Before the Designing Your Life (DYL) Digital Journey workshop series, facilitated by Fieldbrook Advising, I was feeling stuck, professionally and privately. I felt limited in living my life to its fullest potential, I felt imprisoned – in a golden cage with my mind stuck in it, unable to get out despite its doors being open. I came to the workshop wishing to gain bravery. I wanted to focus on my truest self when engaging with others as opposed to me trying to impress others. I wanted to live life to the fullest! But all those aspirations were exactly that – a vision rather than reality.
When my dad passed away in 2018, fighting cancer for 2.5 years, he did not want to leave. He was not ready. It felt like he was missing something in order to let go in peace. I was shaken by seeing the person, who I admired so much, struggle so intensely in face of death. It shaped me in an unexpected way. After he died my mind was not shifted in a YOLO kind of way – and I wasn’t getting it.
Angst, a sense of responsibility, shame, and guilt came into play. All these emotions were holding me back big time. Those were the feelings that created the invisible door of the golden cage. Just that to me, I couldn’t see anything else but the invisible door.
When I started the DYL workshop, I first had a hard time to define my goal(s). So, my first step was to structure and reflect my thoughts. I felt hugely supported by the DYL community. Not only to reflect with yourself, the app (which I found amazing), and the workbook, but the exchanges with the other participants was also so valuable. Let me dive a little bit deeper here. During the live sessions we had several breakouts with one to two other participants. For each of those sessions it felt like a higher power was playing matchmaker.
I remember the first one, I was still in a very performance-driven mindset and would get upset when the other participants would not be as prepared or committed as I was. Then I realized you can change it, love it, or leave it. And because I could not control how the others were working, I needed to do a shift and be more supportive of different work styles. I think this became crucial. It made me become more open-minded and hence, ready for the path that was lying ahead of me.
Every upcoming breakout, I met someone who was facing similar issues and a similar work environment. Every session taught me valuable lessons. They filled my heart, they motivated me, and they uplifted me. The feeling of getting into the ‘real’ stuff with a stranger was incredibly important. Opening up to give and take advice, to ask questions and receive feedback is a mind-blowing journey that gave me a lot of courage – I gained the bravery I was hoping for.
And even though I always considered myself a rather lonesome rider, I understood that this had more to do with self-protection than actual reality. So, I ended up planning a house swap with one of the participants for the time after the pandemic. Beyond the sessions together, many of us will continue with regular engagements in mastermind groups.
I want to mention a couple of additional things that really stood out to me. The facilitators are a crucial component of the workshop. They are completely immersing themselves into the journey – they are vulnerable, authentic, and accepting – and as such are paving the way for getting ‘real.’ I was really impressed by their kindness and charisma and their ability to create this place of belonging even via Zoom. Words can’t really express how I feel about them. When we reached the time to define 3 prototypes of the lives we would envision for ourselves, it felt very abstract to me. I had a hard time defining even the first one. Surprisingly, however, when it came to the 3rd prototype, I had something like a calling 😉 – it just appeared to me how I wanted to live my life. At this point, things started to change rapidly.
My goal was to gain enough flexibility in life, so I can both work in the job I love and travel the world. Who came up with the stupid phrase ‘you can’t have the cake and eat it too’ anyway?! The hardest part for me was to overcome external expectations. But the pandemic helped. While in the program, I went to Spain for 3 weeks and worked from there. I was starting to live the life I envisioned. Baby steps and it worked! Nothing bad happened but quite the opposite! My body and my mind started to heal, I was able again to inspire others, I could see clearer – the invisible doors became invisible! I stepped out of my golden cage.
I now want to take it to the next steps. I want to spend a month in Costa Rica and see how working in a different time zone works out for me. After that I will hopefully spend a month in Hawaii at the house of the DYL participant, who became a friend, a mentor, a peer.
DYL is a perfect composition of 3 biweekly live sessions, a well-thought through workbook and app, and an extremely well composed community, plus a bonus session. I had time to breathe and reflect between the sessions, but the app and the workbook kept me accountable. As I live in Germany, the live sessions were at Friday nights. I could have not imagined a better Friday night date.
I cannot thank enough all the people who were part of DYL. It really changed a lot for me and changed a limited mindset to a “everything is possible” mindset (even without any guilt).
- My name is Maxi from Berlin, Germany. I live with my dachshund Paul in a beautiful space on the river Spree. I work as the CEO of our family business, Business Trends Academy in furthering education for adults.