I am in a reflective mood today and whilst it may be a strange question to ask when you are working harder than ever to fight off the recession, but "What would you do if you retired?"
Some entrepreneurs and managers will find that they have more time on their hands than they want if their businesses fails and may find themselves asking;
- What is my life all about?
- What do I want to achieve?
But others are likely to burn themselves into the ground with the massive stress of "saving their business" when, apart from economic necessity, the business damages rather than adds to their lives.
The reward for their hard work and initiative - the continuation of living a life they don't want.
Businesses Build A Life Of Their Own
Businesses have a nasty habit of shooting off in all kinds of directions as you chase opportunities which you wouldn't choose if you were to start again.
I know. I had it happen to me.
My business was overwhelmed with the type of work I didn't want.
I was good at it, the work paid very well, there was plenty of demand - but I hated it.
I got out but what about you?
So What Would You Do In Retirement?
I can't imagine losing my interest in business and in particular, what makes a business work better.
I can see myself continuing to work with a few clients for as long as anyone is interested to read or listen to my ideas.
I would travel more. There is still much of the world I want to see and so many places I want to go back to but I make sure that we have good holidays every year anyway.
And there are many other things that I would like to do but I don't have the time.
But what about you?
What are you postponing until you retire?
Even more importantly, what is work stopping you from doing now, that you will never have the opportunity to do again?
Spending more time with your children is the obvious answer if you have any. You will never see their formative years again.
Your Life...Your Business
Reading Michael Gerber's book "The E Myth Revisited" was a revelation to me when I found him explaining that the main purpose of your business is to serve you - and not the other way around.
Your business needs to be designed to give you the life you want so you live your life purposefully and not as is often the case, your personal life is whatever time your business leaves behind.
Michael Gerber wrote about the importance of knowing your Primary Aim.
It's an unusual question but one well worth answering as the first step in getting your business back in its box and under control.
It can stop you pouring your energies into saving a business you don't want to save.
Or conversely it may make you realise just how much your business means to you and the central purpose of your life.
So How Do You Find Your Primary Aim?
To find your purpose - aside from earning enough money to live now and in the future - you need to put yourself in a place where the obligation to work no longer exists.
So what would you do if you could retire tomorrow?
What would you do if you won the lottery and you never had to worry about money, ever again?
When you know the answers you can then turn your attention to the next important question.
How Can You Make Your Business Support Your Primary Aim?
Is your business a fundamental part of what you live for?
Or does your business exist to give you the money necessary to follow your passions elsewhere?