“Hey Melissa Brown, how’s it going? I saw you did Remote Year, and I’m thinking about doing it. Any advice?”
I read the message a couple more times and thought…
It’s like saying, “Hey Melissa Brown, I heard you had a job and I’m thinking about getting one. Any advice?”
…or “Hey Melissa Brown, I saw that you were in a relationship and I’m thinking about being in one. Any advice?”
…“Hey Melissa Brown, I see that you’re living. Any advice?”
…via text. You want me to type out a year’s worth of advice? (really it’s like 5 years of advice, because I definitely feel 5 years older after Remote Year.)
That’s a tall order, coming out of the blue.
In my opinion, advice is most useful and best served, when it’s applicable and relatable. If we haven’t spoken in years or even ever at all, asking broad, generic questions like that is going to be a waste of time for both of us. And I don’t want to waste your time, and I don’t have time to waste.
Sure, I could easily say, “Yeah, be open minded, go on lots of adventures, be sure to do you, and go with the flow.”
But c’mon. How helpful is that really?
So here’s what I’ll do instead.
Since Remote Year is a big unknown thing for most (and I get it — maybe you just don’t know what to ask about), I’m going to give you a little guide to asking questions that’ll better serve you and get you the answers you’re looking for.
Identify why you’re considering it. Why do you want to do Remote Year? What is it about Remote Year that piqued your interest? Write out a list of things that’s making you consider the program.
Ps. If it’s just something you want to try because it sounds cool and you’re up for that mystery adventure, don’t ask questions — just go for it!
Make sure your reasons for wanting to do it align with your values.If you want to get the most out of what Remote Year has to offer, your reasons for doing it should align with the kind of person you want to be. Based on my personal experience (anyone else who’s done RY feel free to chime in) here are some example values:
Care about personal growth, love to adapt, be curious, be open to new experiences, be willing to take on a challenge, care about expanding your perspective, have a genuine desire to learn, be ok with being outside your comfort zone, want to connect with people on a deeper level, want to contribute to a community, oh and love to have fun — just to name a few.
After you’ve identified a few, ask about how Remote Year will contribute to those values specifically. One way you could phrase your question is some variation of:
“Could you tell me about the opportunities you had to [insert what you value here] while on Remote Year?”
If you care about adventure, ask me to tell you about some of my adventures.
Ask me to tell you stories — about what kind of personal growth I experienced, about the times I was pushed far out of my comfort zone (Hiking up the Inca Trail for 4 days to Machu Picchu? Hunting for anacondas through the 6ft tall reeds in the Amazon? Eating a tarantula in Cambodia?).
Ask me about fun projects I started, just for the heck of it (Dramatic Eating).
Ask me about how our group supported each other (Goal-setting and accountability sessions? Table reads for new scripts? Delivering gatorade and crackers?).
Ask me about the cool people I connected with on a deeper level (Shoutout to my tramily! Miss you guys 😍 ).
Ask me about how I got my job at about.me (shoutout to Zoë Björnson), what I’ve learned in the process , and how I’ve grown professionally (Speaking at impact conferences? Developing a coaching side-hustle? Starting an ebook?).
Ask me about some of the craziest fun I had (Fuerza Bruta? Taking over local venues and dancing to our remote DJs?).
For the sake of making the most of both of our time, ask me something that will actually help you in making a decision, rather than leave you spinning in circles at point 0.
And ask other people who have done it too…everyone had a different experience. Learn their stories, and see if all of these stories are the kinds of stories you’d want to be able to tell a year from now. Not all that we’ll tell you will be positive, but guarantee you’ll get more than one person’s personal opinion of “Yeah do it.. or no don’t” to base your decision on — you’ll get an actual peek at the experience.
There you go. That’s my advice.