I work from home, by myself, in a small town, far from the everyday hustle and bustle – and no, I have not yet gone batty. Instead, I have managed to create an incredible life by learning from, and paying attention to, letting the outside in. And this, my friends, has been the method to my gladness for years.
For me, learning to live from the "outside in" means both being outdoors as much as possible (that’s me walking along Lake Champlain with my dog in the photo) AND being outside the usual business and lifestyle construct. I have found that I learn by living on the other side of any more common boundary. Force an 8 to 5 schedule on me, and I’ll squirm and gasp for air ”“ resenting it all the way. But, allow for my life of structured randomness – unusual hours, a wide variety of project topics, many dog walks and Pilates breaks, with a dose of travel/speaking/being “with” people – and I deliver my absolute creative best.
But, I haven’t always understood my nature. I grew up in a fairly traditional family, with a dad who worked a lot and a mom who drove us kids around at least 8 hours a day (I swear). My three siblings all went pretty much directly to grad school after college, and then followed right along the corporate/professional path from there. So. I tried. For the first ten years out of college, I worked for trade associations and small businesses doing administrative and then marketing work. I’d always felt busy and productive for maybe five hours in my eight-hour days, tops. Then, about ten years ago, I realized that I felt best and functioned most highly if I was learning from outside of whatever box there was ”“ including the box of an office building.