An Accountant's Experience Co-Living & Co-Working In Thailand
Recently, I made the journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand to attend The Entrepreneur House.
The group consists of ~20 online entrepreneurs, digital nomads and advisors from around the world who spend one month together to help take their businesses and lives to the next level.
I'm sharing my story, giving you a peek at what 30 Days at The Entrepreneur House looks like. From lessons learned to the activities, I'll dive into this experience of a lifetime.
The 'why' is easy. On my journey to find purpose, this program would make it impossible not to grow, step outside my comfort zone, meet new people and gain more clarity.
It didn't take me long to make the decision to join after hearing this podcast about Co-living and co-working: AP 123 – Co-Living: The New (or not so new) Trend With Digital Entrepreneurs.
When I ventured to Thailand several years ago, it was for a different purpose: to have fun and see a new place. This time, while I expect to have fun, it's more about doing things that will help me get to the next stage in business and in life.
30 Days of The Entrepreneur House ~ Chiang Mai, Thailand
Day 1: That Feeling You Get When You Realize You've Done Something Horribly Right
My stomach is on fire.
And I don't think it was from the yellow curry dish I ate earlier.
No, it's something else.
It's not just my stomach either: it's my entire core.
It's burning. It's on fire.
This sensation isn't from the reintroduction of local Thai food into my system. (As much as I love Thai food, it doesn't always love me back.)
No, that burning sensation is the realization that I've done something horribly right by coming to Thailand and joining The Entrepreneur House.
After just the first day at here in Chiang Mai, Thailand surrounded by digital nomads and online entrepreneurs - it's clear to me: this is exactly the thing I needed to get my fire back.
The art of setting BIG goals
Our first day kicked off with a session on 'Goal Setting' from one of the accomplished house advisors, Tal Gur.
He created a list of 100 goals to achieve in 10 years.
Tal explained about one of his goals was to complete a triathlon.
But when he woke up each morning to train he wasn't motivated or excited to do it.
What if the goal of running a triathlon wasn't motivating because it wasn't BIG enough?
After giving it some thought he knew what he had to do - complete an Ironman, because if you’re going to GO BIG you might as well GO BIG.
By expanding that one goal to something that seemed near impossible, that's what drove him to get really pumped up about it - and make training for it fun, not just going through the motions.
Ultimately, he immersed himself into his training and made it an integral part of his life.
While his story was inspiring, it gave me pause to reflect on my own goals - and it's sad to say not much came to mind.
Since starting my mini-retirement in May of this year, I had two major things I wanted to accomplish: travel and work on business development stuff.
Pretty general, not very specific goals, I know.
And over the past several months, while I've crossed many new destinations and experiences off my list like going on an Alaskan cruise, spending a relaxing week in Honolulu, a weeklong road-trip to Southern California, and hiking Yosemite - I haven't really accomplished anything.
And now here I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
While getting to visit new places has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying my craving to experience life - most of those haven't been goal driven.
My inner flame has been dim for months now.
The conversations. The connections. The surrounding environment.
This was the fuel that was poured on my inner fire.
And to think this almost didn't happen...
When I initially Skyped with Chris, Founder of The Entrepreneur House, I wasn't intent on attending this event because I had already been to Thailand and I wanted to go somewhere new like Barcelona.
But after sleeping on that idea, I couldn't get my mind off of what an incredible experience going to this event would be - regardless of where it was held.
I had my inner voice telling me:
"Jeff, you really need to do this. There's no good reason NOT to go."
Now, here I am.
And during the goal setting session I shared with our group my main goal for the month was to write three blog posts a week.
After the session ended, the group headed for our first meal together at a nearby rooftop restaurant overlooking the city.
Within walking distance, it gave us the opportunity to chat with one another.
So far I've had a handful of conversations with likeminded people from around the world: Netherlands, Switzerland and a fellow American.
And as I learn the story of what brings them to the program, it gives me new perspective, and drive.
The more I talk with the other members, that fire is growing inside me.
One conversation in particular stuck out especially.
What I would soon come to realize after talking with a fellow member, that I wasn't really excited about this goal I set for myself.
I wasn't even excited when talking about my goal and it showed.
It was written on my face an apparent in my words.
Because publishing blog posts is what I've should have been doing for months but haven't.
My writing hasn't been consistent and publishing hasn't taken a priority.
The longer I have been putting off publishing, the more I'm afraid to hit publish.
I have a lot of posts just sitting in my drafts folder collecting digital dust.
They are all posts I was passionate at the time of writing but didn't follow through on publishing them.
Publishing three posts a week seems like a lot going from zero, but I know it's not big enough change.
It's not life changing enough.
I knew I was holding back on creating a life changing goal.
And I couldn't fake my way through talking about it with my group.
So I'm officially restructuring that goal.
Just like Tal, I'm going bigger with my goal.
A goal that gets me excited to accomplish - not just going through the motions.
I'm here for 30 days.
I'm going to be in front of a computer screen for 30 days.
I'm going to be writing during the 30 days, because I enjoy it.
"Perfection is the enemy of progress" - Winston Churchill
When I write, I want to be free of errors and make sense to you, the reader, and inspire you to take action or at the very least
But recently I've had a fear of hitting publish because I have felt my writing wasn't good enough.
That I'd write and when it came to editing, I wan't doing a good enough job of fixing my flaws.
But it's time to let that go, because clearly it wasn't working.
I wasn't making progress.
Now, I'm spending less time editing and even more of my flaws are out there for you to see.
I've been abusing my mini-retirement in a sense because I have all the time in the world to do whatever it is I want to do, including writing, yet I haven't taken advantage of that time. (See this run on sentence, I'm not too worried about fixing it.)
So I'm going to change my approach just a bit.
I'm going to spend less time editing because I don't need it to be perfect for you.
What I do need is to just put it out into the world.
I'm ok with some grammatical errors and weird sentences because if it means I can stick to my goal that's what I'm going to do.
What's important to me is to share my story, my knowledge and experience along with the stories of interesting people I meet.
And I don't want to get hung up on editing because then I wont make progress.
I need to defeat my inner enemy “perfection” with that burning fire.
I started writing this at 3:00 AM after tossing and turning in my sleep, thinking about what I had experienced.
It's hard to tell if it's because I haven't adjusted to the jet lag yet or if I'm excited to hit publish again.
Deep down, I know the answer to that.
Day 3: Feel The Energy Around You
The energy here in Chiang Mai gives me life.
It’s unlike any place I’ve been before.
The people, the weather, the food, the ideas...the energy in everything around me.
Being surrounded by online entrepreneurs and digital nomads is something I’ve wanted for while now.
And now that I’m around them, I feel like I’ve met my tribe.
Everyone here has purpose.
They’ve escaped the 9-5, are living the location independent lifestyle and building their own empires.
And they are extremely generous and encouraging.
During our first Mastermind workshop, a few members presented their businesses to seek feedback from the group on how to move forward or make improvements.
It’s amazing to hear the input from people who’ve encountered the same problems and are willing to give advice that’s worth a lot of money.
A lot of positive energy flows through conversations and interactions.
It’s impossible to not have a conversation that sparks an idea or gives you a new perspective.
There hasn’t been a boring day or a boring person so far and I doubt there will be.
Coming to The Entrepreneur House has been transformational and it’s only Day 3.
My goal to publish one blog post a day for 30 days seems like a lot, however, there’s always something learn here.
And this learning inspires me to write.
I don’t want to just absorb this energy, I want to harness it to create and give it back too.
I took a chance by coming here, and now that I’m here, I wish I’d have known about this experience sooner.
Looking back during the days of working in an office, I see how they severely lacked energy.
I knew I had to change my surroundings so I took the leap by leaving my job.
But that was the only the first step.
The next step is to put yourself around other people that will give you energy to do work you enjoy and gives you meaning.
If you’re stuck at an office job and feel like you’re just going through the motions, there’s no other choice but to change your environment.
It could mean just switching jobs, changing careers or trying to start building your own empire.
It could mean packing up and traveling to another country, one like Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Either way, put yourself someplace with the energy.
Do you feel the energy around you?
Day 4: There's No Such Thing As 'Boring' In Chiang Mai
I locked myself in my room for the entire day except to eat out for lunch.
I was planning on having a 'boring' day.
As an introvert, I need ME time.
Days where it's just me, myself and I.
My thoughts, my work, my rest.
Intentionally boring, and I'm ok with that.
It can't be fun and games all the time.
Or so I thought...
I've learned you can't go far without bumping into somebody else.
And it doesn't matter who you run into, they all have an interesting story of how they made it here and what they're doing to survive.
In Chiang Mai, there's no such thing as a boring person.
Everyone has a story to tell.
As I finished up eating my meal, I started talking with a digital nomad couple who sat down next to me.
The conversation was geared around the lifestyle in Chiang Mai.
And how it's different here.
They've been digital nomads for years now and based in Chiang Mai for months.
Traveling all around the world looking for the best places for digital nomads.
Apparently, Chiang Mai is the best place to be if you are about this lifestyle.
The cheap cost of living, the food, the people, the energy.
I could see it on their faces this was the place for them to be and work on their business.
They talked about how wherever you go here, there's always somebody who you can learn something from.
And It just so happened I was learning from them in that moment.
Even though I expected to have a boring day to myself, I had an interesting conversation that gave me more clarity and motivation on what I’m doing.
Everyone is here with a purpose.
You don't just come here to go through the motions and wait to die.
You come here to feel alive.
The truth is, I've been somewhat bored during the later months on my mini-retirement.
Even though I traveled to some interesting places, it was the time spent at home that seemed to drag.
I had so much freedom, but not enough purpose.
I knew what I DIDN’T want, that was the easy part.
But I didn't know what I DID want.
Coming here has given me purpose.
I no longer feel bored because I'm working towards something I believe in and I know has value.
And I'm surrounded by people who are all working towards something that gives them purpose too.
And it's contagious.
I'm working out. I'm writing. I'm meeting with interesting people. Everyday.
I wasn't doing these things consistently back home, even though I certainly had the time to do it.
The thing was, I knew I had to make a change, I just didn't know what.
Until I took a chance.
Sometimes you have to do something radical to achieve great results.
So, if you're bored or feeling bored, consider coming to Chiang Mai and you'll eliminate that feeling.
Because ‘boring’ doesn’t exist here.
Day 5 - 30: Can probably be summed up by this video
After Attending 'The House'
After attending The Entrepreneur House, a couple very cool things happened:
I created the Lifestyle Accountants community for likeminded accountants to interact, support, inspire, motivate, and assist each other on their journey.
Also, I was interviewed by Founder of The Entrepreneur House, Chris Reynolds, on his podcast:
The Bottom Line
Getting the opportunity to attend The Entrepreneur House was one of the best investments and experiences of my life.