In this episode: Envisioning 3 months off work, Mindfulness, Burnout, Learning to Rest & more - Adam Interviewed by David Moltz
Today, I’m kicking off something a bit different. Last year, around this time, I took a three-month break from work and decided to chronicle my experience by recording an episode before, during, and after. I invited my friends, Julia Li and David Moltz, to interview me at different points throughout the journey.
In this four-part series, you’ll hear what’s going on in my head and in my life before, during and towards the end of this 3 months off of work.
On today’s episode, I’m interviewed by one of my best friends, David Moltz about how I came to realize I needed the time off, how I overcame fear to ask for it and how I’m thinking about making the most of this 3 months off.
Note: The audio is slightly wonky in this episode. My microphone had an issue and I got help to fix it as best I could. Thanks for understanding.
Resources & Books Mentioned
🔥 Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you:
1. Complete my Free Envisioning Guideto get clear on what you truly want
2. Connect with me LinkedInwhere I post every weekday at 8:20 am ET about crafting a life you love & making work optional using mindfulness, envisioning & financial independence.
3. Only 3 Slots Left For 2023 :Invest in a 1:1 vision coaching call with me
4. Book a Team Envisioning Workshop: Unlock your team's potential by aligning on a shared vision and helping people see how they fit into making that vision a reality and how it helps them move towards their own personal vision.
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Mindful Fire Podcast. I'm your host, Adam Coelho Today we're kicking off something a bit different. Last year around this time. I took a three month break from work and decided to chronicle my time off by recording an episode before, during and after. I invited my friends, Julia Li and David Moltz to interview me at these points throughout the journey In this four part series. During the month of May, I'll share my experience taking some time off from work, how I made it happen, what I asked my boss, and how all of this was possible thanks to the power of envisioning. I hope you enjoy this episode and I invite you to share your comments, feedback, and questions with me on LinkedIn. I invite you to connect with me, comment on my posts, or send me a DM with any questions, feedback, or thoughts about the episodes. All right, let's jump in.
Welcome to the Mindful Fire Podcast, a show about crafting a life you love and making work optional using the tools of mindfulness, envisioning in financial independence. I'm your host, Adam Koyo, and I'm so glad you're here. Each episode of the Mindful Fire Podcast explores these three tools through teachings, guided meditations, and inspiring interviews with people, actually living them to craft a life day love. At its core, mindful Fire is about creating more awareness and choice in your life. Mindfulness helps you develop self-awareness to know yourself better and what's most important to you by practicing a kind, curious awareness. Envisioning is all about choosing to think big about your life and putting the power of your predicting brain to work to create the life you dream of. And financial independence brings awareness and choice to your financial life, empowering you to make your vision a reality by getting your money sorted out and ultimately making work optional. And here's the best part, you don't have to wait until you reach financial independence to live out your vision. Mindful fires about using these tools to craft that life. Now on the path to financial independence and. If you're ready to start your Mindful Fire journey, go to mindful fire.org/start and download my free envisioning guide in just 10 minutes. This guide will help you craft a clear and inspiring vision for your life. Again, you can download it for firstname.lastname@example.org slash start. Let's jump into today.Adam Coelho:
David, welcome to the Mindful Fire Podcast. I'm so glad to finally have you here, Adam. Thanks for having me. I'm excited. For the audience, today's a special treat. We have David Multz as a guest on the podcast slash interviewer on the podcast. I've been trying to get David on the podcast for, I'd say about 18 months now, and I finally tricked him into being on the podcast by inviting him to interview me about something big happening in my life coming up, which we'll be talking about on the show today. So how's it feel to finally be here, David? I'm excited. No, you've beenDavid Moltz:
asking me to come on for a while and I've been dragging my feet about it and now you said, why don't you just come on and interview me. That seems like a pretty straightforward way to be, uh, on the podcast without having to prepare too much. So with that, thank you for havingAdam Coelho:
me. It's great to have you here. And so before we get into it, just wanna set a little context for the audience so David and I know each other. He and I started at Google on the same day in November, 2010, and so both of us were transplants to. California didn't know very many people and we started on the same team on the same day and became fast friends and have been great friends since then. And it's crazy to think, I was thinking the other day, David, that we've been friends for o over 11 years, which is crazy toDavid Moltz:
think it is crazy, especially cuz the past two years pretty much disappeared. That is true.Adam Coelho:
That is true. A lot has happened in both of our lives in the last two years, but it did seem. They were like a blink of an eye slash a bad. With a lot of good things in our personal lives that we were actually groomsmen in each other's weddings. So I really value David's opinion and wanted to bring him on the show for a number of reasons, not the least of which is he got me into financial independence, but, Also because I value your opinion and putting your thoughts on this upcoming change I'm going through is really important. So welcome again to the podcast. Thank you, Adam. I'm excitedDavid Moltz:
with that. Are you wanting to share your news with the audience that we're here to talk about? Yes.Adam Coelho:
Okay. So the reason I brought David on the podcast today is because I want him to interview me and help me explore my thinking on a big change coming up in my life, starting next. And that big update or big change is that I'm going to be taking three months off of work and I've been working at Google for 11 years. I have not taken a break longer than three weeks except for when my son was born for some paternity leave, but I haven't taken much break, so I'm going to be taking three months off, and I am excited to exploreDavid Moltz:
that with you. So Adam, I'd love to hear, how long have you been thinking about this? I've been following your podcast since the beginning. I loved the Julia Lee interviews, especially the ones you did like before her time off and then her reflections after her time off. So is it something recent or have, have you been thinking about this for a long time? Yeah,Adam Coelho:
that's a great question and it's something I've been thinking about for a long time. As I mentioned, I've been at Google for 11 years, basically my whole career, except before when I was doing Cissy, a startup that I started in college. But basically I've been working. Straight through, since I joined Google 11 years ago with just a minor, a couple week vacation here and there every year, and really this idea of taking extended time off, taking a sabbatical is what I was hoping for. When I first started thinking about this, I started thinking about it in 2019. This time in 2019, I had just had a baby, was. Getting into the swing of things, just so he was maybe two months old and I was thinking, man, I don't really need a break and maybe I can take a sabbatical. Right? Maybe I can take some extended time off at the end of this year, maybe even. My wife can take some time off and we can go to Portugal for a couple of weeks, spend some time there and even thinking about maybe we can use this as a taste, like a mini retirement, a taste of what it might be like after reaching financial independence. It didn't happen that way. I didn't. Now it's 2022. I'm finally doing this. Obviously it didn't happen in 2019. Something interesting did happen in 2019 where I was. Was a great example of using the power of envisioning. I wanted to take a break. I wanted to go to Portugal. I ended up getting a three month rotation in Portugal. With Google where I was able to bring my whole family and we were able to live and Lisbon and I was working there. But that was, well, it was an amazing experience and it was a lot of fun and a great adventure for our family was not really a break because I was doing a very intense job that was new to me. So it was not a break and. It's been a long time coming and now finally I got up the courage to ask for what I needed, which was pretty hard to do, and we can talk more about that, but I'm thrilled to be able to say that it's happening and, and it's happening a lot quicker than I thought it was gonnaDavid Moltz:
happen. Yeah, no, I can relate to that. It's actually a funny story. When Adam was in Portugal, I was actually in London doing a work rotation at the same time, so that's one of the other funny things that Adam and I started at Google on the same. And here we are 10 years later and he gets to go to Portugal. I got to go to London, but I totally agree with what you said, Adam. While it was fun to be in London, I did have aAdam Coelho:
full-time jobDavid Moltz:
and it was a new job for me, so it was really busy ramping up and whatnot. So it definitely was not time off. It was working in a different location and I still had the weekends free. But I can relate to being over there. But having to work every day is not timeAdam Coelho:
off. Yeah. Adding on being in that long environment where you have the ability to travel every weekend, which you did and I did, and we spent two weekends during that time together with our wives and my son. But that adds to the lack of rest. Right? That's the opposite of rest. Usually you work and you rest on the weekends now. We were working and traveling on the weekends pretty much every weekend. Carter, my son, was able to go to eight countries by his first birthday, which is. Crazy. Especially given what happened in 2020 where we haven't gone anywhere since. And so incredible opportunity. I'm so grateful for it and it was so fun, but it was not. The rest that I was really hoping for when I first thought of this back in January, 2019. ForDavid Moltz:
sure. And I imagine some listeners are wondering, what do you mean taking three months off? Are you leaving the company? Is this sick leave? Is this vacation? What does it even mean to take three months off?Adam Coelho:
That's, that's a good question. I have my, my journal here and this David, I'm a big fan of envisioning and sometimes I, when I'm getting a little hippy-dippy, I call it the universe and. It's interesting, the universe brought me this journal. I was walking around San Francisco one day just going for a walk and happened to walk up the street to the rich area of Pack Heights. And I was walking by this house and this journal was sitting against a tree in front of this house, like in little like pile of free slash trash, and it was completely wrapped in plastic. And I brought it home and I'm like, oh my God, perfect. It's my journal now. And it's like the nicest journal I have. And it also, so I've been essentially doing my annual planning in this journal every year since then. And this idea of taking time off has been a big part of the last several years of my reflection, and I'm finally making it happen. As I look back on, on what I wrote in here, I have this idea of I want to take a sabbatical, right? I want to take a sabbatical, and why not I, I hope for it to be paid, it would be wonderful. Google does not offer a paid sabbatical, but they do offer very generous leave policies, and one of the things that they started offering in during the Coronavirus Pandemic is, Cares Leaf. A lot of parents, David, you know this well as parent, a lot of parents during the pandemic. Became their own childcare. They didn't have, daycares weren't open or preschools and mans couldn't come anymore and just it got disrupted. So Google made this available to people that don't have childcare available. It's called carers leave, and we got quite a bit of that allocated to us over the. Two years that we've been going through it now, and I hadn't taken any, and so I took days off here and there to recharge a little bit. But the reality is I've been working full-time and parenting more or less full-time. My son goes to school three days a week in the morning. But that's not exactly childcare coverage, and so I was able to take advantage of taking this three months off and honestly, it might be part carer's leave part vacation, depending on how long it gets extended for. But I'm able to use this time through carer's leave, which allows me to get paid my normal salary. And obviously the primary purpose of that is going to be caring for my son, and good news is I'm already doing that anyways. I was just working on top of that as well, and so I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be able to do that only. That's amazing.David Moltz:
Yeah, no, it's a wonderful benefit for sure. But at the same time, HR sometimes offers policies, but getting them approved by your manager can be a different thing, for example, A lot of companies offer like unlimited vacation, but many employees don't truly take unlimited vacation at those companies. Instead, they might actually just take the three weeks because they still want to get a good like performance rating and they still need manager approval on this sort of time off. While the HR benefit exists, you still had to get this approved by your manager. So how did you approach that conversation? And the follow up to that is how did you decide? The three months versus taking one month or even trying to take more than three months. How did you arrive at the, the amount of time that you requested from yourAdam Coelho:
manager? Yeah, no, that's a good question as well. And I think that even before taking even a step back from even asking for the leave, we needed to first come to terms with what I needed, right? Myself. And I think that's where mindfulness comes in. A lot of. Burnout because they just keep going. They are on the path to burnout, and they don't have the awareness or space in their life to even develop the awareness to slow down and ask the question, what do I need? And so I'd be remiss to not acknowledge the absolute privilege I have to have the space, time, resources, money to actually. Ask the question, what do I need? As you startedDavid Moltz:
talking about the burnout, it made meAdam Coelho:
think about how with the great resignation, now so many people are burnt out and leaving theirDavid Moltz:
companies, and then I have to thinkAdam Coelho:
about I, I can empathize with that, but how many of 'em first went and tried to ask for time off first? And definitely not. Most companiesDavid Moltz:
are not like Google where they might allow that, but potentially some mites. But it is an interesting point she made that. I doubt companies want to actually lose people because of that large cost of having toAdam Coelho:
onboard and find and bring on newDavid Moltz:
people. So it is an interesting point that you're making, which is basically like I'm taking this time off so that I can not burn out and then come back and continueAdam Coelho:
working at this company, which I've been at for 11 years,David Moltz:
but I need this time off right now in order to sustainably stay maybeAdam Coelho:
another 11 years as an example. It's happening all over the place. People are quitting in droves and I think I would say probably a lot of people are. Doing that. They're not asking for the what they need, and instead just saying, this isn't it. I need to go do something else. And I've felt that. I've definitely felt that, but I think that. The more I developed, used the tool of mindfulness to explore and think about what is this feeling I'm feeling? Right? What is this apathy, this dissatisfaction, this feeling of burnout? That was saying that I had the awareness and the space to see that, oh yeah, I'm headed towards burnout, and I've gone through periods where I was closer and further from burnout. I've mentioned on the podcast a few times, right earlier last. That I'm feeling burnout, and I was talking to some people who on the podcast who are psych psychiatrists, psychologists, and asking like, what is burnout? And really it's like apathy and lack of motivation and physical fatigue and things like that. I was feeling that, and the more I brought awareness to that, I took a three week vacation. Earlier maybe. Maybe that was 2020. Actually, it's crazy to think, like you said, the time flew by, but like I was feeling it then and I took a three week vacation, gave me some sort of relief, but I just kept feeling that revving up and revving up. And so I needed to ask myself, what do I need? And then when I did ask the question, now, okay, I need up back to the sabbatical, right back to the extended time off where I. Disconnect. Taking a week off is great. Taking two weeks off is great. Taking three weeks off, incredible. But. You're right back in and after that, and it's just around the three week mark when I found is, that's when I really started to feel the ease and the space that you don't feel after just a week, because what's waiting for you right after that vacation. And so I came to know in myself that I needed. More time. And so this gets to your second question, which is how much time. I knew it needed to be more than three weeks, and I really wanted to do at least three months is what I was feeling. And I think I could have taken up to six months of unpaid time. I, I, again, needed to get the courage to ask for it. And so taking into account like how afraid I was to ask for what I needed, which I think a lot of people feel, right? One, either out of. Just like straight up fear, like they're gonna say, no, they're gonna fire me. Mine was a little bit different, right? I had Paul, who is my manager for about six years, and he has been an incredible manager. Mine was a little bit more of a feeling of guilt. One, like, he's been so good to me. Like I, I'm now gonna ask for this, even though I need, no, I need it. But asking for it felt like, oh, he's already helped me so much. Right. And then also just to, to the team, like it's never a good time. You're taking time off is gonna, even if you go on vacation, it's gonna put your teammates in a tough spot. And so I felt very weird about that. And it got to the point where it's like later last year, where in Q4 I was like, okay, I need to have this conversation. I need to at least bring it up and start the conversation. And last year there were multiple times where I was gonna do it, and then I just chicken. And this is a guy that I can talk about anything with my manager, Paul, and I could talk about anything with him and say I finally brought it up. And so getting to your first question of how did I make this happen? Or how did I broach the subject and have that conversation? It really was. Look, there's something that's been on my mind for a long time that I've quite frankly been afraid to bring up, and I've been feeling after working and parenting full-time. So I put it in the context of what's been going on. I've been feeling burnt out. What am I feeling? And I feel like I need to take some extended time off. And I wanted to bring that up with you and we don't have to discuss it now. I would love to have a conversation of what are the options I can explore and I would love your help in how to explore this. And so I had that conversation with him. And then it turns out that we were getting reorged and I was gonna have a new manager, which happens a lot at Google and other places. Because I had this conversation and I had this good relationship with him, I was able to say, look, I know I'm not gonna be reporting to you anymore. This is important to me. How can we position this to my new manager and my new team as something that we've already been discussing and that Adam needs? Right? We've been talking about it. We've been thinking about when and where and how, and we would like to continue this conversation with Adam on your. And that really helped. And then he went and had the conversation or kind of planted the seed with my new manager, Josh, who's also wonderful, and that gave me a lot of peace and confidence to bring it up. I didn't have to start from scratch again, being afraid, although I did chicken out once with the new manager as well. But I knew I could say, I know Paul mentioned to you x. And then when you have time, I'd love to have a conversation about it. And so then we scheduled time and we had a conversation about it and he was totally fine. He was totally supportive of it. It helped that an email from HR about improvements to our leave policy happened to hit his inbox two hours before. That was helpful. But it's coincidental. I know the universe, right? Universe. Yes. So we have the conversation. It was then a question of when and how that conversation was last Thursday and today, eight days later is my last day, and it just wiped out that way, so it happened much quicker once I had the conversation. The actual execution of the plan happened very quickly. You're right, and we don't haveDavid Moltz:
to get into like why specifically it happened quickly. Yeah. But I do think that's really interesting that it did happen so quickly because you almost have less time to plan how you're gonna spend your time off, which is interesting. For example, you and I both took paternity leave, but we knew that baby was coming like nine months in advance or six months in advance or whatnot. So we had a lot of time. To think about our time off for family leave to do our planning. In this case, to your point, today's your last day and it's, you're off starting tomorrow, so you have a little bit less time to prepare than normal. How are you thinking about that? Because I know one thing, I feel like you've potentially put a lot of pressure on yourself because you've been very excited about an opportunity like this. I listened to your interviews again with Julia, which were really interesting. I feel like if you got this approved starting in three months, there'd be a lot of interesting additional introspection and planning and things like that. But here we are. You're right. It happened in what felt like less than a week. So I guess, what are your thoughts about having, I think even in Julia's interview, didn't she say she gave her team like six months heads up or something like that? Would love to hear. What are your thoughts on it? It's starting.Adam Coelho:
Yeah. Yeah, it's aggressive. You mentioned the Julia interview, which if you want to hear Julia's story, you can go to mindful fire.org/julia. J U L i a. And the thing about her story is the first conversation we had was three months before, at least three months before she left Google, maybe even more, and she gave her team. A lot of notice and she also had been thinking about it for a very long time. And so she had a lot of time to think and plan of what exactly she wanted that to look like. And I don't have that time. I have been thinking about it for a while, but I was so focused on like, I just want the time and now, or how am I gonna use the time? And so, to be honest, I feel a little bit like I don't wanna waste this time like a almost a little bit of anxiety around. Using the time wisely. That's the big feeling I've been feeling recently is just wanting to use it wisely, but then also not wanting to use it in the same way that I use all my time, which is constantly striving, right between the podcast and working at Google and all the various projects that I do and everything, like I have so much going on all the time that I don't want this time. Which surely should be a break to just be filled with more striving, and that's a tough balance because I want to use it wisely, but then I don't want to strive to use it wisely and. Yeah, it's a little bit weird and I wanna unpack that with you a little bit as today. Hopefully got some ideas. Well,David Moltz:
no, I wanted to unpack this as well because I've been listening to your podcast since the beginning, and at least three different guests you've had this similar conversation about, which is all about taking time off to rest versus that feeling of needing to be productive. And so that's where I wanted. Almost pass this back to you and say, you've probably been giving people advice on, hey, even though you feel like you want, you need to be productive all the time, like you should rest. I feel like that's some of the advice that's come up on past episodes. So would love to think about, are you gonna take your own medicine and actually rest during this time off versus I, I like that you used the term wisely for how you spent this time, because instead of saying like productively or wisely resting could be a wise thing to do in this case. The other thing that's nice about this is you do. Three months. So I do agree that if it was say, one month, it would be definitely tricky to rest and be productive if that's what you wanted to do. But with three months off, you could rest for a month or two and then be productive for the last month or so. But I do know from listening to, uh, for your previous conversations, you're probably feeling a lot of pressure too. To work on the podcast, to do things around the house, to really maybe even do some travel with the family. The point of the cares leave is spending time with your son and your family. I would just love to hear like how you're thinking about this because you've had these conversations in the past, so as opposed to being entirely new to you in your gut, what you should do in this case, I believe. I hope so. I really hope so,Adam Coelho:
man. Yeah, that's the tricky part about having one week to. And also not even really prepare because I'm also wrapping everything up in one week. So like I mentioned, today's been one of the busiest Fridays I've had in a long time because I'm wrapping everything up and I wanna leave my team in a good spot. So there's not been a ton of time to reflect on what it is, how I want to use this time. And the big thing that's been coming up for me is this balance of it, it's productivity and rest, but it's even more. To the question of what is productivity and what is rest? What counts as rest? And so I'll first sayDavid Moltz:
absolutely rest needs to be a part of this. A primary part of certainly the beginning and as I talked about with Julia on the podcast, I don't know how to rest like it. It, it was something that she was describing and it like hit me like a ton of bricks that I don't really know how to rest. Every moment of my. Even when I am resting, just re trying to relax or whatever, ha hanging out by myself in the evening. It's working on the podcast, it's editing the podcast or writing stuff for the podcast or doing even meditating sometimes can be not thought of as rest cuz I gotta get it done. And so I realized, like Julia was describing for he. I need to practice rest. And she joked in the podcast that her boyfriend came into the room and he's, what are you doing? And she's like sitting on the couch, like watching Netflix and she's, I'm practicing resting. I was like laughing so hard when she said that because it's like, she like really took it to heart and was like actively practicing. And so that is how I intend to spend the beginning now. The question becomes, what qualifies as rest? Does that mean doing nothing? Does that mean setting aside the podcast completely? And if so, which I think it does. If so, do I then front load the work? Do I just disappear? Do I tell people, how do I do this? And I'm figuring that out, and I think that I probably will. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I will spend some time this weekend. Putting, finishing up the next episode that is going out and in the beginning of that recording, probably after we finish here, recording something to the effect of, I'm going to be taking some time to rest. I'm gonna be taking some time from work and I'm going to really practice rest and self-care. And that means I'm going to set aside the podcast for a little bit of time, but every part of me wants to be productive and to use this time to. Go for it with the podcast, but I've already been realizing that I need to think how I approach the podcast and that's a whole nother conversation. But I've already gone from chasing a weekly schedule of publishing to a more like month with one interview and maybe a meditation or two each month, but a much more like fluid type of. Sunny was a long answer to a simple question, but yes, I wanna rest.David Moltz:
Yeah, and the other thing is not to put too much pressure on yourself now, because you don't have to decide today how you're spending the next three months. You can decide throughout. For example, you could say, Hey, just for the next two weeks, I am going to rest and not worry about anything productive. And then after those two weeks, as an example, if you say, Hey, I do want to be productive. You still in this case have 10 weeks left as an example. So I would say don't feel too much pressure right now to decide exactly how you're gonna spend the next three months. Obviously think about it, but start with rest as you've discussed, and then you can figure out later and still have time to be productive if that's the thing. I listen to a lot of podcasts and a lot of podcasters will say, take a month off, and then they'll, what they'll do is they'll go to their archive, right, and they'll play like weekly episodes from their archive, because most new listeners to your podcast are unlikely to be starting at the beginning and listening to every episode. You probably have some great early episodes, so to bring back, and that doesn't take a ton of your time, but going back to this concept of rest, which is where I'd want to dig into just a little bit more, cuz some of the examples used, what are your thoughts? Do you think rest and boredom are correlated at all? So one, one question I had for you. When you're talking about how you're always doing things right now, do you ever feel bored? And if the answer's no could potentially taking some time off, not doing anything and could be feeling bored, be a signal that you are arrest. Or no, because maybe you mentioned the Julia Case of her watching tv. Like when you're watching tv, I don't really think you're feeling bored because you're still actively doing something versus being screenless and maybe feeling bored. Guess what are your thoughts around that?Adam Coelho:
Yeah, haven't thought about that in a really long time, which makes me think that my gut, I feel that. I don't feel bored very often. I feel bored on meetings. Sometimes I don't notice it as boredom. I don't notice myself saying, oh, I'm bored. Like when I was a kid I'd be like, oh, I'm bored. This is boring with, I feel bored on meetings sometimes, but really I think that's just a lack of interest in what's being discussed or relevancy like. I'm on a lot of meetings that I don't say. I literally don't say anything and it is like, why am I even here? But yeah, like in my life, I don't really feel bored. It's more of a feeling of overwhelm than boredom most of the time.David Moltz:
Yeah. And Ys, that is when we're talking about rest, could be you spending a day reading a book, having a coffee or tea, just like. Going very slow throughout the day, especially. Another good goal could be like less screen time cuz as you, you really don't have a choice at your current job, but to have screen time all day and then at night people are on their phones or working on their podcasts or whatnot, likely on, on screens all day. So to rest, one recommendation I would have is definitely try to minimize your screens during this time. Yeah,Adam Coelho:
yeah, I think so. And I've definitely noticed myself when I'm, I guess when I'm feeling bored or what, it's more like when I'm feeling dissatisfied. Or just re when I'm feeling, I guess it's bored or dissatisfied, right? Or even just in a bad mood. I just reach for the phone and then hit, hit the slot machine of Instagram or LinkedIn or whatever just to give myself a little dopamine hit. And I definitely have noticed myself doing that and re and recognizing it's, oh, you're feeling bad and you're doing this because you're feeling bad. And I want to try to move away from that in this time. And maybe it's taking the apps off my phone and just not using my phone as much because it does feel like I'm. Doing it because I feel bad and I don't feel better afterwards. That's good advice. What are your thoughtsDavid Moltz:
on maintaining a schedule and a routine versus every day? Just waking up without a plan? Because I think potentially you could still rest with the plan. You say, Hey, I'm gonna sleep in, but then I'm gonna go for a run in the morning. And then I'm going to have a breakfast with my son and then we're gonna go to the park in the afternoon. Like you could have a plan, a routine, but still be resting versus I think when a lot of people think about time off, they really think about the excitement of just. I can sleep in, I can do whatever. I don't have a schedule. What are your thoughts on that? I guess having a schedule and routineAdam Coelho:
versus playing every day by year. First, my thoughts are that those people don't have kidsDavid Moltz:
because when, when you have kids,Adam Coelho:
you have a schedule, right? There's no way around it. I'm not gonna be sleeping in every day, certainly not. While my wife is still working and I'm off. As it is, we switch off days when he is going to school Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Both of us wake up at 7:00 AM to get him to school, and then in those other days we switch off who gets to sleep in and it's working. It's working pretty well. It's nice to have that to look forward to, but to your question, I already have a schedule. How regimented do I want to get with scheduling my free time? Because as I've been thinking about this and how I want to approach it, I've been thinking, okay, what are the pockets of time that are mine? So when Carter's at school Monday, Wednesday, Friday for three and a half hours, that's time that I can decide what to do with when he's snapping basically two to four every day, and then after he goes to sleep, how do I want to use that time? And so I have those things and I think what is the bigger question for me right now is back to what we were talking about before, is what is rest? What counts as rest? I think watching TV counts as rest, although maybe it's not as restful as taking a nap, but is for instance, is reading, resting or is that productive? Cuz I like to read non-fiction maybe. Pick up a fiction book. Welcome to Open to Recommendations cuz I never read that. But what about my inner MBA work that I need to do, right? That I'm in this program and I wanna do it. But sometimes it is work. It feels like work because it is work. And so like where does that fit into the rest period? Do I just punt that or, and so it's like, what is rest? What is not rest? How much of. Quasi not rest is acceptable. And it, it gets back to something that I've talked about on the podcast before. That is one of my own little quirks and beliefs. It's like, for me, it's always what's the right way to do it? And I have this fit feeling that I'm always doing things wrong and I'm not doing it the right way. And so even anytime I have something like this where I'm talking to you and I'm talking to Julie, I'm asking a lot of people what I should do rather than just trusting myself in what. One's in need. And so I, maybe I'm putting too much thought and too much structure into it, and maybe I just need to, by having an initial strategy of like just resting. And doing what I feel like doing at maybe, I don'tDavid Moltz:
know. Yeah, I, I hear you. Whenever I have to make a big decision, I normally ask a, a bunch of people as well, and I sometimes feel fr frustrated after, because I get different answers from everyone and I'm like, oh, this is such a bummer, because that didn't really help me because I've got 10 different answers, or five people are saying this, five people are saying that. I'm like, I was hoping it'd be like nine to one, like nine people said the exact same recommendation, and so I could clearly go forward with that. But as you mentioned, You're getting different answers from everyone you reach out to. So really it's just up to you in whatever you personally know in your gut or how you wanna spend the time, obviously. So, Adam, to go back, actually, one thing I just thought about is earlier you mentioned that your spouse was still working. And I find that really interesting because since you talk about early retirement on this podcast, oftentimes it's potentially one spouse that retires for the other one, either because the other one likes their job and wants to keep working long term. Or because one person keeps health insurance or something like that. And when that happens, this, the early retired spouse can't just travel around the country and do everything when their other spouse still is working. So it does put some restrictions around it. So in your case, with your current time off, if your spouse was not working during this time, Then you really could do anything during this time. But if she is still working now, you are more limited to having just the freedom and time, say nine to five while she's working. Or you mentioned just when Carter's at school are taking a nap. So really you do have less time off in this case where it might just be a few hours a day versus. Again, if, if everyone was off at the same time. Yeah, no, it'sAdam Coelho:
a good point. And yeah, definitely have those constraints and adding covid to the mix as well. Like we're not gonna be doing much traveling. We might do if Covid wasn't happening. Yeah. Maybe we go and we live. Somewhere else and do some slow travel for a time, something like that. But yeah, that's not the situation. And so it's how do I use this time within this constraint? And whether if this were later on and Carter was in school, we'd have that constraint. Although some people in the fire movement just pull their kids outta school and go travel and do things. That seems awesome. There's always, there is always constraints, and I really do think about it in terms of the time that I. Really those windows that I described when Carter's at school, when he's, when he is napping. But then also like, how do I wanna show up with him? And how do I wanna show up with Kathy? I want to rethink those as well, because now I'm not gonna have the excuse of, oh, I'm so tired because of work, or, I can't do this because of work, because which has been the scapegoat at times on and off. And so I have really no excuse, right? So I can really think about how do I wanna show up and how do. Create the habits and conditions so that I can show up in that way. For instance, one thing is like meditating, right? Like how do I build meditation in as a point of structure? How do I build exercise? How do I do some exercise or activity each day where I'm moving my body and I'm doing things like maybe it's going for a walk or going for a hike or something like that while Carter's snapping. That way when I come home, I'm in a good mood because I've noticed over the last. Couple of weeks I've been leading meditations for the podcast community and at Google and, but I haven't really had my consistent, just meditating by myself, practice. And I feel like I've been more irritable than I would otherwise be. And so that's a sign to me that I need to really. Fill that in as a core pillar ofDavid Moltz:
this for sure. And I know we're nearing the end of our time. So I guess to to pivot a little bit, and this might just be reframing one of the same questions I asked you earlier in a different way. But I guess if you were to look ahead at yourself in 12 months from now, like when you're looking back on this time like. How do you wish you would've spent this time? I, I know you like all the time you hear, hey, if you could go back and give your younger self a piece of advice, like early in their career or or whatnot, and I'm teasing that because it's almost trying to get ahead of it. So we're talking about how do you wanna spend the next few months. But just to pivot a little bit, if we're a year from now, if you're looking back, does that reframe the question at all with, Hey, I'm glad that I spent the time this way or that. Does it change? Does it change at all? Maybe when we're looking more of like long term, a year out, how did you spend this time versus just right now we've been talking about, hey, short term starting tomorrow, what do you wanna do?Adam Coelho:
I think that's a really helpful way to look at it, and I think that's something that anyone who's listening to this can do for any aspect of their life or any decision that they're making. And it gets back to the envisioning piece, right? If I think about down the road, how do I. Be or feel or reflect on looking back on this experience. What do I wanna feel or think when I look back on it?David Moltz:
Yeah, because we started earlier on talking about your time in Portugal and you're now, we're always just looking back on it now we're like, how did I spend that time in Portugal or London? Did I travel as much as I wanted to? Did I have as much fun as I wanted to? Did I rest as much as I wanted to? These are all questions. I guess just, again, it's just reframing it a little differently. Thinking about the future, looking back. I think that's important and honestly, I don't think youAdam Coelho:
can go wrong when you're going toDavid Moltz:
be looking back on this time, even if you don't do anything except rest for the full three months. I think if you come back strong at work and you're feeling refreshed and productive at that time, I don't think you can feel guilty for quote unquote not. Getting enough out of your time. One of the key parts is getting that rest, which you've been talking about a lot after 11 straight years of work. Likewise, if you do are productive and you work on your podcast or your exercise or any other project, and that's also valuable time because otherwise you're trying to juggle it in addition to being a parent, a husband, and having a day job as well. So to take some pressure off you, I think no matter what, you'll have time well spent. But I think it's more just looking back cuz I think. A big part of life is we have regrets here and there, and so I think one being risk averse, I just wanna minimize having a regret about this time, but at the same time, I think that adds extra pressure to maximizing this time off. However that is, and that's where I'm trying to say, try not to put that much pressure on yourself. I think, like I said, even if the bare minimum is you do nothing and you just rest, that is a win. Based on the conversations I've heard you having with other guests on the podcast.Adam Coelho:
That's a good point. You mentioned before me asking for other people's advice and input, and that's been the consistent advice from anyone I've asked so far is take the pressure off, let go of the expectations and. I think one thing I realized earlier today when I was having this conversation with my inner MBA group, this woman, Jill said, take the pressure off and be aware of the expectations you have and then let them go. And that was interesting for me because I don't know what the expectations are that I have, but they're there and they're under the surface, and so I need to explore what they are not wanting to waste. The time is a big one. And as you were talking just now, and you mentioned Portugal, I remember about. Maybe almost a month into Portugal, I was feeling overwhelmed and I was just, I had, I just had a, like a feeling of dread that I was wasting the time that I was gonna be a failure at my projects. That I wasn't going to make the most of the opportunity living in Portugal and living in Europe. And I remember I was in the Dublin office cuz I was there. This was just before I saw you. And I remember I was in the Dublin. And I sat down and I was, I said, look, I'm feeling overwhelmed. I need to sit down and write in this journal. And I wrote in the journal, and I essentially just kinda like brain dumped and realized, wow, like I'm putting so much pressure on myself to get it right, to do it well. And so getting back to thinking a year from now, how do I wanna look back on this time? I want to feel like I didn't put a lot of pressure on myself that I didn't use. In a thriving, being productive, like having to be productive way, I want to look at it, and one thing I wrote down when I was exploring this the other day is I, and that's my theme for the year, is I wanna relax into the flow of experience. I wanna slow down, I wanna relax. I wanna trust myself. That's another thing I wanna look back and said, yes. I used that time and I trusted myself and I got to know myself better, and I created space for myself to do that. I created the space for this three months and didn't fill it up with more projects and more things, and I really got to know myself and what's important to. Because I think that's something that's been on my mind for the last six months is what do I want to do? Like I'm very grateful for Google. I'm very grateful for the job and team that I have, and it's not my life's work, right? Like it's not that purposeful. And I'm always trying to be more in alignment with what my purpose is, which is creating opportunity through connection and. I wanna create this space to connect more deeply with myself and get to know myself better and explore the question of what's most important to me? What do I want to do? And so that's what's on my mind there. Another thing that's been top of mind for me as I reflected on last year and moved into the new year, and as I started thinking about taking this time off, and what I want to do during this time off is the realization. Everything I say I want and need to be happy. I already have. I spent a lot of time and mental energy thinking, if only this, then I'll be happy. And as I was thinking to preparing to have this conversation with you and thinking about how I wanted to use this time, I realized I'd been telling myself that story for so long. If only I could have a sabbatical, then I would be happy. And I have it. And more and more, every aspect of my life that I look at. Through the lens of I already have what I want. It's unbelievable. I say, I want a sabbatical. I have it. I say, I wanna be able to teach mindfulness and get paid for it. I do that at Google as part of my 20% project. I say, I want to lead mindfulness sessions for teams. I'm doing that. I was talking with our mutual friend Rashaan, about wanting to be a thought leader. He's like, dude, you already are a thought. You have 75 episodes on your podcast, uh, on this topic. You're room to grow, but you're already a thought leader. And so over and over again, I've realized if I pay attention, I have everything I say I need and want to be happy. And as I answering your question, a year from now, I wanna look back on this time and say, look, I really practiced this idea. I really. Noticed how everything I want, I already have, and I want to have approached this time from a place of sufficiency and enough rather than a place of scarcity and. More of the if only this than I can be happy, right? Because I have everything I already want and so can I approach this time from that place of enough? That's really how I'm thinking about it.David Moltz:
Definitely. Adam, I know we're almost ahead of time, so with that, I'm excited to ask you the Mindful Fire Final Four, which I've heard you ask pretty much every guest on your podcast. So. The first question is for listeners who are interested in taking their own time off work, what advice would you have for them? For peopleAdam Coelho:
who wanna take their own time off of work, I would say acknowledge what you need, right? Have awareness of what you need and trust yourself, right? If you feel like you need a break, if you feel like you need time, Trust that feeling right. It's not gonna go away. I tried to ignore it for a long period of time. I tried to fill my life with things and projects and interesting things that I like to do, and it only made me realize more and more that I need a break. And so if you want to take time off and you feel like you need that break, ask. Acknowledge it for yourself and ask for it from your job or whoever, your manager. And getting back to what you said earlier, Maltz, like the great resignation is showing that people are feeling this, right. And if you don't completely hate your job, don't just leave. Right? Give them the chance to show you that they want you there. It's way more expensive for them to find a new employee and train a new employee than to let you take a month or two. Or three. And so ask for what you want and acknowledge what you need and ask for what you need. Excellent.David Moltz:
These next two, I've heard other guests answer, but now it's your turn. So what piece of advice would you give someone early on their path of mindfulness and meditation? MyAdam Coelho:
advice to people getting started with meditation and mindfulness, I would say start small and realize. You're not doing it wrong. I think there's a lot of talk about, meditation is all about clearing your mind and having no thoughts and pushing away thoughts and just having this blissful state. I guess my advice is meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It's just mental training, right? It's like going to the gym for your brain and so just do it right. Start. Pick a guided meditation. I have many on the podcast, but even just start with, um, one minute, right? One minute of focusing on your breath. When your mind wanders, just notice that with kindness and curiosity, and then bring it back and start again. You're gonna have thoughts. That's what the brain does, and so start small, realizing that you're not doing it wrong, and then allow your practice to expand from. It's always said that the best meditation is the one that you'll do. And so pick what will work for you or what you think might be interesting and try it for a little while and you'll start to see the benefits and wanna keep doing it and expand from there.David Moltz:
Perfect. And then a follow up to that one is very much similar, but what advice would you give to someone early on their path to financial independence?Adam Coelho:
I would say find a friend like Maltz who will learn everything about it and then come back and teach you. That's how I got into it. But no, for real, I would say get started, right? Get started and set automatic investments up. Look at how much money you have saved up. If you've not started investing, look at how much you have. Divide that amount by 12 or 24 months and then set it to, in invest a 12th or 24th of that amount of. Every month automatically, no matter what, and forget about it. That decision when I did that when I was probably six or seven years ago, has made an enormous difference in my financial situation and is definitely what I would do. And then of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't say Read The Simple Path to Wealth. Incredible book gives you. The full picture. And so highly recommend reading. Simple Path toDavid Moltz:
Wealth. Yeah. Plus one to that. And then the final question is, where's the best place to connect with you online? And I like that you ask everyone this, so where's the best place to connect with you?Adam Coelho:
Yes, thank you, Maltz. You can find all of our episodes on mindful fire.org or wherever you listen to podcasts.David Moltz:
Excellent. Adam, that completes my Mindful Fire four. How do we normally end these things? Do we say fare? WeAdam Coelho:
do. Thank you, Maltz, thank you so much for being here, for the time and effort you put into this and for the guidance that you've given me on my own journey of financial independence over the last seven, eight years. It's been a pleasure and I'm very grateful for you as a friend. So thank you for being here.David Moltz:
Yeah. And thank you Adam. Best of luck with the upcoming time off. I'm excited to see where you go and I'm excited to, uh, chat with you in a few months and reflect on the, uh, time off together. So good luck. Thanks for having me, and we'll talk soon. AllAdam Coelho:
right. Thanks a lot. Take care.
Thanks for joining me on today's episode of the Mindful Fire Podcast. If you enjoyed today's episode, I invite you to hit subscribe wherever you're listening to this. This just lets the platforms know you're getting value from the episodes and you want to be here when I release additional content. If you're ready to start your Mindful Fire journey, go to mindful fire.org/start and download my free envisioning guide in just 10 minutes. This guide will help you craft a clear and inspiring vision for your life. Again, you can download it for email@example.com slash. Thanks again and I'll catch you next time on the Mindful Fire Podcast.