The Guy Who Ruined EVERYTHING!
As I write this, I am sitting on a cobble-stone patio in Kimberley, British Columbia about 580 miles from where I live. I am in Kimberley even though I still worked on my law practice all week, serving clients. It has been a huge adventure and I have seen parts of my home province that I have never seen before.
For the past 10 days I was able to practice law and run my coaching business from my laptop. My office now fits in my purse. I have taken this journey by ferry, car, city bus, private airplane, hitchhiking and taxi.
Taking a journey like this in the middle of the week, while I was still working in my law practice, is something I never would have realized as a possibility a few short years ago.
So many of us divorce lawyers work our butts off, burning the candle at both ends so to speak, without even questioning that there can be a better way.
I worked for years not questioning the structure of my work. I did not have time for much of anything. I assumed that I could rest, look after myself, and be happy once I got to retirement, or the weekend, or my once annual 10 days’ off.
I come from a working-class background and I had always assumed that working extremely hard until retirement was simply the “way it was.” All the lawyers at the first law firm I worked at worked long hours, took limited vacations and rarely went a whole weekend without being in the office. It was “just the way it was.”
I believed that it was my lot to always be working long hours, to be living in a state of constant chaos, and to be experiencing regular crushing stress and anxiety.
I accepted all of it. It was “just the way it was,” I put my head down, went to work, and kept at it.
Then all hell broke loose.
I read the Four-Hour Work Week, a book written by Tim Ferris.
And he ruined everything!
Tim Ferris, who coined the word, “life design” made me question everything about the way I structured my work, my life, my contribution, and my happiness.
Now I had a whole new level of misery.
When I thought it was just the “way it was” I did not question the life I was leading.
Ferris’ own story is that he removed himself from his own “successful” company. He was working insanely long hours, was profoundly miserable, and saw no end in sight to the drag that was his life. He purposefully created and designed a life doing what he loves, that is learning and traveling.
By the way, Ferris actually works a heck of a lot more than 4 hours per week. He has, however, created what many would see as a dream life. He travels, is an angel investor, writes books, and has a really interesting podcast. He makes the world a better place every day.
Ferris had the guts to call out the mainstream of what is expected of people and what is supposed to mean “success” in our overall western society.
He points out that people want to become wealthy because they want to have the experiences of what people believe wealthy people experience. He suggests that you can design a life of your choosing. If you do not have the typical trappings of “success,” as in the big car with the big lease payment, the huge mortgage, etc. that you can create and design a lifestyle on your own terms.
Ferris makes the daring suggestion that we not postpone living until our retirements, that we start living large in the moment, and start doing so immediately.
Ferris has revolutionized the way many professionals think about our work.
I was so ticked off because his message applied to me and made me rethink everything about my life and career. I was living a ridiculous life.
An accountant I know (who only works three hours per day, and who spends the rest of his time doing what he loves, golfing, working out, and spending time in nature) said to me recently, “Tim Ferriss saved my life.”
Prior to reading Tim Ferris this friend was an accountant working and\ living in Toronto working 60+ hour weeks with a long commute. He doesn’t own a lot, and to an outsider he lives the lifestyle of a tremendously wealthy person.
When I first read his book, I said to myself, “Oh, easy for you to say Tim Ferris! You don’t know what it is like to be a divorce lawyer with clients, and real problems.”
He ruined everything for me. The problem is that he was right.
It took a while, but I did start to take a really hard look at my life.
Ferris freed me up from the idea that I could do something other than the drudgery of exhausting work, long hours, and no time. He freed me up from the life I had thought I was expected to live.
And here I am hanging out In Kimberley, British Columbia having a blast. I don’t see clients until 10 am and take off most Fridays from my law practice. As you know I walk in the woods almost every day, and I finally have time for workouts (dang, no excuses!)
This lifestyle change did not happen right away for me, however, when I got purposeful about designing my life, I took small steps that have amounted to a huge difference.
I am literally living the life I never imagined was even a possibility a few short years ago.
So, I gotta say thank you Tim Ferris. Thanks for ruining everything!
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