This is my answer to Pam Slim’s “Your Ideal Life” exercise (pg 65) in her book, Escape from Cubicle Nation. Which by the way, I highly recommend.
I live in a self-renovated historic bungalow with original hardwood floors and a fireplace that keeps us warm in the fall and winter months. The climate is temperate, and we enjoy the long growing season. Outside, the birds eat out of a feeder and play in a water fountain in my backyard garden paradise that I created myself with the help of my father (who is really the one with the green thumb). The neighborhood is reasonably quiet, but every so often is broken with the sounds of playing children, music and people having hearty conversations during back yard barbeques. The neighbors are extremely friendly and down to Earth. We often get together for neighborhood barbecues, coffee in the morning on each others porches or drinks in the evening. The main city center isn’t too far away from our community, allowing us access to downtown if we want to go out on the town or attend a business meeting.
I treat myself with dignity and respect, allowing myself the time to enjoy doing things that don’t always involve financial profit. I allow myself to appreciate life in the finer details that money can’t buy. I am proud of my life and my accomplishments.
With my husband
I have a loving, supportive husband, he and I are good friends and really look out for one another, a partner who sticks by me through the tough times (which are reasonably few) and celebrates the great times. Someone that can appreciate the value of communication, understanding, respect, trust, love, and happiness. We make our relationship a priority. If conflict arises, we sit down immediately and talk about it calmly. We give each other room to pursue our own interests, without laying guilt on each other. We are physically affectionate, and give each other positive verbal encouragement all the time.
With my kids
I have two great kids whom I provide love and guidance to, teaching them about my experience with the good and the bad all while not being too serious considering they’ll get enough of that when they’re older.
With my friends
I have a great group of people I call friends all over the world that I can depend on for support, guidance and a good night out.
With my family
I’m so blessed to have my dad living under my roof. He is my most favorite person in the world and it’s great to be able to share his remaining life with me and our family. I’m extremely close with my siblings and even though I may live far away, they know they are still close to my heart. We still make time to visit and to call each other to show we care.
With my clients
The people I do business with are good people with great ideas wanting to make a difference in this world. Passionate and driven to do the right thing, they trust my expertise to help them in their mission. They aren’t in business for the money it makes but for the drive they have inside themselves to create and serve their customers and communities to the best of their abilities. These people compliment me by being a sounding board for my business decisions, help build our businesses together and remind me why I do what I do.
I sleep well at night and wake up each morning rested and ready to take on the day. I live an active lifestyle – finding time to take nature hikes with the kids, garden, walk the dogs, go out dancing or relaxation through yoga and pilates practice. We have a great time cooking healthy meals at home or learning about ethic cultures while eating at local restaurants. My body feels alive and youthful since I started focusing on my overall health – mentally, physically, and spiritually. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I am no longer stress junkie. I respect myself by allowing myself time to reflect, stop and enjoy just for the sake of enjoying something. To make time for me and my passions that I do merely for the fact that they make me happy.
I work both alone and with several different teams of people that vary from time to time. Allowing me to continuously create valuable relationships with a variety of people over a expansive network of industries. I work both from my home office and on the road as I travel once every one to two months for different speaking engagements. My schedule does vary quite a bit, allowing me flexibility in my day and to work when I really feel the motivation and to relax and not stress out if I’m just not feeling it between 8 AM – 5 PM. This also varies from week to week but with some lead-way, so that I can comfortably plan a few weeks in advance.
Nature of Work
I am blessed that I get to create and teach at the same time. I enjoy the strategy I do for clients and the analysis of the success of that work. I, through presenting my work, am allowed the opportunity to teach my clients how they can make their business better through more than just marketing, but through meaningful client interactions that can benefit them as well as the customer they’re looking to reach. Then overseeing the implementation of that strategy over many networks of integrated communications to put that plan into action. In addition to still creating, I also teach people within this process how to excel their ability to make these connections through design, communication, strategy, process and finally analysis which invariably leads to revision in most situations to increase each connections success. I enjoy solving real problems with ethical solutions in a way that is accountable and reliable. I help bring people together in a cohesive team that allows for better efficiency while allowing more honest, open communication among team members.
I make enough to help our family (costs split between husband and I based on % of income, dad also pitches in) to be comfortable in our 4 bedroom / 2 bath house, with the kids and a couple of trips a year, nothing crazy just your standard family vacation on the cheap, maybe skip a couple years and go some place exotic that requires a passport. I have benefits with my job, some of them people would call perks – insurance through either my husband’s full-time position or through our own insurance, my flexible schedule allows me to usually be around to pick the kids up from class if they’re sick at a drop of a hat, I can work mostly at my own time and set my pace, and even sometimes clients trade out for extras such as hotel stays or clothing. My income does fluctuate at times depending on the type of work I’m doing, but I have enough in savings (3-6 months of expenses) to wait out the dry times. I have a great credit score that I keep up on, I am extremely reliable with my bills and pay my contractors not only on time but maybe even a bit extra for an awesome job well done. Besides the house, I’m debt free and only have a credit card for emergencies for the business.
So what do you think? Am I asking too much?