“So what do you do Mike?”
I get this question a lot. Mainly because I live in a place that constantly has new people arriving. Kids going to the same school. Expats thrust into the local community, desperate to build networks and find play dates for their kids and so forth.
I struggle with the answer. Not so long back I had a ready-to-go, killer come back for this question. It was terribly impressive too. But then it all changed. I changed. I took the better part of the year off. I semi-retired for 2017.
And it has been glorious.
I didn’t intend to take so much time off, but, as with these things, it becomes so damn addictive. Wake up when you finish sleeping. Gym. Beach. Travel…often. Afternoon drinks…far too often. I didn’t stop working completely. I worked hard on my tan – and I managed to write a book, launch a new business, speak at various conferences and, best of all, spend excessive amounts of time with the missus and larking around with the kids.
Now, ok this is all a bit tongue-in-cheek, it does happen to be fairly accurate, albeit not sustainable, yet. (I will be ‘smashing it’ in 2018…) But…let me tell you…the best decision I have made is to ditch corporate work and move to an island. The closest I like to come to an office these days is passing them by en route to an airport.
You see, stepping back from the ‘grind’ gave me space to really think and get clear on what ‘success’ looks like for me. That’s awfully cliche I realise, yet it is an important thing to do.
I write books because I enjoy it. Its fun. Its creative. I am no Dan Brown, far from it, but that’s not the objective. I do it because its kinda cool to do it.
I speak at conferences. I love that. Meeting great people, entertaining them (and myself) from stage. I do it because it too is fun and its how I want to spend my time professionally. Its not for everyone, neither is writing books, but it is for me.
I invest in start ups, I try my hand at various businesses, collaborate on diverse projects. The rules of this game are very simple. Rule 1 – it has to be fun and align with how I want to live. and that’s it.
I will come out of semi retirement of course, but on my terms. In today’s world there is technology that allows you to set the game up with rules that suit your life. Just the other day, I bumped into a friend, in the airport lounge, both heading to the ‘big smoke’ of Singapore. He was on gardening leave, moved the family to Bali and downed tools for a few months. When the day came to ‘transition’ back into his new job, they decided to not relocate back to Singapore. Instead, he would commute for a decent chunk of the time and then work from home for the rest. Solid choice. I like how he rolls.
You see, he got a glimpse of what semi-retirement on an island is like….and I don’t think he is in any rush to let that go.
Now, be clear on this. I am not boasting here. This whole set up was a happy accident. It wasn’t a result of hard planning. Social media will convince you that success is all about ‘relentless hustle’ (actually, I do like a bit a of hustle) and ‘dominating the competition’ and on and on. I am not so sure.
Sometimes life serves up these little gifts and I feel compelled to share this gift on a platform like Linkedin, because its bloody awesome…and its worth a glimpse…if you have the guts. Try it out. Give it a go.
Who knows, perhaps semi-retirement might suit you well too.
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Keynote Speaker – Author – Investor – Living in Bali – Working globally