Creating Your Freedom Lifestyle – How to Design a Life & Career That Truly Brings You Alive

People ask me all the time, “How did you create a life where you can work from anywhere, and travel several months out of the year?” 

“How did you build two 6-figure businesses by the time you were 30?”

If any of that sounds exciting to you, then keep reading! 

I wrote this article to share my story, and to inspire you to create your own extraordinary life – of freedom, success AND fulfillment – whatever that means to you. 

An Unusual Childhood

I was lucky to be born into a family that traveled the world. My parents were entrepreneurs and trailblazers in what you might call the “freedom lifestyle” movement. 

My mom has been a coach and trainer for 35 years. She was certifying life coaches and leading personal development, business & leadership seminars back in the late 80s and 90s – long before most people knew what a coach even was. 

Back then, no one was talking about following your passion or what lights you up. Even fewer people were living that way. But this was the core of my mom’s work: creating a life and career that truly brings you ALIVE. And boy, did she walk her talk!

She wanted to travel the world with her family. So, she led her seminars all over the world, and decided to homeschool her five kids so we could travel with her. For most of my childhood, we spent spring and fall in Austin, TX, summers in Europe, and winters in Maui, Hawaii. 

We weren’t especially rich. We had great years as well as challenging ones. We simply chose to design our life that way, and set up the systems to make it possible. 

Buying Into the Myth of “Success”

For a long time, I didn’t know anything different. This was just my life – and I loved it! But there came a time in my teens when I actually started to resent our adventurous lifestyle. When I innocently talked about my life to other kids my age, they often made me feel like I was pretentious or bragging. 

So I shut down. I decided I didn’t want to be that “weird” homeschooled kid anymore. I just wanted to fit in. 

I stopped listening to my heart, and following the clues of what brought me alive. Instead, I listened to what society told me about what it takes to be “happy” and “successful.” Go to college. Get a good job. Get married. Have a family. 

(Sound familiar?)

This led me to study business in university – instead of something I was truly passionate about. My new goal was to get a “stable” corporate job after college, and leave my entrepreneurial roots in the past. 

Fortunately, life had other plans… 

Smiling on the Outside (Struggling on the Inside)

While I was in university, I worked hard, got straight A’s, partied multiple nights a week, and did a pretty good job “fitting in.” But instead of making me happier, I felt worse. 

By senior year, I graduated summa cum laude and won multiple awards on campus, but inside I was miserable. I’d gained 15 pounds, and felt totally out of touch with myself. 

I remember going on a couple of interviews for corporate jobs – sitting under the fluorescent lights answering the same questions again and again – and that’s when it happened. A whisper inside of me that I’d been ignoring started to get louder. 

It insisted, “There has to be more to life than this.” 

I couldn’t imagine spending the next 4 decades sitting at a desk, and climbing the corporate ladder. I remembered what it felt like to live a life of freedom – and I became determined to create this for myself. 

Finding My Way Back to Freedom

Six months later, I started my first business as an online marketing consultant and direct response copywriter. I had zero savings and about $60,000 in student loans at the time, but I was committed to doing whatever it took to be successful. I worked hard, and grew that business to six figures within 18 months. 

I felt like I’d “made it.” I’d created a great income and the freedom to travel and work from anywhere. I moved to San Diego, met amazing friends (who were as “weird” and into personal development as I was), and eventually met the love of my life – my now-husband, Sunny. Life kept getting better and better in every way.  

At the same time, I was struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, and various “mystery” health issues. The pressure of constant deadlines, and my tendency to take on more than I could handle, brought me to the brink of burnout on multiple occasions. 

Designing a Life of Aliveness

I tried to ignore these signs, and just be happy with what I had. I felt guilty for wanting anything more, when I had so much to be grateful for already. 

My heart was calling me to step into the work I was born to do – to follow in my mom’s footsteps and become a coach and trainer. But I was terrified to walk away from the business I’d worked so hard to build for the past six years. 

When it got to the point where I was having daily panic attacks, I knew something had to change. Deep down I sensed that if I stayed in the work that I was doing, my mental and physical health would continue to deteriorate. 

Financial freedom and location freedom weren’t enough. My soul craved fulfillment too. 

Fast-forward to today, and I run a multiple 6-figure coaching & training company, alongside my business partner and mentor Gigi Sage (who also happens to be my mom). I’m doing work that truly lights me up and brings me alive – and making a positive impact on the world. My health is better, I’m 10x happier, and I haven’t had a panic attack in well over a year!

I could write 10 more articles about what it took to get here. But for now, I’ll share a few of the key shifts that helped me create a life of freedom AND fulfillment – a life that truly brings me alive. 

  1. Forget the Myths. Write Your Own Story – Have you ever bought into the idea that you have to sacrifice your freedom, in order to have a family? Or that you have to choose between fulfillment, and financial success? Or that there’s only one path to happiness? I’m here to tell you these are myths. They simply aren’t true. You CAN create a life and career on your terms. My mom did it. I did it. Now it’s your turn!
  2. Don’t Quit Your “Day Job” – There’s this idea out there that you have to quit everything in order to start a business doing what you love. I believe that actually sets many people up for failure. That’s why, when I transitioned from my marketing business to coaching, I did it slowly. I continued taking on marketing work for the first 6-12 months as I built up an income in my new line of work. I always made sure to cover my bases, so I wasn’t in a desperate situation of not being able to pay my bills. If you’re dreaming of having your own business, or pivoting to something new, start it on the side! When it’s starting to make great money, you’ll be excited to make the leap.
  3. Follow Your Aliveness – Aliveness is the compass that points the way to your most extraordinary life. And just like every person is totally unique, what brings you alive will be unique to you. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” lifestyle that works for everyone. This should come as a relief, because it means you can stop looking around at what everyone else is doing! Instead, pay attention to what you’re doing when you feel the most alive, curious, and peaceful. These are clues that will point you in the right direction. 

Discovering What Brings YOU Alive

While these tips will give you a starting point, most of us have no idea what truly lights us up. Or maybe you have too many ideas, and you’re not sure which one to take action on! That’s where The Reflection Process comes in. It’s Step #1 in The Aliveness Method, and it begins with a trained coach asking you a series of questions designed to get to the core of what brings you alive – and then reflecting where we see you “light up” the most. You can use this information to get clarity about your next steps, and ensure the path you are taking is truly in alignment for you. 

If this is something you’re curious about, I’d love to offer you a FREE 30-minute Reflection Session. Email me at makena@followyouraliveness.com to claim your session. I look forward to connecting with you!

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