A powerful statement that, for many, will ring very true. I was fortunate that I grew up with a Dad that truly valued time away from work, time spent with family and doing things that he enjoyed. I learned that being willing to trade time for money can have some real upside to it, minus the financial impact of course.
I never realized just how much time I wasted every day trying to fill out an eight hour day at my office. There were plenty of days were I just had nothing of use to do after 1pm, but I hung around looking busy to play the role. Only since the days of the pandemic lock down did I realize that I have the capability to be very efficient and get a lot done, and still have plenty of time to do the things I want to do as well. Take today for example. It is just before 9:00AM, and so far I have walked the dog around the park, went to the gym for a workout, and am sitting in my favorite coffee shop writing this blog. My first work related commitment is scheduled for noon today, and then I have several other things that line up behind it. Yesterday I was on the phone at 7AM, and my day was busy until about 3pm. I adjusted accordingly.
I do not own a beach house, but if I did, I would enjoy the Hell out of it. I do not have any trouble in my current state of life turning off the switch and relaxing. I am very good at being in the present moment, and flip that switch at will. But I know so many who struggle with this, and I feel for them. It is a stage I went through myself, a feeling that gnaws at you all the time, that you’re not doing enough, that you’re gonna lose it all if you don’t work harder. My entire athletic career was steeped in this mindset, I started late and had big dreams to accomplish, and I rarely rested during that time. The only credit I can give myself is that I was good about not playing through injuries. I was able to pivot my training and preparation accordingly, and because of this I can still straighten my arm out without pain and walk down a flight of stairs without feeling like my knees are going to explode. I can’t tell you how many of my peers on the Pro Tour have had shoulder surgery, knee surgeries and more as a result of their time in competition. I did the right things to avoid that.
I have learned the hard way that I am not cut out for entrepreneur life. I WANT to clock out and relax, and not just on occasion, but on a regular basis. Like, every day. There is no off switch when you are building or running a company. Eventually you may get to the point where you have enough of a trusted team around you to step away for a bit and not worry that it will all come crashing down. But even then, if something major happens, your phone is ringing. No thanks…I’ll pass. I will trade time for money and reserve my right to clock out on Friday afternoon and not worry about work until Monday morning.
Life is to short to not enjoy the ride. No one gets to the end of this road and carves on their tombstone:
“I wish I had worked more“
If you speak with older people who have far more years behind them then in front, they will tell you a couple of things that are ubiquitous:
Stop and smell the roses
You can’t take the money with you when you die
Do things that create memories with family and friends
These three thoughts come up all the time, and need to be heeded. Once that time is gone, there is no getting it back. You could have Elon Musk money and there still isn’t a damn thing you can to do to get the time back when your kids are little or before your parents are gone. Maybe that lifestyle you are striving for isn’t truly the most important thing after all. Is keeping up with the people around you really a priority that is valid? Do you need a new car, or just simply want one? Think about it…
If you do get to the point where you have the beach house, are you going to be able to enjoy it? If the beach house is the goal, you better put some thought into the rest of the plan as well. The DESTINATION of the beach house (as a financial marker) might be good motivation to work hard, but there are other things to consider. Did you jump too soon, and now this luxury is actually a financial burden? Did you purchase a place that confines you to always going to just this destination? Or, as the title of this blog states, can you let go and enjoy it? If you are always going to be “on”, does working from the beach house really improve your life? You still have four walls around you and a screen in front of you, so you’re not really at the beach house, you are just working elsewhere.
Don’t wait until late in life to figure these things out. Starting thinking about them now and set yourself up for a life that you can enjoy, whatever your version of that might be. For me, that is traveling with my wife and going on fly fishing trips. That is basically all I am shoot for outside of the financial freedom to have walk away money in the bank and all my bills paid. Once our house is paid off, I am 80% of the way to this goal, all before age 55. I had a Pro Tour career, 15 years of a coaching career, wrote five books (so far) and a variety of jobs throughout my working career. It’s been a great ride, and BECAUSE I prioritized life outside of work just as much as I have within the confines of work, I am at a place where I can say the things above. My wish is that everyone is headed to their version of the same thing. Start planning now and make it happen.
I wish you luck in your endeavors. Go live, dammit!