A Life Lesson

grass blown by wind at the sea

Lately, I think I’ve experienced a type of “burn-out”. Starting at 6.00am every morning and working 7 days a week has recently proved too much for me, especially at my age!  The problem that I find is when you’re working from home, the temptation to just carry-on working (because you can) is too much. Unfortunately, that type of lifestyle has taken its toll.  I realise that I haven’t really been listening to myself, and really, I’ve needed a break for a long time.  It’s been 3 years since my wife, and I went on holiday!  So I took a break for a couple of weeks.

Today, I’m back, but instead of setting up my computer at the crack of dawn, I slowed down my pace, as I have for the past couple of weeks (and it’s done me the world of good) and decided to plant my vegetables.  As I was tending to my cabbages, runner beans and marrows, I was thinking how much better I felt for taking some time out.  I feel more productive and I’m raring to go but I don’t want to rush in and do too much again.  Pottering in my greenhouse and garden made me think that I should tell you about my latest life lesson.

When a speeding bus wrote my car off a few weeks ago (I wrote a blog about the topic – and how shaken up I was afterwards), I had a life re-think.  I realised that had the bus appeared a split second earlier, I would have been the write-off.  The car’s damage equated to £8k worth, the car’s body had been twisted by the force of the impact.  That could have been me except you can’t put a price on a life.  My mind started wandering in all sorts of directions, I started thinking about my own mortality and my life.  I was questioning what I’d done, my achievements and what I should have done in life.  Luckily, I came to the conclusion that I have no regrets (except for two).  I’ve looked after people all my life, making my clients my friends and always treating everyone with respect.  The only regrets I have (which are easily rectified) are not taking enough time out to look after myself and the second is making sure the business is in safe enough hands so that if I was “wiped out”, then my clients would still be well looked after.  While Tom, my son, has recently qualified, he hasn’t yet got all the experience required to take on the business yet – he will – but not quite yet.

A Little Life Planning

The car accident forced me to take stock and take that much needed time out!  I needed to spend more time with my family, have enough rest and do the things I love to do (but never have enough time to do).  So I did.  I took a good two weeks out to go dancing (ballroom and Morris!), to tend to my garden, to see family and spend time with my wonderful wife.  During that time, I didn’t switch off entirely from the business, because it’s such a huge part of my life and my clients feel like family.  I love them all to bits so the question of what would happen to my clients and my business if something happened to me kept creeping up.

Putting Plans In Place

That’s one of my upcoming projects and it’s become a priority.  I am determined to make sure plans are in place just in case.  I’ve already started the ball rolling and met someone a couple of weeks ago who had the right ethos, belief and values as me (do read my blog on values!) but sadly, we work differently.  I believe in the power of information and making it accessible to my clients (the podcasts, the blog, the online guides and website just brimming over with information) whereas this lady was more old-school, so it wasn’t the perfect fit.  While I made a friend, it wouldn’t have worked for my business.  I’m still trying to safeguard my business and it will be done – watch this space.

Are You Taking Regular Breaks?

So today I’m urging you to think about your quality of life and by that, I mean are you taking sufficient breaks?  If you work too hard and find yourself reading emails after 6.00pm or before 8.00am and at the weekend, please take a break!  You’ll be more productive as a result and there are more important things than those emails you “have” to respond to.  If we burn out, we’re no use to anyone, family, friends and clients!

One small silver lining I want to share with you.  You may recall that I had an electric power point installed in February, with the intention of buying an electric car some time this year.  The car accident forced my hand, and I am now the very proud owner of a Peugeot 208e (a premium model with alloy wheels – my children think it’s hilarious!).  I am really enjoying zipping around in it and it’s much easier to charge up than I thought.

I think I might go and plant a few seeds now…

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