Sometimes you look for opportunities to take a career leap. Other times, you just want to stay where you are on the career ladder, because maintaining your lifestyle has become more important than upward momentum to you. That was the position Amy Schwartz found herself in a couple of years ago.

Amy and her partner John Furness were living abroad and working remotely. Surfing was their passion, and they'd traveled all over the world together to experience different cities and different waves. She loved the lifestyle they'd fallen into and wanted to find ways to continue it -- indefinitely. She thought that there must be plenty of other people with the same values as her. With that in mind, an idea hatched.

"Why don't we start a business helping people work remotely, surf, and travel?"

So they did just that. They created Unleash.

Unleash provides a private apartment, coworking space, reliable internet, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, business people, and surfers in coastal destinations all over the world. They carefully select their locations to be friendly, walkable, and inspirational. There are extra excursions, yoga, and language lessons available for those interested in fully immersing themselves in the local culture.

Amy smiles as she tells me they haven't yet met someone who doesn't love the idea. I believe her, but wonder, "Is this too 'niche'? I mean, how many traveling surfers with the wherewithal to work remotely are there?"

Quite a few, as it turns out. According to Amy and John's research and experience, there are millions of surfers around the world, and the sport is growing in popularity fast. Most surfers like to travel and tend to have more disposable income. They assumed they'd attract business people and entrepreneurs, and that assumption has been right on thus far.

The hurdle they faced when starting their business -- especially with their American prospects -- is exactly how much time clients are willing and able spend away from home and their office (assuming they have one). To meet this need, Amy and John now offer stays ranging from two weeks to three months -- a shorter time commitment than their original multi-month concept.

During our interview, I ask Amy and John what has surprised them in the early months of their business. They shared something that, I believe, is a key benefit for anyone considering a working trip like the ones offered through Unleash. It's the "aha moments." They see people have break-through ideas time and again -- sometimes professional, sometimes personal. They're creating an environment for clients to get inspired, motivated, and focused to start something new or change their lives in big ways.

I ask why they think these moments can happen on Unleash trips, and their answer is simple. "It's the change of scenery and the new environment."

What Amy and John are offering is much more than a service that helps you stay productive while away from your desk -- it's the chance to look at your choices from another vantage point. What you see might just change your direction. And, because services like Unleash take care of all the details like lodging and even social outings, it's a pretty low-risk way to take yourself out of your comfort zone and create the space for those breakthroughs to happen.

So, whether or not you surf, John's advice is to "just get out there and do it." Try something new and different when you're feeling stuck and unsure of what your next step should be -- or when you just want to have an amazing, memorable experience.

What reason do you have not to?

If you liked this column, subscribe to email alerts in the Work Life Lab and you'll never miss a post.

Published on: Dec 21, 2017