When I first started my business, my wife Jeanie and I would usually schedule a week of vacation to have fun with the kids.
I’d work my tail off to get caught up before we went. I was exhausted by the time we got there and was under pressure to have a good time. I dreaded coming back to the work that was piling up.
Gradually, I realized that building my life around this type of vacation was keeping me from doing what I enjoy year round. I love climbing 14,000-foot peaks. I hope to climb all 64 of them in the world by age 60. Now, instead of waiting until I have time to close up shop and travel to new hiking grounds, I constantly look for ways to combine my business goals with that personal goal.
During my recent trip to Aspen, I climbed a fourteener on a Sunday. The next day, I had a full day of work set up. Tuesday, I climbed another peak. Wednesday was a work day, and I hiked on Thursday and Friday.
Sometimes, I’ll invite business partners on hikes like this. There’s no reason we have to stay in the office to be productive. What we’re doing isn’t work. It isn’t play. It’s all just living.
One of the smartest things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur is ditch the idea of vacation. Stop sacrificing the present and doing things you don’t like now so you can do what you think you will enjoy when you finally go on vacation. Slow down and do what you love today. I call that being busy with balance. It’s something any entrepreneur can achieve.
Vacation has become an outdated concept in the digital era, where it’s possible to communicate 24/7. It’s not possible to compartmentalize our time the way we did in a more industrial economy. That is why we see so many surveys showing that many Americans don’t take their paid time off. They keep waiting for the mythical moment when they have enough time and money to take a week or two at a time for a “real” vacation, but that perfect opportunity never comes.
They end up not taking any vacation at all. That isn’t healthy. The most productive, creative people take time to recharge, but it isn’t necessarily for a week or two at a time. Often, it is in more frequent, bite-sized breaks.
If I still held onto the old concept of vacation, I would be feeling bad about having combined work with play on my recent trip to Aspen. It’s amazing how much more peaceful and balanced life can be when you don’t put artificial walls up in your life.
Smart financial planning can get you out of outdated ways of viewing your time and enable you to build a business that brings you the financial freedom you want.
It starts with asking some important questions:
- What do I want as a human being?
- How will I spend my time?
- What significant things do I want to accomplish?
- What resources do I need?
Write down what your answers will be one, three, five, 10, 20 and 30 years from now as you make your financial plans. This exercise will help you tap into your subconscious mind and connect it with your conscious mind, so you can take steps each day to achieve what truly matters to you.
You will be shocked by how much you achieve in your business if you stop sacrificing the present and enjoy the gift of each day. Once you start doing what you love, even if you have only a modest amount of cash, you will be surprised by how the money and resources you need show up. I’ve experienced it personally and have seen it often among my clients and the financial advisors I coach.
Why not embrace a completely new approach to life, one based on hope and anticipation of spending each day the way you really want—starting now? Anticipation taps into our deepest core as human beings and makes life a lot richer. Think of the last time you anticipated something and how good that felt.
When you live your life by design, and not the way society says you should live it, you will have plenty of experiences to anticipate, whether you want a big lifestyle or a modest one. Your best days will be ahead of you. Tossing out dated concepts like vacation will help you take charge of your future. It is a key step to leading a life where you have no regrets.