*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The Outsiders Business Incubator – A year-long business incubator for experienced corporate professionals who want to translate their skills and passions into a profitable and fulfilling business. onestepoutside.com/9to5
When you don’t need a vacation
Hello there and welcome back as we continue to talk about designing flexible work-life integration, which is my pillar five of my five pillars of designing and building a life outside the nine to five. Now last week, we talked about designing a lifestyle business. So do check out that episode if you haven’t already. And I said, Oh, I should probably do an episode on work life integration. Now, of course, having almost come up to 200, I already have that episode. So it is episode 8989 From August 2020. If you go back to that, you can find it on on the website, of course, you can go to reimagining success podcast.com and filter for all the episodes in fact on pillar five work life integration. Or you can go to one step outside.com, forward slash Episode 89, because we’re clever like that. So that’s the idea of why work life balance is so ubiquitous, but totally illogical, and I don’t think very helpful, and why work life integration is a better concept for me.
Now, in terms of what that means, by the way, before we continue on today, although very much on the same vein, for me work life integration in a nutshell, is building a career and a lifestyle that you’d be happy to maintain for the rest of your life, right. So no longer working hard, hard, hard, hustle, hustle, hustle in the factory, and then counting down the months, the years to retirement and then sitting down and gardening and enjoying the rest of our life unnecessarily. If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine, too. We’re getting pretty creative, or designing solutions that work for us personally, that aren’t necessarily fitting in the mold of you know, the classic nine to five corporate structures. And importantly, integration to me signifies that we’re creating synergies and harmony, rather than accepting that inevitable trade off the black and white. Either you have work going well or you have life, right. So it’s more synergies and harmony, and of course technology, and increasing moves towards hybrid working for day working weeks, and so on there as yet unproven, but so far, looking pretty promising even within the, the corporate world, right. So that’s something to bear in mind. Now. That for me is work life integration. Again, one step outside of Comm forward slash Episode 89, to listen more to that. But today, I wanted to talk about something very similar, which came up in a work life integration workshop I did for an American company a few weeks ago, which is about designing a life that you don’t need a vacation from a life you don’t need a vacation from. And I’m going to already put it out there.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t take vacations, I’m 100% saying you should you can you Yes, you should. That is a should. Even when you’ve designed an amazing lifestyle business that you love. The point is, you shouldn’t rely on those escapes, right? In the same way, I guess we shouldn’t be, you know, drowning our sorrows in bottles and bottles of wine and whiskey every night. We shouldn’t be escaping into any other addictions, for that matter. You know, whatever that looks like food that indulging in doughnuts every night. You know, that’s not solving the underlying problem, right? So if you are feeling that dread that creeps in, you know, Sunday evening, a reluctance to dragging your body out of bed and onto your commute. If you’re now commuting again, the Monday morning when I look back at my posts on Facebook, because Facebook memories really likes to prompt you with your past self. It was always you know, TGIF, every Friday and the Monday feeling on the Monday. And that was even when I enjoyed my work. So it’s, it is a very accepted cultural norm of how we see our weeks, right. And then we count the hours until the end of the day, we count the days until the end of the week, we count the weeks until our next vacation holiday. And the problem is that basically we’re creating this vicious cycle. And we’re again not solving the underlying problem, right? So we’re planning expensive vacations, we’re buying nice things, thanks to the great salary that we’ve got, hopefully in our in our hardcore job. But that’s compensating we’re trying to compensate for reward ourselves for the stressful and potentially unfulfilling but well paid work that we’re doing.
We’re becoming trapped in that cycle of spending money to feel better.
And then of course, needing the money that we’re earning to sustain that high level of spending. And then again, we’re essentially ending up putting off life until later. Once I’ve earned this amount. Once I’ve got that promotion, once I’ve retired, then we can enjoy life and so now by then if you have kids, the kids will be grown up. If you’re any kind of human being you will have aged you may well unfortunately be ill in some way or form. You certainly will have missed out on a lot of amazing things. If you’ve been hustling, hustling, pushing yourself burning out essentially. And what you’ve done of course is created that classic set of golden handcuffs or maybe not so golden, that golden cage from which you can I can’t see any way out, right. So we’re relying on holidays and expensive things and escaping into hopefully nothing too unhealthy and so on, but into, let’s say, binging on TV every night just to escape, which, you know, it’s totally fine. And I enjoy a bit of that too.
But if that’s your only joy is kind of, oh, I want to quit work, it’s too hard. It’s too horrible, and so on. And it’s a toxic workplace. And you really are pushing yourself so much with no light at the end of the tunnel, then perhaps that’s not where you want to be right? I have to repeat again, I’m sure I’ve shared it before, but it keeps coming up up with this quite controversial moment. Early on in my relationship with my partner when we were on holiday. And we just mentioned again the other day, it wasn’t a big deal to me, but clearly it was for him. So he was in a nine to five at the time, which, you know, he kind of did and enjoyed and had amazing perks and fantastic colleagues. And he’s such good friends still with amazing people he’s worked with over the years. But we were on holiday together by the beach. And he was shocked and appalled by the fact that I was lying there, apparently disengaged, you know, working on something in my notebook from my side, this was the moment that I you know, I think that was during my nomadic days, relatively new to the business. And I still love doing this.
Now, if at any moment, I have the chance, I would sit down with a pen and paper or whiteboard or whatever, and map out strategies, I just love it.
But I was envisioning, I was planning it was the those moments, you know, by the pool, and in the garden, wherever that that are so powerful in terms of really having that clarity of thought and having the time to look at the big picture work on your business, as they say, not in your businesses, though. And, and yet, this was so shocking to him, because for him vacation was getting away from I guess, your hard, horrible job and relaxing and you must read a novel or you must, you know, go and do nothing by the pool. So while I want to be empathetic and understanding of other people’s perspectives, and again, it’s so important to disconnect. For me, the whole point of the very big part of my business is that I love my business, I’m so passionate about the mission, I’m so excited about the clients I’m working with and so on. And I always have new ideas, whether it’s a book or a course, or a workshop or content to post. And it’s all so relevant and important, because it’s so connected to every conversation I have with anyone that that’s, that’s something that really drives me and it’s really central to who I am. And again, it’s not about integration is not about blurring those boundaries completely and not having any boundaries at all. And it’s not about working on your holidays. It’s not about not taking holidays, and so on.
However, there is an element of not needing that break, because I’m already building those breaks into my day.
And the work itself is not such a drain, because you know, I wouldn’t be sitting there doing my expenses unless I just get scheduled that you know, rather not scheduled it left into the last second. I wouldn’t be doing like really boring admin on a holiday. But if it’s having a chance to reflect on the big picture, then yes, absolutely. I would like to do that. Now, of course, I can choose not to do that. So as not to anger my partner and people with me. But you know, that’s that’s my stance on it, I suppose. So of course, you know what that life looks like for you will be very individual. And we talked about that last week with a lifestyle business. The whole point is that you need to define success for you. But I think we can all agree on a few things. Which mean is you know, includes at least feeling excited to start your week, every Monday morning. And perhaps it’s not Monday morning, not counting the hours. I’m not Now certainly when I’m waiting for the kids to come home. I’m super excited to see them in the evening. But I’m not saying oh, I can’t wait until six o’clock when I’m going to leave the office because I’m loving this time. It’s precious to me during the day, it’s time to myself, it’s time to be a career businesswoman. And not just a parent, it’s, you know, being able to have a coffee or go to the loo by myself, which is very enjoyable. So for me, it’s not about counting the hours until the end of the day or the weekend. Which of course is wonderful too.
By the way, my kids are at nursery Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. So Tuesdays are pretty special days we can go off to we went to Paultons Park and Peppa Pig world the other week, we’ve got the farmer Palmer’s which is a local farm here as well. You know, I love those kinds of activities to do. And that’s sort of midweek short Cora on a work day. And for me, it’s not a work day. So Tuesdays Fridays, and of course the classic weekend at the moment, Saturday, Sunday, our time off. But again, I’m not sort of counting the minutes until I can finally turn off my computer. If anything, I kind of want to want to keep going but I don’t. So for me that’s an important part of it. being excited to start your work week whenever that work week starts having a clear sense of purpose. And as I do having that meaning in the work that I’m doing right, doing what you love and loving what you do, as they say of course there are things you don’t enjoy, you might not love, at least initially showing up on video and doing content posts and whatever. You know, you might not love getting your head around the techie stuff or doing all the accounting, admin and so on. But the core work of what you do is something that you love and that you really want to be doing. Then, of course, it is about having the time and energy to spend with the people who matter most to spend on the things that matter most. So I’m now making sure that I’m exercising this morning had a super slow start, it took me about an hour and a half, while after kids etc. And not even including that in my morning, to go for quite a long run, and to do a workout outside in the garden to shower to settle down into my emails, and so on. So I didn’t get started until sort of 915 930 Even though it’s up at 530. But that was really important to me, right? Last night, I played tennis, again, something I really enjoy. I’m learning a new skill, and finally in my life, learning proper tennis, strokes and things, which is very exciting. And I’m really enjoying it. And then ultimately, it’s a feeling of alignment. I think that you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing right now you are where you should be right. So the question is, how does that sounds to you? What does that kind of life look like for you? Are you living it now? And if not, how would that be? How would it feel to be living this life right here right now? Because for most of us, that sounds pretty amazing. And yet there are so many things that can be stopping us, right? We might have lost touch with what we do love to do, right? Because we’ve been doing this particular career for so long that we don’t know what would be meaningful and fulfilling work. We might excuse me, I just kicked something under my desk, if you had that. You might know what you want. But it seems so impossible and so far removed from what you’re doing now that you just don’t know how to get there. Or maybe you do know what you want. You even think you know what you need to do. But you’re still not taking action. Because you know, again, and topic for another podcast. I have many on this topic. But there are so many reasons why you might be procrastinating the fear, that lack of confidence, the lack of time, of course, which we all have, because we’re not clear actually on exactly what we need to be doing and so on. So it’s really important to understand what is getting the way in the way as well. But so what what can you do if you do want to create that life? Well, again, it starts with what would that life look like? So designing that what is success to you?
But more importantly, maybe what makes you happy? What could that life look like? What do you most enjoy doing? What does your ideal day look like? When are you in flow? What excites you describe that? Imagine it visualize it right?
Having that really clear vision has to be the first step for working out a plan for how to get there. However, really importantly, and I’ve maybe don’t say this enough, although my whole brand is based on the concept that one step outside. The point is you don’t have to take a leap, you don’t have to quit your job today and move to Bali and become a yoga instructor right? You can take little steps in the direction of where you want to be knowing that I’m not in a place today where I can quit my job. However, if I start doing X, Y, Zed, if I start learning this, if I work with a coach, for example, or if I whatever it is, then if and when I want to leave my job next year, then I’ll be in a much better position because I have a clearer idea. I have done all the maths. And I even have started building an audience, perhaps and so on, right. So that’s one thing you can do, you can take small steps in that direction. But also super important is that you can bring elements of that big picture vision into your life today. So always think of you know, if you want to be a best selling author, maybe can’t do that right today. But what can you do, you can write, for example, right. So that already brings elements of being an author, you can write, you can publish articles on your own blog, you can self publish books, if you want, you can even create a you know, a little mini book to get started, right.
If I want to live by the sea, maybe I can’t right away, move and buy a house in Fiji. But I can first of all, as we have done moved down to Dorset on the south coast of England. But I can also go for a weekend and spell and spend a day by the sea. I years ago, I took the day off to go to what took the day off. You know what it was probably a Saturday even I went to Brighton for the day. And which is by the sea, you know, you can spend some time on the sea, you have to think about what is it about that vision that you love? And how can you bring more elements of it into your life today. If you want to be fitter and healthier. There’s a vision of oh my gosh, I want to look like this feel like this have lost that and be stronger and to be an amazing tennis player and whatever. But what can I do already now? Well, I can already start playing tennis now. Because then in a couple of years, I might actually be good enough to play with my partner and my friends and so on. I can start just going for longer walks over lunch, so I get a bit more fresh air and I get a few steps you know aiming for those. A couple years ago, I was aiming for sort of 4000 5000 steps and that was a struggle and now I’m doing you know on average 12:15am usually on a good day. Good week.
So number one, how can you take small steps in the right direction and how can you bring elements number two of that big vision into your life ready today. And then of course you do need to take action. So take that title step whatever it is, come on over to the escaping the notify Facebook group where we’ll be doing workshops on this we’ll be talking of course about how to design that lifestyle business. I have a lot of free resources as well as a program for you to work with me if you want to make pro grass more quickly. And that’s a great first step to take. Another step is to continue listen to the podcast. If you’ve just come across this episode, then subscribe. Make sure you don’t miss an episode. There’s a new episode every Monday these days. So weekly episode. And in particular, now, as we record in August 2022, you’ll be getting lots of episodes on this topic of work life integration. So if this is appealing to you, it’s a great time to be listening. And of course, you can always go ahead if you do want to move forwards with me and at least understand what the options are, how it could help you. You can tell me a little bit about your situation. And we can talk about what I can do to help you design that life you don’t want a vacation from you don’t need a vacation from but you will nonetheless take a vacation from as and when you want to. Then you can go ahead and book a call. So one step outside.com forward slash call. One step outside.com. Forward slash Call. Thanks so much for listening and here’s to living that life that you don’t need a vacation from. See you next week.
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The Outsiders Business Incubator
A year-long business incubator for experienced corporate professionals who want to translate their skills and passions into a profitable and fulfilling business.