By Doren Aldana
I recently emailed a relatively well known mortgage/real estate trainer (who I will keep unnamed) to see if he might be interested in being featured as a guest expert on my “Meetings with Mortgage Masters” interview series. He replied back asking if I’d like to meet him in-person the next time he comes to Vancouver. Not wanting to wait that long to do an interview I asked him if he’d be open to having a quick chat on the phone. He replied, asking if I was available to talk on Friday. As you may know, I don’t work Fridays and haven’t for years, so I asked him if another day would work. Now, here’s where the story gets interesting.
Below is an abridged version of the long, drawn out email he sent back to me:
“Hi Doren… What you consider “enslavement”, I consider good solid business practices. I personally do not buy into 4-day workweeks, nor would I recommend them to anyone who wants to be truly successful in business. A person can work a solid 5-day workweek to maximize their business opportunities and still have plenty of family and personal time. There are certain core principles to running a successful small business (which is what every one of my clients does) and unless you are semi-retired, 4 work days just doesn’t cut it.
You see, I think the core difference between us is that I LOVE my work, I’m inspired to get up every morning, I love the challenges I face, and I take great satisfaction from serving my clients and helping them succeed. From the sounds of it, you view work like a “chore” – something you want to do less of. My suggestion would be to identify a job you are passionate about, go after it ferociously, and still have plenty of time for family and friends in the evenings, weekends and holidays.
I’m glad for you that you take Fridays off, but my recommendation to you is that if you have a referral source as busy as I am, who has the ability to send multiple business opportunities your way, asks for an appointment on a Friday, it would behoove you to meet with them on their schedule – as you mentioned, it was only a 15 minute phone call.
Let’s agree to disagree on our business models and go our separate ways. As much as I don’t have a lot of time for this type of correspondence, it was better for me to find out early that we are not a good match. Our philosophies don’t mesh well, so it would not be appropriate for me to teach students one thing in my classes and then hand them over to a coach who doesn’t believe in the same core principles I do.”
Wow! How’s that for arrogance? As you might imagine, my first knee-jerk reaction was to smack him upside the head and give him a serious verbal lashing for being such a jerk. However, my conscience got the best of me. I decided to take a few deep breaths and respond with all the restraint and courtesy I could muster. Here’s how it went:
“Thanks for your reply. I think perhaps you have misunderstood my motives behind why I have chosen to have a 4-day workweek. It’s not that I don’t love my work – I do LOVE to work! In fact, if I wasn’t married, I’d probably work 6 days per week. My wife would attest to that. I am a passionate entrepreneur and I’m serious about being successful.
Truth be told, the only reason why I work a 4-day workweek is because my wife’s primary love language is QUALITY TIME and it makes her happy. As the old saying goes, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!” I resisted the initial prompt from my wife to try it out, however, after a couple weeks I felt notably more balanced, more energized and more productive with the four days I did work. I got things done like never before. Even with taking that extra day off every week I’ve been able to enjoy triple digit growth two years in a row and this year is looking like it’s going to be a record year for sales and profits once again. Results don’t lie.
I don’t say all this to brag, but to make the simple point that business success is a personal thing. Each person’s definition of success is unique to their values and goals in life. For me personally, I don’t live to work, I work to live. I have made a conscious decision to create a business that provides freedom, autonomy and a flexible lifestyle. For example, I took my family to Mexico for 3 months last year. I woke up early every morning and went surfing for an hour. Then I worked my regular schedule from the laptop. That’s the kind of life I want to live – a life of adventure, fun and balance!
With that said, I still bust my balls and work with focused intensity Monday to Thursday. My kids, my wife and I are all happier for it. I now have more juice to serve my clients because my emotional/spiritual tank is full. I am being true to myself, and my family, and for that I make no apologies.
Interestingly, you’re the first person I’ve ever met who was not only NOT inspired but adamantly opposed to my lifestyle choice and business philosophy. It’s almost as if you see me as a threat to your way of life or something. Quite frankly, I find it very strange that you choose not to work with someone just because they work one day less than you per week. If you insist on making me wrong for living my life by design (not by default), then yes, you’re right, we aren’t the right fit. If that’s the way you’re committed to seeing things, I will give you that freedom. It’s your life. I’m happy either way.” 🙂
Yah, I probably came across a bit arrogant too but it felt so darn good I just couldn’t help it. Perhaps that’s why God said, “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” Heck, if I was God, I’d want it all for myself too!
Why am I sharing all this with you? A couple of reasons: One, for the sheer amusement of it all. Second, to get you thinking about why you’re in business and what exactly it is you intend to accomplish. If you don’t have a clear blueprint to follow, with all the details and dimensions of what you’re building, don’t be surprised (like I was) if some arrogant bonehead barges in, telling you how to run your life. In some cases, it might even be a well-intended family member or a friend. Don’t let them stop you! To succeed you must be immune to criticism. You’re either building your business by design or by default – you can’t do both. Which are you?
Here are ten thought provoking questions to get you thinking about what success really means to you:
1. What would your business look like if there was no way you could possibly fail?
2. What income level would you be earning if you were living your ideal lifestyle?
3. How many days and hours per week would you be working if you were living your ideal lifestyle?
4. How many days of vacation time would you have if you were living your ideal lifestyle?
5. What are the characteristics of your ideal client?
6. What are the characteristics of your ideal referral partner?
7. Ideally, how many staff/team members do you want?
8. In your ideal world, what activities would you be filling your time with that would juice you the most?
9. How would you know if you were being successful, living your dream life? What would it look like?
10. Why is it a MUST for you to turn your dream into reality? Why is this vision so motivating to you?
Now wait a minute! Don’t even think about leaving this post without writing out (or typing) your answers to those ten important questions. If you truly want to live a life by design instead of by default, this exercise is critical. Remember, clarity is power. Once you have a clear vision for your life, you’ll begin to magically attract the secret keys to unlock the manifestation process. In closing, let me leave you with a timely quote from Zig Ziglar: “Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them!”
So, what do you think of this post? Please share your thoughts/comments below. I love feedback!