As I look at social media and see everyone ‘living their best life’ doing lots of activities, holidays and posting about living their best life and their dream lives, and I wonder what that means to different people? Social media paints a picture that is often false and puts pressure on us all to do more, do bigger, do better, do something. What if living your dream life is doing ‘nothing’? Doing ‘nothing’ is an acquired art. We need to remember how to spend time with ourselves doing nothing, especially women.
It has been my motto for over 11 years now, ever since I created my business in 2012 to live my best life, which continues to be a very personal goal of mine. It was part of my ‘WHY’ list back in 2012.
So as we come up to the rentree in France, once again, I think to myself, not only have I managed to survive the almost 3 months of school holidays but find enjoyment too. Yes, I survived with only a week off from my business and a husband who had no time off this summer. I really wanted to find some downtime just to be present for my teenage son, and for me too.
Having built my ‘best life’ approach into my business over the past few years this happens almost intuitively, which allows me to work when I want but also to have downtime when I need it. This approach didn’t happen overnight. It’s a year-on-year progress.
So, although I took very little ‘off time’, I managed my work agenda on a summer schedule. Each day, I started work at 11am, which allowed me to add in my snippet of joy. I built in my gym session twice a week. I had lunch most days with my son (when he was around) plus we had a few little trips away that I booked out of my agenda. I managed his logistics around mine, and as I never work Fridays, that always gives me a long weekend to make the most of my family life.
« Living my best life »…
I mean, why would I leave a successful corporate career if not to live a better life? Why would I give up the stability of a regular salary if not to have more freedom with my time? Why would I give up set working hours unless I found immense pleasure in working with my clients when it suits them and me? Why would I leave a corporate office with four walls if it wasn’t for allowing myself to work from wherever I want and not in another office with four walls?
Living your best life is a motto not just for me but also for my team. It is part of my value system. Our business of dealing with relocation can be extremely stressful, time-consuming, frustrating, and sometimes a thankless job. We must share our frustration regularly and let off steam. We must constantly find solutions together as a team when dealing with French organisations. We need to continually understand the different changes in the system to answer our client’s questions. Top of the list also is finding time to live our best life.
Living my best life is about bringing this philosophy into your office: Who says you need an office to have a team meeting? A boat will work just as well! Who says you need an office to do your emails? The garden, a café, or a terrace is perfectly acceptable. Who says you must meet your clients in an office with four walls? A hotel by the pool will work just as well and is often so much nicer for the client and builds in snippets of one’s best life in the process. I love going to see my clients in different locations.
Living my best life is about increasing my energy levels and finding snippets of joy in everything I do. I start my day at the village with a coffee and my notepad to write down my objectives of the day: calling my daughter or son to see how they are, going to my gym, reading a book, sitting on my terrace, having an impromptu chat with a friend, a dip in the sea, listening to music, dancing, a walk on the early evening to finish my day. So many little snippets of joy that cost no money.
Living my best life is all about avoiding depletion of energy and avoiding repetition each day of those tasks (or people) who do not bring me joy. What or who depletes your energy? If your snippets of joy no longer bring you joy, you likely have too much energy depletion. I work each day to reduce the energy depletion. From a business perspective, finding new processes, templates and prioritising actions daily, planning my agenda, tools & teams, email management. From a personal perspective, surround yourself with positive energy and people who bring you joy.
Living my best life is about working to live and not living to work: I absolutely love what I do. I particularly love choosing who I work with and seeing them live their best lives. I absolutely love my team. More importantly, I love that I decide when I want to work and when I don’t. I am willing to accept the consequences of my beliefs. I don’t believe in retirement at whatever age, I believe in living your best life now, living your retirement now by finding snippets of your best life in everything you do so that your work is part of your daily life. So, who needs to worry about what age they retire when they love what they do each day? Even if you are salaried, you can ensure that at the beginning, middle and end of each day you can find some little snippets of joy: music in the car, stop off for a drink with a friend, lunchtime meet-ups, pop over to the beach. There is always something you can do.
For many, it may not be that simple, for those with jobs, and those who are single parents, the world we live in has become more and more complex to live in, more and more expensive. I do get this. I come from a working-class background, with minimal money to survive. I started working at 17, with no university education. So, I know what it’s like to live on a shoestring. I really do. I came to France in a dilapidated car with a 5-month-old child, very little money but a heart bursting with energy and positivity. I just knew I would be ok.
I have always believed that what goes around comes around. Nowadays, in the new jargon, that would be the world of universal energy or universal attraction. For me it’s simple: do good, and good will come back to you. Find the good in your difficult situation. There is ALWAYS someone in a worse position than you.
I sincerely hope that you are living your best life, whatever that may look like for you, and this is a very personal approach. It is so different for everyone. If not, find one nice thing to do today to make you smile. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does need to count for you.
I hope this post resonates with you, and I would love to hear how you LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE.