There comes a time when you may think about selling it all and moving. Here is an alternative…
Recently I was speaking to a former colleague of mine who is selling everything and moving to a place with a lower cost of living. Now to be honest, this is something that a lot of people in Southern California think about. His logic goes something like this:
I live in a 2,500 square foot house in San Diego that is worth around $800,000. If I move to _________ (fill in your pick of places in the country where the cost of living is much, much lower), I can buy a bigger and nicer house for less than half the money. This means that my housing expenses will be minimal and I won’t have to work crazy hours doing something I don’t like. In other words, I’ll be buying:
- Flexibility in career choice (and hopefully more control over my time and increased autonomy)
- Less stress (in the form of a less demanding career or even a career they enjoy)
- More time
The appeal is very real. -And I’m willing to bet that if you go to any major city in the US, you will hear similar sentiments…. but let’s unpack what is really being said here:
- I’m not doing something I enjoy right now – Many of my career coaching clients share this sentiment. One way or another they found themselves in a career that they don’t enjoy through some combination of serendipity, planning and promotion. Frequently they applied to a job that they were excited about, only to find that they were quickly promoted out of it. Yet time has passed, expensive items have been purchased, a standard of living has been established, and now they feel stuck in a role they do not enjoy.
- I want less stress in my life – I was recently speaking with someone who was lamenting the stress that came with his role as a newly promoted manager. “I used to be able to work hard and guarantee solutions. Now I have to work through other people and I have less control and more pressure. It’s stressful and I find myself constantly exhausted.” Many of us find ourselves in roles where the stress can be tremendous. However, while the temptation may be to forego the stress for an easier career, in my experience high achievers will invariably find themselves back in high demand situations over time. In other words, a more lasting solution is essential.
- I want more time – This is a consistent message that I have noticed among my higher earning friends and clients. There comes a point for most of them when they realize that more money isn’t going to do anything for their happiness (see How to be happier than a billionaire). In fact, what they really want more of is time.
Now, I’m going to argue that you don’t need to sell everything and move to rural Maine to achieve the above three goals. In fact, I think they are achievable in San Diego or in any other market.
You may not even need to change careers or even roles to achieve the elusive “work-life balance.”
What you do need to do is focus on developing your mind, training your body and utilizing tools in the right way. What do I mean by that?
We know from the research that only 10% of your current happiness is a function of the objective circumstances you find yourself in. The other 90% is 50% a function of genetics and 40% a function of mental focus, attention and your behavior.
What is fantastically empowering about this is that it means that with effort and training, you can have a radically more positive experience of your current circumstances. -But it involves changes. Changes like creating new, more productive habits that allow you to be more productive, savor the small things more (see Executive Coaching: The #1 Thing your kids want from you) and use technology to take control of your life rather than let it control you.
It is a journey, but it is well worth it.
If you’re interested in this journey, let me know by clicking here.