In this post we’ll be discussing the vital step of getting clear on your ideal lifestyle first, why it is so important and how to do it. In the next post we will discuss how to take the lifestyle definition and set your business rules from that.
The thing is, most business owners I have spoken to made at best a semi-conscious decision to choose the business they now operate. Many wound up there completely by accident. For those who did think about it, it often works out that 3-5 years into the business the original reasons for going into business have fallen by the wayside, and they are now in utterly survival mode.
Two friends of ours, Andrew and Daryl Grant, have epitomised the journey to lifestyle business in my eyes. Just over 2 years ago, these guys were running a seven day a week, very successful consulting business. They were making a handsome income, but they never saw their kids who they love dearly, and in short they were working their tails off.
At that time they decided to make a change, and despite initial reservations, they launched into internet marketing. The reason was, they sat down together and planned what their ultimate lifestyle would look like. And it was nothing like the 7 day week they were experiencing. To this day, every business decision they make takes into account the impact it will have on their lifestyle. For instance, when they decided to start speaking in public to leverage their online businesses it was with very specific and clear outcomes that were defined to maximise leverage and minimise lifestyle impact.
Greg and I model Andrew and Daryl frequently in these decision making processes. But we can only do that because we have defined our own ultimate lifestyle.
So that has to be the first step. For us it was not about “setting goals” for how much income we wanted, it wasn’t about defining exactly what we wanted to have or where we would be living or any of that stuff. Essentially we sat down one wintery Sunday afternoon over a bottle of red down at the Waterfront restaurant in Port Melbourne and defined “the flavour of our lifestyle”. We were deliberately non-specific about what it looked like, and we focussed more on what we would “feel like”, and how we would “be” in this ultimate life.
The reason for this is, as I look back over the achievements I have made in my life, I have rarely set specific S.M.A.R.T or C.R.E.A.T.E goals for anything. Really I just follow my heart and do what makes me feel good. It flies in the face of convention, and seems to contradict something I used to teach, but right now Greg and I find this works best for us.
For us the sorts of things that we came up with were
• We were free to make choices every day. If we wanted to work we could, if we wanted chill out we could etc
• We were wealthy enough to travel freely, spend time with our children as they grow up and contribute in a meaningful way
• We were always learning and growing and had our finger on the pulse of business. We don’t want to retire early and do nothing.
The big thing that stood out for us was freedom.
From this we defined our “rules for business selection” that I have discussed in previous posts.
So here’s how you can do step one for yourself:
1. Make the time and space to sit down and reflect. I recommend doing this with your partner (business or life). Go somewhere neutral and make the environment a close match to the flavour of the lifestyle you dream about. (eg the beach, a nice café, on your boat, in the highlands etc)
(During the following process keep an open mind and always question your assumptions)
2. Ask yourself the question “what does my ideal lifestyle feel like?’
3. Ask who am I in this ideal lifestyle?
4. Ask what’s important to me in the context of my lifestyle?
5. Discuss your answers and make sure that you agree on the definitions of words. Greg and I took quite a while to come to a place where we both understood what “freedom” meant to each other. And this was key in defining future business decisions, so spend the time to really understand one another.
6. Aim to have less than 5 key “values” or “flavours” that will define your ideal lifestyle.
This should be a fun thing, and at the end you should be feeling inspired. If you’re feeling that you’ve defined a nightmare, you’re missing the point. You should feel like you’re walking on air, you should be able to see images clearly in your minds eye about what it might look like, and creative juices should start to flow. For me there was some tension popped up, because we were clear on what we wanted, and what we had at the time was so NOT that… don’t panic if you feel like you’re not there yet, but make sure the outcome inspires you.
Good luck with it. Next time we’ll discuss how to take your lifestyle flavour and define your business rules.
Love joey x