How my trip to Asia changed the direction of my life — and made me realise my dream

Franziska Mesche
Oct 30, 2019 · 8 min read
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I’m sure many of you are familiar with the feeling that life is going quite well for you generally — you have a good job, a nice home, a partner, wonderful friends. Sounds all great, doesn’t it?

But you can’t help but feel, if you pay close attention, that something is missing, and feel a slight fear that you are not fully living the life you’d truly like to live and do the things you’d truly like to do.

Maybe you are thinking now “give me a break, thinking about these things gives me a headache and is too much hassle — I rather continue doing the things I always did, doing the things everyone else does”.

I want to share with you the factors that helped me identify what I really wanted to do with my life and how I found my calling and created my own business — and ran with it.

I hope this will inspire you and give you some hands-on advice on how to find your own way. And who knows, maybe the factors that inspired my own entrepreneurship journey can also be a guiding light for you.

Life as a management consultant was exciting, brought me around the globe, and gave me lots of incredible learning experiences. But seeing the days race by like this and not truly feeling that this is my calling, I finally pressed the STOP brake.

First, let me give you a glimpse of how my life looked like before I started my own business.

Monday morning, 6am, the alarm goes off: Jump out of the bed, get dressed, eat breakfast in 5 minutes, race to the subway station, get to work at 8am. From there on — meeting over meeting over meeting over meeting. 7pm take the train home, take a quick dinner, open the laptop again and work, lights off at midnight, sleep. Next day: Repeat.

Familiar anyone?

Pushing the brakes

Life as a management consultant was exciting, brought me around the globe, and gave me lots of incredible learning experiences. But seeing the days race by like this and not truly feeling that this is my calling, I finally pressed the STOP brake.

I decided to take a full time-off from my work and live a totally different life for 5 months. A life free from long hours in offices and a fully-packed work schedule, a life of exploration and time for doing all the things I always wanted to do but never had time to do — and to figure out what I really wanted to get out of my life. And guess what, this was one of the best decisions of my life.

Destination unknown

Being a fully-fledged travel enthusiast who loves to explore new countries and cultures, I decided to live in China and South Korea for a few months. But instead of following a checkbox “been there, done that” kind of trip, I wanted to have a “slow travel” experience that would allow me to truly experience the Chinese and Korean culture, to get to know the people and their ways of living, and give me time to read loads of books and figure out my purpose.

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t return from this trip until I had figured out what I truly wanted to do with my life, and commit to it.

And here I am, 10 months later, having found my purpose, committed to it — and living a life with more meaning.

10 months ago I was standing in front of a crossroad. One way was heading towards a life on autopilot and working towards a career and life I felt was not truly right for me, the other one was a “black box” that had lots of opportunities up for grabs — but not unless I would grab them.

3 keys that helped me take the leap

I was asked a lot about what it actually was that made me find my purpose and to commit to it. I thought a lot about this question and identified three key factors that helped me take the leap. Here they are:

1. Make time

If you live a life anywhere close or even just a bit similar to the one I lived before I pressed the STOP brake, you likely have hardly any time or maybe even no time at all to think about the bigger picture and the purpose of your life, and the things you truly want to do.

Or you simply don’t want to think about it. Frankly, it can be even a bit scary as you never know what you’ll discover — and you might find that you need to do some major life changes to live the life you’ve dreamt about.

And so you are stuck in this “hamster wheel”, wondering where the days have gone, and worse even — wondering what you have done in all these days that has been truly meaningful to you.

I can tell you something — unless you change this mode of operating, you can’t expect that your situation will change. And as Einstein already knew years ago, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity”.

So my key advice to you is — hit the brake and make time to think and figure out what it is you truly want to do in your life, and the things that are most important to you.

Now, HOW you do this can be different from person to person. For one it might mean to make time for 1 or 2 hours each week and read a book that can be a guiding light for you, yet for another person this might mean to take a few months off and think about these questions while traveling. Do whatever suits your life situation, but make time.

2. Put yourself in new environments

Many of the things we do day in and day out are because of the environment we are in, the society we live in, the people we spend time with. Seeing others doing the same things we do day in and day out, seeing the same familiar faces, makes us feel secure and accepted, and in a way makes us believe “we are doing it right”.

But it also makes us believe “ this is how life is supposed to be, this is what I am supposed to do.” But have you ever asked yourself how this is impacting your life, thoughts and actions? What kind of thoughts would arise if you would leave this familiar world of yours for a while?

Having escaped my familiar world and diving into a whole new and unfamiliar one has been a key contributor in helping me to get away from my “autopilot” mode and stopped me doing the things I’m always doing without questioning them.

Being in a place where hardly anyone knows you, where you can observe totally new ways of living, has not only extremely widened my world view and given me lots of new ideas and inspiration.

It also made it much easier for me to think freely and clearly: Unattached to a certain society that can easily make you feel pressured to conform with how everybody else is living and makes you adopt the same view of how a good life should look like.

Putting yourself in new environments gives you a great starting point for finding your own way without being biased by other people’s views and expectations.

3. Focus on finding your purpose

Maybe you’re lucky and the realisation of your purpose comes to you while you are making time and putting yourself onto unfamiliar grounds, but my experience is this: If you don’t make an active effort to figure it out and focus on it, you won’t find it.

I started by reading a couple of great books about finding my mission and purpose in life and stayed for almost a week in a Buddhist temple in Korea that involved lots of meditation and didn’t allow much speaking.

All this helped me to figure out the things that are truly important to me — and made me realise that I was giving only minimal attention to the things that are in fact most important to me.

And so what — great insights, but what to do with them?

Once I figured out what was really important to me and the area I wanted to work with in the future, i.e. to help tackle climate change while using my background in international business, I needed to get some ideas of how this could look like in practice. But how to get the ideas?

I started doing some online courses in entrepreneurship and sustainability that sparked loads of potential businesses ideas.

Finally, after having taken lots of courses, written down all my business ideas on paper, talked to lots of people for feedback and input, revising my ideas, I made a final selection based on how viable they were and my personal fit to them. And voilà, my idea of creating sustainable sportswear was born.

As you probably figured, this idea didn’t come over night and I had to create all these opportunities for myself and make an active effort to eventually come up with that one idea, and to make it a reality. And it took a few months for me to arrive there.

The result? An ocean full of invaluable experiences, new friends from the other side of the planet, a widened horizon — and best yet, I figured out my purpose and how I can put it into practice.

The result? An ocean full of invaluable experiences, new friends from the other side of the planet, a widened horizon — and best yet, I figured out my purpose and how I can put it into practice.

Grabbing the opportunities, and taking the road less traveled

Ten months ago I was standing in front of a crossroad. One way was heading towards a life on autopilot and working towards a career and life I felt was not truly right for me, the other one was a “black box” that had lots of opportunities up for grabs — but not unless I would grab them.

So I decided for the second option, took the road less traveled. I promised myself not to return from the trip until I had figured out what I truly wanted to do.

The result? An ocean full of invaluable experiences, new friends from the other side of the planet, a widened horizon — and best yet, I figured out my purpose and how I can put it into practice. This is how my own business was born.

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Franziska Mesche

Written by

Sports, health & nature enthusiast I Founder of Tripulse; making fitness sustainable: https://tripulse.co/ & https://www.instagram.com/tripulse.co/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +752K people. Follow to join our community.

Franziska Mesche

Written by

Sports, health & nature enthusiast I Founder of Tripulse; making fitness sustainable: https://tripulse.co/ & https://www.instagram.com/tripulse.co/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +752K people. Follow to join our community.

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