How Personal Branding and conscious lifestyle design can help you create a legacy that will last 300 years or more into the future.
What does it mean to design your life?
In 2013, I was fresh off an MFA Acting degree and I had just completed filming a lead role in promising indie feature film in the midwest. Even though I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from spending 3 months portraying an IRAQ war vet with PTSD, for the gritty improvised drama, I immediately began strategizing on how to capitalize off of the momentum
“You gotta be a working actor. You’re only as good as your last project. You gotta stay relevant”
Were just a few of the motivating thoughts that constantly flooded my mind.
Curious as to what direction I should take, I started asking a few of my colleagues what they thought the next step should be.
“You should definitely move to Los Angeles, especially if you want to do more film and television”.
So with no job lined up, no housing, no car, and $1200 dollars to my name, I decided to head out west to strike it big.
And after a few months in…nothing was going right.
I had my heart broken, twice. I struggled to find a “Survival” job that didn’t make me hate my life, and after a few nasty #ActorLife experiences, I started to completely question my career choice to be an Actor.
Jumping from couch to couch at friends, with my pockets growing slimmer by the day, while questioning my career choices, the stages were set for a true Shakespearean size tragedy.
Then I stumbled upon the book The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.
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Although the book is mostly centered around building micro businesses and geo-arbitrage, there was one concept that completely re-framed how I approached my life and work.
The Concept of Lifestyle Design.
The idea was simple: to consciously build your life and business around experiences you wish to have.
It sounds cheesy to say out-loud now, but after reading the 4HH, that’s when the realization hit me:
So many of my life choices had been determined by what other people thought I should do.
We all ask for advice and guidance from time to time, so It’s really easy to follow the “you should” advice. Especially if it’s coming from people we look up to and value.
But how do you know whether you’re making the decision thats right for you or just following the troupes of your typical “Career/Industry” path?
Having the awareness that I was following “shoulds” without thinking about it, was a very profound realization for me.
The 4-hour work week caused me to stop and think. It spoke exactly to what was going on inside of my head, but could not find the words for. Just because I was an “Arrrttisst” doesn’t mean I wasn’t living life according to someone else’s plan.
I truly desired to be locationally independent, while being financially stable. I desired to experience places I had never been. To meet people with completely different mindsets in order to expand my understand of the world and my place in it.
I realized, my true goal wasn’t to be a “working actor”. It was to become a fuller human being. So I could become a vessel to represent stories and characters in a much fuller way.
Los Angeles was not the required destination to do that. Even though I was told countless time that I should do it.
The problem is we don’t take the necessary time to truly dream and plan our ideal lifestyle. Goals, Progress and Success nowadays are measured in short term increments:
- 3 to 6 months
- 1 to 2 years
- 3 to 5 years if you’re really thinking ahead.
It seems to be programmed into our culture that success should come fast. Even our presidents are elected for a max of 8 years.
I heard a rumor that the founders of a certain search engine have a 300 year vision and plan for the company.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but just the thought of that inspired me. The moment I sat back and started to get in touch with my True Desires, and not some tired industry playbook, things began to change dramatically.
I asked myself, “Could I continue to live this way for the next 5-10 years in order to achieve my goal of being a working acting in Los Angeles?”
With a swift “Hell Nahhh!”, I moved back to Kansas City a month later, where I would work happily and consistently for the next 4 years.
Do I regret my year in living in Los Angeles? Absolutely not. I grew immensely as an artist and as a human being.
In fact, I am most grateful for that time because I had the opportunity to exercise True Choice.
Which is only possible after doing deep self-reflection and conscious lifestyle design around our True Desires.
Every morning that I wake up, I make sure to read this quote:
“Plan in decades, Think in years, Work in months, Live in Days” – Mel Robbins
How would your life change if you envisioned your legacy 300 years from now? Would the choices you make days to day change?
Let me know what a 300 year legacy plan would do for your life or business in the comments below.
To growth and exploration,