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Have you ever heard of Simon Sinek? He wrote that book about knowing your “why”. Honestly, it never really resonated with me when I read as an entrepreneur, but when I think about it in the context of Funding Happy, it makes total sense.
All the things I teach – from saving money to reducing your stuff – are great when you start out, but at some point, it becomes a pain in the ass. Suddenly, you go from feeling like you’re winning at life because your line-item budgets is color-coded and tracked to the penny, to some point where you realize your friends stopped inviting you out because you’ve become so cheap. Now it’s just you and your $2 Raman noodles at home on a Saturday night. That’s generally the tipping point where you ask yourself “WTF am I doing?”
Look, life is short. We have to balance being responsible with finances to save for a better tomorrow, yet also realizing that tomorrow may never come.
So how to reconcile these two opposing, but very possible realities?
Know what you’re doing it all for. Know your “why”.
For me, every step in my Funding Happy journey is about the “workstyle” I want to have. Workstyle, the piece of your lifestyle that relates to contribution and income, is a big chunk of life, so it has to fit well. For me, that means few to no meetings, working mostly on my own (in yoga pants), rarely (if ever) commuting and working when and where I want. That may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not. I still work hard. I still hammer out really heady projects for my corporate clients then when I shut that side down, I turn to the blog and crank out my ideas here too. Then there’s the whole marketing, social and networking work that needs to be done every day, and oh, times that by 2 because I have a second blog as well.
So while I’m no stranger to hard work, my “why” is that I have a deep and abiding need for freedom and independence. I would love nothing more than to thrive in a full-time corporate environment because quite honestly, in Silicon Valley I would make much more money that way, but truth is, the call for slippers and yoga pants is too strong to be denied.
Smart Trade-offs that Fund Happiness
So I chose to work harder, longer hours for myself and make less money, but I’m still way happier than when I was doing the full-time corporate thing. I write a lot about FIRE here on this blog, but the truth is, FIRE was only a motivation for me when I wanted out of my full-time job. Now that I work the way I want, I have no need to retire early. Or more to the point, I kinda have retired early and now I’m doing the work that I love just because I can.
That’s my why and it’s what keeps me balanced and on track. I still spend money frivolously sometimes. I buy more yoga pants than I will ever need and I will never eat Raman (too many carbs). But, I keep my living expenses low (with the exception of my ridiculous Silicon Valley mortgage) so that I can optimize my career choices, be picky about the corporate clients I pick up and have more time to do this right here – write for you.
What about you? What happiness are you looking to fund? I’d love to know.