As the notorious 20th century poet, Christopher Wallace, said, “Mo money, mo problems.”
Actually, mo money isn’t the problem; it’s what you give up to get it.
Grasping after more – more money, more success, more (insert your brand of carrot here) – has us gasping for air like a hamster on a wheel.
We think we need more to help us numb out from the stress of work and life. So we work harder and grasp after more so we can numb out more. It’s a vicious (not to mention exhausting) cycle.
So I’ve been thinking about the word “enough” a lot lately – both for myself and for my clients.
Last week I had to turn away a handful of prospective clients. Wait. Let me rephrase that: last week I chose to turn away a handful prospective clients, either because our schedules conflicted or because the fit just wasn’t right.
I could have easily rearranged my schedule and taken them on, but I chose not to.
Why? Because I have enough. More isn’t better.
I’ve only been in business for two years, so I’m not exactly making it rain (yet). But I have enough. And enough is, surprisingly, enough. Who knew?
For most of my life I’ve had a voracious appetite for success. More, more, more was my personal motto. Things have changed.
Last week a new client asked me how many appointments I take each day. Ideally, it’s four. Five max.
“That’s it?” he asked.
Yup. Logistically speaking, I could see six clients a day. I could also take evening and weekend appointments. But I don’t.
Similarly, a few colleagues have told me, you could save so much time and get even more clients if you had an automated scheduling system!
True. But I have enough. More isn’t better.
I work from home on Fridays. It feels like such a treat. I don’t set an alarm, so I wake up when my body wants to. I shlepp around in jogging pants and I spend the day writing or working on administrative stuff. I take a long lunch and I enjoy a manicure or a hot bath or a sunny stroll. I love that I can do that.
But if I took clients on Fridays I could make 20% more money! Isn’t that worth giving up a few simple pleasures?
Hell no. More isn’t better.
If I was burning out or taking on more than I wanted I’d be a pretty shitty coach, not to mention a bad example. I run a business that helps people get happier at work, so you bet your ass I’m walking the talk.
I’m intentional about the metrics for my own success, and I’m going for quality, not quantity.
I have clients who are doing the same. I’ve worked with several six-figure clients who willingly took a significant pay cut for a happier, simpler life.
With any choice, you gain something and you give something up. That’s how it works. It just depends on what you want and what you’re willing to give up. The scales will tip differently for different people.
I’m not just talking about business. This applies to anything in life.
I recently helped a woman decide if she wanted to have a third child. She struggled with the decision because there would be less disposable income. Her friends had bigger houses than she did, and more money. A third child would mean keeping the small-ish house, less clothes shopping, and fewer vacations per year. But after crunching the numbers, that was it. Financially, that was the only drawback. Her and her husband both wanted a baby and they could easily handle all of the other expenses. They had enough. Adding another member to their family was worth giving up some clothes shopping and a few vacations.
Once you have enough, more isn’t necessarily better.
If you don’t have enough, that’s a different story. Not having enough sucks.
I kept my teaching gig for a year before I took my business full-time because I wouldn’t have had enough without it. And I sure as hell took Friday appointments when I was first starting out. Once I took a Saturday appointment, but it didn’t feel right. I like to rest and recharge on the weekends, so I never booked another Saturday. You can have boundaries, even in the beginning. The same idea applies: What are you willing to give up in order to gain something else?
Once you pass the threshold of enough, it’s time to re-evaluate. Once you have enough, the whole game changes. So it’s worth asking yourself, how much is enough? Really think about it. Maybe you reached enough a long time ago. If so, awesome! That gives you a lot of freedom.