Why You Should Quit Your Job, Move To Florida, And Open A Tai Chi Studio

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Ten years ago, I did something stupid.  Totally crazy. At least that’s what the voices in my head told me.

But there were other voices in there too — the voices that encourage you to be brave, to go for what you want, to chase your dreams. 

You know what I’m talking about.  I know you do. 

But more about you later.  First, let’s talk about me.

My Escape from New York

“LaGuardia”, I said as I climbed into the taxi. I had sold or donated almost all of my belongings, and packed the rest into a backpack and a suitcase. In my pocket was something I had never bought before.

A one-way ticket. 

A month earlier, I had given notice at work.  By most measures, it was a good job.  I was an IT guy for a big university.  Good hours.  Dental coverage.  Seven weeks of vacation per year.  And when things were slow, we played video games with the boss.

I gave all that up.

Before I climbed into the taxi, I also gave up the keys to my apartment.   Let me tell you something about New Yorkers.  If you find a good, rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan, then you never leave.   You stay.  For at least 80 years.

But I didn’t stay.  I gave up my beautiful apartment overlooking a park.  I gave up my cushy desk job with dental.  I gave it all up and moved to Florida.

I wasn’t retiring.  I was chasing a dream.

The Countdown to Zero

I remember it was a Sunday.   But not just any Sunday.  When I arrived at the airport in Florida, there was a huge digital sign that said:

Days Until the Superbowl:  0

I had arrived on Superbowl Sunday, 2004.  I smiled, not because I was a football fan (sorry folks, it’s just not my thing), but because I had arrived.  Literally and figuratively.

To me, the zero on that counter meant, “The countdown is over.”  In other words, I was no longer counting down the days until I could start living my dream.  That day, that Super Sunday in 2004, was when I stopped counting and started living.

The 2014 Superbowl is this Sunday.  As I look back on the ten years since the 2004 Superbowl, I can’t say that it’s been an easy decade. I can’t say that I don’t sometimes miss my cushy job, or my rent-stabilized apartment. 

But I can say that I have no regrets.  I chased my dream.  And if you haven’t already done so, then I think you should do the same.

I Love My Life!

I wake up every morning, punch my fists straight toward the sky, and say “I love my life!”  I’m not kidding.  I do this.  (You should too, even if you have to fake it till you make it.)

I love my life because I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  I’m doing what I love. I’m living my dream.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all dreamy.  I work incredibly hard.  Much harder than I did in New York City.   I don’t get to take 7 weeks off ever year. I’m lucky if I get 7 days off!

And I certainly don’t get dental.  

But I do get to help thousands of people to discover the healing power of qigong and tai chi.  Today, people literally say the words, “You saved my life” to me. 

That didn’t happen too often when I was an IT guy.

Providence Moves Too

anthony-akemi-miami“Why Florida?” my wife once asked me.  She’s originally from Venezuela, but she moved to Florida when she was 10. 

“I mean, I’m so grateful that you moved here…but why…um…Florida?”

I like to tell her that I moved here to meet my soul mate and marry her.  Hey, it’s true!

Of course, I didn’t know that I would meet her.  But I did know something important.  Years earlier, I had read this quote by W. H. Murray (sometimes attributed to Goethe instead):

“Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth — that the moment one definitely commits oneself then divine providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred and which no man could have dreamed would have come their way.”

I never dreamed that I would marry a beautiful Venezuelan acupuncturist with a Japanese name.  (Click here to read more about her.)  It wasn’t part of the plan. 

Except that it was.  Because the plan was to chase my dreams, including the ones that I didn’t know about yet.

Change is Good. 

So why did I choose Florida? 

Because I knew that I had to shake things up.  I was comfortable in New York.  Complacent even.  I knew I needed to make some changes if I was going to chase my dreams.

For a New Yorker like me, Florida represented just about the biggest change imaginable. The culture, the weather, the food, the politics — everything is different down here. 

And that’s what I signed up for.

I didn’t pick Florida at random.  My parents had retired down here already.  That was my entry point.

My other entry point was acupuncture.  I had been practicing qigong for almost a decade by that time, and I wanted to learn more.  Since qigong is a branch of Chinese medicine just like acupuncture, I did what lots of people do when they want to reinvent themselves.

I went to grad school.

That’s where I met my wife.   A few years later, we opened a wellness center here in Gainesville — a hybrid of half Tai Chi studio, and half acupuncture clinic.  And the rest is history.

The beautiful Flowing Zen Studio in Gainesville, FL

The beautiful Flowing Zen Studio in Gainesville, FL

Find Your Mission

Obviously, the title of this article is a joke.  I’m not seriously saying that you should move to Florida and open a Tai Chi studio in order to chase your dream.

But you may need to move to YOUR version of Florida.

In other words, you may need to shake things up a bit.  Sometimes, that’s the only way to find your mission in life.

I didn’t have it all figured out when I decided to move here.   At that time, I couldn’t see my mission clearly yet.  I had a vision, but it was fuzzy.

But I saw something else perfectly clearly.  I saw that my job as an IT guy was definitely NOT my mission.  It was comfortable.  It was lucrative.  But it wasn’t my mission.

Admitting that to myself was the first step.  After that, things started to fall into place.  Providence started to move.

So what’s your mission?  What’s your equivalent to moving to Florida, or opening the Flowing Zen studio?  What is your dream?

If you’re already living your dream, then you rock.  And since you’re such a rock star, I’d like to invite you to post a comment below to inspire other readers to do the same thing.  Because the more people there are living their dreams, the better this world will be for everyone.

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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10 Responses to Why You Should Quit Your Job, Move To Florida, And Open A Tai Chi Studio

  1. Erik Stordahl January 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Great blog Sifu!
    I’m a fortunate one also. We moved to Florida to get out of the cold and also pursue golf maintenance for myself. After a few years, my wife needed to find her calling and so we started and older and senior dog rescue group. Well, it didn’t stop there. We kept going to open a pet sitting business as a way for her to leave the food service world. In 2008 business was good and profitable. Then one night changed everything. I was involved in a motorcycle accident and ended up losing my right leg above the knee. I knew that I could get back to my golf maintenance job with a lot of work since I loved doing it. Little did I realize is that in the 8 weeks of recovery I spent lots of time with all of our adoptable dogs and just loved the no stress.
    I did go back to work at the golf course for 10 months before taking the leap of faith to join my wife full time in pet sitting. We haven’t looked back at all and are so lucky to have the courage to follow our hearts. If a one legged guy can do it, I believe everyone has to ability to chase their dreams.

  2. Lisa January 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    I. Love. This post. Yes!! In 1998 I had a big garage sale, sold most of my belongings, left my home of 10 years (DC) where I had so much history and contacts and friends…and drove to San Francisco. Not many people understood, especially some of my close friends (who are still there…and for the most part, still close). I had no job. No place to live (other than a few friends’ couches and a house sitting gig.). But I trusted and listened to my gut. I nearly moved back home that first year…I won’t lie, it was hard. But I kept following the next clue, and the next one…long story short, I ended up in FL too, after meeting my husband and birthing our 2 children. And here in FL is where at last, I’ve created the life, family and my own business (thanks to my amazing partner) I imagined so many years ago when I knew DC wasn’t it. California was instrumental, even though it turned out not to be my forever home. It was a long a winding road, but worth every step.

  3. Marten January 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    A few years ago i was also an IT guy: I took care of an entire department at UF by myself. I had a beautiful office and plenty of freedom. But in many ways I felt like a hamster on a wheel. In fact, just about every aspect of my life felt like that.
    Then it happened: At the end of 2010 I had had enough. I wanted to break free from that life and thought that if I committed to just a handful of life changes, my life would become better; hopefully even magical.

    I truly believed that if I moved to a new apartment at the beginning of January, went back to chi kung every night full-time, and went to bed at a normal time that everything in my life would get better. And it DID!
    I also happened to get my company incorporated December 2010 and stumbled upon the “prosperity chi kung” class. The combination of me being committed to change, wanting more for myself in life and doing high-level chi kung truly sparked some serious cosmic providence. In fact, I am still in awe. I am STILL seeing the benefits/results of that time period. I still have the big customers I scored back then. Powerful stuff!

    However (this might be just me) with time I noticed that my goals and wishes were eroding because i slowly forget to stay focused on them the way i had during January 2011. So at the end of 2013 I decided to make a similar commitment, like the one before. Well, the first month of the year is almost over and to be honest, I am impressed.
    My happiness (zest for life) is truly starting to skyrocket. Things that I felt were missing from my life are suddenly popping up left and right. I am literally so busy all of a sudden (in a powerful, yet relaxed and super satisfying way) because business is just crazy right now. In other words, customers are signing up left and right!
    Do I still have a million things to work on in life? Yes! But do I believe in the power that comes from being committed and taking the first (baby) steps?YES!

    Sure, I had seen “the secret” a few times etc. etc.

    But to be honest, It was sifu who taught me chi kung; how to effectively attract positive things into my life; how to cultivate happiness and gratitude.
    Sifu, you have changed my life in such an amazing way… Thank you so much. I am eternally grateful that you ended up here in Gainesville, of all places 🙂

  4. Robert January 31, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    I moved to Arizona to open up my own Kung Fu school nearly five years ago. Oh, the ups and downs! But I LOVE what I get to spend my days doing.

  5. Jenn January 31, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    My husband and I moved back to Florida for our dream.
    We haven’t reached it yet, but in the past 6 months our dream has been getting more and more clear.
    Our current jobs are not what we want, and that’s okay. We know that it’ll help us stay motivated to reach our final goal!

    Thank you for the wonderful article!

  6. David Young February 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    For some reason I am not getting e-mail notifications for newly released articles. . Anyone else having this problem?

  7. David Young February 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Apart from that. . I think, Wyoming (The State in which I reside) may benefit more if I could open a Chi Kung Studio. Only thing my city has is Yoga, Tai Chi, Acupuncture, Karate, Taekwoondo etc. . Nothing of which is to the level of this Chi Kung (Yoga maybe, but usually all that stretching is not for many people). . This would be a great benefit to a great community in the mountain regions. This is a dream I want to chase here. :).

  8. Sherrie Cronin February 22, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Wonderful post! One simply knows when one is doing what one is meant to do. It’s like hitting a tennis ball just right — you can feel it, even if you can’t explain it. All my life I’ve wanted to write science fiction, and had a vague idea of what. Gradually in 2010 I figured it out exactly what I wanted to create, and I made a plan for how I could manage to write these six novels with a family and a full time job. I tend towards happy (usually) anyway, but I went all the way to exhilarated once I started this project.

    Every obstacle, large or small, has been met with some odd and unexpected bit of good fortune that gives me a new way to keep going. (Yes, one of the more recent gifts from the universe was stumbling upon qigong!) We set goals for 2014 in your online class, and I told you mine was to finish book four, write book five and start book six in 2014. You’re sensible response was “why?”

    My answer is “because this is what I am meant to do, and when I am meant to do it.” I simply know it.

    This is not to say that the books are great, or that my writing ever will be. That’s not the point, I think. The point is that I am on my path and I know it, and that is the most powerful feeling that I have ever had.

    And I do appreciate the role that qigong is now plays in keeping me healthy while I do this 🙂

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais February 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

      Sherrie, I’m glad that me finding my own path has helped you to stay on yours. 🙂

  9. Ken April 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Great article! I just came across it by “accident”! Maybe just what I needed to hear (read)? Your story gives me hope. I’m at a place where I need to do something different, and am afraid to move forward (or move period). Your story certainly gives food for thought and a nudge to to motivation. Thanks!

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