At one of our live events recently, Kevin O’Leary was sharing about when he sold his first company. He’d worked 50, 60, maybe 70 hours a week with his partners for years to make his business profitable. When they finally sold their company, all of these high performers just looked around at each other wondering, “Now what?”.
We work for the money to build the life we want, but even if you’ve just become filthy rich, it’s still not going to fulfill your purpose. What if you sacrifice everything to reach your goals, but that everything means you sacrificed your family too?
I think it’s always a balancing act between those twin levers of financial freedom and family time. You don’t want to be so focused on money that you miss the experiences that really make life worth living. No one gets to the end of their life and wishes that they’d spent more time at work.
But if you want to create more balance in your life, how do you do that? I recently talked with Cliff Hayden about how he restructured his life to serve his family, and what he needed to give up to do that.
Your Purpose Should Be About More Than Money
Why do you work? What do you work for? For me, I work towards my goals because I want to feel like I’m making progress. My dad had that same hustle attitude, but right after he retired, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so he never really had that chance to enjoy retired life.
That leads me to my number two purpose. I really want to have a positive state of mind regardless of the circumstances around me. The good, the bad, the difficulties, everything we experience is all about that experience. Life is a gift. And those experiences that we have, no matter what they are, those are all that we can take with us.
For Cliff, his purpose is to build a legacy for his children. Not a financial legacy, but an opportunity legacy, where his kids have the space to figure out who they are and what their purpose is. Cliff started working at a young age because he had to, but he wants his kids to have a chance to find their passion.
If your “why” is all about money, when you finally sell your business or become a multi-millionaire, you’re going to be sitting around wondering what you’re going to do with yourself. It’s pretty hard to go from high-powered exec to sitting on the beach with a Mai Tai.
You’ve got to figure out the core reason that you’re building your business.
Building Financial Freedom to Serve Your Family
I find that balance between family life and business success to be hard to maintain. I’m always having to adjust between the two. Sometimes it feels like they’re conflicting with each other, and sometimes what I thought would make me happy actually doesn’t. If I’m working hard to provide for my family, but I’m never around, then I’m not really dialing in to that connectivity that I really want.
When Cliff first started his family, he was working 16-18 hour days because he just wanted that success too. Pretty soon, he was making big money, but his wife was mad at him all of the time because he was never around. He could buy all of the toys he thought his kids deserved, but the lessons that he was teaching them weren’t really what he wanted them to learn.
Anyone who says that they’ve got everything figured out is lying to you. It’s hard to maintain that balance. Maybe the relationship lever is going well, but your business lever isn’t. Maybe your health is being ignored at the expense of your personal goals. You’re never going to get it all right. It’s totally an illusion.
But that’s okay. You can get up each day and keep trying to balance all of those parts of your life out. That’s what Cliff has discovered too. He likes helping people. He likes being around his kids. And he says, “There comes a time in your life when you’ve got to figure out what’s best for you.”
How Cliff Created More Family Time
If you’ve got your purpose figured out, and you want to create better balance in your life, the next question is: How do you create more family time?
A lot of coaches, pastors, and motivational speakers right now are talking about working within your energy. That means figuring out what you love to do, and then outsourcing the rest of it. If you’re working within your energy, you wake up every day excited to tackle your to-do list and just make positive things happen in your life.
For Cliff, this meant selling off his headache houses, hiring a bookkeeper to do the task he dreaded the most, and focusing more on deal-making, which he loved. He added to his team 2 virtual assistants and a property manager to move even more of the day-to-day tasks off of his plate, so that he could focus on big picture planning.
And then he created Show Me The Rental so that he could stop wasting his time and his property manager’s time with completely unqualified tenants. He calls prescreening the tenants “the crap part of the management business”. If you want decent tenants then it has to be done, but the current system can be so inefficient.
I remember managing the first duplex that I owned by putting an ad in the classified section of the paper. It was such a pain to schedule a viewing, rush to the duplex to open it up, only to have the potential tenant not show. I called it getting “porched”, and it was a tremendous time waster. It was stressful and frustrating, and it cost me real money.
You’re never going to perfectly balance all of the parts of your life, but that’s okay. You’ve just got to find out what works for you, and forget the Jones. Don’t compare your life to someone else’s
Sometimes you’ll feel like everything’s coming along, and sometimes you’ll look up and find that you’ve been too focused on your business or your marriage. What matters most is that you get up every day, recognize your life for the gift that it is, and try your best for that moment.