Seize the opportunities!
Live life to the fullest!
Do what you love!
The list goes on and you know it. Whether it’s pinning inspirational quotes or subscribing to podcasts, we’re always seeking some affirmation—to do, to seek, to find, to be.
Take Martin and Raj, co-founders of Idea Lemon (discover your inner awesome). Do! They quit their jobs. Seek! They’re on an epic six-week road trip along the west coast. Find! They’re traveling to new places and making new friends. Be! They’re being friends, co-founders, spontaneous, and pretty damn awesome. As a personal friend of Martin’s, I remember the day he told me he quit his job and gave up his city apartment. My reaction? “That takes some serious balls.” A couple weeks into their road trip, I couldn’t resist checking in and asking how the wandering entrepreneurs were doing. “So, is this life-changing or what?”
“Err, it’s interesting!”
Way to prick my balloon, Martin; I was living vicariously through you. Sensing my disappointment, he continued, “I’m not one to use the term life-changing so readily. I don’t like to over idolize…This is wonderful. It’s life-distracting!”
Ironically, I had been over-idolizing him for giving it all up to do something he loved. Raj chimed in via the car speaker phone, “There hasn’t been an agenda other than us just being where we are. It’s been cool to be in the go-with-the-flow mindset.” Raj traded in his day job life for full-time entrepreneurship this past January while Martin only just traded in his day job for the nomadic entrepreneurship lifestyle. “This is our job now. We just talk to people. The traveling isn’t even the main thing…it’s like commuting to work.”
Then, they both started chuckling about how they had no place to sleep for the night. “…Yet?” I said in what a tone that aimed to be positive, but really, came across like a strangled, “Oh god. My friends are going to sleep in a car and get mugged.” I was surprised. I’ve always known Martin to be a neurotic, worst-case scenario planner…just like me. “I’ve got a potential back up plan,” he reassured me. “But it’s better to hold out. The worst case scenario is usually never as bad as you think. Sleeping in a car is better than on the street.”
And there, right there, was where something clicked. This wasn’t bravery. This wasn’t balls (sorry, fellas). This was faith. Faith in other people. Faith in each other. Faith in themselves.
When Raj and Martin launched Idea Lemon, they wanted to help people discover their “inner awesome”, just as they worked hard to discover their own. A big part of discovering your inner awesome is identifying that it already exists and then nurturing it to play a more active role in your life. When they finally embarked on their epic road trip, Raj and Martin placed faith in a number of things: in the hospitality and keen intrigue of others, in each other to be supportive and provide relief, and in themselves to come out of this by caring more about what they want to do with each day.
It’s amazing when we can point to one major event in our lives and say, “I did it.” But you can only truly make your faith bigger than your fear when you implement the practice in all the little things. How can we start? Let’s learn from the men who gave it ‘all’ up to find what mattered most to them.
- Don’t be closed off to people. Invest in mini-interactions. “Strike up a conversation everywhere. Have mini-conversations. It doesn’t always need to lead to value, but that mini-interaction is better than no interaction at all.” — Raj
- Take time to do something for yourself. “It’s a spontaneous hack to improve your mood. I don’t meditate but just being able to sit down and read an article or do something that is focused on myself helps make the day less reactive to everything else going on around me. Usually it’s exercise or pursuing something intellectual.” — Martin
- Get into a habit you love. “For me, it’s yoga. I’ve been practicing daily for five months and working my way up [to headstands]. It’s one thing to get up and stand on your feet. It’s another to flip yourself upside down on top of the world. Literally. On top of the world!” — Raj.
- Care about your own opinion of yourself and less about others.“There’s a level that we all need to reach to stop caring about what other people think. Things are so much more fun when you don’t give a shit about what people think about you…my life cannot be dictated anymore by what other people are expecting of me.” — Martin
- Acknowledge your behavior. “If you try something and get distracted or fail, catch it. Hold yourself accountable…but be nice to yourself about the times you do fail because it’s not the end of the world. Be aware and [eventually] your brain will start to form a habit.” — Raj
- Be okay with being alone. Not that it’s easy. “I stopped going out and drinking for four months to practice what it was like to be with and by myself. Now, if I do miss something, I get over it. What’s that saying? Nothing good ever happens after 2am anyway.” — Martin
- Manage your expectations. We’re always told to be the heroes of our own stories, but once in a while we need to realize we’re the extra in someone else’s story. “Have a short memory and a present mind.” — Martin. “Practice being in control of what you think about and how you think about relationships. Do something once and it’s important. Do something over and over, it’ll become more natural.” — Raj
What’s the most important lesson the Idea Lemon co-founders learned from their road trip?
“Put yourself next to someone who is the opposite of you and let the differences push you forward. You’ll do things you’ve never done before. Find someone who isn’t held back by the same fears as you and then help support them in ways that you can.” — Martin
“Trying and failing hurts so much less than never trying at all. You’ll have nothing to fall back on if you don’t try. It’s like with headstands…you might fall and it might sting. But it won’t be a long term dull pain.” — Raj.
Since our phone call, I’ve found myself pinning less and practicing more. I turned off all social media notifications on my phone, despite being a social media manager, because I wanted more time to myself. I’ve cultivated a morning routine that involves reading something intellectual followed by something fun and pampering myself—be it through exercise, a good breakfast, or an episode of Frasier before work. I’m working hard to have a short memory and a present mind. And sure, I’ve got my moments of failure. But my faith overcomes the fear of failing again, and that’s all I can ask for.
About Idea Lemon
Idea Lemon helps you, be more you. To create and share the things you want to see in the world. We take you from being a thinker to a doer. We show you how to put your ideas in action. We guide you on your way to getting more from life with our step-by-step systems, hacks, and tools that enable you to stand out from the rest and get noticed.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.