How To Be Successful Without Any Planning

I was thinking the other day about how I got started with all this crazy online business stuff in the first place. How did this happen? Two years ago, I dreamed of the business I have today, but I didn’t have a clue what to do to get here. I was totally and completely in the dark about a lot of what goes on online.


And I started to think back to the defining moment where I was like “A-ha! This is it! This is what I have to do! This is what the fuck I should do with my life!”


If I had to pin it down to one moment, one person, one thing that got me to where I am now – what would that be?

And the first thing that came to mind was Tad Hargrave.

Tad and I were hanging out in Toronto, having lunch (pho!) and jamming about how I had no idea what to do with my life. I remember him drawing a little diagram of yoga, rock climbing, food, and travel, and us trying to figure out how the hell to mesh them all together. Nothing was feeling like a fit. I was frustrated (and he was helping me for free, so I’m sure he wasn’t exactly having a ball either).






He went up to go to the bathroom, and he casually dropped a book on the table and said I should have a look at it, that I might find it interesting.

The book was The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. I started scrolling through it, and went home and immediately ordered two copies (I didn’t know who the second one was for yet, but I knew SOMEONE would need it).


I wouldn’t say the book changed my life (I’m way too cynical to put that much stock into any one thing), but it was a catalyst of sorts. So you might say that Tad was responsible for me getting to where I am now.


Which is true. And it isn’t.

I met Tad at nutrition school in Toronto. He was doing a free talk to promote his marketing workshop. If I had never been in that class, that day (which is actually pretty likely, since I skipped class a LOT), I’d never have met Tad. And never have gotten the book. And maybe never have started The Uncaged Life.

So I guess I have nutrition school to thank.

But why was I at nutrition school? I was there because I had learned about it from a friend who I used to work with in Vancouver. She was going to school for holistic nutrition and introduced me to the program.  I thought it sounded pretty cool, and I figured I’d give it a shot. If I hadn’t heard about nutrition school, I’d never had met Tad, and never have started my business.

At the time, my friend and I were working together at a little restaurant called Rocky Mountain Flatbread (best pizza ever, FYI). I actually got her the job, because my roommate at the time was her best friend, and she introduced us. So I ‘spose I have my roommate Christine, and RMF to thank.

But the reason I even knew about RMF was because I went there for the first time with my boyfriend at the time, Tyler. We went for dinner with friends, and I ate sundried tomato and goat’s cheese pizza. So I guess I have Tyler to thank, because if it wasn’t for Tyler, I’d never have found RMF, and never have met Julia, and never have gone to nutrition school, and never had met Tad, and never have found The Art Of Non-Conformity, and never started my business.

But I actually met Tyler through a job I was working in Vancouver. I started working as a lab coordinator for a research company (they tested investigational drugs in people for the first time – ew! I can’t even believe I worked there!). Tyler was the old lab coordinator, and was moving on to a different job, and I was taking his place. So that weird lab job is partly responsible for my business today.

But I found the job through an online job search site that my friend Brynne showed me… and I was staying with Brynne because I had just gotten back from Korea and didn’t have a place to live… and I was in Korea because of my friend Stacey… and I knew Stacey from old friends in high school…

And so on… and so on.  You see how this works.


It’s never just one thing. It’s LIFE that leads you to where you need to be, and the more you get out and live life, the closer you will get to where you are supposed to be.


Meet people. Read books. Fall in love. Get jobs. Quit jobs. Travel. Explore.

THAT is how you will figure your life out. Not by planning incessantly. Not by trying really hard to figure out the ONE perfect thing.

And while it’s redundant to say that “everything in my life has led me to this point” (I hate when people say that – that’s how life fucking works) – you must believe in that process.

You must believe in it. And you must trust it.

Kinda scary right? Yep.

Worth it? Totally.

What about you? Can you trace a line back from where you are now to where it all started? It’s like six degrees of separation… kind of. Outline your story in the comments. You might be surprised at the people and experiences you need to go back and thank 🙂

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  1. GwynneMontgomery on September 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I call it the Endless Chain, and use it for a gratitude exercise to help people turn their worldview upside down and realize how important every freaking moment in our lives is.  Start with now, work you way back, right up until the day you were born.  Then go back even further… like if my mom hadn’t gone skating that night she’d have never met my dad and I wouldn’t be here today…
    Yeah, mind-blowing how many little, seemingly inconsequential moments took place to put us here.  WE ARE ALL IMPORTANT!
    Me? I wouldn’t be here right now, working on creating my business, if it weren’t for purple hair (day job boss hated it, which was the catalyst for giving my notice that turned into a negotiation to keep me part time anyway…)  I wouldn’t have dyed my hair purple if I weren’t absolutely frustrated with my life, my marriage, my dreams of a business that weren’t going anywhere, and just the general blah feeling I had with my life.  Purple hair spices things up.
    The endless chain goes back and back and back.  I moved in with my sister-in-law because I couldn’t handle living alone with my husband.  My husband who is now doing way better with people around.  My husband who, through his volatility, taught me to stand up for myself, which gave me the confidence to actually get the day job in the first place.
    I wouldn’t have gotten the day job if it weren’t for the side gig that I was doing for a nurse at the time who worked for the company that the day job is at.  I wouldn’t have gotten that side gig if it weren’t for the two week separation last September where I didn’t speak to or see my husband for two weeks and had to come up with some way to get my head out of the massive depression that brought on.
    Yeah, it’s cliche, but it’s true.  Every moment leads to the next.  No matter how awful or wonderful, every moment is important.

  2. BenFanningCoach on October 24, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Hi Rebecca, The Art Of Non-Conformity was big for me too.  Had a huge personal moment over the summer at the World Domination Summit.  It really opened my eyes to new possibilities of what a world changing business could be.