You’ll remember that last week I was talking about lifestyle design. Well, the trend has continued for the past week.
What you might not know is that lately I’ve been in a downward, depressive spiral about business life in general. This has partly been because of a unique health issue, but largely because things just haven’t been … right. Bank account depleting, invoices not being paid, and one customer flat-out ignoring every single form of communication. (Which, for me, is just baffling.)
In fact, I got down to the last operational $800. My last pay was half of what I needed personally. I started applying for jobs, because cashflow comes before everything else. Thus, I’ve been pruning. I brought all the work back to the centre, got rid of anything that isn’t essential, wished our contractors a happy summer, and focused on what I needed to do to get happy.
You’ll remember from last week that getting happy meant, first, understanding that I’m into mastery - not scale. This week it’s meant actively shaping my daily/weekly life to give mastery space in which to be cultivated. It applies to my creative life more than to my business life, but the two overlap and intersect. It means more time writing books, more time thinking, more time theorizing and writing research.
Now, why is this worth telling you about? Because this focus, inside a structure and processes that do scale, means that I can relax and enjoy myself.
You just can’t put a price on that. It is unbeatable. It reminded me of this post by Carlos at the Happy Startup School, in which he talks about how the phrase lifestyle business has become a dirty word, when it’s actually the greatest thing ever.
But I have a story to tell you about an insane, happy discovery.
This week, I was shuffling along on my downcast, introverted way, doing my thing. Pieces started to fall into place just perfectly. As I was focused on, and beginning to bring myself back up into the sunshine, I made the most insane discovery.
I learned that since moving banks, money had been going into our old accounts.
Because I was 100% sure that I’d updated every system, I hadn’t checked.
Then I did for some reason.
I discovered, when I was down to my last operational $800, unable to pay my rent, with bills outstanding, after having applied for a fistful of jobs for cashflow-boosting-purposes, that I had thousands of dollars that Practice Ignition had been happily squirrelling away for me.
It not only paid all my bills this week, but will pay them for the next couple of months even if nobody else pays me.
I was so shocked, surprised, amazed, relieved, happy, (insert other adjectives here), that I froze. I couldn’t even clap or yell or laugh. It was FUCKING AMAZING.
Here’s how the conversation rolled on Twitter when Global Head of Accounting & Strategic Partnerships at Practice Ignition, Trent McLaren, saw what I’d tweeted:
Best thread of the year? Best FEELING of the year!
The thing is: You’re always at risk of something like this when you’re in business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer, if you’re new, or if you’ve been around the block. It is always a possibility.
As for me, it’s taught me to look after myself and nurture what I really need in order to be happy. You’ll see in the tweets (above) that I said 2019 will be kick-ass. Now that I know the real reason why I’m in business, it can’t possibly be otherwise.
We see loads of writers about business and entrepreneurialism talk about putting your own oxygen mask on first. We all nod and smile and talk about it to each other.
Well let me tell you something about that.
Putting on your own oxygen mask first actually means:
Knowing that if you died tomorrow, not one thing would change. The sun will rise, the birds will sing, your clients will continue, your family will continue, your business will hit a speed-bump but probably not stop. The only thing that won’t continue is you. When you feel this in your belly, what does it change about where you put your focus?
Understanding the deep reason why you’re in business. We all want to make an impact, but business isn’t always the way. For example, I have a focused 100-year-plan. The way I’m getting the plan to first base is through writing fiction, not running a business.
Actively and mindfully designing your life. It means working out how many hours per day you want to work, what you’ll do with the time you’re not working, and how your happiest, most perfect days will run. It means knowing that you have many roles and knowing that each one of them gets attention in a day, and balanced attention in a week.
Saying no. It’s not going to social events when you can’t People any more. It’s saying no to people who want favours. It’s letting your family sort out their own dinner because, frankly, you want to eat your chocolate and read a book instead of shopping or cooking or ordering pizza.
Taking time to help someone other than yourself, and doing it from a perspective of joy and love. Being compassionate is what breathes air into your life, and it nourishes you as much as the other party. Help, in this case, isn’t about ‘doing things for others’, but applying action where it will genuinely help someone who needs assistance. It might be as simple as smiling at a stranger.
These are just five “simple” things. They’re simple, but sometimes it’s not until we hit a wall that we do them.
Right, so there’s Leticia’s soapbox for the week! Phew - what a rollercoaster ride!
I can hardly believe we’re already nearly 3 months into our next 5 years. Next week I’m going to share with you some of my thoughts about customer experience, and how this is likely to change at Brutal Pixie in the coming four-and-three-quarter years.
If you love reading this, I encourage you to give a gift subscription to someone else. It’s nearly the gifting time of year, so if my sprawling words inspire you, it would be amazing to inspire someone else too. :)