Listen online or download the audiobook as an MP3 file
Author und Covergestaltung Klaus Forster, Stuttgart, 2021
Lektorat Sarah Benice, Jennifer Verano
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Fotos Klaus Forster & © Adrian Petrasch von Designjunkies & © Eve Adam von TravelSportEve
So Hard to Enjoy Life in Bali
Author Klaus Forster
I Love Bali
Just letting go and taking some time out seems to many entrepreneurs an impossible dream: Yet without it, they sabotage the business altogether!
For Klaus Forster, fate had to start the turning point of his life: after the death of his brother-in-law, the independent pro-renegade, dropped everything to stand by his beloved sister. From his own experience, he describes how he learned step by step the full benefits of a digitized world, automating business processes, and having a happy life in harmony with his work. A key experience was a workation in Bali, where he quickly moved his home office to the island to exchange knowledge with other self-employed workers, on a joint holiday and to get closer to his vision, distancing himself, from the otherwise mundane tasks of his everyday life.
In his book, he gives valuable tips and encourages you, startups, and entrepreneurs to get inspired by his story.
“Wow, are you on vacation?” – “No, I work here!”
A laptop and WiFi are sufficient to separate self-employed from spatial constraints. In this book, Klaus Forster describes how a workation – a mixture of work and vacation – has changed his life and gives tips on how entrepreneurs can achieve the same.
More information about this is available on www.vitality4happiness.com
This book is dedicated to:
- My beloved sister Petra Wolff and her husband Marc. They inspired me to write this book and my journey to becoming a digital nomad. I am so grateful for your love and strength which gave me a second chance to live life on my terms.
- My fellow digital nomads from Sebastian Kühn’s wireless life workation in Bali. Thank you for the inspiration that made this journey possible.
- Becky, the person who spiced up my life during the journey and encouraged me to leave my golden cage in Germany behind, thank you so much.
- Finally, to my amazing kids, who I dearly love and carry in my heart wherever I go. Thank you for giving me the reason to do what I do, knowing that I am creating a better working place for your future.
- The “love of my life”, I also want to say thank you for the wonderful years you shared with me before this journey started.
A laptop and reliable, fast WiFi are the only tools required for many entrepreneurs today. They can work as so-called digital nomads and live wherever they like.
To use this freedom for a happy life as an entrepreneur, it is necessary to be able to let go and be free from the mistaken belief, that one’s own business can survive only through one’s work.
In this book, Klaus Forster describes how he has embraced the life philosophy, of the digital nomads to optimize and digitize processes to enjoy life in harmony with his work. This book is an homage and invitation for the entrepreneurs, to go with him on a trip to Bali and to be inspired by his experiences, to create their own entrepreneurial life of freedom and happiness.
More information about this can be found on www.vitality4happiness.com
Shock in the morning
Sometimes, we get in such situations where we must abandon every other thing we hold dear and focus on one thing or person that we hold close to our hearts. I got in one of such situations one morning that completely changed my life.
In the early morning of September 14, 2016, I received a call from my younger sister and responded jovially on the phone. But her voice was frantic with fear, confusion, and all the pain that comes with loss. She was not making any sense at all, as she babbled on and I could feel the pain and the loss as I tried to calm her down. I was scared too. My sister meant everything to me and I couldn’t bear anything to hurt her. When she was eventually able to speak clearly, I could only imagine what pain she was going through. She had just watched the love of her life take his last breath. It was hard for her, having to stand by helplessly as she watched the man with whom she had shared her most wonderful and most romantic moments being forced to leave this world prematurely. She had watched him groan and gasp for breath and she had not been able to do a thing about it.
She was screaming and crying over the phone. I knew I had to go over and be there for her. But how would I run my company being away for an uncertain time?
Of course, I had to free myself from my company Rooms4Music which was in such moments void and meaningless for me to go and be there for my sister. Fortunately, I had already structured things in a way that I could control them from a distance. This meant that I could clarify everything by using the laptop and the internet if I could only be connected to my company once or twice a day.
I wanted to have the time to be there for my sister and not half-heartedly with figures or entrepreneurial tasks in my head. All I needed were a few personal things and the mourning clothes for the day of the funeral.
What I didn’t know was that the path that lay ahead of me would turn my life, change my way of thinking, and enrich my consciousness as never before. The two most valuable weeks of my life were ahead of me.
When something happens that touches us deeply, we can suddenly stop and think. It is only through strong emotions, that we learn the quickest way to distinguish between the important and the trivial things of life. For this reason, we should emotionalize things that are important to us, so that we can do what is most valuable to us.
The freedom to work from wherever you want
At some point in life, we will have to make some decisions, that will affect our being. We belong either to the group of those who want to increase their wealth, expand their possessions and increase their status or renounce everything material and live only for life itself. Our social system and education suggest that only these two ways are possible. But remember – we always have the freedom of choice, find and go the alternative way. This is not an ‘either-or’ decision. Being and giving are not mutually exclusive. They instead result in economic success, which arises as a natural and logical consequence.
I, the music dream maker Klaus Forster, was 44 years old when I founded my company Rooms4Music in 2009 and started business operations in 2010. It is a typical “old economy” business, where I rent commercial space, in a very special market niche. I rent large spaces, which no longer meet today’s standards, and rent them out to bands and musicians as rehearsal rooms and recording studios. My business is nothing but a real estate agent and house management, with the only difference being that my tenants are musicians.
At the same time, I was a caretaker and receptionist. I took care of the equipment and amplifiers during the opening hours, set up the rehearsal studios, and filled up the refrigerator with drinks.
In no way, I ever did imagine that this business could be automated or virtualized in any way. I had to be present on the spot for thousands of reasons. I spent many hours every day at the rehearsal studios, and continuously I was thinking about possibilities of structural improvements in this direction, which was always working in my subconscious mind.
Fortunately, I came across a book by Stefan Merath, who gave me a very special entrepreneurial way of thinking and helped me to develop my company vision “2022 the most successful German bands will be from Stuttgart”.
Over the consequent years, I implemented most of the strategies and methods described in the book in my company. After a while, I was ready to take one week of remote work each month. At the same time, I discovered that traveling and the associated freedom with traveling were much more important to me than the music I originally wanted to support with my rehearsal studios.
Even if your dreams seem like an illusion, imaginary or almost unreal, do not dismiss them! Within them is your true direction. Even if they seem remote from the “real” world, the core that dwells in them is what you long and strive for.
Start with a great goal that seems almost unattainable to you. e.g. my vision that “2022 the most successful German bands shall come from Stuttgart”. Your dream should be so attractive that it will give you drive and energy even in difficult times and will always give you the direction you want. Even if you cannot see the future because of the many tasks that lay ahead, always live your big goal, your BIG PICTURE is worth everything. Always remember, concentrate on your vision, anchoring this goal in your heart. Daily!
Grief is perhaps the most precious time of your life
It is said that life never burdens us more than we can bear. My sister, a small dainty person, who looks somehow fragile, is for me the embodied proof of this statement. Despite the death of her husband, who had left her so suddenly and sadly without a loving, intimate relationship. My sister was astonishing. One could see that she was the one even consoling people who came in tears to express their condolences. For her, she needed to place gratitude in the foreground for the time she spent together with her loved husband, instead of being so sorrowful about her loss. She would go about smiling and encouraging people and wiping their tears. She was quite strong and she inspired almost everyone. Soon, there was hardly anyone left crying. So, we were able to talk gratefully about the deceased and his life with us and even laugh at different anecdotes.
Time and again, she told his motorcycle friends how much he liked to ride Route 66, not on a Harley Davidson, but on a BMW motorbike. The story was also given to the best as she narrated how he had thrown out his crooked teeth due to an accident while mountain biking. He always emphasized afterward that nothing horrible had happened to him because he now had such beautiful straight teeth. She did all this with a smile on her face and laughter in her mouth. It did not seem like people had come to pay condolence visits, it seemed more like we had gathered to reminisce fun memories of the late man.
This time has changed my perspective of life tremendously and besides, it has created great gratitude within me. Especially I felt deep gratitude for the shared time with my brother-in-law and the usual sound of laughter that responded to his humor. At the same time, I appreciated the personal freedom I had as an entrepreneur, simply being able to spontaneously leave my business on its own without great planning and preparation for two weeks. I was grateful for my suppliers who did their service without instruction and any micromanagement from my side.
Often shocking moments are the initiator of great change! I would say, they break out a chain reaction and soon, the path destined for us becomes visible. In moments like that, we can follow our intuition, because we feel more than we think and therefore approach the essential things in life. So, during this period, I reinvented my life completely. This means opening up to new thoughts that would have been out of range before. Frightening visions of the future lose their menace, and anxiety-filled ideas lose their fearful taste. The result of rethinking is the courage to re-orientate. It became clear to me that my current work was no longer fulfilling me. Marc’s death showed me how fast life can be over without any warning. Sometimes, tragic or shocking situations are starting mechanisms, that gives us the power to change instantly. This insight feels like closing a friendship with death.
Also, my sister has found her vocation and supports people today to process the loss of a partner http://www.unbewusst-bewusst.de/
Gratitude is the most helpful feeling to deal with grief and anxiety and to overcome hard times because it gives us strength from what was. Gratitude gives us strength and allows us to see things for what they are while appreciating the positives in what was. It is a great tool to use to manage anxiety, especially during the mourning period. Gratitude preserves us from drowning in doubt and pain and helps us to develop love – the strongest feeling of all. Remember that gratitude can be learned by exercising it. And you can benefit from it. A few minutes of training a day will bring incredible changes over time. Just writing down five things each day that you are grateful for will change your mood, motivation, and even your whole life into the opposite. Only put a reminder in your calendar 5 minutes before your usual wake-up time to write down 5 things, you are grateful for. Already before standing up. This powerful priming exercise can be as simple as writing down your 5 senses, health, love, partner- or friendships, the sake of having children, or anything which you usually think is self-evident. This simple habit is such a powerful tool that you should use before fatal blows force you to take advantage of it! It will prime your subconscious to keep you on average in a better mood. Plus in hard times you can go back to your notes and read them. This will give you the power to succeed in difficult periods. And times like that appear every once in a while to anyone.
Wireless Life Workation
During the time I spent with my sister I received an email from my good friend Kerstin Armbrust with a link to www.wirelesslife.de. In a quiet hour, I looked at the life design of the “Digital Nomads”. There I learned about a workation (work and vacation) in Bali.
The concept convinced me immediately. It described a three-week meeting of self-employed people who work together to learn from each other while traveling. The meeting seemed to be the realization of an idea I had in my mind for several months, but it felt incomplete. I wanted to organize meetups for groups of entrepreneurs, in which we would go through learning programs, join a mastermind group and support each other in the best way possible. I aimed to lead the participants to develop their independence and develop their self-employment in a company with employees and self-learning structures.
Enthusiastic about the idea of the workation, in which the concept was more developed than mine, I soon realized that I would learn a lot. The date was still available on my calendar, the participation fee appeared reasonable like good value for money, flights were available and relatively cheap. So I contacted the organizer and booked flights. Without wanting to anticipate too much, I need to say that the workation well exceeded all of my expectations.
There are three ways to develop new ideas:
- Creative minds invent themselves, which is regarded as a king’s discipline, but also takes the longest time to realize.
- Imaginative heads like to copy, which can be the fastest, but often feels dishonest. Nevertheless, assume that those you copy from have copied most of their ideas from someone else. Many of them are not ashamed of it but openly admit it. It prides them when someone again takes their content or copies their way of doing things. However, an idea can never be copied one hundred percent, because there is always your personal touch added.
- Clever heads model only the best of the best and combine it with their ideas, whereby it takes the color of their personality and creates something completely new and individual.
It can be over any day
Some people have concerns about death all their lives and are aware that life can end at any moment. Others, on the other hand, push aside the idea of their end and negate its existence. Despite the extreme opposites, both will probably agree with the realization that “I have only one life”. Whether they live according to this, one thing can be said though with certainty, that you can achieve a more conscious, grateful, and more fulfilling life with this attitude!
The estimated five days with my sister turned into two weeks because the transfer from Croatia to Germany and the required paperwork took much longer than expected. On September 28, Marc’s farewell party – as my sister called the funeral in deep gratitude for her great love – took place with more than 400 guests. During the preparatory period, it became increasingly clear to me that there is nothing to postpone in life. Any one of us can be gone tomorrow, even today. We leave the field irretrievably. With this new awareness, I decided to take part in the workation, with ease.
Of course, some people came into my mind, like my children, who haven’t seen me for weeks, my customers, employees, and suppliers, to whom it would seem like I had just disappeared from the scene.
Nevertheless, at this point in my life, I was absolutely clear that if I were not ready for a substantial change at this point, I would probably find no reason to make it possible at any other time in my life. Perhaps that sounds ruthless and egotistical to you, but I knew – although it is recklessly against the people around me – I could no longer be ruthless against myself. We must act responsibly towards ourselves and our lives.
On their deathbed, most people regret only what they have NOT done in their lives. In any case, I have never heard words such as “I should have been more for the company” said a dying man.
So sad, the occasion that brought me to rethink, was just as valuable, due to the courage gained thereby. This gave me the strength to finally live accordingly knowing that “I also have only one life”, not to waste time in making decisions, and to take proper consideration of things. I would like to appeal to you that if you feel it strongly within you that you find it hard to ignore, keep your eyes on the ball, you will be able to break through eventually. Be strong and remain true to yourself!
Digital nomads – the fascination of working location independent
A colorful crowd of 12 entrepreneurs participated in the workation in Bali at Villa Mimpi Manis with six cottages, an infinity swimming pool overlooking rice fields, and a long-covered board that served as a breakfast table, served us as well as an office and as a seminar room. There we spent many hours exchanging ideas and experiences. Everyone told how their online company was running and what tools and methods had been used to keep it running while being on the road. We discussed and exchanged opinions on the most beautiful countries and places of the world that were interesting and worth traveling to, co-working spaces, restaurants in the area, and planned group excursions among other things.
So during dinner, I made the acquaintance of Bastian Barami, who runs the blog www.officeflucht.com and who put the motto “Location independence is the new company car” in my head. He describes a lifestyle that allows you to combine work with virtualization of workflows and the integration of virtual assistants and online services, wherever you want. The latter is often much cheaper than implementing ideas with full-time employees. The reason for this is that they are highly efficient. Specialized providers operate with a highly automated infrastructure that no small business can afford. The basic prerequisites for their use are simple business processes.
Through this corporate philosophy, digital nomads can learn a lot. Being away from home and the norm means that one can make considerable elimination of unwanted and inefficient habits. This is possible because you can look from the outside onto your business and make great reconfigurations. This consequently brings on effectivity through simplicity.
Many people dream of a life, where they can occasionally make themselves dispensable without their business collapsing behind them. Yet, they do not manage to realize this vision. They often make the mistake of considering themselves irreplaceable and ignore the idea of an efficient replacement of their duties. If you want to learn from digital nomads and adapt their philosophy for yourself, you should join a workation to experience their business processes and understand how to implement them in your business.
Regardless of whether you want to use this freedom to be able to work in your weekend house, spend the winter in the southern hemisphere, or always want to have time for the most important people in your life, first you must decide to become free and then free yourself. In the end, everyone will realize that this freedom is priceless!
A colorful circle of consultants
The workation participants had quite different business models. Almost all of them worked as entrepreneurs, who offered their services like web programming or advertising through online platforms such as www.Freelancer.com or wrote travel blogs adorned with Google advertisements and affiliate programs for generating their income.
One of them was day-trading on the stock exchange. Some operated Amazon shops and used Fulfilment by Amazon, a service that takes over the entire order and guarantees processing. Only a few had companies with employees, such as an advertising agency.
Most came out with a few hours of work per day, because the price level in Indonesia compared to ours is so low that the daily expenses can easily be covered with very little compared to the west.
There are many more ways to finance your life online and remotely than you ever imagined. Many of them can be set up to work automated that you can get them engaged within a short period. However, many of them are soulless money machines, so they do not fit into MY life setting – I could not stand with my heart and soul behind them and could not see any correspondence with my philosophy: It is important to me that my business represents and is in inline with my values, which are vitality, love, learning, growth, and contribution. So, I can be sure that I can do my work mostly in the flow by doing what I love. A company mission based on my values carries me through hard times and I will ultimately have the perseverance to make it a business success.
Here is my wish for you – never deny your ideas, your visions, or your personality because of the mammon. At some point, this error gets back to you. Not immediately, but after a certain time, it will catch you on a personal and mental level. After that, you will get in a bad spirit. This will result in poor earnings and go bankrupt in the worst case. This situation is tricky because it is getting worse so slowly, that you hardly can realize it in the beginning. The solution is to adapt your business, which is based on your passion. So stay true to yourself and build a business that you love!
3 Weeks in Bali
I began my day by 7:00 AM, usually with sports. It could be a barefoot run on the beach with a subsequent bath in the sea. To do so I had to go zigzag on the scooter past the dogs sleeping on the streets. Another option was a horseback ride through the rice fields in the nearby “Royal Bali Sporthorse” stables. Sometimes a CrossFit workout with sore muscles guaranteed was also on the morning program. Then a jump into the pool before breakfast, which was not to be despised. Unlike in the sea, where it was hardly possible to swim due to the high waves, you could swim a few lanes to get awake and feel relaxed. Others, however, used the waves and spent the time before breakfast on surfboards before the scorching sun came into full play and roasted the uncovered skin.
When it was time for breakfast, the MacBook’s already stood between scrambled eggs, toast, fruit, and coffee on the table. Curiously nobody worked with a Windows computer. On some days at 10 o’clock, a program was planned. For example, some of the participants shared their optimal strategies for their business.
- The day trader gave us an introduction to the stock market.
- The head of the advertising agency Designjunkies an overview of the best productivity tools he uses. As a gifted photographer, he also offered us portraits. After three weeks in this relaxed environment, charged with inspiration and healthy face color, it was easy to smile at the pictures he took.
- The Amazon store owner explained how to find good products that are suitable for Fulfilment by Amazon, how to select and buy from an agent in China at a reasonable price, how to import the best goods to Germany, and order from Amazon with the different processes.
- Another participant explained how to get a good product and supplier ranking at Amazon and how important it is, to achieve high sales figures right after the launch. We learned that the first two batches must be pre-financed before you can count on profits and that only one of three products quickly became profitable in his case. The good product sold so well, that he could finance his travels by himself. So, he suggested planning the trading of three products, so that one of them compensates for the temporary losses of the others in the startup phase.
- An IT expert scared us with a detailed description of hacker attacks and their consequences. As freedom is more important to me than security, I did not listen properly. Curiously only two months later I had an uninvited visitor to my webserver, my web page got hacked.
- One day I reported about the best seminars I ever attended, the learnings and results from them.
- On another morning, I worked with interested participants on the business strategy, to identify the ideal target customers.
- In a third session, I used one of my learning programs to explore my mission.
The exchange with other entrepreneurs is indescribably important and valuable. Even or especially if they do not come from the same industry, they face similar problems and challenges in their chosen businesses. These solutions are almost always adaptable and can be modeled, saving you weeks, months, or even years of development. It is important to openly and gratefully accept the ideas of others. Whoever gives and shares increases his inner and outer faculties. Do not be afraid to share ideas and help the other entrepreneurs, all you voluntarily and gladly give will get back in some form.
YouTube – the voice of online workers
At the beginning of my first session, one of the participants asked if I could record my talk on video. Spontaneously I did so. So, I set up my mobile phone and captured my lecture on business strategy. I did not know yet how I would use this. But later, it availed itself since the ultimate success in marketing is visibility. YouTube is the second largest search engine and it is still not considered by many people as a search engine! Since YouTube is a part of Google, YouTube videos are also displayed in Google search results. Due to that, the competition on YouTube is by magnitude smaller than in other search engines. With your YouTube video, you do not have to appear in the first rank in the Google search results, to generate lots of clicks and attention. Most people are rather willing to watch a video than read a text. This is why video is more frequently clicked than a better-ranked search engine result of web pages. With this knowledge, search engine optimization becomes a comparatively simple exercise compared to achieving top placements in the organic Google search for your web page.
The afternoons were usually spent individually. Some went to the nearby co-working space Dojo, others went to the beach, practiced yoga, were pampered with a massage, took a scooter ride to explore the island, went for a sundowner to the nearby Echo beach, went jogging along the endless beach towards Denpasar or enjoyed the best smoothies on the island. These are just a few of the myriad possibilities that the island of Bali and the surrounding area of Canggu have to offer. Most of the time, we arranged to have dinner together over our WhatsApp group. Sometimes this was followed by some subsequent drinks in the Old Man’s bar. Those who stayed out late did not appear at the breakfast on the next day, for some reason.
Lessons Learned: I Love Bali
Learn and practice talking freely in front of the camera as quickly as you can! To achieve this, always record videos of yourself so that you accumulate a whole library over time. This could also come beneficial to you when receiving customer inquiries about the same issue. Learn about search engine optimization and how to place your videos on YouTube, in a way that they can easily be found when searching for the corresponding keywords. Much of what is general knowledge about your business for you, is unknown and valuable to your current, as well as to your future customers. Having them watching your videos with valuable information about your services, you are building up a relationship and earning their trust in your business.
Inspiration from the other participants
Although I am grateful for the many things that I have been able to learn during these three weeks, there is one thing that I would like to describe as the most valuable experience of all:
The lifestyle of long-term travelers.
The mixture of a relaxed atmosphere in Bali, the minimalist lifestyle of the digital nomads, and the beginning of the working day in Germany at 2 p.m. Staying in the central Indonesian time zone was a part of my unique experience. I had the necessary distance from my company. Especially in the morning, I it felt like having all the time in the world to think about and work on important things. At first, it felt like I was not productive. But in the first week after my return, however, I could engage so many newly learned entrepreneurial tools and methods, that the time spent paid off in a very short time.
Due to being away from home and the daily exercise of running a business remotely, filled with inspiration from the other participants emerged in such great clarity what needs to be done and what was only a habit I got used to. My focus was so strong thereafter, which led to initiating and finally achieving a lot in a very short time. It became clear to me that I had to concentrate on health, love, learning, growing, and sharing my new business idea, because these are my most important values. And it is my mission to support other entrepreneurs.
After the elaboration of the business strategy, my crude marketing concept came clear. The required multiplier was therefore self-employed in the field of mental and physical health and fitness. I wanted to support them in their development to become business owners.
After 3 weeks of intensive exchange with the digital nomads, the inspiration from their thoughts gave me so many impulses that I only had to write down those ideas. I finally structured the collected notes into eleven points and sent the text to Textbroker for rephrasing and proofreading. Within one week I got the text for my website www.vitality4happiness.com back.
Much of these working methods are based on the valuable tips of the other participants. Once again, I can emphasize the high value of the exchange with the digital nomads.
After 3 weeks, the farewell came and the inner struggle of the two voices began inside of me. One of the voices advised me to listen to my heart and stay in Bali, while the other reminded me of my obligations at home.
The first date of a seminar on my favorite tutorial with my mastermind group in Germany was scheduled. So I flew back with a heavy heart. Normally I keep falling asleep while the airplane taxis from the gate to the runway, due to my deep trust in the safest mode of transport in the world. This time, I cried unrestrainedly. I had fallen head over heels in love with Bali and the farewell was just terrible! Since that time people keep telling me: “If you are talking about Bali, it sounds like you worship a beautiful woman.”
This is no surprise because an old dream which I almost forgot became true in Bali. I dreamed that I was living in a basic wooden house in the ocean and earning my money by day trading in the hammock between two palm trees. In which I saw myself with the laptop on my stomach, a cable to the modem, and another one to the phone network. One of the palms had a phone connector to serve me with an internet connection. In my mind, I always had a picture of Queensland in Australia. The combination of working online with the digital nomads during the day at Villa Mimpi Manis and spending the sunsets at Echo beach matched exactly the feeling I had in my dream. It got even better, because I was not able to imagine, that a wireless internet connection will ever be available. So I don’t even need the modem and the cable mess. By the way, “Mimpi Manis” is the Indonesian expression for “sweet dreams”, so it made my sweet dream become reality!
Go to a different time zone so you can rest for at least half a day and get time to think about important affairs of your life and business. Furthermore, the time shift forces you to reduce your daily business so that it can be mastered in a few hours a day. Are you aware of what an incredibly powerful exercise this is to sort out unnecessary work? Things that were not possible in the past become almost as easy as the snap of a finger – a wonderful feeling!
The self-learning course in the mastermind group
Already on the following long weekend, I worked with my mastermind colleagues and some other entrepreneurial friends for three days on a video seminar about the topic of marketing strategies. I had already used the program for various business models in several mentoring sessions, but the intensity of the exchange with the other entrepreneurs gave it a factor of at least 10! By doing so, I refined my business idea, visualized my target customers, and improved my advertising strategy. I discovered my advertising material: The videos I recorded during our meetings. Initially, I planned to organize a business retreat for entrepreneurs from the health sector in Australia. Now, I moved the event location to Bali. Again, I came closer and closer to my mission by following my values. The wonderful thing about it is, that all I had to do for it, very rarely felt like work – I was completely in the flow!
Lessons Learned: So Hard To Enjoy Life in Bali
The effectiveness of learning programs is very variable, so I evaluate the learning methods as follows:
• 1-fold for a good book about business
• 5-fold for a nonfiction book as an audiobook
• 5-fold for conventional school-style teaching
• 10-fold working through a video seminar on your own
• 50-fold for a live lecture by a professional speaker
• 100-fold for a video seminar with exercises, which are executed and discussed with a group of like-minded people.
Once evaluated, the most expensive events are actually due to their efficiency being the cheapest! As always, the principle of “who buys cheaply, buys twice”. This is especially true when investing at the right time can provide new strength and energy for your life. Also, let thoughts deal with costly measures. If the right thing is right for you, your gut will tell you clearly, and investing money will feel completely natural and easy for you.
The next holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia
Two weeks later, I joined my mastermind group colleague Thomas Kowoll, www.access-notdienst.de on a trip to Asia. We flew to Hanoi in Vietnam, where a cultural shock was awaiting me. The Vietnamese metropole seemed to me like a loud, dirty, overpopulated, and just stressful environment and so, the homesickness to Bali did not take long to show up. One evening, while having a glass of red wine at the “Hanoi Social Club” I met Becky, an American who worked at an international private school in Hanoi. She shared my “homesickness to Bali” and my aversion to the Vietnamese city. We consoled ourselves with a few glasses of Australian Merlot, my favorite red wine.
By the next day, Thomas and I left Hanoi and took a flight to Da Nang. Becky and I previously had exchanged phone numbers and so we were always chatting on WhatsApp! I eagerly and hopefully asked if she was coming to Da Nang and was disappointed by her reply because it was in the negative as she already was booked on a weekend trip to Bangkok. However, she suggested a meeting there in return. Since there was going to be continuous rainfall in Da Nang, according to the weather forecast. And since Vietnam was not ideal surroundings for me, compared to the memory of Bali, I quickly booked a flight to Bangkok. Details of events in Bangkok are private, but it was not only the weather in Bangkok that made it an awesome experience. For the next weekend, I planned to get to Siem Reap in Cambodia and Becky agreed to come as well for the weekend and meet me there.
Lessons Learned: I Love Bali
In some situations, it is not necessarily a bad thing, if one is not always is happy with the circumstances. You do not always have to see everything positively and only think pink. Why? Because negative emotions are a strong force to leads us to change. Pain is the strongest driver because it forces you to change something immediately, like my dislike of Hanoi. My low frustration tolerance makes me even more willing to change. The solution to our problems is always there. Wise people, therefore, do not call it problems, but challenges for previously undiscovered solutions. Trust that the solution often comes from a direction least expected. In such situations, my sister keeps asking the question: what is the good thing about it, we can’t see yet? Without awaiting an answer. But she primes her subconscious to find an answer for it, and it always will, because our brain has some pretty smart mechanisms!
A broken leg is not a broken leg
I arrived at Siem Reap in Cambodia a few days before Becky. On Friday morning, the driver of the traveling agency where Thomas and I had booked a trip to the floating villages and markets picked us up. In the travel agency, I used the opportunity to visit the restroom again. Like the toilets in Cambodia, the ground was wet and when I stepped on the ceramics floor, my right foot slipped away. I went to the ground and immediately felt a piercing pain in the ankle. It had not yet dawned on me that my fall was quite serious and so, I joked “Gentlemen, I will not join you to the floating villages today.”
Shortly afterward, I was in a tuk-tuk on the way to a hospital, where I got the diagnosis that the fall had caused a broken shin and fibula next to the ankle. My leg was carefully put in a position that allowed it to rest. But the problem was not resolved, surgery was necessary. My international health insurance was confirmed to cover the cost of the transfer back to Germany, but a cost-taking of the surgery on the spot got rejected.
Freshly connected, I picked up Becky from the airport on the evening of the same day. Despite the broken foot, it was a wonderful weekend. We visited the temple of Angkor Wat, where a young Buddhist monk consecrated the broken leg. Becky and I enjoyed the sun at the pool of the hotel. There was so much to talk about between us. It was so much fun, so romantic and by the way, we fell in love. On Sunday evening, she had to fly to Hanoi, so we said goodbye, not knowing when we would meet again. Only that much was clear, we wanted to meet each other again and the broken leg will not change that! Two days later, I was on a return flight organized by my international health insurance to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt, I got a transfer to the clinic in Stuttgart. There I ended up on an operating table after a short examination. In the evening, my bones in the lower leg were fixed again with a plate and nine screws. I worked with the laptop on my stomach to develop the concept and marketing for my business retreats. Again, I was profiting from having virtualized my business so far that I could meet the few remaining commitments from any point in the world, as long as suitable internet access was available. Here I would like to point out that the availability of WiFi hotspots in Germany is far behind compared to less industrialized countries. Here, our country seems to drag down itself with safety concerns and due to that lacks international standards.
WhatsApp ran hot again between Becky in Hanoi and me in Stuttgart. I would smile and laugh as I typed quickly on my phone and earnestly anticipate her reply. Our chats seemed more important than anything and I did not want to be drawn away from my phone because I wanted to chat with her. I was addicted to her and I wanted to be with her.
For her winter break, she had booked a flight to Bali and Hobart in Australia. I would have liked to travel with her, but after a conversation with the doctors, it was clear that I would not be able to visit Indonesia and Australia for Christmas and New Year. She quickly changed her flight to Australia into a flight to Germany and we spent Christmas and the transition into the new year together.
A large and emotionally attractive target makes obstacles small. Setbacks throw some people out of the way. But only if they do not put their whole heart into the goal. Illnesses or accidents may slow us down a little so we have to choose a slightly different approach to reach the goal. We got to mangle the strategy, adopt new methods, calibrate individual measures to do so.
However, they continue to lead us in life. For my part, I realized that the broken leg could not bring me off track in any way. Sure, everything medically necessary got to be done, but in this phase, I was still able to concentrate on the further development of my work for my new business idea and my travel plans with Becky.
Moving to Bali
By now it was clear to both of us, that we wanted to find our happiness together by giving our love a chance. Bali was our declared common goal, but since she was tied up to her job in Hanoi, we decided to open our tents there.
When my ex-wife, I got divorced many years before, got aware of my new girlfriend and my emigration plans, all hell broke loose. She chatted with me angrily and as I read her messages on WhatsApp, I was almost able to hear her yelling on the other side. She asked questions like “What’s going to happen to the children? Will you pay for further maintenance? What happens when decisions need to be made regarding the children, that we both must bear the responsibility for?”
My excitement was taken down a notch, I put the mobile phone away in a manner that I am glad it survived. I decided to calm myself down and relaxed with some bottles of beer. To my big surprise, I received a conciliatory e-mail from my wife the next day. She explained that she understood me and that she was sorry. She wrote that she knew, that emigration always has been a part of her life plan. This made me remember that I did not go along with my plans to do so after we got married because of her. In fact, at that time I had a visa and a job offer in California, that I had not accepted after getting married. I got aware that after we got married I had buried my dream so deeply, that I did not even think about it anymore.
We agreed on a short-term appointment with a consultant for family affairs, and we were advised on how to solve the questions of caring for our children best possible. And so we signed a mutual agreement.
In the remaining time, I visited my children several times. I had a difficult relationship with my daughter, which improved significantly during this time. Until then, she hardly accepted any help I tried to give her and it was difficult for me to understand why.
As Albert Einstein put it so aptly, it is simply the most widespread form of madness that we are always doing the same thing in the hope of a different result!
With my children, I arranged appointments for video calls, set up an email and a WhatsApp family group, an email distribution list, and thus virtualized our family life. I also invited the children to visit Bali. For a long time, I had not felt so close to my children and experienced such a cooperative relationship with my ex-wife.
Within 4 weeks I worked on several pages long to-do lists. I gave away the majority of my material possessions as donations or simply dumped them. Tools, clothes, my car, bicycle, and other things, which had suddenly become a burden had to be given away because it was not possible to take them to Hanoi. My sister supported me while reducing my household so that it fits in two backpacks. She offered me space to store the things which I did not want to lose and which I could not take with me, which finally turned out as one box of winter clothes. My household was resolved.
I reassigned the place of residence to her address, adjusted the health insurance, and booked flights. The transfer to my representative in my company Rooms4Music was quickly organized. We arranged an appointment with the tax consultant and clarified open questions. Subsequently, an employment contract was set up and a power of attorney was issued. My employee, who worked part-time for me became the manager of the company. Now I was ready to go.
In the middle of January 2017, with my leg still not healed I took a flight to Hanoi. The restrictions did not bother me because at least I was going to live my dream, which gave me almost endless energy. When Becky and I will continue the journey to Bali is still unclear.
The fact that I know how to benefit from my virtualized enterprise and fully enjoy it, is clear to me. With her job at an international school, Becky has a lot of holidays and frequent business trips that we can share. It is also nice in Hanoi, although it is not our first choice. However, Bali is only a few hours away and the flights in Asia are considerably cheap.
Lessons Learned: So Hard To Enjoy Life in Bali
The journey is the goal. Happily, the great art of fulfilling life is already on the way. This feeling comes from the knowledge, that you are on the desired path. Even if the road seems stormy, with obstacles to be overcome, keep going, you will despite the effort – or maybe just because of the effort, you will enjoy the result even more. I am fully at ease with myself and with the life that lies behind me. My relationship with my children and my ex-wife has improved unexpectedly. I am anxious about the life that lies before me. I am grateful for the new challenges, but also for the quiet hours of silent happiness. The driver for everything is my values, which express themselves in my feelings. These values, according to which I live today, I have explored during the workation in Bali. During this time I was able to dedicate the time and space to find and develop my way. Looking back on getting rid of all of the no longer required things, gave me the greatest freedom I ever experienced in my life.
Do you think that values and feelings do not have much to do with digital work? That this is a purely rational process, which does not allow a feeling? That is not true and nowadays research on the brain proves that is impossible to take any decision without emotions. So, I will answer the next question which is usually coming up at this point. Why do you read a book about digital nomads about grief, gratitude, wanderlust, and love? The answer is that the emotions that we humans feel, transport the actual message of this book about twenty times faster than sober facts.
Epilogue to So Hard To Enjoy Life in Bali
The great Mexican artist Frida Kahlo once said, “Why do I need feet when I have wings?” She was a deeply spiritual, though not a religious woman, who, despite countless doings of fate and unspeakable physical pain, was never small. She could clearly distinguish the “outward” from the “truthful” and knew what she needed to keep in her life and what she had to leave behind. I still have tears in my eyes when I think that one morning Becky asked me if she had dreamed that I had mentioned Frida Kahlo’s quotation to her. To be honest, I did not know the artist at all, had never heard her say it before, and therefore never said it. All the more it touches me how much she fits me and my life and how intensively Becky feels this, even while sleeping.
To look at things once with a little distance can bring one closer to one’s own life and one’s vision – this is the story of Klaus Forster. Reading from such an experience can be inspiring but what is it against your own experience? Make yourself free from office constraints and take your future into your hands.
You should answer these questions:
• What are your main goals?
• What makes you happy?
• What is your way to getting there?
Thanks to digitization and global interception, it has never been so easy to leave everyday life behind and take your work to its destination. A workation is another step to share with others and learn from each other in a holiday atmosphere. But it is also part of our work processes to question and optimize. In addition to this book, you will also find videos, offers, and specific tips on how to develop yourself as a learning entrepreneur on the website www.vitality4happiness.com
How to make your vision of mental and physical fitness real
I have conceived this book in a way that you can go through it with fun and ease, allowing you to seek solutions. On some you will have to work hard, others will be close to you. If you will be as keen as a mustard to find your way, an emotional roller coaster ride is waiting for you but in the end, you will come to useful results. However, the same can also happen to you if you decide to learn Yoga at home with a book and your husband is sitting next to you. You can also learn easy and new methods for your self-employment with the free videos on the website vitality4happiness.de/tipps/.
The results will satisfy you for sure. The videos on our website will help you to develop your own business. You will also get some helpful hints and tricks to overcome obstacles and financial straits. To follow all those instructions is not funny at all. You might be bored and getting grumpy when you have to work on this during your extremely seldom weekend. There is a high risk that you stop this project even before you begin it.
A business retreat is quite different. Motivation, joy, inspiration, and ideas for new and creative projects are going to happen during this time automatically. You will achieve in incredibly short time results, which you have not thought of before yet in your biggest dreams. Together with other self-employed persons who run like you a business in the field of mental and physical health, you will feel how your questions and ideas come into resonance. You will feel the vibes and enjoy the exchange on an equal footing. Do you think there is no such thing? Then you should get to know vitality4happiness retreats. This is the place where a woman turns into an entrepreneur. We create a community to learn and develop relevant skills for the business of your dreams. It does not matter if you have just started to check out the possibilities or your company is already well-established. We do not care about your level of entrepreneurship and if you have 10 employees or not a single one. The goal that unites us is, to let your company work for you. So you can escape from the classical treadmill entrepreneurs are usually stuck in. Sure, you will also learn how to reach your goals in other workshops. But our business retreats are kind of special. Why? We are not a mixed group. All women joining are involved in fitness and mental health. At the same time, they are eager to develop her personality – both to improve her private and work life. This combination arises automatically interesting synergetic effects.
Under the motto of “talk is cheap – we want some action” – how can you benefit from our vitality4happiness retreat? Will you be able to repeat and reproduce my experiences? I can neither answer this question with yes nor with no. First of all, the vitality4happiness retreats are quite different from the workation I described in my book. We have fewer remote workers and more female entrepreneurs longing to accomplish the next step towards their enterprise automation systems. But there are other reasons why you will not be able to repeat my story. My personal experience is similar to an iceberg. You see only ten percent. The remaining 90 percent are underwater. I have selected a kind of best of, to make you smile and to help you to memorize the material you have learned to that point. Do not think too much about 90 percent. It concerns merely the knowledge I need to have to be an author and to publish a book. Furthermore, you are a very different kind of person, so the other 10 percent will be important on your way.
To cut a long story short – do you want to have a change in your business life? Do you want to escape from the typical vicious circle most self-employed suffer from? So make a point and join one of my events in Bali! Information and all dates are provided on www.vitality4happiness.com or just give me a call at +49 711 89499193.
If my concept resonates in a way with you and you also want to change the idea of your life bottom-up one business retreat alone will not be enough. Many scientists around the world have done profound research about the factors of top achievements. There are three points all the studies agree with. Top performances and therefore success depends on the intensity and the time invested in the training. The support of the environment is as well important as the will of the learner. Your will is everything. It is the crack point your success is made out of. If your will is strong you will take all risks in the world that your business will show its dominance and reach a unique selling proposition in the sector of mental health and fitness.
Vitality4Happiness is my unique investment platform. It will turn your life and work completely upside down. Do you not know how to pay for it? I have included 10.000 Euros of venture capital in the conception. This money allows you to pre-finance the restructuring to be done in your company. But that is not all. You will also get mentoring during the event. We aim to create the business of your dreams both fulfilling and generating abundant money. We will become more familiar and both of us can decide afterward if long-term cooperation is after our fancy. When the way we deal with each other presents a coherent picture, there will be no obstacles to approving the venture capital.
Do you want to know how it feels when your business is working for you instead of working you all day and sometimes even at night for your company? During that period, we will follow a tertian working week. First of all, we will relax. So you can learn to listen to your inner voice again. Bali, also being called the island of the gods, will intrigue you with an eclectic mix of exotic, mystics, and dream holidays. If the full moon appears above the rice fields, a warm wind strikes you back and the whole island has got this magical smell of sandalwood incense, you will automatically start to think about your life. Free from rush you will reflect on your behavior patterns and also meet some of your shadows. You will discover the obstacles you put yourself in your way. At that time, you will learn how to dissolve your destructive patterns. You will find a new balance and change your behavior towards a positive way of thinking. You will discover your mission and vision automatically during this process.
After this period, you can feel free to discover the magic of Bali with all senses. Travel around, enjoy your time, meet new people, visit historical sights, or just do nothing and let the soul dangle – you will need all your energy for the strategy phase. During the next few days, we will focus on the orientation of your business. We will create together the image of your self-employment. I promise you, that we will not stop till we have found an ideal that is according to your dreams, goals, manifestations, talents, and personal strengths. You will need a timeout after. Good that the tropical island of Bali is waiting again for you.
Now, it is getting creative. The focus of your business is prepared. What we need now are a marketing concept and a communication strategy. After all, you need to transfer our efforts directly and as fresh as a daisy to your customers. But you will not only delight your regular customers. Your new business strategy will attract prospective clients on your wavelength. I am sure you know what I mean. This special kind of customer, you are so pleased with that you would even work for free for them. The highlight of the project is: you will generate a triple income that will safeguard your business against any crisis. You quadruple the probability of success of your projects with the result of a doubled growth rate.
The woman joining the retreats have to be accounted for team play. You need to have the spirit of helping and supporting each other. The whole group will benefit when each of you shares her pool of experience. New ideas for business and marketing alliances will be a pleasant side effect. You do not need to be afraid of somebody stealing your ideas. You are a unique character that is also reflected in your business. Your unique features will not cause any competitive situation or rivalry with the other business ladies. It was for my project vitality4happiness the same. There are coaches a dime a dozen. But the combination between a mentor and an investor, only for participants from the health and fitness business is unique. To create vitality4happiness was only possible because it is my heartfelt desire. What belongs to you can nobody take away? So throw your caution to the winds and enjoy the vivid exchange with the other ladies. Inspire and get inspired! Spot the plums that are just right for you!
The support will not finish after the business retreat. The group goes on to help each other out. When you are ready for the mind-blowing challenges, apply for the next one. They take place every two months. As we usually have more applicants than available places, I kindly ask for a little selection process. Send me your candidacy. I would like to see who are you and where you are standing at the moment. The application should also give me an idea of your power and your will. You also need to be into teamwork. It is possible to send me your application four months before the next one starts. Of course, you can send it at the last minute. But your wish for change becomes also obvious by your speed of reaction. So as a rule, the early bird catches the worm. Information about our business retreats and the application procedure can be found on our website www.vitality4happiness.com.
Further, mastermind groups, and mentoring paved the way for the future for a lot of people. They all run today a fulfilling, successful, and financially lucrative business. As you can see from my websites vitality4happiness.de and vitality4happiness.com I am the inventor of mentoring especially in the branch of physical and mental fitness. Please do not hesitate to use the possibility to contact customers mentioned in the references if you want to learn more about how my methods work. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions. Hoping to see you soon here, to enjoy life in Bali!