonna end up with Indian food. You’re gonna get the chow mein. So stop going to the Chinese place if you want something different.
Jen: Oh, my God. (laughs)
Kalyna: I don’t know why I have so many food analogies today. I don’t know, but it just makes sense. Don’t keep going to the same place thinking it’s gonna be different.
Kalyna: And start asking yourself … So, yes, curiosity throughout all of it, all the time, asking questions. And I do that maybe to a point of being annoying, but that’s why I’m a good coach, ’cause I’ve got all kinds of questions. I don’t necessarily have the answers for people, I just got a whole host of questions to ask. Because, I think that’s where the learning is. To say what did you like, what didn’t you like? What do want more –
PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:38:04]
Kalyna: … because I think that’s where the learning is to say, “What did you like? What didn’t you like? What do you want more of? What do you want less of?” Those questions are pivotal. “What did you learn? Okay, you don’t like that, don’t do it. What are you going to do differently?”
Kalyna: Simple, but people don’t it. The importance is getting off that hamster wheel.
Kalyna: I think that’s how you get off that wheel.
Jen: I listen to Audible all the time in my car, and I was listening to Mel Robbins, cause I follow her on Twitter and I think she’s great. It’s the five second rule. She says all the time … She says, “It’s simple, but not easy.”
Jen: Your hand on the stove. You may be comfortable with the stove. You may know that it burns and it hurts, but you’ve been there for years, right? Moving your hand off of the stove, it’s simple right, but it’s not easy. All of a sudden you’re saying, “Well, but the stove pays me 50 grand a year. Why would I take my hand off the stove? I don’t know what would happen if I took my hand off the stove.” Well no, you have to be curious about that. You have to ask questions. One of the biggest things about travel is, it gives a real opportunity to be curious, because you’re some place new that you haven’t seen before. I’m getting ready for a trip to Italy with my husband and it’s …
Kalyna: Oh. So good. It’s been on my list. Everybody keeps talking about it. It’s so on my list, the south of Italy. Okay, cool.
Jen: We’re going. I’m very excited. Never, been before. Every time we go to different places, we’re like, “Where are all the Americans? Where is this curiosity? Where has it gone in my country?” To me, travel is all about curiosity and it’s all about getting in there and meeting people and learning a new way.
You see something else and you’re like, “Wow.” I think that being somebody who is just location independent. You have the benefit of having all these experiences that really feed into what you’re doing rather than just being inside the four walls of a cubicle or always talking to Bob at the water cooler, even though he’s a dick and you don’t like him. You know what I mean?
It’s just a whole different world. How do you handle things like, when you were talking about driving back from Indianapolis and you don’t have service or taking the boat ride to go find Wifi. It seems like there’s just a lot of baptismal by fire, right? You’re just like, “Well I’m in it. Okay, what am I going to do now?”
Kalyna: Yeah. That’s actually a perfect thing. The perfect way to represent it is definitely … I do want to acknowledge the piece about travel. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here with curiosity and changing your environment, and changing … Again, a small element of what you’re doing to be different. I think that’s such a powerful first step. And then, how do you handle all the crazy that comes along with it. I think is being very … I mean I cultivated way more patients in the past couple years than I’ve ever … Patience is a big thing that I’m learning consistently.
Kalyna: Also, that solution focus. Like you said, it’s like, “Okay, I’m in this. It’s not ideal. It’s not what I wanted. I’m going to be pissed off for a minute and then I’m going to find a solution.” Giving yourself … That’s actually a really big thing. Some people will sit there and say, “Oh just breathe and just relax.” It’s like, “I am not relaxed. I’m upset. This sucks.”
You know what? Giving yourself … It’s really important to me, to acknowledge your emotions. That means the negative ones too. You’re angry? Set a timer and get angry for a minute. Let it out, because storing that, that is just an invitation for somebody to get totally reamed by you later, that doesn’t deserve it. Right? That displaced emotion is so not cool for anyone else involved. If you can just let that anger out about the thing that it’s actually about, rather than projecting it, I think that’s huge.
Jen: Oh yeah.
Kalyna: That’s a first thing. People misplace anger all the time. If something pisses, you off, or someone, maybe you don’t yell at them and freak out on them, but get somewhere and give yourself a minute to really feel that. If you can’t let that anger out, I think it’s gonna come out in other ways, and that’s when it becomes unhealthy, whether it’s using substances or misplacing it on other people or yourself, or … You gotta get that anger out. That’s the first thing.
If I’m frustrated, I will say … I was with my partner yesterday and I got back in the room and I was like, “I just want to be really … I’m angry. I don’t want to lose it on you, cause you did nothing, but I’m just pissed right now and I need a minute,” I went and I just had … I needed to have that minute, and then what you said, which is, “Okay, here’s the situation we’re in. What’s the solution? What kind of solution am I trying to find?” There is always one. You know, I rescheduled the one call that dropped. The other call … I had a group call with the lady today, so it worked out. Things do work out. Having that in your head works.
I think the thing that a lot of people glaze over, or gloss over that I really wanna convey is, you know what? Anger’s okay. Be frustrated. Just don’t be frustrated without acknowledging it, so then it lasts for days and days and days. Get it out right, there in the, moment. Give yourself a timer and get that thing out. It’s gonna bubble up one way or another.
I deal with frustration head on. I think ignoring it, pretending it’s not there … I have a serious yoga practice. I’m super into meditation. I love the calm breathing. I think it’s all very important. I think the other end of the spectrum is important too. I think that, that’s something so powerful. People try to push down, either anger or sadness, or fear. It’s not about pushing it down, I think it’s about repurposing it.
Jen: Yeah, I think acknowledging it is really important. I think that actually a lot of heart attacks come from pushing down emotions and letting them fester inside of you. It sounds crazy, but I do think it causes a lot of illness if you don’t just let it out. You’re right though. Don’t let it out on just anybody. It’s interesting that you mentioned fear. I do have a question about that. There are all these people in the world who say, “I wanna travel. I wanna be a digital nomad, blah, blah, blah.” Right? They don’t take the act. They’re afraid. How do you address fear with people who approach you, or clients or things like that?
Kalyna: Yeah. My grandfather, who’s 80-something and says, “You’re a woman traveling by yourself. Why aren’t you married with children by now?” I say, “I’m 26. Stop it. Leave me alone.” Well, so, what do I say? You mentioned Mel Robbins. I think she’s such a powerhouse. She talks about making fear, turning fear into excitement. I think that’s one way to look at it and say, “Okay. Again, how do I repurpose this?”
Anger, you repurpose to forgiveness and you move into solutions. I think fear is a similar thing. Acknowledge that fear, say, “Hey. Okay. This is absolutely petrifying,” or, “I’m scared.” And then say, “Okay. What do I wanna do about it? What’s the bigger intention here? What am I trying to create? What is this fear, because I’m fearful for my life, or is this fear out of worry of failure?” What’s the fear coming from? If you’re endangered physically, then yeah. I’m not gonna walk down an alleyway at midnight by myself, because that’s a scary thing. I could get hurt.
Kalyna: What about the fear … A lot of fear I think lies in the future or the past. Okay, in the past, someone cheated on me. Now, I’m not gonna get in a relationship out of fear of what has already happened to me. That’s one type of fear. The other type of fear is, “Oh well, I really wanna run this retreat in Chiang Mai, but I’ve never been there. What if everything goes wrong?” It’s that fear based, in the future where, “Oh my God, what if everything goes catastrophically array and I can’t make this happen?” Both of those fears are not helpful. Nothing is actually threatening you in the present moment.
What I would say about fear is, is it a present based fear? Is something threatening you currently, that you actually need to address and if so, you’ll get very resourceful in that moment and address it. Those past and future fears, if you can identify that it’s not actually happening to you right now, I think that’s really key. We stop ourselves when we either think something could go wrong, if we do it, or we have experience in the past of it not working out the way we wanted. We get fearful.
I think being able to acknowledge again and say, “Okay. This is important to me. I wanna do it. Yes, I’m worried, but I’m gonna turn it into excitement,” or, “I’m going to see how it goes and give it my best shot and do it anyway.” I think repurposing the fear again into excitement, like Mel Robbins talks about is such a powerful thing. A lot of fear is not based in the present moment. For me, I focus on how Chiang Mai’s gonna be awesome, rather than all the things that can go wrong. And then, in the present moment, when I’m in Chiang Mai, if something does go differently from what I expected, which it inevitably will.
Jen: Of course.
Kalyna: If it’s not going the way I want it to go, that’s when it’s like, “Okay. This is happening right now.” And then again, maybe I’m angry and I let that anger out and then I find the solution. Maybe I’m scared and I say, “Okay, this is kind of freaking me out. What am I gonna do?” It’s a very present based solution, if that makes sense. It’s like, I’m not gonna [crosstalk 00:47:36] worry about everything that could go wrong in Chiang Mai. I’m gonna do my best to prepare for it.
Kalyna: When I’m there, if something arises that’s the moment to address it. Being present has also really helped.
Jen: Oh yeah. I mean, presence is something that I’ve been working on too. I’ve one more question, but I did wanna kind of leap in about when things go sideways. Last week I gave a webinar, first webinar I’ve ever given. It was live, so it’s not like I got the benefit of … A lot of webinars are recorded and they just run, right? It’s live. I’m sharing my deck on Zoom. The deck crashed five times. I’m live. It’s supposed to be for 300 people.
I just laughed and kept relaunching the deck. What am I gonna do? There’s still people out there. It does no good for me to be upset, or angry. I was like, “Well, I gotta let that go.” After it was over, I’m like, “That didn’t go how I wanted it to. I gotta let that go.” It’s still kind of lingering a little bit.
Yesterday somebody said, “Were you using PowerPoint for that deck?” They sent me a screen shot that Zoom wasn’t working with PowerPoint. I was like … It had been updated. I’m like, “Okay. Perfect. Now I can let that go.” Now I can let that one bad thing go and totally move on. It’s just really … It’s important to be able to do that. When things go sideway, see it in the moment and then don’t linger on it. Don’t think about the past. Don’t worry about the next time you’re gonna do something. Handle it and then move on.
Kalyna: Totally. What’s helped me with that, is that whole, you know, minute of anger thing. When I kind of stumbled upon that, it has changed my world. I didn’t really have a healthy way to deal with anger. It was kind of like, “Well, calm down,” or, “Don’t get too upset,” or, “You shouldn’t care too much.” It’s like, “Hang on. I care a lot. I care a lot about a lot of things.” Not feeling, that’s not working for me. Numbing my emotions, not working for me. I gotta feel that. That one minute, or two minutes, if you’re feeling really fired up, give it two. That has been so life changing, because it’s not about repression. It’s not about pretending that you’re calm and cool all the time and you’re collected and everything’s okay, and that unicorn right? That’s not what it’s about. It’s about feeling the full range of stuff.
Kalyna: I think what’s helped me to let stuff go, like that, like yesterday where it totally did not go how I wanted. I was like, “This sucks.” Being able to acknowledge that, is really that first step in letting it go. I think if you just pretend like, “Oh, I didn’t care that much,” or, “It’s not that big of a deal,” or, “I didn’t really feel anything.” That brushing it off, it’s just disingenuous, right? That’s when it lingers, because you pretended it didn’t matter, but it’s festering inside you like you said.
Kalyna: Heart attack candidate or worse. That’s awful from a physical standpoint. You don’t want that. That anger piece, because … Yeah, growing up it was like, you just … I didn’t feel like I had a really healthy way to deal with anger. It was a lot of, like I said, the projection or even with food, or alcohol or whatever right?
Kalyna: It’s just not … That’s not even dealing with the source of the problem.
Jen: Right. Well, for me, I didn’t really get angry about that webinar thing. I was like, “What could I possibly do about that?”
Jen: I mean, I’m not PowerPoint. I’m not Zoom. I’m just using the tools. One of the things I run into a lot are the people who take that on themselves and it’s like, “No. They’re just tools.” The tool doesn’t hate you. Zoom doesn’t hate you. PowerPoint doesn’t hate you. When you’re traveling from Indianapolis, back to Toronto, wireless cellular connections don’t hate you. It’s just a tool that we count on. When it’s not working, then you can only get so angry about it. You just have to go find a place that you can get it to work. That’s part of the can-do problem solving attitude that’s really important, if you’re gonna be a digital nomad I think. The last question I have for you is this.
Do I have to be a millionaire to be a digital nomad? I just imagine people are always like, “It’s so expensive. She has to be just wealthy if she’s gonna travel everywhere.”
Nope. Well, not a millionaire yet friends. Not yet. Nope. I actually have found … It’s a hell of a lot cheaper to live in a bunch of other places than it is in North America. You can live off of two, 3,000 dollars a month in other places. The cost of living is way cheaper in Brazil, or in Bali, or Fiji, or just about anywhere actually.
North America’s some of the highest … Again, depends what you wanna do. I’ve gone from hostel, sleeping in hostels with 10 people in the room, to my own places, to … If you’re gonna, especially if you’re gonna hang out somewhere for three months, you can rent an apartment, just like a local person. Generally speaking, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.
If you’re living in any big, United, big American city, or big Canadian city … If you’re able to live there, you are going to have, potentially even a better quality of life somewhere else, with the same budget, if not less. Absolutely not. Nope. You don’t have to be a millionaire. Not even close. Again, Having a budget is cool, knowing what sort of experience you wanna have is important. Right? Feeling like you’re safe and you’re happy with your environment is important. Definitely don’t need to be on a millionaire’s budget to make that happen.
How can people get in touch with you?
Kalyna: Oh, I love it. Yeah. My company is called, Kickstart Your Work. Kickstartyourwork.com is a cool place to start. There are ways to get a hold of me there. What do I got going on? The cool thing happening this November is, Chiang Mai for any women wanting to make that leap. I’m always running online coaching programs around exactly that, which is, if you’re in the cubicle, you hate it, you want to be able to be free and work from anywhere … It doesn’t mean being a nomad necessarily. It can just be your living room, and being able to have more time with your family, or your dog, or whoever’s important to you. That’s always available. Kickstartyourwork.com. I would love to offer you community of course, a chat, to see if that’s a good fit and how I can support.
Jen: Awesome. Thank you so much for being on the show. We’ll put all the links in the show notes. That’s it for the Third Paddle today.
Jen McFarland ditched her comfy C-suite tech project management job in pursuit of freedom. Jen’s goal is to help business leaders like you vet ideas, take ownership of their projects, and incorporate digital marketing from day one.
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