Yes. Hay, pigs, that weird smell you can’t quite figure out. It was all there waiting for me when I got out of my sedan.
It was exactly what I expected.
My wife and I had taken the 4 hour trek with our two kids to upstate South Carolina. Her sister was moving and needed the help. Where were they moving to? The Farm. I purposely place those two words ‘The Farm’ in caps because the way they spoke about it seemed to glorify it’s existence and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why.
I was busy living my fast paced, 60 hour/week entrepreneur lifestyle, growing my company, living on my phone.
Sure, I was happy to get away for a few days, but ‘my business needed me’ I told myself. How would my twenty employees go on without their boss being tied to Slack notifications and Gmail alerts?
So I did what any good city slicker does when they get to a farm: I proceeded to ask for the wifi password.
After an hour or so of work dusk had fell on the farm. I distinctly remember looking outside and saw something incredible; my kids were running around a bonfire, barefoot, eating smores and laughing.
What was I doing?
My mind started rewinding to what I had actually done the last couple hours. Answered a few minor questions on Slack for my project manager. Refreshed Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail a few too many times. Checked the metrics on our Facebook ads.
I had done nothing.
There was no real excuse. My company wasn’t gearing up for some event or marketing campaign. We hadn’t just signed a big client. There was no real reason for me to be so heavily involved in the business that I just had to sit by my computer for hours while my family, well, didn’t.
I shut my computer off.
Turned my cell phone to silent and left it upstairs.
I walked outside.
For the next few days it stayed that way. I sat on the deck in quiet with a coffee and the sunrise. I played with my kids as they ran around the garden. I spent time with my wife as we talked about our goals, fears, and future.
Most importantly, I listened.
I made time that few days to calmly reflect on everything that was going on in my life and the lives of my family. It was something I hadn’t realized I needed. I had gotten so caught up in the business of everyday life that I didn’t realize I was ignoring the very things that make up a good life.
Before going to The Farm I thought ‘breaks are for closers’. I thought I hadn’t ‘made it’ yet so I needed to keep pushing, keep hustling, sleep when I’m dead. The week on The Farm taught me that pushing, hustling and lack of sleep was hurting my ability to run a successful company.
My ability to quickly view Slack notifications didn’t proportionally grow my business.
The speed at which I responded to emails wasn’t growing our bottom line.
Constant refreshing of Twitter and Facebook wasn’t going to make us go viral.
I want you to ask yourself this simple question: Why are you working so hard?
Really, truly, and seriously ask yourself that question. Not just in the day to day tasks you do, but why are you working so hard to grow a business in the first place, or step up the career ladder?
For the majority of you the answer, when distilled to it’s purest form, will be one thing.
To live a good life.
Whatever definition ‘good’ has for you in this context, consider that by working so hard for the future and not focusing on the here and now are you missing the things that are already ‘good’ in your life?