Why I Created REBEL
The Quick Version
For years, I've wanted to find a community for people just like me: high-performing misfits who want to upgrade every aspect of their lifestyle. I couldn't find this, so I created it.
The Full Story
Part 1: The Backstory
I've been working remotely since 2007, and I wouldn't trade this life for the world. That said, it's really easy to feel alone.
In those early days, I read hundreds of self-development, career and mental health articles a day to try to uncover new habits and best practices as I was starting out. Over time, I found myself scanning hundreds of articles a day and only reading a dozen or so, because nearly all of the advice out there for high performers was written for people who aren't me.
I didn't see myself in the articles I read, and I began feeling left out from the professional development world. I turned inward, and created the foundational productivity strategies that inspired Ridiculously Efficient®.
But self-reliance doesn't always scale. In 2012, I took on a contractor role with a visionary tech entrepreneur and investor. My responsibilities grew exponentially over the next few years, and by 2013, I barely had enough time to sleep and exercise, let alone read for pleasure and self-development.
Part 2: Personal Tragedies, Professional Triumphs
2013 marked the start of nearly two years of tumultuous life events that left me overwhelmed, heartbroken and pushed to my emotional limits. It started when my mom was diagnosed with oral cancer in February 2013. She died of surgery complications in June 2013. My childhood Labrador Retriever died of cancer and old age in December 2013. And my dad died of a heart attack in December 2014.
Between these foundation-shaking events, I orchestrated a product launch, organized two annual two-day events, managed a bestselling book campaign, built a half-dozen websites and managed two small teams.
In March 2015, my career was flourishing, but overwhelm set in. I'd built a reputation and a business on being ridiculously efficient®, and yet I found myself struggling to sleep, to work effectively, to exercise, to eat well, to strategize and think beyond daily to-dos.
My parents always saw me as a rebel at work, someone who always found my own way to deliver results. Dangerous thoughts began to haunt me.
You're no rebel. You're just as chained to your job as the cubicle jockeys.
Why would anyone listen to your advice about lifestyle and travel? You haven't taken a real vacation in years.
I felt like I didn't know who I was anymore. My parents -- my support system, who kept me grounded and contextualized life -- were gone. My creativity was gone. I didn't know where to start to try to rebuild myself. And I didn't know where I wanted to be in the future.
Surrounded by love and support, I still felt profoundly alone.
I needed a major life reset.
Part 3: The Proclamation
I made a daring announcement to a few close confidantes: I'm going to travel. Twenty trips in 2015 of four or more days, and I'm not going to take a weekday off.
I scoured flash deal travel websites and started booking dates in a frenzy each time I saw a new discount fare. Seattle. Vancouver. Thailand.
Work offered additional opportunities. Lisbon. Toronto. Austin. Silicon Valley. Portland.
My husband joined me for seven of my first 10 trips. On the way back from each one, we challenged each other to come up with three new habits or insights from that trip that we wanted to bring back home with us.
Some were tactical decisions. Others were more esoteric breakthroughs or mental perspective shifts.
Part 4: The Payoff
During our Vancouver trip, while working on a friend's couch, I came up with the five core principles that make someone ridiculously efficient®:
- Rewarding Roles: Every daily activity is a form of teamwork or cooperation. If you know how you uniquely create value for others, you know the "position" you play on each of your teams, which focuses your efforts and simplifies decisionmaking.
- Empowering Environments: We all have optimal environments for creativity, restoration, work, play and focus. If you can create and optimize these environments at work and home, altering your energy and mood begins the moment you enter a room.
- Breaking Barriers: Strong problem-solving abilities, especially the ability to respond to crisis and transform uncertainty into forward movement, are what separate high-performance workers from robots and artificial intelligence (for now).
- Ever-Expanding Capabilities: Total mastery of self-management and self-motivation will ensure high-performance workers always have income.
- Learning & Lifestyle: Without fun, adventure and opportunities to learn, boredom and stagnation will set in.
I got so excited about this framework that I wanted to share it with the world. I started by showing it to a few colleagues I trust. The momentum their initial enthusiasm created is what gave me the courage to create what you see here on this site.