While American expat Bill Bryson was toiling away at a London newspaper, he was dreaming about becoming a freelance writer. With a wife and family to support, he convinced himself this was a risky and selfish dream. So Bill continued to drag himself to a job that was growing more loathsome by the day.
One morning he received a call at the office from his wife Cynthia. “I’ve just put the house on the market,” she announced. Her husband was livid, but she remained firm. “You’ve been talking about quitting your job, and it’s time you did just that.”
After the London house was sold, the Bryson clan moved north to rural Yorkshire and a new life. Bill’s modest goal was to earn a decent living by writing articles and books. He produced several titles on the English language, but it was his books of travel essays (like Notes from a Small Island and I’m a Stranger Here Myself) that began earning him a following and lively book sales. Today, his legions of fans eagerly await his next book without knowing what a debt of gratitude they owe to his wife.
Sadly, people like Cynthia Bryson are in short supply, but the world is full of people like her husband who dream of one thing while doing another.
What is it that holds us back, even when we know the course we long to pursue? Many people say that fear is the bogeyman that keeps them locked in place, but that’s not entirely accurate.
Fear, after all, is actually a helpful emotion that warns us when we are about to be attacked by a wild tiger…or crash our car into a brick wall.
The real scoundrels are worry and self-doubt. They make us question every decision or idea. They issue warnings about dangers that don’t exist. When we allow self-doubt (which is a choice, by the way) to keep us from going after our dreams, we dupe ourselves into thinking we’re behaving prudently.
We don’t really need a Cynthia Bryson to perform an intervention. Self-doubt takes flight when confronted by courage. And that’s precisely what you need if your vision is to set up shop: courage.
You probably already possess courage you use in familiar situations, even if you don’t pay much attention to it. The trick is to continue building courage as we move into the unknown.
One way is to study people who are doing what you want to do. A man once told me that he attended every seminar and event he could. “I never heard much of what the speakers said,” he confessed, “because I so wanted to be up on the stage myself.” Today, that’s precisely what he’s doing. You’re bound to be a bit of a klutz at the outset. But remember that the skillful person you’re learning from was a beginner once too.
Discuss your plans with informed sources. It’s natural, when we’re excited about an idea, to want to share it with our friends and family. But if Uncle Fred has never allowed any new thoughts to disturb his predictable life, there’s not much chance he’s going to encourage your still-fragile ideas.
As the Persian poet Rumi wisely wrote, “When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from someone who has never left home.”
That’s where Incomes Abroad steps in.
In this publication, you’ll hear stories from folks who discovered their own entrepreneurial spirit and put it to work as they relocated and reinvented. You’ll find tools for building your own thriving enterprise abroad, one that fits you and your dreams.
Subscribe to Incomes Abroad and you’ll be hiring your own research team of international explorers. Folks who have already found their buried treasure…and who can help you find yours.
Incomes Abroad will connect you with people who are running thriving enterprises from some of the most desirable places on Earth. These pioneering expat entrepreneurs will speed up your own journey by sharing what’s worked for them—and what to avoid. Who knows what great ideas their stories will trigger in you?
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