The Beginning – Project Rebirth Part 1

Photo by Jan Senderek via Unsplash

Most people hit a point where they realize they’re unhappy.

They realize that they’ve fallen into a level of complacency that has kept everything safe. That’s where I’ve been for quite some time now.

There are big goals I want, but achieving any of them requires me to break all the habits I’ve fallen into.

It’s easy to dream of the goals and put them off for “one day”, but I’ve realized that the years keep speeding by without any of them actually getting checked off.

Thus, Project Rebirth.

(On a nerd note, Project Rebirth is the name of the program that take Captain America from average citizen to superhero. It’s a good name for a transformation of any kind.)

I just want to change everything. I’m at a point where I’m either going to change everything once and for all or suck it up and stay average forever. There is no middle ground now.

The thing is, we all talk about passion. The experts write about it. We all know we “should” follow our passions, but how many of us are actually making steps each day toward those dreams?

All I want to do is start making steps toward those goals and transforming my life in the process. I’m no expert on this, but I did do this when I was 18 and left my home state and never looked back. It’s just simply time to do it again.

It’s time to leave my city.
It’s time to change my career.
It’s time to change my health.
It’s time to change everything.

I don’t have the plan yet, but this is part 1 of maybe thousands. Here’s to 2017.

Ways to Earn Money on the Side in College

When I was in college, minimum wage was barely enough to cover all my bills.

Some months, it simply wasn’t enough.

I had to figure something out, and fast.

During my hunt for a second job, I couldn’t find any bosses who would tolerate my crazy school schedule.

After another interview that went south, I immediately went home and googled how to make money on this crazy internet thing.

I had to sift through a TON of crappy MLM deals, of course, but I realized that legitimate businesses could be built online along with side hustles to create extra cash flow.

In today’s world, it’s so important to have multiple streams of income. When you have just one, and it’s taken from you due to circumstances outside your control, you have a limited time to get your finances together.

1. Selling old textbooks.

At the end of every semester, I’d hop on Amazon and sell my old school books. I’d also happily take any of the old textbooks from my classmates who were flying home during summer. It always brought in enough to at least pay some bills.

It’s not going to buy a BMW, but if you’re really strapped, it could help so much.

2. Tutoring.

Taking college classes can make you qualified enough to teach a subject for most parents. You could tutor kids from K-12 or even other college students either in person or online.

3. Small labor gigs.

You could always help people move around your city. Get some friends together and find gigs around your city to move stuff.

4. Niche websites.

This seems to be a crowded market these days, but don’t completely throw it out yet. If you’re truly passionate about a subject, you should start a website. Period. I owe my main website absolutely everything in my life. It’s currently my main source of income.

5. Freelancing.

After doing all of the above throughout college, this was really what changed everything for me. I was getting my degree in writing, so I thought why not freelance on the side?

6. Small businesses.

If you truly want to help people and have an idea how to do it at scale, START. I stared my small business my senior year and it is the reason why I do what I do now.

7. Subscription boxes.

This post is a good one to read and understand why this is a rising trend in the business world. I haven’t played in this space (yet), but I am keeping an eye on it all the time.


What are YOUR ideas for creating income on the side? In this new world there’s so many ways to do it, and anyone who has a little spare time should jump on these opportunities.

Abandoning the “Should’s”

It’s not easy to live life on your own terms.

It’s a constant struggle between your dreams, your “rational” brain, your childhood, and all the people around you.

If you aren’t careful, eventually you’ll wake up and realize you’re living a life that you think you should be living.

You’re working at a job you “should” be working at.
You’re working for clients you think you “should” have.
You’re in a relationship you think you “should” be in.

We can keep up the appearance for a bit, but inside we know something is off. We know we’re not living out passions.

Every morning is awoken to a numb feeling. No excitement, no joy. Just another day on the hamster wheel.

When you don’t have your own goals, you start to pursue the goals other people want for you.

The other day, I came to this realization about my own life: I’m “should-ing” all over myself. (A word that has stuck with me since I read the “Don’t Should All Over Yourself article from the Art of Manliness.)

I realized that every day I was waking up to a dull monotony every single day.

Stress and worries were piling on, and I wasn’t pursuing anything worth getting up early for. I was doing everything I thought I “should” be doing.

Paying bills.
Taking any clients I could get.
Generally living a life of ease instead of excitement.

Safety is important, but never at the expense of happiness.

Here’s the truth: You can only create your dream life, it will never be handed to you.

While we work tirelessly toward all the things we think we “should” be doing, in the back of our minds we’re waiting for some magical day where we are granted a life of fulfilled passions because we’ve been so “good”.

It won’t happen.

A life of living out your passions and dreams comes from your own hard work and hustle, even if you have to wake up early and stay up late.

The secret is to always be pursuing your goals, not the goals the world wants you to pursue.

Never Postpone Happiness

The longer you postpone the things you really want in life, the more every other area of your life will suffer.

Your job will feel that your heart isn’t in it.
Anyone you are dating or married to will feel the unhappiness radiating off of you.
Your friends will see you lying to yourself.

If you want to be miserable in life, this world will not stop you.

Actually, it will welcome your misery. So many people are miserable and you will fit right in. If you want something different, however, the world will challenge you. Particularly most of the people you know.

Miserable people don’t like people on a mission because it challenges all of the excuses they tell themselves. So, if you decide to go on a mission to create a better life, you have to mentally decide to do it for yourself regardless of what the people around you think.

The longer you postpone your deepest mission your chances of becoming happy again get smaller. You start to justify it within your mind then eventually you start to believe the excuses you tell yourself. The more believable they become to your own head, the more they start to crush the dreams in your heart.

This is also what I tell the people I know who seem to get irrationally mad at things for what seems like no reason. What is it about these things that seem to challenge deeply held beliefs you have?

One example I found within myself was when Tim Ferriss released the “4-Hour Workweek“. I was enraged and called it “stupid” and “cheating business”. Upon further examination I realized it is because the rhetoric I have told myself for years is that I must be alone, miserable, and overworked to be success. All of which were simply just excuses that I had started to believe.

I would argue that this is why people who are so unhappy with their own lives seem to hate absolutely everything because everything challenges them to the core of what they tell themselves. It challenges their excuses and their bullshit.

What personal excuses are you telling yourself that only hold you back?

Thoughts on Legacy, Tombstones, and Death

Death is a morbid topic to think about.

But if you’re going to create a life you want, you’re going to have to think about it.

My problem at every “job” I’ve ever had is that eventually I think about “If I were to die tomorrow, would I want this to be the last thing I did with my life?”

If the answer screamed from my bones: “NO” then I put in my two week notice the next day. Sometimes I had something else lined up, sometimes I didn’t. Most people look at me like I am insane, but I’m okay with that.

Because all I can think about at any given moment is my legacy.

“Is this what I want to be remembered for?”

I’ve gotten much better at narrowing it down and sticking to certain paths as time goes on, but I still think about it all the time.

As some of you know, I am a copywriter at the moment. I love it. It feels great to help people find the right words to describe their business. I’m happy and my clients are happy.

Is it what I want to always be remembered for?


It will be a nice addition to the list, but it won’t be the only thing. I can’t personally imagine my obituary reading, “She was great at helping other people sell things.”

I think often of F. Scott Fitzgerald, my favorite author of all time, who never personally recovered from his success of The Great Gatsby. I am not envious of his life. If you ever read about it, it is quite sad. He was a terrible alcoholic, he was plagued with insecurities, he died at the young age of 44, and his wife died in a fire in a mental hospital.

Then on the flip side, I think of Theodore Roosevelt. Not only was he a President of the United States, but he was also an explorer, soldier, author, cowboy, police commissioner, started the Rough Riders, governor, vice president, wilderness enthusiast, Harvard graduate, boxer, rower, and certified badass. At one point in his career, he was shot in the chest and still continued speaking in front of the crowd for 90 minutes. And he did all of that before the age of 60. Not to mention, he wrote and published 35 books… AND had the famous Teddy bear named after him. Just let all of that soak in for a minute.

Throughout my short 24 years so far, every now and then I get friends who ask me how to decide what they want to do with their lives. I definitely don’t have all the answers yet, but there are some things I know for sure:

1. Progression is everything.

You grow in life or you stagnate. There is no middle ground here. You’re either growing as a person, getting in shape, making money, traveling and seeing the world, or you’re just sitting still.

If you focus on continual growth, you don’t have to worry as much about a “career” or a “job”. You will continue to pursue opportunities where growth will happen. You can’t always plan a “career”, but you can focus on your values, virtues, and goals as a person which will help you spot the opportunities.

2. If you can die without doing x, y, and z, move on from it.

Sometime we get so much outside influence for how we should think that we completely lose touch with ourselves. It takes a lot of alone time to clear out the clutter, voices, and suggestions from well-meaning people.

For example:
– Since I have a writing degree and student loan debt, I always feel like pursuing anything outside of writing is a waste of $20,000.00. Then I remember that most people don’t actually stay in the degree they got in college.
– I always feel like being an entrepreneur is crazy and I should just get a job like everyone else. Then I remember that owning my own business is what I always wanted and that every single person I know in my immediate circle who talks a big game about owning their own business in a few years actually won’t. Entrepreneurship is something that courses through your veins and it isn’t something you can ignore because there is no other option.

Something I like to imagine is being 90 and asking myself, “If I don’t do this in my life, can I die happy?”

If you can die happy without owning a fancy car, then get rid of that from your goal list.
If you can die happy without becoming a manager/executive at x company, then stop pursuing it.
If you can die happy without living in another country, stop thinking you have to do that.

If you can’t imagine dying without having started your own company, start one.
If you can’t imagine dying without having children, then add that to your list.
If you can’t imagine dying without having seen Italy, then make sure you buy a plane ticket.

It might require a weekend away from TV, Internet, and other people to really think about what you want out of life. You’ll probably be shocked by how many things you don’t want in your life.

Whatever the answers are, make the plans and adjust your life accordingly. Not all of us get until we are 90, so make sure you start on a path you actually want sooner than later.

Why Your Passion Is Dying

Your side hustle is not a job.

Read that line again.

If you are spending your time what feels like “clocking in” to your side hustle, you are treating it like a job and you are going to burn out.

Your hustle isn’t something you clock into. It’s something you can’t wait to get to at the end of every working day. It’s something you don’t even have to write in your planner to get to because every day you can’t wait to get started on it.

If it is something you have to remind yourself to do, or you have at a scheduled “time” to start clocking in and out of, then you need to step back and think if it really is something you’re passionate about. If you know without a doubt that it is, then what you may be experiencing is full-blown burn out.

Burn out comes when you feel like you’re just running in circles with your business and you feel like no matter what you do, you’re not making progress.

Many business “guru’s” say to just charge through this time because you need to “work harder” and “if you want to be successful you have to be in non-stop hustle mode”!!! And while there are some truths to these in day-to-day life, but when it comes to your passion in life, if you’re feeling the candles being burnt at all ends, you need to stop.

I’m not saying stop forever and give up any dreams of being an entrepreneur. I’m saying grant yourself a weekend off to go do something else. Don’t even think about your business at all. Get outside of yourself and your problems.

Trying to figure out your problems when you’re already burning out is like trying to resist when you’re caught in a wave. The more you flail, the harder it is going to be to get out. Sometimes you just need a few days off to renew yourself.

Yes, this goes against every single success “guru” and their advice for starting entrepreneurs. They believe you should ignore every warning sign your body is trying to send you, miss every important family event, and never sleep again in order to be successful.

Here at Rethink the Rulebook, we don’t go with the “typical” advice. We know that we’re not trying to replace one job where we already don’t have enough free time with another job that makes us feel just as burned out. We realize that in the grand scheme of things, one weekend off from your hustle in a whole month isn’t going to make the whole world collapse on your business. Stepping away from your problems can bring you greater clarity in the long run.

Take a weekend off, then get back to hustling hard. It will only make things better in the long run. Plus, you only have one life, why not have a little fun?

Stop Making Decisions Out Of Fear

You know what brings out the worst in people?


Within the last two weeks I have been apartment hunting. There is nothing like a possible chance of being homeless in the future to bring out the fear in you.

Obviously I won’t wind up homeless… but that’s the thing about fear, nothing about it is rational.

Fear convinces us to:

– Stay in that shitty relationship
– Stay at that shitty job
– Take that shitty job
– Take that shitty apartment
– Not pursue our dreams… because what if we fail?

Fear convinces us to do the stupidest things. Reflect back on your life for a minute. How many decisions have you made out of fear?

I know I have made hundreds. Maybe I thought I wasn’t going to get something better… maybe I didn’t think I deserved better. Whatever it was, the fear in my head convinced me that I had to settle for less for some unknown, illogical factor.

Sure, fear keeps us from doing stupid things. That’s why it’s in our brain. But there are simple things like moving toward our dreams where it says, “HEY WHOA I DON’T KNOW THIS TERRITORY AND BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW IT, I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T HAPPEN.”

It takes a long time to recognize when your brain is trying to self-sabotage you.

This past week I almost signed two leases that my rational brain would never sign because I was afraid that I wouldn’t find anything better.

And what kind of agreement is that? I’d only be miserable and bitter every day that I was in those apartments. Seriously it was literally as close as, “Here’s the paper. Sign at the bottom.” And I heard that echo in my brain, I was like, “Oh shit… I hate this. I hate this apartment. Get me out of here.”

When you feel that little tingle of intuition that is overriding your fear, it is important to stop and wonder why you feel that way. If you suppress it, the fear will gladly take over. It will gladly say, “Let’s just settle with this.”

You can’t let the fear win.

This week, try and take notice of when your fear is taking over and think, “No! I am in control of my life. I am in control of my destiny. I AM going to achieve my dreams. I am making my own rules for life.”

This is what we’re all about here: Rethinking the Rulebook.

Define your own life. Make your own legacy.