As we spoke about in “Part I — How We Built It”, we’ve spent the last two years at Nomad Academy designing programs that answer one question:
what skills and mindsets do you need to create a career that’ll make you come alive again?
We now have over 170 alumni across 7 programs, 90% of whom are in entrepreneurial careers; from founding startups and personal brands, joining mission-driven companies and social movements.
So, what is it that’s so effective in getting people from corporates and into those entrepreneurial careers that make them come alive again?
In this post we delve into the three pillars that form the foundation of launching a more fulfilling career. Then we describe how we practically get those learnings to you within 12 intense weeks.
What are those pillars exactly?
The foundations of a remarkable career can be split into three areas; personal narrative, startup skillset and ongoing support:
OWN YOUR PERSONAL NARRATIVE
This means making sense of your past; what do you love, what frustrates you from it, and what skills do you have that you can leverage? By going within, you can learn a huge amount on what will fulfil you in the future and how to best go about it from your current reality.
It also means finding the problems you care about beyond yourself. Having meaning is one of the most fulfilling things your life can have; the opposite of an empty, nihilistic life. By focussing your career towards something bigger than yourself, everything you do will have significance. Each setback simply becomes an opportunity to learn and you won’t quit when things get hard. In a world where religion has faded, we have no new lands to explore or empires to expand — we either decide our own meanings to life or will follow society’s materialism by default.
By combining the two — making sense of your past and finding the problems you care about beyond yourself — you’ll be able to define your future. This is all about visualising 5 years ahead; the themes that make you excited, the people who you’d want to be around and the things you’d love to be spending your time working on.
99% of people never define their future, hoping they’ll stumble into an aspirational life almost by accident, by blind lottery luck. In defining your future, you’ll have a clear direction of where to go in life, instantly separating you as someone with purpose.
EARN A STARTUP SKILLSET
The frameworks that startup teams are using to impact the world faster than ever before — and the mindset that puts speed of learning ahead of anything else… applied to your career. It’s the most effective way we’ve seen for making your aspirational future a reality in two years instead of five.
Guided by the frameworks we’ve distilled, you’ll launch a product/service that fits with your new personal narrative. Ultimately, nothing is more important than launching something real into the world, because that contact with reality is what will get you the right mindset.
That is, a mindset where you’re willing to take risks, to see failure as a way of learning and to take action on our aspirations. It’s this mindset that separates you as someone who makes their future happen from the many dreamers who still loiter in corporate mediocrity.
But we also noticed something from our journeys through startups and meeting many company founders. There seemed to be two distinct types of people:
1) those burning themselves out as they impacted the world
2) those who remained healthy and balanced as they impacted the world.
The difference between these two people was, actually, quite simple. They both shared the same mindset and frameworks, but the latter group practiced habits to remain mentally and physically healthy. The former group didn’t.
So as part of the “Startup Skillset” we also get you committing to mental and physical wellbeing habits. After-all, your business will only be as effective as you are.
That’s why, on our programs, we get you to launch something — guided by the best frameworks we’ve found, developing your EQ and cultivating the right habits, for what will be the hardest journey you’ve ever taken.
JOIN AN ONGOING COMMUNITY
The final pillar is going on your journey to a remarkable career with the right people around you.
This one needs no explanation — the power of community is simply immense. You are the sum of what you do and the people you spend your time with, so we make sure there’s always lots more applications to our programs than there are spots available.
There’s a rigorous selection process for each cohort — we select people based based on their capability, drive, warmth and curiosity:
the ability to make things happen, the past experience of doing difficult things. Because creating an entrepreneurial career on your own terms is hard.
a willingness to aspire to something different from the status-quo, and then to go after it with all your being. The grit to not give up when things get difficult.
being friendly, sharing and genuinely empathetic. Because we’re on our journeys towards remarkable lives together .
an openness to new opportunities, surprising learnings and different perspectives. A desire to keep growing and to seek out truths.
We also make sure that each cohort is internationally diverse. We’ve seen the value that comes from gathering people of the above traits, but from different backgrounds and cultures, in learning from each other as well as creating the momentum to learn faster.
On all our programs we have that element on in-person community. But we also know that an ongoing support is vital, long after the program ends — so we have a strong alumni community.
The program is the intense beginning to your fulfilling career — but it’s a lifelong journey to creating that career and then even growing beyond it. The alumni community exists to support each other in that journey, making your success so much more likely than if you did it alone.
How Do Those Pillars Get Instilled Within You In Twelve Weeks?
After 7 programs of iterations, we’ve got this down to almost an art-form:
PERSONAL NARRATIVE through intense experiences
When it comes to defining your future, it’s key to break out of your routines and usual network of people. You need to feel alive, to be with yourself and to be bold in what you say.
That’s why we always do the ‘Personal Narrative’ part of our programs as a tribe, in inspiring locations around the world; chosen for their uplifting natural landscapes far from the hustle of normality. For example, the Sacred Valley in Peru, nestled in the lush Andy’s mountain range.
In those areas you’ll do workshops that force you to delve within, and craft your story for the world to hear. We involve elements like meditation to get you being honest with yourself; and end with a pitch day to your cohort where you’ll present your Vision Board.
The Vision Board is the culmination of your Personal Narrative experience — bringing together your values, slogans, habits and future lifestyle themes. The act of making it, placing it somewhere and pitching it to the world sets a north star in your mind, and makes your newly defined future more real.
STARTUP SKILLSET through launching something
To get you this, we make you launch a product/service that fits with your personal narrative.
Guiding you along that path is our online “Zero To Launch” course that’s been tried, tested and iterated over the last five programs. We also have coaches who’ll have one-on-one sessions with you online for support, advice and feedback. Occasionally there’ll be talks on key topics too — from storytelling to growth-hacking. Finally, there’ll be pitch days to refine your skills and get your growth seen.
With the on-site program, we go holistic too, because the journey to a remarkable career is an arduous one — so maintaining peak mental and physical wellbeing is key. We do a meditation retreat and fitness bootcamp to deep-dive into two of the most powerful habits for that wellbeing.
ONGOING COMMUNITY through cohorts & alumni
All of our programs involve meeting in-person and co-living with your cohort.
After your program, you’ll be part of our alumni community for life. There’s an online forum for quick questions to other alumni; an alumni directory and world map for meet-ups globally; and we arrange alumni events around the world, from retreats to summits. All to get you meeting remarkable people from other tribes and getting the support needed for your journey to a remarkable career.
By owning your personal narrative, you’ll have the focus to make a fulfilling career.
In earning a startup skillset, you’ll have the best tools to make that defined future a reality.
Through an ongoing community you’ll get the momentum and support to get through what will be the hardest, and most enriching, journey of your life.
Since starting Nomad Academy, we’ve only asked one question in designing our programs: “how can we get you the best chance of creating a remarkable career?”
From our own journey, learning from remarkable people of all walks of life, and running seven programs, it’s that combination which is the answer. We hope that, in understanding how we built our syllabus and programs, you’ll be able to explore those areas yourself — or even join us on our next program.