In his incredible book "The 4 hour work week" Tim Ferris says that the 3 luxuries in life are time, money and mobility. Yet interestingly, most entrepreneurs have none of three! Even if their venture is successful, it takes up all their time, their money is tied up in the business and they are stuck to a specific location.
He says that if you can create products and services that can operate without you being in the room that you can manage remotely, then you can literally be anywhere in the world and have clients anywhere in the world.
The first time I read this, it completely blew my hair back! What a beautiful and compelling idea that is entirely possible in this digital age we live in. It ruined me for anything less! However, it wasn’t until I read his book for the 2nd time 2 years later that things began to really shift for me.
I am now finally in a place where I am living the reality of these 3 luxuries. Time money and mobility. Thanks Tim.
It has been an incredibly challenging journey, confronting deep defaults and insecuritires, but here is how I did it and what I learnt along the way.
Mid 2012 I was on the verge of burnout. I'd launched my own coaching business in 2010 and had been 110% committed to doing whatever it took for make it work for almost 2 years. I developed a coaching program for the long term unemployed and then trained other coaches to run my program in Employment agencies around the country. I had up to 30 coaches working and in we made half a million in turnover in 12 months. Yet, in the process of saying yes and working out how later, I nearly cooked the goose! I was highly stressed and struggling to cope with all the back end systems and admin tasks as well as maintaining quality assurance at the front end.
I faced up to the fact that I was overwhelmed and not coping with the stress of it all and told my business partner that I needed 12 months out of the business to get myself sorted.
I was super excited about my sabbatical year, yet three months into my break and I was more stressed than when I was working! It turns out rest doesn’t come very naturally. The idea of doing nothing sounds incredible in the midst of max busyness, yet so much of my identity and significance was tied up in what I do, removing that completely left me feeling incredibly lost. I had no idea what to do with myself. It was hard to feel I had value to offer others when I had nothing to show for my time.
As I sat in this space and resisted the urge to throw myself back into busyness, I realised that I had to find a way of owning my value self worth simply because of who I was, not because of what I could do.
After cutting the chord that linked my significance to my performance or achievement I made a breakthrough discovery. Just as 100% work is not sustainable, neither is 100% rest. Because I wasn’t officially required back in my business for another 9 months I was free to do whatever I wanted. So I decided to create my ideal lifestyle. I made a commitment to myself that I would not work more than 24 hours a week doing what I loved. This work could be spread out over 7 days, and each day would need to have periods of high energy and engagement and periods of rest and play. I developed a rhythm of rest. No real day off, just work and rest in every day. I realised that my energy was actually far more of a valuable resource than time could ever be.
From that point, I developed the ability to have time for everything I’d like to do. I created my ideal lifestyle around doing work that I loved and was good at. I went to the movies every week, spent hours at coffee shops hanging out with friends. I'd take naps after lunch every day and get plenty of quality runs and rides into my week. All while never being busy!
This is something I’ve been able to maintain ever since. I love people seeing me 'waste time' and wonder what the hell I'm doing with my life!
I decided that if earning more money meant I had to compromise this rhythm of rest and ideal 24hour working week lifestyle that I was not at all interested.
So how much time is enough?
My measurement around knowing that I have TIME is this:
- There is zero obligation in my life. I don't do anything that I don't want to do
- I have time for everything that I'd like to do
- There is great flexibility in my time. When opportunities come up, or my family would like me to be somewhere I do something, I can.
- When people ask me if I'm busy, I can clearly answer NO
I got mobility last year by deliberately cutting of my ability to do face to face coaching and moving my family to a small village in south east Germany for 9 months. This forced me to deliver my coaching and coach training online and pitch to a global market rather than just offer my services to people in close to where I live.
The decision to make this radical step came after I got halfway through the first chapter of the 4 hour work week for the 2nd time. I immediately put the book down and rang my wife. I convinced her that I could make my business work from overseas…I suggested south east asia, she said if were going overseas it had to be Europe. It was literally a 2 minute conversation and we were both in! It was like we just agreed to something that neither of us had any idea how to make happen but we both started telling people immediately so now we had to find a way!
Say yes…Work out how later.
From that point I started the work around developing online resources. I got in front of a camera and recorded everything I knew. I created a 12 week coach training program and a 30 day coaching bootcamp. My simple strategy for getting clients revolved around creating a quality facebook group with high quality coaching content and conversations and then offering the online program as people got to know and trust me. I had also developed a one minute, prerecorded segment for radio (The one minute coach) which I knew would drive traffic to my website and Facebook group.
I launched the bootcamp in the week leading up to us flying out, and getting on the plane I had 1 person signed up and no plan B.
I put myself under a fair amount of pressure, but knew that ultimately there was no other way to find out if this was really possible apart from diving into the deep end and seeing what I was capable of.
The amazing thing was that it worked.
We not only survived, but had the most incredibly enlarging and wonderful experience of our lives!
Being back in Australia this year hasn't changed my ability to be mobile. I've continued to run a very simply business model using the one minute coach radio segment, my book, the Facebook group and then my 30 online bootcamp and 12 week online coach training program.
My measurement around mobility is this:
Can I run my business using a phone, laptop and wifi from wherever, whenever?
Am I offering products and services that can run while I'm asleep?
The finance piece was definitely the hardest and required the most amount of deep personal change work. Money has been the hardest of the 3, but I‘m very glad I left it till last. If it had been my first priority, I highly doubt I would have given myself permission to take a sabbatical or travel take such a big risk by moving to the other side of the world with no guaranteed income.
I’ve talked a big game since I started my coaching business 7 years ago about how much I would earn, and then have consistently fallen well short of my predictions ever year. I was convinced that as soon as I launched into the business space doing something I loved and was good at, making money would be straight forward.
I couldn't have been more wrong!
There have so many times where I thought about giving up and getting a day job .
The only way I survived was to keep focused on the vision I had for my life and how I really wanted things to be.
Every day I had to manage my state when things weren’t going well, reminding myself what I want, why I wanted it and who I needed to be to achieve it.
I worked hard refining my offering, constantly giving as much value to people and speaking a message of life and truth consistently.
I faced set backs, dealt with disappointments, failures mistakes and every day took on board the things I needed to learn and jettisoned the beliefs, practices and stories that were in consistent with the life I was creating for myself.
I constantly told myself that I was getting stronger and stronger every day in every way no matter what my circumstances displayed.
I lived grateful for every way I already manifested wealth
I let go of the illusion of separation and saw myself deeply connected to the universal spirit of intention which is infinitely abundant, loving, kind, creative, and ever expanding.
I got business coaching and marketing support. I read books, listened to podcasts and showed up every day ready to learn and grow.
I became inexorable – unyielding and relentless. This has to work.
Yet still it did not work...I had Time and Mobility but was always under massive financial pressure.
It wasn't until a friend of mine encouraged (forced) me to listen to the audio book "Get rich lucky bitch" by Denise Duffield-Thomas by that I really got to the bottom of what was holding me back when it came to money. (Thanks Linda!)
I discovered that inadvertently I’d grown up with the default setting that said that money corrupts and that you can’t be rich and godly at the same time. Hence there was some hidden and deep self sabotage around my finances for a long time.
Did I deserve to be rich, was I ready to be rich? Had I worked hard enough to be rich, Was I smart enough, was my content good enough, all these things in some way had held me back.
In order to re-write my story around money, I first had to become aware of the story I was actually living out of.
I felt as though I was 100% committed to financial abundance, yet was in fact sabotaging my own success.
So, my subconscious fear was that gaining more money would corrupt me.
Of course I want to be a good person, so that meant I was actively resisting getting more money!
My hidden belief was that money would make be bad.
As soon as I had awareness of this belief, here are the next steps I took to change it.
- Allow myself to go all the way back to when my parents taught me this rule. What was happening? How did they show me this rule, when did I accept it as true?
- To go through the process of acceptance and forgiveness for the part I played and the part that they played in creating this limiting belief inside me.
- To consciously choose a new meaning on those childhood experiences and to develop a new rule about money and being a good person.
I decided that these two statements would serve me well.
"Insecurity corrupts people not money. Money only magnifies what is inside your heart"
"Even if no one else has been rich and godly at the same time, I'm happy to be the first" (Now of course there are plenty of people who've managed to do this, but this statement eradicated my need to find proof that it is possible)
Every day I then used these 2 statements as mantras. While I was in Germany I would walk in the forest and say these things out loud and on purpose so the trees and squirrels could hear me.
I then continued to refine and improve my business plan so that I had clear and compelling offerings to the market. I confidently spoke my message and gave people an opportunity to buy into what I was offering.
And then I let it all go...I detached my identity, significance and value from my business and my performance as an entrepreneur and coach.
I let go of the need to be exceptional, and the best in the world. I came to terms with the notion that maybe I was just a guy and that there was nothing special about what I had to offer. I decided that I could find a meaningful existence in just being a guy from Goulburn who loved his wife and kids and liked to run.
I continued to put out high quality content that facilitated meaningful conversations with people longing to find themselves and break free from internal limitations without needing for it to lead to any kind of kickback or reward.
I actually wrote the first 2 parts of this blog this time last year while still in Germany. I was convinced I would achieve the breakthrough in money before I came home, but it didn't happen.
In fact when we arrived back in Aus in January 2017, it was like everything in my business completely dried up! I made $20 for the whole month and that was by giving a kid a drum lesson!
I felt like it was dream over. Maybe I would never work out how to make enough money to do what I loved.
In February I did a month of labouring for a local builder. Hard work, long days, summer heat. It was a world of pain and but gave me a great opportunity to do some deep soul searching about whether I had what it takes.
While running a successful coaching business was all I wanted to do, I lost the confidence in how believable it really was.
Some friends suggested I quit. Others suggested I find government sponsored work in a related field, yet somehow I stayed true to what was really in my heart and didn't sell out.
Then slowly things began to shift.
I dialled down my grand financial expectations and aimed for $1k a week through coaching.
I started hitting this target by the end of Feb. Then kept achieving that target week after week. No more, no less all the way till September.
The whole time I was holding myself accountable to my new story about money and continued showing up with the best I had to offer.
And then it happened.
Without doing anything particularly special or different from my everyday plan, I finally stepped into the the fruit of what I had sown 12 months earlier.
In October and November I've earned my entire taxable income for the previous year!
Coming into the end of 2017 we over $30k ahead of our mortgage repayments, we have a holiday fund, spending money and a believable plan to build our dream house.
So the question is how much money is enough? What does financial success look like.
For me it is much more about what money enables me to do and have rather than a fixed dollar amount. My measurement around money is this:
Can I pay for the lifestyle I desire to have?
Am I limited by lack of finances in any way?
Am I under financial pressure?
Do I have enough to do all that is in my heart to do today?
Obviously there will be new levels of growth and challenge moving forward, but I know that time money and mobility are here to stay.