Operation Disengage


Endless Journey
credit: h.koppdelaney

Freedom is supposed to be a state of mind… Or is it?

If I can’t afford to buy my own time, am I really free? If I have to sell my time to someone else, to achieve their goals and their agenda, then am I really free?

For a long time, my mind has been rented out. I’ve been whoring out my mind so that someone else can further their goals.

We justify this kind of whoring as serving a means to an end. You gotta eat, right? You gotta have a place to sleep, right? Sure. Survival is important. But I’m tired of whoring myself out for survival. I want to live, not just survive.

So like throwing away money to rent an apartment month after month, I’d rather stop throwing away my time to serve someone else’s goals. I’d rather finance the freedom of my own mind, then sublet it to a corporation that barely resembles anything human. Just like people make it a goal to own their own home, I’d like to own my own mind.

But the reason this is so difficult is because of:

The Deep Roots of Domestication

From a young age, we’re lead to believe a certain framework of beliefs and “realities.” Depending on your culture, place of birth and social/financial status, you may be lucky enough to grow up with the belief that owning your own time is a birthright. If you’re not so lucky, you’re ingrained with the belief that whoring yourself out is the only option. It’s “just the way it works,” we’re told.

If you belong to the latter group, you’re told that you can possibly rise past this limitation, if you rent your mind out to a university for four years. Maybe you’ll get a high enough position where they’ll give you a few weeks off every year, so that you can recover from the aneurysm they gave you.

Good deal, huh?

Cubicle to the casket is not my idea of a good deal.

When we’re born, our minds are completely free. We eventually learn a language and our minds become mostly the property of our parents. But we’re promised in the future, when we become an adult, we’ll be able to reclaim that ownership. But then we’re expected to give up our minds all over again. I think this is bullshit.

As you can see, I’m a little tired of this. That’s why I’ve created:

Operation Disengage

This plan has been over a year in the making. Since I started this blog in February 2008, my ultimate aim has always been to have this project — this blog — become my main source of income. I’ve managed to get halfway there. This blog is making up about 50% of my income right now.

My plan is to quit my day job in 90 days, or less. So my ultimate aim (as you can tell, I’m allergic to goals) is to increase that revenue to completely match the income from my mind-landlord. I think I can do it. We’ll see.

The main way I plan to do this is by starting to take paid clients for life coaching. I’ll probably start out at a reasonably low rate like $95 per hour (most other coaches charge around $150-250). Currently, I am coaching a lot of clients for free, gaining experience and being coached by a number of other experienced life coaches. It’s really awesome, and I’m excited to help people in such a personal, one-on-one way. It’s much different than responding to a question in an email, or getting comments back from an article. It’s hard to describe, other than that it’s a deeply fulfilling experience for me.

If you’re interested in reserving a coaching spot with me, before I put up the sales page (I’m only going to take 3-6 clients a month), send me a note through the contact form.

As of right now, I have three income streams through this blog and writing. My biggest is my ebook sales, and the other two are affiliate commissions and income from freelance writing. If I can match the income I’m making from my ebook sales, and with doing life coaching, I’ll be able to quit my day job. It will only take about 3-4 clients a month (four sessions per month) for me to be able to meet this objective.

I could break everything down into more detail here, but I’d rather not bore you. In the next couple of months, though, I’ll be writing an ebook about how I built my blog, my brand, and created my online business. (Assuming all goes according to plan, of course.) It will be written after I quit my day job. Whether that’s sooner or later, I can’t predict. But it will happen eventually. That’s a promise.

All of this brings me to something else that’s very important to me and pretty much the reason I do this stuff:

The reason I wake up every day

The more I write, the more I know that this is what I’m meant to do. This is the reason I wake up everyday. This is what I think about before I go to sleep. Living to my fullest potential and helping other people awaken to their own, gives me so much satisfaction that sometimes it’s hard to contain it. Sometimes I just want to break into tears when I read some of the amazing feedback I get through this blog.

But working toward someone else’s goals while I’m pursuing my own, obscures and dilutes my mission. I know that I could do so much more if I had complete ownership of my mind and my time.

Moving closer to that dream has been my reason for working seven days a week. It’s been my reason for waking up early to have a little more time to write, and a little more time to think. It’s been my reason for sitting on the couch with my laptop, working through dinner, responding to emails and questions, because during the day I have no other time.

Making progress to reclaiming my dreams has been my obsession over the past year. It’s amazing what an unlimited well of energy you have when you are insanely clear about your purpose in life.

River-mind, heart-sight

The problem is this… I have this immense constant surge of energy moving into my life. It fuels my passion for helping others live more authentically. But by owning only two out of seven days of my week, that energy is ridiculously bottle-necked.

It’s like the energy available to me is this massive river. White water rushing, and a swift moving current. It’s wide and deep. The depth of its strength is unknowable.

But as it flows, it runs into a crevasse no more than six inches wide at the face of a cliff. The river pushes up against the canyon, but the passage can’t contain the flood. It’s too great and the entry is too small. The cliff and the ravine suffocates the waters entrance.

But it’s persistent.

It keeps pressing up against that gap. Keeps pushing. Keeps rushing. It is patient.

The river knows that sooner or later, it will edge away at that crevice. It doesn’t give up. It doesn’t know what that means. It just keeps flowing. Keeps moving.

Days, weeks, months go by and eventually that fissure becomes a great divide. Now the river’s energy is unrestricted, uninhibited. It flows freely.

I am that river. River-mind and heart-sight.

In case you’re interested, here’s how you can help…

I certainly am not deluding myself that I’ve been able to create this amazing community without all of you. The amount of support and feedback YOU have given me has been invaluable.

Now I want to move this project into phase two. I want to be able to create even more awesome products and write even more in-depth articles on non-standard ways of living. I know that I can do that, but only if I’m doing this stuff full time.

So, if you want to see this unconventional craziness taken to a whole new level, here’s what you can do:

  • The biggest thing you can do is take this survey. I’m trying to get as much feedback as possible on what you want to see written and what you are interested in. That’s really what I care about, above everything. By taking this survey, I’ll have a better understanding of you and what you want.
  • Spread the word about this blog. Email the articles to your friends or family if you think they could benefit. Tweet about it, share it on facebook, or however you share cool stuff online. Whichever way you do this, is appreciated.
  • Buy my ebook, Reclaim Your Dreams. This is really the best way to support my efforts. All of the money goes straight to me escaping cubicle hell (after Paypal takes its cut, of course). And what better way to start working on your dreams than by helping someone else live theirs? I think it’s a pretty sweet deal.
  • Lastly, make a donation. If you’ve ever gotten any value out of my writings, I would sincerely appreciate a donation. If you’re not in the position to make a donation, that’s completely fine, as well. This site will never cost money and my posts will always remain ad-free.

Above all, thank you

I want you to know you are the number one reason I keep doing this stuff. Creating a social movement of liberation is what keeps me moving, even when I feel like the culmination is so far away. This community means more to me than anything, and I couldn’t do it without you.

The path of the liberation artist is not an easy one, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

Thank you for inspiring me to follow my own path.

Want to finally wake up excited about your work?

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42 Comments on "Operation Disengage"

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apricot tea.

You are my hero.

I love you. :]

Jason D Barr


It’s pretty awesome to take a step off the cliff and let other folks know what your aims are. It shows a deep commitment to the purpose you have, and I applaud you for it. It’s obvious you will succeed. Congratualtions in advance.

Andrew Galasetti

Awesome post Jonathan! I agree with everything you said and I’m working hard on my own “Operation Disengage.”

I’m going to fill out the survey for you right now.

I wish you all the best with your 90 day endeavor. If you need anything, feel free to email me anytime.



Some of us really just aren’t cut out for the typical employee life.

I’ve been self-employed now for just 5 months, and I’m seeing benefits that I’d never anticipated before at all. Being in charge of my own thoughts, work, and time is just such a better fit for me.

Best of luck with Operation Disengage! :)


Oh, wow. After taking that survey, I’m probably as excited for you to quit your jobs as you are!

If this was a small peak at what you might have up your sleeve, I can’t wait!

Keep up the awesome work, man.

At ever turn you keep inspiring people. I’m looking forward to hear how this adventure unfolds and if the eBook will be just as nice a read as you last one. I wonder though, what income are you aiming at? (If I might be so bold as to ask for specific numbers) it seems Chris over a Art of nonconformity manages quite well with something in the order of $48k if I recall correctly. (He wrote about it somewhere in his 279 days to success, also a great read.) I would be elated if my blog will manage to attract… Read more »
Sherri (Serene Journey)
Hi Jonathan, Well done! Like Baker said after reading this I’m really excited for you and wish you the best with Operation Disengage! “But working toward someone else’s goals while I’m pursuing my own, obscures and dilutes my mission. I know that I could do so much more if I had complete ownership of my mind and my time.” This phrase hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s exactly right. I think I need to read and re-read this a bit and start to get my head around what *I* want to do. I look forward to learning more… Read more »
Glen Allsopp

Now I understand what you were talking about with the survey, i thought people were going to land on it randomly, not through Illuminated Mind.

I really like this post and think you can get to know a writer better when they are a lot more personal. Sadly we sometimes have to do the ‘gimmicky’ titles and the images that get attention, just to get the message across. It’s nice to see I don’t need to do that here.

Look forward to those survey results :)


I’m quite disappointed by this post.. sorry my friend, but this time I must disagree.. please, don’t disrespect other choices to be employed, and don’t pretend you’re better than the majority also, be wise and don’t underestimate the difficulties of being self-employed I’ve been a freelance for about three years, and I know how it is. have you ever thought you may just became whore of something else than your boss? (for example: your clients, or the expectations of your readers) I think the important thing is that you love what you do . it does’nt matter if you’re self-employed… Read more »
Tim Brownson

Wow! 90 days will be tough, but so is getting to 7,000 subscribers in 18 months for the vast majority of people, but it can be done as you’ve proved.

Anyway, who wants it easy?

80% of coaches in the US earn less than $25k per annum, but 10% earn over $100k, it’s a question of making sure you’re one of the 10%.

You should tell us which experienced coaches you’re working with, I bet they really are excellent ;-)


Well put Jon, awesome article. Substitute “Graphic Arts” for your blog and you’d have my story exactly. I’m not sure what phase I’m on but I’ve given up my job in LA and moved to Portland. BTW can I buy your e-book with a credit card or is the only option Paypal. And I’ll fill out the questionnaire later today.

Good luck, Jonathan! 90 days for someone so excited about the dream like you is enough time to make it happen! I quit my job without a back-up plan because I thought that waiting until I have enough money saved would be too long and I really didn’t want to spend 40 hours a week somewhere I wasn’t happy. I guess my job was more life-sucking than yours! :) I don’t have much cash on me now but I wake up excited about my day and so many opportunities waiting for me. I’m really excited about your move and that… Read more »
Tess Marshall  The Bold Life

You do such a great job with this blog. Congratulations on your aim! I’m wondering why you don’t have an affiliate program for your ebook?

Writer Dad

My social movement is different, but I know exactly what you mean. Even though it seems so far away, it is certainly worth waking up each morning to do and falling asleep each night while dreaming about.

Greg at Live Fit

Taking that plunge is both terrifying and inspiring, but it sounds as if you have a roadmap in place to make it happen. I wish you the best of luck.

Mike Stankavich

Jonathan, I’ll definitely give you a vote of confidence. I believe that you are fully capable of pulling this off. And I’m glad to do whatever I can to support your efforts. I’m looking forward to what Phase 2 brings. And I’m looking forward to the day that I can join you, even though it seems far away at times.

Daphne @ Joyful Days


I am honoured to witness your journey out of the cubicle! I’ve been self-employed for 8 years and highly recommend it. It’s close to impossible now for me to ever go back to life in a cubicle.

I like the way you’re sharing details of your journey. I’ve tweeted this post and look forward to hearing updates on the next 90 days and beyond!


Congrats Jonathan…I am inspired by your courage!


This is really great Jonathan! I always appreciate that you are so honest and follow your dreams so passionately. Your articles are truly inspiring. Operation disengage will be successful, you are willing to do what is necessary.

For me, this is real gem: “It’s amazing what an unlimited well of energy you have when you are insanely clear about your purpose in life.”

Nickolove Lovemore


Thanks for your frank and inspiring post.

I so understand where you are coming from. Traditional employment is a sad way to live one’s life.

I wish you great success on your journey to financial independence.




thank you mate for describing so clearly what has been running vaguely through my consciousness for some time now. Selling your mind, skills, time and energy to cold, faceless organisations IS madness and selling ourselves in general is a terrible waste. It’s such a shame that we have a system set up that implores us to do this.

There is escape though, and I wish you luck with yours mate.




Check out what Seth Godin wrote a couple years back:


It looks like you’ve got plenty of brave supporters! I wish you the best in your journey.



I’m really looking forward to the ebook – I’ve always been curious about your success :) And I love the goals addiction. Congrats on moving forward.

Jennifer Blanchard
Thank you SO much for this post, Jonathan. You have literally said word-for-word what I have been trying to verbalize for the last few years of my life–OPERATION DISENGAGE! I’m so tired of spending 40 hours a week doing something that doesn’t excite me, that doesn’t fulfill me, that doesn’t bring me joy. I’m so tired of Corporate America and sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day and being told what to do. I hate it. I’ve hated it since I graduated from college and got my first job. But everyone I say this to tells me I’m… Read more »

Awesome. Keep at it! I just finished your e-book. Looking forward to talking about goals — strike that. AIMS. :-)


Hi Jonathan,

It is hard to live a life where we are doing things that we do not enjoy. Going straight from school to cubicle and lastly to the casket is not the ideal choice in our life too. It is important to live our dreams yet most fear to take the step out of their comfort zone. I look forward to your success and I hope your story will inspire many to come.

Personal Development Blogger


This is very exciting, Jonathan!
I really support you in taking the next steps into the unknown. You really deserve success with this beautiful blog!

Goddess Leonie | GoddessGuidebook.com

Hola lovely Jonathan

YAY for you possum… I’m so excited for you!
Looking forward to seeing where your adventures take you. And my review of your ebook is due to publish on my blog in a few hours, so hopefully it will bring some more of your Right People to you.

So many blessings on your journey!


@ Jason: Thanks man, I really appreciate that. No cliff can hold me back.

@ Andrew: Thanks Andrew, I have no doubt you will succeed.

@ ObliviousInvestor: Never look back man.

@ Christiaan: My aim right now is just around $36k, to be able to quit, that’s below my current income from my day job. I can obviously increase that amount later though, when I have more time to devote to this project.


@ Sherri: I’m glad that I was able to touch a nerve for you. Sometimes it’s in those moments of clarity that we realize something that changes us forever.

@ Valentino: I’m not saying this is everyone’s experience or that all employers are bad. This is just my experience.

And as far as the rate, there are many people that charge much much more. Some of them in the $500+ hour range.

@ Tim: I know one of them is this crazy ex-UK Floridian. Wonder who that would be.

Andrew Galasetti

Thanks for the kind words Jonathan!

My goal isn’t 90 days, but by the end of the summer. I know I can do it.


Angela Norton Tyler

“But working toward someone else’s goals while I’m pursuing my own, obscures and dilutes my mission. I know that I could do so much more if I had complete ownership of my mind and my time.”

That is deep, dude, and exactly what I have been saying this school year. (Of course, I said it a little differently!) Thank you for expressing these thoughts so eloquently.

Bud Hennekes

Don’t forget to send in your two weeks notice.. ;)


[…] over at Illuminated Mind has a very provocative post about disengaging from the “domestic” mindset. It’s not for everyone, and […]

Katie West/The Levity Coach

I found this entry so moving from one who has taken the leap to another. For whatever it is worth, I offer you this, Have faith in the river, its energy and its life force. As you have already done so very well, let it lead the way. You are a visionary for the seekers of today.
May you rock the house and love the ride.


Corporate society claims another victim.



I will always be a supporter of your site. I would like my site to become as mainstream as yours in the future by helping others and giving advice. Keep those posts coming.


Sean C.
As I sit here in my own cubicle, sick as a dog because this office cycles around the same germs and flus, I read your post and I can’t help but wish I could take the same leap as you. I wish to write, I wish to create, I wish to live my life instead of just…existing. Old habits and teachings die hard though. Especially in small town America. You’re supposed to do this work whether you like it or not. It’s what you’re supposed to do and find happiness within that. There’s no happiness in being a slave. Whether… Read more »
Jon, I stumbled across your website a few weeks ago while searching the web for peoples experiences of trying to disengage and achieve their own personal freedom and I’ve been hooked ever since! Everything you write resonates with me, especially this latest Operation Disengage post. I gave up a well paid cubicle job 6 years ago, struggled to pay my way through university for 3 years to retrain to do something I love, got qualified and got a job to gain experience. I was then very happily freelance for over a year until last December when sadly due to the… Read more »

Sorry I forgot to say, I’m so excited for you that you are going to get to quit your day job and be free. Your positivity and dedication to achieving your dreams is inspiring and I wish you more and more success!



Nice to go through these older posts and think about it now that you’re cubicle-free. I’m actually up again tonight after not being able to get to sleep. Like you said, some nights motivation has you too fired up even to sleep. I love the rushing water-energy metaphor, I know what that feels like! Congrats again on your move out of the cubicles today! Thanks for being an inspiration, and hopefully more of us will be joining you in the not-so-far future.


[…] Especially when it comes to his personal & often daring endeavors. He is now working towards the goal to quit his day job in 90 days to be a full-time blogger & life […]

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