Living a digital nomad life is the dream for many. The ability to work remotely, travel, and be your own boss is romantic and alluring. Yet many people do not fully realize the intense dedication and hard work it takes to start up your own digital freelance business on the go.
Digital nomadism isn’t just a trend; it’s a lifestyle with all its ups and down which requires finesses other jobs do not.
Managing clients, multi-tasking, landing new gigs, networking, traveling, and making time to explore new cultures is a delicate equanimity to maintain. Without balance, digital nomads run the risk of burning themselves out without reaping the rich benefits of work-travel.
Think about the days when you are hunkered down in a cafe busting out work for clients with no time to explore. What about the feelings of homesickness? Or stress when you are looking for a new client? What about feeling anxious when you don’t know when your next check is coming from? Or how are you going to meet deadlines when the wifi crashes at your hostel? Or what do you do when you miss your flight to your next destination? Or how does it feel when you become too inundated with work that you begin to think, was this what I really wanted?
A freelance lifestyle is stressful!
Digital nomads are very susceptible to anxiety, depression, and pressure from traveling and working as self-employed contractors. Thus, nomadism requires skills beyond digital trades to keep yourself in business and maintain a healthy work-travel balance.
To enjoy a nomadic lifestyle its important traveling freelancers develop mental fortitude, a relaxed demeanor, positive outlook, and self-confidence to successfully run a remote, full-time globetrotting business.
The key to honing these soft yet crucial skills is to double up on a mental health regimen with an emphasis on meditation.
Meditation is a 5,000-year-old practice used to quiet mental chatter and to connect to an awareness beyond the ego. Sitting still and focusing on breathing develops clarity and a deeper understanding of our mental patterns, emotions, and bodies. Meditation creates an internal calm during the storm so nothing really disturbs or disrupts our flow.
As you begin a daily meditation routine, you will find that you are not only less stressed, but that you develop skills applicable to boosting the success of your digital nomad business.
8 ESSENTIAL DIGITAL NOMAD SKILLS MEDITATION HONES
During a meditation practice, you sit in stillness with everything you are carrying physically, emotionally, and mentally. You meet yourself with everything you are at the moment. You become an observer of the fluid passage of thoughts and emotions.
By becoming an active observer, you see and accept who you really are. As you go deeper into meditation and move beyond the mind’s restless thoughts, you connect with your inner essence, soul, or higher self.
As a result, you start to engage less with the negative and self-critical mental chatter. You realize you are valuable just the way you are with exactly what you have. Before you know it, you become more confident and courageous to take more significant leaps of faith, land more gigs, and continuously improve your digital nomad skills.
Meditation taps into positive thinking power. Essential for traveling freelancers when the going gets tough, funds dwindle, or gigs are hard to come by.
To manifest positivity in your nomadic career, you must first change your mindset. Mental transformation occurs at the subconscious level by developing emotional intelligence via meditation. Emotional intelligence is the capability to express and control your emotions judiciously and empathetically.
As you breathe and allow yourself to reveal the emotional layers of fear, depression, and anxiety you’ll notice they will slowly begin to fade away. By expressing instead of compressing our emotions, we can easily let them go. The remainder is crystal clear thinking and a positive mental attitude without the barriers of negative thoughts.
A positive mental focus will allow digital nomads to manifest anything they want in their business including success, money, happiness, relationships, and experiences.
During meditation, you sit with all of your impulses. The challenge is to observe and resist the urge to obey your mental demands. As you develop this strength and study your habitual thoughts, your mind becomes more stretchy. Listening and observing instead of immediately reacting gives you more options and space in between actions. Meditation provides mental flexibility to let go and be open to more creative ideas and options.
Meditation ultimately allows nomads to go with the flow when plans go awry. For example, when the typical reaction to a late flight would be nervousness, anger, or anxiety mindful travelers have the mental flexibility to choose not to lash out emotionally. Instead, they can acknowledge their negative emotions while choosing to relax and focus on positive solutions.
Stress is the ultimate block to creative thinking. When digital nomads become overly stressed by work demands, financial pressure, loneliness, or travel they naturally become more cognitively rigid. The brain focuses on “flight or fight” reactions while reducing the output of mindful, creative responses to take action quickly.
Research shows that stressed-out non-meditators are inflexible problem solvers and typically create outdated and complicated solutions to simple problems.
Meditators did not have the same results. Why?
Meditation stimulates creative juices otherwise untapped by our working brains. Sitting and breathing calms the overstimulated emotional stress responses from a digital nomad lifestyle which allows novel solutions to enter our consciousness. Thus, applying meditation to an innovative nomadic process is a tool to break stress-induced creative fasts and mental blocks.
When you sit with yourself daily, you become familiar with your mind’s patterns and habits. In your meditation practice, you listen to your ideas, stresses, and calls to action as a passive observer. Practicing not doing anything about your thoughts frees you from the demands of your ego and allows you to manage discomfort.
As nomads travel with a broader sense of awareness and mindfulness to their mental tendencies, they produce a natural, deep-seated calmness and peace that allows them to handle all the stressors of a digital nomadic lifestyle.
With large mental to-do lists, digital nomads need the ability to prioritize, work efficiently, and stay focused at the task at hand to maximize their time and workflow.
An interesting brain-scan study on mental focus, cognition, and mediation revealed that meditators had increased mental stability in brain regions that control disorganized and incoherent thoughts. The results were more streamlined and focused thinking in those with a daily meditation practice.
Digital nomads and mindful travelers who regularly meditate can improve their mental focus by reducing brain activity related to mental scatter and strengthening brain regions that regulate concentration.
Clear communication between clients is the lynchpin to building a successful freelance business. Mediation enhances communication by vicariously improving listening skills.
Active listening requires an immense amount of engagement during conversation. As you meditate you practice mindful presence – being wholly aware in the moment with intent. The power of presence improves listening and communication because you can hone the ability to be entirely absorbed during your personal and business interactions.
The benefits of mindful communication to digital travelers are endless. Freelancers will be able to empathize and pick up on non-verbal cues from their clients to reduce conflict and have a better understanding of their needs. The results are ultimately ensuring that digital nomads produce the best results for their business.
Working as a digital nomad means giving your full attention to appeasing clients. The energy required to upkeep an active list of business partners can be draining. During the process, it’s not uncommon to forget self-love, a potent and essential practice for everyone, not just nomads.
Self-love is to fully appreciate who you are in every moment life gives you. It’s to be proud of all of your accomplishments and effort you dedicate to life. During meditation, you can sit down and thank your mind, body, and emotions for the hard work you put in to create a travel based lifestyle.
When digital nomads take the time to appreciate, love, and look to themselves for inspiration during meditation, choices rooted in digital freedom and magic grow into one of the most fulfilling and evolving lifestyles offered today.
Demeris Morse is a professional SEO freelance writer and web designer for hire. She writes for her blog The Traveling Freelancers. As a full-time globetrotter and yogi, Demeris specializes in digital nomadism, mindful travel, and outdoor adventures. She is excited to launch her new course “How To Manifest Your Ultimate Digital Nomad Dream” next month.