Lydia Lee is one of the most encouraging and positive people I know. Three years ago, we started talking on Instagram and met up in person in Bali, Indonesia. Since then I've been inspired by her uplifting energy and captivating entrepreneurial journey.
Today, I'm happy to share the habits and routines of Lydia Lee. Read on to discover how to design a fulfilling lifestyle.
Lydia Lee is the founder of Screw The Cubicle and a corporate escape coach that helps talented professionals repurpose their skills to start a meaningful business and guides them to create location independent careers.
From building businesses to forging freelance careers, she’s helped hundreds of talented professionals reinvent better versions of their careers and become better versions of themselves.
Lydia’s work has been published in Forbes, The Huffington Post, and featured in Elle Canada and The Telegraph newspaper.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
Ever since I moved to Bali, waking up early has been a good practice of mine (partly because of the noisy roosters!). I find that my most productive time is between 7-10am. What I've found most valuable is starting the day with a 10-minute meditation using the Headspace app, and not checking emails until I've done at least 3 'non-negotiable' tasks that are important to my life and/or business. This allows me to feel complete at the end of the day that I did things on my own agenda vs. other people's.
How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?
I set quarterly planning days where I evaluate where I'm heading in my goals, and readjust if necessary. There are usually 3 major goals I complete each quarter (one goal per month), where the focus is on one big initiative per month. I use a time blocking method to complete activities and tasks towards these goals using Pomodoro + Self Control app (blocking sites I usually visit to keep focused). I am also a huge fan of Asana, where it allows me to template my activities for each project and it keeps me sane.
How Are You Modeling Your Life?
I am a huge believer in getting mentorship if you want to be or do different things in life. I usually hire 1-2 mentors a year, depending on where I need help. Choosing a mentor I respect, where I can say, "I admire their business or way of making a living, but most importantly, they work and live in a way that is aligned with my own personal values". If you don't see yourself saying it would be nice to 'trade places' with them, then it may not be the right mentor for the right reasons. Coaches and mentors can shortcut your learning curve, and getting that mental support to do the things you want to be brave to do is so invaluable for our success.
Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
Before I decide on any projects for work, I always think about this: What is the experience I truly want to have with this project? This allows me to really think about the intention behind it, and not always be driven by profits only. I try to decide on the types of projects and ventures that allows me to grow as a business owner and a human, and where I foresee my work evolving into. I usually fast forward to particular experiences or outcomes I desire, and work backwards by reverse engineering what I need to do to achieve that chief initiative.
I plan the big picture, then craft the steps and activities necessary to get there. Next, I choose the things I like being responsible for, and outsource the things that don't really make my heart sing (or are in my genius zone) to my team or contractors that can do it better than me.
With every project, I always test and validate interest first before putting time and money into it. For example, something simple could be just sharing the idea with my FB group or email list, and getting them to vote on it. Or, I simply have a conversation with a small group of people who are a good fit to be a participant for the program to gauge needs and interest. Sometimes promoting a landing page for a waitlist or future sign up via some good related blog content can give me a good indicator on whether I should pursue this project.
What Do You Eat for Breakfast?
I've been very lucky in Bali to have access to organic food. I usually start my morning with a smoothie (leafy greens, chia seeds, almond milk, banana) or a chia seed pudding I make ahead of time, and a coffee, of course. I find that type of diet helps me get energized in the morning and easy to eat as my appetite isn't the biggest in the mornings.
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
I have learned to love quiet time with myself in the last 4 years of living in Bali. I used to be very busy when I first wake up, and now find great solace in pausing even for just half hour in the morning before starting work. I like listening to meditation tracks or podcasts while I get ready in the morning.
My kindle is also my best friend when I travel. Sometimes reading fiction vs. business books/self-improvement books can be a nice change.
When I'm not coaching with a mentor, I tend to enroll in self-development courses that challenge my mindset, thinking, and approach to life. I like knowing more about the root of my own behavior (and others), and find that when I work on my belief systems and mindset, I make much more conscious choices in my life.
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
I'm lucky to be connected with like-minded people in a digital nomad spot like Bali. However, I do miss conferences and events that can be more available in a city.
That being said, I try to travel to places that will connect me with other types of individuals with similar interests. For example, I am in Lisbon right now and meeting a lot more people than I would in Bali.
Because I work remotely, a good way for me to meet people are also through mastermind groups I participate in, or FB groups I belong in. Some of my best business friends are all virtual, whom I've never met, but very connected to!
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
I find that I definitely sleep earlier living in Bali, as it's quite a sleepy town. I'm usually ready for bed around 10:30 pm, so I can be up at around 6:30 am. I try to stay off electronics at least 2 hours before bed (not always the case!) and find my sleep pattern improves when I'm not scrolling Facebook before bed.
What Are Your Investing Habits?
I invest quite a bit in coaching and mentorship for life and business. I tend to invest about $5,000 - 10,000 on personal coaches or mentorship groups I belong in. They definitely pay back in the transformation or profits I gain from being a part of these support groups. Though I read a lot and like to learn in courses, I find that it's much more impactful to be in a 'real life' mentorship group or have access to a personal coach to expedite my learning abilities.
As for savings, I dedicate different percentages for profit, salary (pay for myself and team), expenses, and savings before depositing revenue into my accounts. I find that this helps me to be more responsible for 'rainy days', and also ensuring there's business profit included before paying myself.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
These are some people and books that have helped shaped my approach in work and life:
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher
If you liked my interview with Lydia Lee, make sure to check out the full archive of interviews with writers, investors, entrepreneurs, designers and other high achievers.