4 Steps to Freedom, Fun, and Finding Yourself

by / ⠀Startup Advice / January 15, 2013

Freedom picture I’m Not Finding Myself Bro. to find oneself  (verb)– accept and make use of one’s personality, abilities, and situation; grow – develop and reach maturity; undergo maturation. I get this all the time.  I’ve been location independent for over 5 months now, and people think I’ve gone mad.  They think I’m like Meetup.com Founder Scott Heiferman who decided to work at McDonald’s just for the hell of it.  The only thing that people call me worse than “homeless”, is “lost”. Sure, I’ve been nomadic for a little bit.  Sure, I’ve gone on a serious travel binge trying to make up for lost time of being chained to a computer, but damnit, I’m enjoying myself, living life.  I’ve found what makes me happy a long time ago.

“All who wander are not lost.”

By the way, I’m not homeless anymore.  I’ve set up shop here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica to “accept and make use of one’s personality, abilities, and situation,” as the definition states.  The best way for me to make use of these things is to write and plan events for a generation of leaders who want to live more successful and fulfilling lives. Just like the mission of Under30Media states. I think that’s pretty “mature”.

My Mission and Our Company’s Mission Align

I like to live different, explore new parts of the world, ski and surf, and build businesses that are fulfilling and make a difference.  Under30 sends me to places like Nicaragua, I figure out a way to bring people there, and write about it for our network of sites.  I get a ton of happiness from seeing other people who are living more successful and fulfilling lives because of it. Now, I know what you’re thinking… that’s great for me, but what if your personal mission and your company’s mission don’t align?  What if I don’t actually know my personal mission at all?!  Wait… does this mean, I need to go “find myself?!” Hm, how am I going to Eat, Pray, Love my way out of this situation…?

Don’t Panic- There is Nothing Wrong with Finding Yourself

Start small.  If you are at University or already have a job or business that you aren’t in love with, all is not lost. Here are my 4 signature steps to “finding yourself”… …or simply reflecting and seeing if your values line up with your everyday life…

Step 1: Make a list

These two simple exercises have been around for ages.  It’s not rocket science, yet nobody ever takes the time to put on paper what they actually want.  So, start by making a list of things that you enjoy.  They can be industries, values, interests, and anything else that is important to you.  Here are a few of mine:

  • Adventure and action sports
  • Warm weather and the beach, or 3 feet of dry, powdery snow
  • Entrepreneurship, reading, and writing
  • Leadership and helping other people

Simply by writing this down, you become more aware of what you probably want to spend more time doing.  Now, take this to the next level and write about your perfect day… My day has been solid so far.  Here it goes…

Wake up early somewhere that I’m excited to be, drink coffee and write, on my balcony, in my boxers, eat a healthy breakfast, share my thought leadership on social media, have plans for adventure with people I care about, etc., you get the point.

Now… how the hell are you going to get there?

Step 2: Get Experiences

My personal goal in life is to have as many experiences as possible.  You’ve probably heard me start using the tagline: “Life is all about the experience.” I want to have stories I can tell my grandkids about, and encourage them to have amazing experiences.  So, start by just doing more cool sh*t.  Do stuff that excites you, seek new friends, get out of your comfort zone, and make every effort to spend more time doing things on your list.  As Gary Vaynerchuk famously said, “If you like Smurfs, Smurf it up!” Everything that you enjoy spending time doing can be turned into a business, and probably a big one.  You need to be maniacal about seeing opportunities and finding niches in markets.  Do things that flip your world upside down.  Hang out with people different than you.  Get back in touch with your creative side. BRAINSTORM! Of course, (small plug) you can come on our Under30Experiences trips this year and do this too!

3. Network Your A** Off

Once you’ve identified something that you might like to pursue, you are probably wondering what’s next.  We all know people are a business’s greatest asset, so start building a network both online and offline. If you like surfing, start hanging out in that scene.  Don’t just hang out with surfers–study them.  Who are the bums?  Who’s making moves?  Where is money being spent?  What holes exist that are not being filled?  What makes surfing sell, and why do people buy?  This is market research in it’s simplest form. Want to learn about surfing?  Get a weekend job at a surf shop, start a surf blog and do interviews with those successful in the industry, go to surf Meetups, and start dedicating your life to that industry. Once you find out who’s making all the money, start seeking mentors.  Not some bullsh*t formal program, but people who you can observe in real life, ask questions to, and gain an understanding of why they are successful.  This can be done in person, or virtually.  I’ve been a virtual mentee of Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson, and Mark Cuban for years.  I read about them, follow them, study them, and soak in as much inspiration as possible from afar. BTW, what we really need is for you to get together with your smartest friends and start solving the world’s biggest problems.  Preferably something that you are passionate about.  Surfing is cool, but our trip in April is about connecting with others and helping people in poverty start businesses. Why not make a list of big problems you’d like to solve?

Step 4: Work Your A** Off

Do not let this article fool you.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way, so I’m going to keep this part short. Find a business model.  There are plenty of articles on Under30CEO that can help you do that.  Start hustling on the side.  Stop at nothing.  And most importantly… Never stop learning. Here’s to “finding yourself” my fellow wanderers…

Matt Wilson is the Co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at Under30Experiences.  

About The Author


Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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