I was presenting a workshop at a leadership conference across the country and planned to stay with a friend. At the last minute, his in-laws came to town so I needed another place to stay. My friend offered to help me find an Airbnb. I had heard of the concept of it, but never heard of Airbnb itself. This was 2 years before its popularity exploded, yay us trailblazers!
I figured if I were to pay and rent an Airbnb, then I might as well rent out my condo by the beach that same week. I paid $450 and I made $700. Hold the phone, what just happened?!? You mean to tell me that for doing practically nothing, I came home from my trip with an extra $250 in my pockets? What?!?
It's one thing to read about or float the words "passive income" around, but it's an ENTIRELY different awakening to ACTUALLY experience it. I gotta tell ya, once I got a taste of passive income, even if it was only $250, I could never go back.
So I educated myself on finance, asset creation and wealth cultivation, all things that my parents, schools, culture and society as a whole failed to teach me. I began investing in real-estate and creating digital products that would sell while I'm sleeping.
I knew they both required upfront investment of time, energy, education, and resources, but I also knew I wanted to experience a lifetime of would lead to evergreen passive income.
I grew up in scarcity, bundled in blankets of financial, emotionally and spiritually poverty. The word wealth never even entered my awareness until 30. So becoming a "wealth" coach was not even within the realm of possibility. Becoming a wealth mentor, ie having walked the talk of what I was coaching/teaching, was even more impossible.
And yet, thanks to books like the "4-Hour Workweek" and "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", I knew crystal clear that I didn't want to trade dollars for hours for the rest of my life. I might as well have stayed at a job and not become an entrepreneur. I wanted to create assets that would keep making me money, whether I worked or not.
With time and dedication, I eventually had an out of body experience when I reviewed my financial statements, which said that I was making $4,000 to $5,000 per month, working 2-3 hours a week. Not 2-3 hours a day, but 2-3 hours a week. It felt surreal, I think part of me is still out of body, floating somewhere in the awe of it all. I had so much delicious free time, blissful peace, juicy creative flow, spacious exchanges with friends (where neither of us were in a hurry), deep presence and insights.
There are no words to describe the feeling of watching aaaaaall my outer skills (eg. tech, communication, people) and inner resources (eg. clarity, stamina, grit), gathered from aaaaaall my previous career re-inventions, converge and bare fruit like this for weeks, months and years to come.
It blasted my consciousness wide open to see through new lenses: aaaaaall the letting go I had done were not losses, they were part of a quest to gather (think the original Nintendo Zelda) courage elixirs, stamina stones and resilience swords needed to become... me. The truest, most graceful manifestation of my soul.
And, I was so successful as an Airbnb host and they asked me for advice on how to create a 5-star experience.
LETTING GO / WALKING AWAY
But I let it all go. 😭 😭 😭 I could have coasted through this semi-retirement lifestyle for decades to come. But my soul wouldn't let me. It desired, yearned and cried for deeper meaning and broader contribution. I gotta say, as I share these stories, the urge to shout back "F*ck you, soul! Why can't you just be content?!?" is very strong. I had finally created and attained an easy, smooth sailing life. Ugh, soul, why couldn't you just be quiet and let us coast?!?
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
– FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
On the real estate front, my wins benefited far too few people, a tiny handful of tenants. So not fulfilling. On the digital products front, I had more reach, but I also recognized very early on that millions, if not billions, of people won't succeed unless they free themselves from shame and/or trauma. I felt like I needed another set of tools, another path of exploration.
I also witnessed clients and friends, who earn well beyond six-figures and have multiple real estate properties, lost, purposeless, or imprisoned by their own addictions. They were estranged from the beauty and delight of inner peace, creative joy and nourishing relationships.
FEARS / EMOTIONAL RUMBLE
Fear of not belonging (which proved to be true, since I am not a fancy person, do not prescribe to brand names, and am far too altruistic)
Knowing that I don't belong "here," but despairing in not knowing where I do belong
Disgust at being patronized by men and even "Queen Bee" women (who are hollow inside, so bully others to self aggrandize) [disgust is harder to swallow than grief]
Hollow sense of fulfillment at the smallness of my impact
A pull that won't shut up, "You are here to be of service to thousands, to millions." Oh, shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
Recurring mist of guilt for luxuriating in so much free time and relaxing creative projects, while others struggle
Fear of my own greatness and power of influence, like it just might kill me
Fear of being witch burnt (again)
Fear of being crucified (again)
Sinking into spiritual depression, "I don't understand what is happening. What more do you possibly want from me?!?"
Feeling utterly abandoned by <something unnamable> as if dumped on this god forsaken planet called Earth
What are you doing here, little girl? Discrimination of my age, skin color and gender by an industry dominated by old, white men.
You won't succeed unless you ride an "influencer's" coat tail by selling your soul to him. [I soooooo proved them wrong!!! I had too much integrity for an industry infested with sleazeballs.]
There is so much money to be made here. Are you quitting already?!?
(Before I got on the property ladder) It's only crazy people like you who recklessly buy such properties.
(After I got off the property ladder with $85,000 cash in hand) Only reckless people like you get off the property ladder. What is wrong with you?!? [Critics criticized me for getting on and off the property ladder. You can win with the critics, nor is it even worthy trying.]
(Before I invested in rental property) Why do you always have to start crazy projects? You know the site you're using is a scam right? We've never heard of it.
(Four years later when I mega profited from rental property) We're thinking of renting our place too, show us how you did it and how you got 5-star ratings.
(Before I bought investment property) It's only crazy people like you who buy property in crazy locations like that.
(After I profited from investment property) Why didn't you tell us sooner? We could have profited too. [I did tell you, you called me crazy and slammed the door in your own face.]
UNFOLDING DESTINY / LESSONS
Grit: 5/10 | Grace: 13/10
I knew "wealth coach" was a temporary throne. Since I don't have a royal ass, I knew that seat was never my destiny. Though I got to taste and live a while in the sweet nectar of passive income and best of all: unlimited free time, my soul knew I wasn't done. I wasn't fully baked into the divine cake I was meant to be. "Damn it, soul! You couldn't just take the easy path, could you?!?"
What I'm most grateful and proud of is noticing how my ego didn't claw and cling onto that throne. I could have, who wouldn't? I had realized out the outside and actualized on the inside what I, and millions of people, couldn't even dream of. By now though, I knew very well that clawing onto what is not meant for me is like bare skin dangling in mid-air from a barbed wire. Let go. Let go!
So the greatest lessons that I'm taking away from this identity costume change are:
- Do not tell people, especially not your family and friends who haven't achieved what you're striving for, about your dreams or goals. They will only drown you in their fear or hack you down to stop their fear.
- Do not take any advice or feedback from anyone who has not walked the talk of the path you're walking. They will only gun you down with doubt and veer you off course.
SACRED BRAND ARCHETYPES
All I've ever wanted was to be free. Once I tasted the nectar of financial freedom, which came with the sweetest honey of all: time freedom, I knew I had to walk down that path and share what I learned with other freedom seekers.
What I didn't know is that it'd be another 7 years before I fully comprehended the nature of our soul, which is to express itself organically, regardless of egoic control. Here, my soul expressed itself through the Sacred Brand Archetypes of Explorer (primary) and Ruler (secondary). These archetypes have shown up before, but never in this pairing and in this primary-secondary order.
So when that happens, this is the business identity that gets presented. This is the costume change my soul puts on. Sure, my ego could say no, but that would only lead to increased suffering. So over the years and the 12 previous career identity re-inventions, I've learned (or rather my ego has learned) to shut up, put the costume on and walk onto the stage, no matter what happens after. Who knew?!?
Take the BSA Assessment
Can you clearly articulate the identity of your soul, therefore the brand of your business? Are the two aligned?
In this series...
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Computer Teacher (Part 1/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Web Developer (Part 2/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as an Industrial Machinist (Part 3/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Banking Officer (Part 4/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as an Aerospace Engineer (Part 5/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as an Energy Researcher (Part 6/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Systems Designer (Part 7/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as an International Aid Worker (Part 8/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Global E-Strategist (Part 9/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a United Nations Consultant (Part 10/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Web Design Agency (Part 11/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Success Coach (Part 12/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Wealth Mentor (Part 13/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as an Aerial Yoga Studio (Part 14/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Psychotherapist (Part 15/16)
My 16 Careers • Reinventing Identities as a Spiritual Guide (Part 16/16)
Fan the flames
"Fear not the flames. You are the fire."
May these liberation tools and reclamation stories inspire and guide you to navigate time, identity, and creativity, gracefully and joyfully. xo Ella
To free and renew an identity or business, start with Freedom Fundamentals. ⤵︎
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