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Time Freedom: What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Life to Your Work

4 Actionable Tips for Entrepreneurs, Executives, Employees

Work Life Balance Is a Myth. Get Your Life Back By Reclaiming Your Time.
Richie Norton

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ― Marcus Aurelius

Get your life back.

Your life should consist of more than commuting, working, eating, surfing the Internet, sleeping and watching TV. Your life should be filled with purpose-driven experiences and projects that bring excitement, passion, energy, and authentic meaning and joy into your life.

Isn’t it amazing how two people can have a similar job, making similar money, producing similar results. . . BUT, one has all the time in the world and the other has no time at all?

Could you have all the time in the world?

Would you want more free time if you could?

What would you do with that time?

Want to make your work ‘time-freeing’ instead of ‘time-sucking’?


For example.

“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.”― Dr. Seuss

I was twenty-four years old, newly married, just finishing college and poorer than dirt. I went to pitch one of my own stupid ideas to an investment banker — a multi-millionaire who had achieved success many times over. He listened intently as I went over my business plan, then he leaned back in his chair and told me that I reminded him a lot of himself back when he was in college.

Lost in nostalgia, he talked about how exciting and satisfying life had been in those days. Like me, he’d been active, happy, enthusiastic, and full of hope. Back then, he was living the lifestyle of his dreams. He slowly shook his head, and with definite regret in his voice, told me that he had been working his entire adult life, all with the intent of someday getting back to the life he used to have when he was my age — the life my penniless, twenty-four-year-old self was living right then.

Before me sat a man who had pushed the pause button on his life.

He had put his happiness and his dreams on hold for decades so that one elusive day, after he’d “paid his dues” and “earned his keep,” he could finally live his dreams and be where he had always really wanted to be.

Now, here he sat, a lifetime later, still waiting to start living.

“How much of human life is lost in waiting!” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before my experience with the successful investment banker, I had always aimed to be successful, earn a respectable living, and make my mark on the world. (I still do.)

  • But as I looked at the years of regret etched into that man’s face, I thought, Is this what I’m after?
  • Is this the success I am seeking? I knew that I would end up living a life of regret if I too got lost in the busyness of life — lost in waiting.

Then and there I made a decision:

I refuse to achieve “success” at the expense of my life.

The two — life success and genuine fulfillment — will have to go hand in hand, because I will not keep my head down for the next forty years only to look up at the end and say, “Now I can finally start living!”


The problem.

“The best way out is always through.” ― Robert Frost

People say they don’t have enough time in the day.

People wish they had more time to spend on their personal lives, dreams and family. People say that their profession keeps them from having more time to live their ideal lifestyle. People blame their manager for the reason they can’t coach their children’s sports teams, exercise, vacation, build passion projects, etc…

– Have you used the excuse that work is the reason you don’t have time?

– Is work really the reason you can’t spend your time how you want?

– What if you could change how you work or how you get paid?

– Would any change make any difference in how you spend your time?

But,

Money is needed to live, right? Money is needed to pay the bills. Saving money and waiting is the key to enjoy your ideal lifestyle one day in the future (retirement), right? Money is needed to live with greater meaning, save the whales and have peace of mind, right?

So,

People work. People work and wait.

People work and wait for an illusive time when they will have all that they need to do all that they want.

People have been taught that if they trade their time (their life) for work (money), they will one day be able to resume their life (in retirement).

Get real.

“The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone…I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey — now.” — Thomas S. Monson

Will you really live your best life inside retirement?

How many years away is a financially solid retirement for you?

Will you wait till retirement to live out your ideas and dreams?

Will you miss spending time with your family in order to build a 401k?

Will you actually live to see retirement? (Yikes. It just got real.)

Choosing to put your life on pause now only to resume your life some random day in the future while you put bullet points on you résumé…is holding you back from greater fulfillment in life, greater money and greater meaning.

Waiting to live now so you can live later is stopping you from living now and later.

Your future is illusive unless you live here and now.

Important: The ability to retire is great!

The unintended consequence of retirement planninghowever, is that while people plan for future financial savings and investments (a good thing), they get it all mixed up with saving their dreams for later (a bad thing). Save your money, not your dreams!

Retirement planning is too often planned procrastination.

Unintended Consequences or Incentivized Intentions?

In the late 1800s, organizations in countries such as Germany and the United States began to offer pensions to meet the needs of the people.

Often they put a restriction on the disbursement of retirement benefits and granted them only to the people who met the company’s or the government’s special requirements (such as reaching the age of sixty-five).

Companies and governments essentially said, “If you do what I want you to do today, I’ll give you money tomorrow.”

Now, more than a hundred years after that first wave of pensioners, we have several generations of people who have actually been incentivized to put off their dreams until age sixty-five or later.

Kids in their twenties waited forty years to go on vacation. Holy hell. How is this real life? Kids in their twenties are STILL being asked to wait forty years to live. Absurd.

With a promise in hand (from management or government or retirement planners) that life-after-work will be better, we crumple up our dreams like a paper ball and toss them out the window, hoping that the wind will blow those dreams back our way when we finally hit retirement.

Don’t let that person be you.

You don’t have to be that person. It’s your life. Times really have changed. You don’t have to salute the man for forty years and beg for a check that you pay back into the company store. You are not owned so own your life. Own it.

Here’s how you can choose both money and meaning today and bless your future at the same time…


THE TIME FREEDOM SOLUTION

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Life to Your Work

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius

Authors Richie and Natalie Norton in The Dominican Republic After Giving a Training to Entrepreneurs from Around the Globe
4 Actionable Tips for Entrepreneurs, Executives, Employees You Can Apply Immediately for Greater Time Freedom Here and Now

1. Make a happy life.

  • Make it your personal responsibility to make ideas happen.
  • When you decide, really decide, to move on ideas that you want to pursue, you’ll no longer be the person that says:
  • Don’t say, “I’ll do it later,” “Maybe someday, ” “I wish I could, but I can’t because . . .” Those are the words of non-achievers and regret-mongers.
  • Instead of wondering when you’re finally going to start, decide to act today.
  • Don’t get lost in waiting.
  • Don’t live a life of regret.
  • Don’t lose out on opportunities that can influence your life and the lives of others for good.

2. Choose both money and meaning now (don’t sacrifice one or the other).

This is the Money VS Meaning Matrix I created to help myself make decisions regarding which projects that I take on. I’ve also found this matrix to be incredibly helpful when I’m working with consulting clients — particularly those who are working with me in my Platinum Mastermind Group.

The Money VS Meaning Matrix — in a nutshell:

Quadrant 1: This is where you make a lot of money, but the work is not really meaningful to you. You’re happy you’re prospering, sure, but you find you burn out easily (and/or get bored), and you wish you were getting more deep satisfaction out of your work/life. From the outside looking in, it would appear that you’ve got it all, but on the inside, there is definitely something missing. You long to use your talents and passions to make a meaningful contribution in your industry (or another one all together), but unfortunately, you’re just too busy making money.

Quadrant: 2: In quadrant 2, you’re making money while simultaneously experiencing real satisfaction from the meaningful work in which you’re engaged. You’re happy to be living a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle, you’re fulfilled by your work, AND you’re deeply satisfied by the contribution you’re making in your industry/the world. Quadrant 2, my friends, is the sweet spot.

Quadrant 3: This is where you seem to constantly be struggling to make ends meet. The income just doesn’t ever seem to be enough for you to experience real, sustainable financial security — let alone ever get ahead. Furthermore, the work you’re doing seems meaningless. You may feel trapped, and you definitely find yourself wishing that things were very different. At times, you may even feel hopeless. You find yourself desperately waiting for a) circumstances to magically change or b) for an opportunity to come along for you to do something different.

Quadrant 4: This is where the work you’re doing is fulfilling and making a meaningful difference. You love what you do. The work fuels and excites you. But as it stands, the work is simply not making enough money to be sustainable. You may find yourself resenting money, overwhelmed and/or discouraged by the need to bring in consistent cash flow, when all you really want to do is make a difference in the world. You would give anything to be able to stop worrying about when/where/or how the next paycheck will arrive and wether or not it will be enough to keep things afloat. Meaningful work is great, but if you’re in Quadrant 4 and it’s not profitable, you likely feel a considerable amount of inner conflict or “mission drift,” because no matter how meaningful the work you’re doing actually is, you still have to be able to pay the bills.

So, where do you fit in?

Plot your current situation, then ask yourself these questions:

1. Why am I here?

2. How can I move from where I am to where I want to be?

3. Am I willing to make the sacrifice to get there (or stay there)?

4. What one thing can I do today to move myself closer to Quadrant 2?

If you know where you are and where you want to go, you can work a path to get there sooner than later.

3. Change How You’re Paid, Change Your Life

I’m not going to tip toe around this. There are ways to use your time better, but the most effective way to regain your time is to change how you get paid. This may or may not mean another job. It generally means where you can get work done and if you are paid on results or hours.

The relationship between your pay and your life is a case for both correlation and causation — it is just plain truth whether you believe it or not — like gravity.

Consider these questions and self-reflect. Not all will be applicable.

…think how it applies on both a micro and macro level, globally.

— When do you get up in the morning? Why?

— When do you come home? Why?

— Do you have to ask someone for permission to do anything, anytime, ever? Why?

— If you had a different job…your ideal employment (or self-employment), would your lifestyle change…at all? Why?

— Where do you live? Why?

— When do you go on vacation? Why?

— Do you dread Monday or is it like any other day of the week? Why?

— Who do you hang out with 9–5, M-F? Why?

— Are weekends a thing for you? Do you like them or dread them or just…whatever? Why?

If you’re a thinking person, you realize these are all loaded questions. Sorry about that. You get the point though, yeah?

These questions directly tie back to your job and HOW you get paid.

Not how much you get paid.

…how much you’re paid is irrelevant for the purposes of this article.

— I know billionaires (personally) strapped to a chair by choice because their business model revolves around the revolving chair they sit in.

— I know people in poverty (personally) who hate life because they can’t make ends meet.

— I know multi-millionaires that do whatever they want, whenever they want because their business model is mobile and has nothing to do with an elevator or swiveling chair.

— I know people barely making ends meet who do whatever they want, whenever they want because they can and they are happy.

Don’t joke yourself — you know (or know of) these people too.

Can you think of other types of people, how they are paid and how they can use (or not use) their only real resource…their time?

Of course you can.

There are myriad ways to make money, yet regardless of how much you’re paid, how and why you get paid dictates your lifestyle.

Reread that last line.

Internalize it.

This is important because even those that leave jobs to become entrepreneurs mess it all up when they create another job for themselves.

Idiots.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?

Entrepreneurs think in a box (an office) and live in an echo chamber of parrots(Sorry, entrepreneurs. You know it’s true. We do. Until we don’t!)

Why not own your business rather than be owned by your business?

See the difference?

HOW you get paid…

…no matter how much money you make…

…or whether you’re a freelancing-self-employed-consultant-author-webinar-guru-dude…

…or you’re some radical-world-changing-tech-loving-entrepreneur…

…or you’re a 9–5-grinder-work-for-the-man kind of person…

HOW and WHY and WHERE you get paid DICTATES your life.

The good news?

The gospel of pay is that you can change your life by changing how you’re paid.

If you want to change your life, you must change how and why you get paid.

— You can change your mindset,

— You can change your fitness level,

— You can change what you read and listen to,

…You can change ALL things in your life, but until you take action on a new business model through employment or entrepreneurship, your day-to-day lifestyle remains the same.

That’s the gospel of pay.

You know this is true. Let it sink in. Make adjustments as necessary.

Your lifestyle is directly tied to HOW you are paid and where you are expected to be and how you deliver on that obligation.

4. Ask a better question, get a better answer.

I’ve learned that if I ask myself something like…”How can I do ABC, without XYZ happening?”…then my mind works until I find an answer. This statement came from a mentor of mine.

So, instead of saying you can’t have freedom of time because of your work…why not ask how you can have freedom of time because of your work? How can you make your work free up your time? This question may not seem logical now. That’s ok. Just ask the question.

Questions lead to answers. Better questions lead to solutions.

Overtime your mind can work on solving the problem. Answers may include outsourcing, asking if you can work remotely, solving big problems that solve the little problems that consumer your day.

I test and experiment many ideas to find a solution and then employ the strategy with aligned tactics that work.

Strategy is in the head. Tactics are in the hand.

Notice that I didn’t say something like “stop watching Netflix”. The idea is to be able to make real change, not some bandaid gotcha for pop-psych candy article.

For example,

It dawned on me how global my businesses are and they are all run…from my cell phone.

  • From my home in Hawaii to China to Europe I work with people on over a hundred different physical and digital products at any given time.
  • I also have all the time in the world. I know billionaires that don’t have the time freedom I enjoy. Time freedom is less about money and more about systems.
  • I get paid by using my cell phone as my computer, my office and my talking machine while I walk on the beach.
  • I meet people from Tonga, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand to talk about their issues. No money is exchanged. We just talk because…I have time.
  • Then, that night I got a call from a business partner in China.
  • Then, I’ll get a call from Spain.
  • Then another call from Germany.
  • All while another service I have is being fulfilled by people in Lithuania.

This all happens in half a day.

It’s awesome. Thank you Internet gods.

Our minds are limited by what we see unless we dream.

Don’t limit your life by borders.

How I can help you get more time freedom.

Click this link.

I have a bunch of free checklists, guides and even recordings of live trainings. Normally people give you one thing to pick and get for free. Here is the whole enchilada. Enjoy. Gracias. All free sisters and brothers. 🙂

Click here for a ton of free stuff valued over tens of thousands of dollars and used by tens of thousands of people. Many who told me their life was changed for good as a result. One love. 🙂

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