I must thank a fellow student on John Milton Fogg’s 90 day challenge, a delightful young woman who I will just refer to as “K” for the inspiration for this post. We were discussing goals, conditions of satisfaction and I mentioned the thoughts and conclusions described here, she suggested I write about it. If you find it valuable, it’s thanks to “K”.
Readers who have read my story on my “About me” page will know that Sue and I came to Canada in 2004 with very little after losing everything in the violent farm takeovers in Zimbabwe.
Despite a background in management, running our own businesses and farming, as newcomers, we found it difficult to get well paid jobs and had no capital to start a business. To survive, I started working with a large vegetable farming business, looking after greenhouses and irrigation. Sue worked on a horse stud farm. Long hours and hard work, especially after running our own farm in Zimbabwe with a large work force of 180 people.
Being in our mid 50’s and with no assets, investments or retirement funds, we were driven to develop other sources of income, that is what led us to Network marketing and Internet marketing. With no “warm market” family or friends to sell to, we found it difficult, but we made progress.
The Internet seemed to be the way to go for us, both as an additional revenue stream and to generate leads for our Network Marketing business. We could also use the late night hours when it was too late to call people.
The owners of the farming business had been very good to us when we arrived here, for this we owe them an eternal debt of gratitude. Each summer they ask me if I can continue to help out with their greenhouses and setting up their irrigation systems.
Since starting our own business, I find I am torn between my commitment to them and my commitment to our own business and our long term financial survival. Although the income from the farm is useful, it is not a good return on time invested.
This spring, I was ready to terminate my contract with them and concentrate on our own business, however they were depending on me and I agreed to work with them for one more summer.
This decision caused me a great deal of stress, it honours my values of duty, commitment, gratitude, but impacts severely on the time I have for my own business, relaxation, my horses and personal development.
After thinking about it for a while, I realised that between the farm commitments and my own business over the last 3 years, I had not been giving myself time to enjoy life. So I decided that this summer I would get some balance into my life and accept that I will not be able to accomplish everything I want to in my business. It has made me focus on the important parts of the business and cut out those that fell into the “busy work” category. I have also set a goal of riding my horses 3 times a week instead of once a week or once every 2 weeks last year.
The most important benefit is that I am no longer resentful of the time I spend on the farm, I cherish the time I spend checking out the plants in the greenhouses, the crops growing in the field, watching the incredible cycle of growth and development. Watching the marvel of technology delivering just the right amount of water to those young plants.
Enjoying the fact that the business is large enough to employ a considerable number of migrant workers, men who come from impoverished parts of their own countries to work hard and then go home to their families at the end of the season with enough money to make a huge difference in their, their families and their communities lives. They also take with them experience and knowledge gained here that enables many of them to start their own businesses after a few years.
I also savour the rides around the farms on a dirt bike or farm truck, watching deer, turkeys and other wild life.
Best of all are the times Sue and I get on our horses and ride around the fields or do some training with them.
So after 6 years of working incredibly long hours, this is the year we have said we will get some balance into our life, if the business doesn’t grow quite as fast as we had planned, so be it. If it takes another year or two to reach some of our financial goals, that’s also fine.
I recently did an exercise online that said given my current age, diet, exercise and life style habits, I could expect to live to 86. That’s another 26 years, I am determined that those are going to be a balanced 26 years.
How about you? Have you achieved balance in your life?
Wishing you well in all your endeavours.