After some thought, deliberation and city exploration, I’ve determined to pick up from the PNW (Pacific Northwest), and head towards the Lone Star State. Certainly one of the glamours of being a “digital nomad” (a hot button word that I don’t exceptionally love using), is being able to choose where you want to do your life and work.
I’ve moved to Austin, Texas! Woo! I’m putting the travel pack to rest (sort of) and acquiring things (like a bed). It’s all wild and exciting, believe me.
In all seriousness though, this decision was no joke. The potential of the ‘grass always being greener’ can drive a person with choices, manic.
Indecision and Lacking Connection
Have you ever craved a deeper connection?
Have you ever questioned why your life isn’t like that of Friends? Or, How I Met Your Mother?
Surrounded by dog-loyal friends whom give you love, support, and backbone. In essence, full permission to be you…
From an early age, I began etching this script into the stone of my subconscious,
“Cory, you’ll never be able to connect with people.”
I’ve wanted it. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had people in my life who fit the mold. I’ve encountered plenty of amazing, warm people. Yet I’ve always felt a chasm keeping me from them.
It’s as if there’s been a wall. Stone, grey, and at the top, 12 ft. up, it’s lined with barb wire, impassable.
I stand on one side alone. My clothes muted, my skin pale, as if it’s the make of an old black-and-white film. The other side bleeds with color. It shows prosperity. I ache for what’s on the other side. The more I desire that brightness, the darker I feel myself and my surroundings get.
We write ridiculous scripts for ourselves. And paint wildly dramatic images, doing our darndest to legitimize them. Once ridiculous, these stories now have solid ground (albeit fantastical).
We begin latching onto them. We further intellectualize. We add to the story. The book gets thicker and thicker, and it feels as if we couldn’t imagine quitting now.
These scripts can cause us endless pain and suffering. But we continue on. It’s as if they’re badges we’ve been chosen to wear. Yet we also couldn’t conceptualize revealing them to another.
My badges: individualist, esoteric unrelatable intellectual, antisocial and awkward introvert.
At times I’ve felt prepared to rip them off. But when the moment approaches, the patchwork seems too formidable. I give up, I deflate, and I move on continuing to wear them.
Yet in recent months, I think I’ve been stumbling upon hope.
These scripts of ours can be tested. Broken and busted down all at once? No chance. But finding one or two loose bricks at a time? You bet.
The Berlin Wall stood in full capacity from 1961-1989. That’s 28 years. Was it one day that brought the Wall down? Of course not.
We needed Kennedy to shout “Ich bin ein Berliner,” on the steps of the Rathaus Schöneberg in front of 45,000 in ’63. And then Reagan to demand Mr. Gorbachev tear down this Wall in ’87.
And is it one day, one action that brings down our strongest beliefs? Our most formidable scripts? I’d say no.
Little Experiments…a Model for Change
An amazing coach I’ve been working with referenced an awesome model for change from the book Immunity to Change in one of our most recent sessions.
That is: it’s often daunting to begin looking at the desired end result.
That is: it appears a behemoth of a task to get from under $20,000 worth of student loan debt. Then why even start? Can you even imagine yourself becoming debt free at that point?
What about seeing if you can first break that $20,000 barrier at get to $19,999? Then from there, $18,999…
If that’s all that’s at stake, it seems far more attainable, no?
This may be a great play off of Tim Ferriss, and his support of SMART goals. The “A” in the middle there being attainable: you want to “rig the game so you can win.” Another clever expression Ferriss loves to use.
What my coach called this approach was that of creating and conducting small experiments. That is: first look at the monster of a goal or change you want to have or make in your life.
One of mine: be a part of a community of connected individuals who lead me to my edge of growth, support me with love, and encourage my development.
So where do I start? Especially when I’ve long since earned the badges that I described above?
I propose a small experiment. Something of a small or one of the smallest next actions I could take, that would successfully continue me down the path towards my ultimate goal. Something I feel I could succeed at.
I started with determining what sort of environment I wanted.
Boom. Easy enough. This was done with a journaling exercise. And do I feel like I’m closer to what I want? You bet. And better yet, I’m taking legs out from the table that is my limiting belief.
Bringing it all Back to Austin: One Experiment Towards Finding a Formula for Connection
This limiting belief of disconnection is something that I dove into in 2016.
I’ve ebbed. Oh, and I’ve flowed.
I haven’t believed all along that I was conducting the experiments that I needed to. I believe I have assigned the title of “experiments” to certain moments retroactively.
Although now it all feels so fitting. And it’s a story that’s been better to tell myself. A journey that I can excitedly follow.
I can connect, I can love and be loved, and I can support and be supported by a group of people to find my deeper truths. That’s the belief I’m getting behind because of each new experiment conducted.
And back to Austin. This move is an experiment of many that I’ve conducted on this journey of development that’s most alive for me right now.
I’ve visited the city a couple times earlier this year. Each time I noticed some unmatchable energy I hadn’t found with anywhere else I went.
There’s something powerful about the transient nature of this place, in which I’m yet to meet someone “from Austin.” I’m connecting with plenty of individuals with an intoxicating energy for their project or mission of choice. I’m allowed to explore myself with what I determine resources that in most cities you wouldn’t have. Resources being activities, events and happenings that facilitate the coming together of people (I may write more on resources later.)
Previous experiments, like living in the different parts of the world, all have given me valuable feedback that I needed to receive. What I wanted / needed wasn’t there–at least in each of those moments.
Upon receiving a seemingly serendipitous invitation to live with what seem to be a couple amazing individuals (#ShoutOutToMahRoomies), I acted.
I asked myself, “Would the Cory with this deep sense of connection, community, and loving support accept an invitation to live with people he barely knows, though intuitively he feels like they would help support the journey he’s on?”
And, my inner voice responded, “Yes, he’d be all in.”
And here we are, enjoying my first few weeks settling into Austin, Texas. This “experiment” has already played with being exactly what I needed.
To self-experimentation (and if you are in the Austin area, hit me up),