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Why I've decided to opt out of the six figure business chase (and a story about and old greek man)

I started planning the launch of my Branding and Web Design business back in 2012. Back then, the main focus of the online entrepreneur community was as Marie Forleo preaches… “Create a business and a life that you love”. There was zest and drive and focus and camaraderie. Everyone was supporting each other to do their own thing on their own terms. It now feels like that landscape has been infiltrated. 

Today, I struggle to get 10 posts deep into a Facebook Group feed without someone telling me I can make six figures in six months… Just like them. It’s a racket. And while I don’t necessarily doubt that all of these people are walking their talk (although I’d like to see their actual bottom line after tax and expenses) the part that unsettles me most is, I’m being told time and time again that I NEED to make six figures. That this is for some unknown reason, now the entire goal of working for myself. And that if I decide I don’t want it, that I have ‘some money blocks I need to be working on’.

I need money, we all do. And yes, there are certain freedoms money affords. But at this stage in my life, I’m quite comfortable with the amount of stress and ‘hustle’ I’m willing to endure for cash monies. I do not feel guilt when I take time away from my work to cuddle my son on the couch and watch Frozen. I work the hours that feel good for my body. I sleep the hours that feel good for my body. I work on a Sunday because I love the quiet focus it brings. I make my own rules, my own hours and I pay my own bills. I have no interest in a life of constant striving for more money while my (far more precious) time passes me by.

Last night, I went to the beach at 8pm. It was dark outside, the beach was moonlit and I sat on the sand as I watched an enormous lightening storm out over sea gradually make it’s way towards me. The sky show of bursts of light and colour was spectacular, and it stayed dry until the storm was almost overhead. As I sat there on a warm summery night, completely content with the world and my place in it, I thought about a story my father-in-law had read to me years ago from a book he was reading. It goes like this…

“Agean Islanders like to tell a joke about a prosperous Greek American who visits one of the islands on vacation. Out on a walk, the affluent Greek American comes upon an old Greek man sitting on a rock, sipping a glass of ouzo, and lazily staring at the sun setting into the sea.

 

The American notices there are olive trees growing in the hills behind the old Greek but that they are unattended, with olives just dropping here and there onto the ground. He asks the old man who the trees belong to. 

 

“They’re mine,” the Greek replies.

“Don’t you gather the olives?” the American asks.

“I just pick one when I want one,” the old man says. 

“But don’t you realize that if you pruned the trees and picked the olives at their peak, you could sell them? In America everybody is crazy about virgin olive oil, and they pay a damned good pice for it.”

 

“What would I do with the money?” the old Greek asks.

“Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.”

“And then what would I do?”

“You could do anything you want!”

“You mean, like sit outside and sip ouzo at sunset?” “

So, you see, I don’t need what you’re selling, that guide to ‘6 figure success’. I’m too busy walking at my own pace. Dancing to the beat of my own drum and truly creating a business and a life that I love. One that I love right now. One that doesn’t rely on long hours and stress to bring me what I need. One that slowly builds and gathers momentum. A slow burner. Consistent and steady and full of happy moments along the way. 

Sure I could pull out all the stops and throw everything I have in now. I could work 16 hour days in a bid to conquer the world. I could ignore my friends, my family, my two year old son, bury my self-worth in my social media followers, break targets and make mountains of money now. But what would I do with the money?

“Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.”
“And then what would I do?”
“You could do anything you want!”
“You mean, like sitting on the beach on a warm summer night and watch a storm roll in over the ocean?”

 

 

Quoted Excerpt from Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel M. Klein

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