I am running away for a day and going to the beach tomorrow.
Why? Because I need a reset day. Life and work have been way too busy the past month or so and I am worn down. I plan to do exactly nothing. Stare at the horizon. Daydream. Meditate. Maybe paint. Maybe not.
Why? Because I can.
I work freelance. I have for the past five years or so. It’s taken some time to figure out how to make it work, but I am pretty much there now. It’s not for everyone. There are some pressures a “regular” job don’t have. You have to always be looking for the next piece of work while still doing the work at hand, on time and on budget. You answer to you for your time and if the quality of work falters, you don’t get a talking to, you get fired. Freelance is not an hours job, it’s a results job. Which means at times you work nights and weekends. Just part of the gig.
But there are also perks. The biggest perk is a flexible schedule. Ninety percent of my work isn’t based on 9-5. It’s based on X job done by X date. This means that with a little notice, I can schedule myself a day off, or help a friend, or cut out a few hours for a mid-day date with the woman I love. Sure, it means work at weird hours (Today, for instance, I’ll put in a long, long day.), but having that control of my time and being able to do things like a day at the beach or a long hike in the afternoon, or coffee with my sweetie in the middle of the day mean a lot to me.
When I began the freelance life, I went through a similar process of examining myself, my past, my likes, my dislikes, my strengths and my weaknesses – the same process I take my coaching and consulting clients through. What I discovered is what I wanted most was work that allowed me to have a life, all week long.
I had fought for time when I had worked regular jobs and hated all the things I missed because of it. I made most of my kid’s school things, but I also missed a lot of them. I missed things at church I wanted to be a part of. I pushed through things that I could have pushed through much better with a short break, a mental health day (Literally).
As I moved up in work and life, I gained more control of that time, and I was determined, I discovered, that I wanted that flexible life. It was a primary driver in going freelance.
Yes, even more than money.
I like money, but I quickly learned what I did and did not need during my divorce a decade ago. And I learned that I needed a lot less than what I had had before the divorce. In fact, I didn’t miss the stuff at all. Simple suits me. I am always giving away stuff, even to this day.
But time! That’s precious stuff. And as I age, it has become more precious.
Now, that’s my journey and my priority, but who cares? It’s not yours. If you dig deep into your heart and soul, you will find what you really want in life. Where your real priorities are.
My experience is that they are rarely what we think they are at first blush. It’s only when we dig deep that we find the things we really want. It takes a clear eye, tons of self-observation and self-honesty. With my coaching clients, it often takes 2-3 sessions to get to a real understanding of what they want most. It takes longer if you are doing the work alone.
But it is worth the work. Because how can we get what we want if we don’t know. And what if we do the work to get what we want, when what we thought we wanted when we started was not really what we want most? Think of the time wasted.
And time is precious.
Here’s what I know. I know it from my own life and I know it from reading and studying and I know it from my client’s lives. If we know what we want, we can get it. Really. There are paths and processes we can all follow and get “there”, where ever “there” is. But most of us only sort of know what we want.
In my case. I wanted time to be. And not on a rigid schedule. It took time and work and following the processes that I needed to to get there. And I am there. I’ve seen the same thing happen in my client’s lives. There is no mystery to it. It’s all belief and work. If we believe and are willing to do the work, what we want happens.
You can have what you want. We all can. There’s no secret to it. But first, we have to know what we really want. And finding it is not as easy as you think.
Off to the beach,