I was talking to my husband last night about our lifestyle and I decided to share with you on the blog today what the 3 biggest insights the last 7 years have given me on Life. I often reflect on how bloody wonderful life can be if you’re driven to take on new challenges in the pursuit of happiness and how different things would be if you’re not. The biggest impact starting my own business has had on me is my ability to make choices that simply don’t exist in our general society upbringing and which have allowed me to completely avoid things which can often plague people these days.
The Careers Officer.
In my opinion, kids in school these days don’t really stand a fighting chance. How are you going to ignite a flame in a young entrepreneur by suggesting they take a boring, mundane job that they’ll stay in for 40 years and then retire on a tiny pension? Nobody in the careers office said to me, “Michelle, why don’t you become an entrepreneur, work on the Internet, travel the world and live anywhere you want, with flexible working hours of your choosing and unlimited earning potential?” – do you know what my careers officer would of said if I had told them that’s what I wanted to do?… He would of said, “Get Real.”
Well Mr. Careers officer, (mine was called Mr. Merriman) I left school at 16 and didn’t take higher education (Yes, I know you strongly advised me that I could be throwing my life away) and I hope you’re enjoying that tiny little office of yours in that school in Bognor Regis with the old broken blue chairs and the foam poking out of them, because I’m doing what you would have considered completely unrealistic – maybe it was just something you could never do…
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. If you have a dream, you have to protect it. People can’t do something themselves and tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” – Will Smith
I haven’t been traditionally ‘employed’ and reliant on a job since I left the UK when I was 23, so if you’re young (or even if you’re older) – but speaking from a personal perspective here, I would say do whatever you can do to start your own business, and start today – if you want insight into how this will effect you in 7 years from now, here’s my experience of the ‘before and after.’
From what I recall of nearly everyplace I worked at there was a common problem amongst women, that problem stemmed from having children. I used to remember the banks I worked at how pale some of the women used to get when they got the dreaded phone call from the school saying their child was sick and needed picking up, or if they were asked to work late and couldn’t because they had the terrible inconvenience of Ahem… having to put their family before their job in the middle of the night – I never understood back then because I didn’t have children, but now I do totally. Asking the boss (who doesn’t have kids or is not on ‘sick child needs picking up from school’ duty) if you can go without warning to tend to your sick child meant…
- You were incompetent.
- You were disorganised.
- You were going to be sacked if that happened more than twice in a month.
Seriously, who wants to deal with that crap? I have 2 amazing kids, I run a business, I have never had that nervous sick feeling of being judged because I’m taking on the role of an entrepreneur and a mother. I have always been there for my kids who came along after I started my business (which I am thankful for) and always done a great job for my clients.
Life is less stressful when you are not beholden to other people who control your income, most likely because someone higher up is controlling theirs.
Location, Location, Location.
I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, but I do know that the weather strongly affects my mood. When I moved from cold, rainy, cloudy England (with occasional patches of sun and the odd freak hot day) I instantly felt better being in the continuos sunny 40 degree heat of the Egyptian desert. Seeing the sun everyday made me happier and far more relaxed – true story.
If I was living back in England, still scraping the ice off my car windscreen in the pitch black mornings before my 1 hour commute to the city – I can pretty much guarantee I would not be as happy as I am in sunny, hot weather – minus losing 2 hours out of my day, every day commuting. We all have preferences as to what kind of climate we do well in, and if we are born into a climate or a country which is not a good match for our general wellbeing and happiness, then we’re ‘stuffed.’
I have the choice to live anywhere I want in the world, my location is entirely up to me, and therefore I can choose a climate (or several climates in different places) which is most optimal for my happiness, and as a result, positively impacts my life, family and business – how cool is that?
It’s likely you will generally be happier when you can live and work from a climate you’re best suited too.
This is the real biggy for me. I get asked, particularly around this time of year if I “have my holidays planned” – Actually I have had 2 holidays since 2005, the first was flying back to the UK to see family for Christmas while I was living in Spain, and the second was flying back to the UK to for my 30th Birthday in 2011. Now to most people who had only had 2 holidays in 7 years, they may be feeling a little hard done by, but not me. I love every aspect of my life and work, I have lived in 6 countries in 7 years, and I have the flexibility to choose the hours I work, and the freedom to (responsibly of course) take the day, morning or afternoon off if I want.
I have no reason to want to go on holiday, and during this time have never felt like I needed a holiday, my life is a holiday, right at the moment when the computer shuts down.
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin
So from my experience, from breaking the chains of my former life, I have already spent the last 7 years working hard to create my ‘best’ life, not one I just accept, but one I can embrace and I will keep tweaking and pushing further to see how wonderful it can be. I have a “bucket list” as long as my arm and there’s no way I would get around to doing everything if I was reliant on 2 weeks holiday a year and being stressed out in a job I hated with no real potential to discover what life can really offer when you have actual freedom.
In some countries, with some people, they have no choice but to live the way they do, circumstances have not allowed them to have options. My guess is if you’re reading this now, you’re one of the very privileged people who has a basic education, you can read, write, you can learn, and grow and make decisions which will effect your life, you can work hard, and be whatever you want to be.