Let me start first by saying this blog post is not what you’d usually expect to see here on this site.
Predominantly, posts are strategy driven towards helping businesses grow their customers, and to assist these businesses to increase their online presence, however on many levels this post is appropriate and relevant to most of us as we journey through both life and business.
Accumulating and complicating things
Sometimes things get overcomplicated without us even realising it. All of a sudden you have collected a whole bunch of stuff, stuff which you thought you just had to have at the time, but later realise that it was totally unnecessary. Whether you have to have the latest car, a jet ski, a boat, big screen TV and home entertainment system, or whatever, it’s all stuff.
If you had taken time to think, “Is this something that I need?” or was it simply an impulse purchase at the time, which you could have done without.
Maybe you took on a debt to purchase it, borrowing the funds through the retailer, or charged it to your credit card or added the cost to your mortgage. Whatever the case, did it turn out to really be worth it? Maybe you could have waited 6 months until the price dropped 50% as newer models hit the market. Or perhaps you could have simply removed yourself from the situation to clear your mind, take stock and allow the impulse to settle before deciding to buy or not.
Maybe you’re not a big buyer of latest expensive things, maybe you just collect things to fill your home and surroundings, things that you think you need, things to help fill a void of some kind. Whatever the reason is for you collecting stuff, perhaps it runs deeper than you might realise.
It’s my understanding that the underlying reason hoarders fill their homes with stuff is as a comfort mechanism in order to replace something or someone that they lost. While hoarders are the extreme, the same reasons can apply to each and every one of us, but on a less detrimental level.
Mirroring personal habits into business
This too can apply to running a business. There are so many experts, so much noise from multiple directions, each telling us that we have to have the latest technology for example, or the latest software, the latest social media platforms, the list goes on and on and on.
Remember that most, if not all are just another way of getting you to buy stuff and spend more, probably on stuff that your business doesn’t really need. They pray on our need for the latest shiny new objects, on our insecurities, or our need to keep pace with others, or to compare ourselves to others. Our competitors have it, so we need to have it too, so we can compete and not be left behind in their wash. It’s all just a bunch of mind games that they play, and play extremely effectively to get us to hand over our hard earned cash.
Keeping your eye on the prize
Don’t get me wrong, there certainly are business applications, processes, or technology that can aide a business in growing and managing their affairs, but just like the way we can collect stuff for our own personal use, we can tend to do the same in business. Being pushed and pulled in so many directions can distract us from keeping your eye on the prize and from focusing on the important things that will really benefit us and our business most.
Coming to a realisation of what’s important
Not so many years ago, about 4 years actually, it occurred to me that I had fallen into some of the same traps without even realising it. All of a sudden I looked about my surroundings and noticed that I had become distracted from what was important, I had accumulated many things in my both personal and business life that I thought I needed, but in reality I didn’t.
Up until this time, other than my side-hussles of running e-commerce sites, eBay stores and even market stalls, which I have been doing over the last 7 or 8 years, I had always been involved in the financial industry in some way or another since my second job after leaving high school. Working in the financial arena involved me dealing with other peoples money, whether it was assisting them to borrow funds to purchase a home, or investing their hard earned savings into investments.
In the initial years I had worked in a community bank, who overall genuinely had its customers best interests at the heart of their core values. Of course every business also needs to make a profit, there is no denying that. Anyway, way back then, I truly believed that I was indeed helping people, and I until this day I still believe that.
However in later years I took an opportunity to move to a different city in another country to advance my career. Slowly over time the focus changed from genuinely helping the customer, to lining the pockets of others who had their own interests at heart rather than the customer. If the customer had happened to benefit from a transaction then that was an incidental bonus but certainly was not the focus.
I had become drawn so far into a situation that no longer made me happy and had removed me far from my own core values. I was now dealing with unscrupulous people that were selfish and self-absorbed and this had made me feel as though I was trapped with a perception of no way out. Anyway, this brings me back to my original point.
I had surrounded myself with not only unnecessary things and stuff but also unnecessary people, who I thought I needed to associate with for me to keep hold of all this stuff that I had accumulated.
In my mind I had convinced myself that I needed to continue to earn the big dollars in an industry that made me unhappy, so I could keep hold of all the stuff I had accumulated. How wrong I was.
In actual fact I had just lost sight of what was important.
I had to make life simpler! Sounds Easy, well maybe not.
Making life simpler meant that I had to change everything, and for a person who isn’t exactly a huge fan of change I needed to make a plan weighing up all the pros and cons. A bit of a stressful process.
Firstly, I needed to sit down with my partner (now my wife) and discuss what was really important to the both of us. Was it the money and all the things that came with it, or was it happiness that was most important?
My wife had begun to notice my unhappiness and she also saw that I was stressed from my work. I think that she was quietly glad that I was looking for a change.
So, we sat down and began to make a plan to transition into a more simple and uncomplicated life.
A good plan takes time and serious thought.
The plan, without getting too far into it we pretty much changed everything. As I said earlier, for a person who is change resistant it needed to happen in a manageable, logical, step-by-step process.
It involved such things as repaying debt, getting rid of unnecessary stuff, getting back to basics, following my passion for writing and scaling down to a more appropriate lifestyle, since it was now just the two of us.
We also moved some 5000 kilometres from the very busy and over-populated, glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast in Queensland to a less busy, smaller part of Western Australia, back to where my wife’s family lives.
The photo featured in this post is from the boardwalk where we now live. We consider ourselves very lucky and are extremely grateful to be able to enjoy this view every day upon our daily walk.
You may be thinking that this is some expensive place to live where you need to be well-off but it is quite the opposite. It’s simply a smaller coastal suburb a little further away from a major city where the price of real estate and cost of living is a lot cheaper, where all the same benefits can be enjoyed.
Four years on we’ve reached a stage where life is more relaxed and we are both a lot happier. I am also back to helping people, which has always been the place where I am most as ease, and is definitely more inline with my core values.
Perhaps you feel that either you or your business has lost its primary focus and needs to make some changes. Maybe you just need to tweak a few things, or maybe you need to make a more radical change like we did.
Either way, its worth taking the timeout to consider if your current approach is really working for you.
If you need help to get back to the real and authentic you let us know, or if you’d simply like to comment, or tell us how you uncomplicated your own life, we’d love to hear from you.