What Lifestyle Are You Working For?

The alarm screams at you to wake up at a time when even the sun isn’t game enough to peak above the horizon.

You stumble out of bed in the dark, and stagger down the hallway to the shower.

A hot stream of water followed by a coffee is the only thing that will snap you into the day ahead.

You go through the motions of eggs on toast, suiting up, grabbing the bag with your packed lunch inside and racing out to make the train into work.

Later that day you return home.

It’s pay day.

You sit down with a glass of wine, and start paying off your bills. You want to cry over what’s left. It’s a measly sum for you to enjoy and once again you’re finding you have to push aside the things that really make you happy.

[ybox_large]What are you working for? [/ybox_large]

This is the question many of us fail to really answer.

If we do, we answer it based upon what society deems is important.

You’re working to pay the bills, to provide for your family, to save for retirement, to have the latest mod cons and keep up with the Joneses (who are they anyway?).

Is this what you imagined all those years ago when you were a pimply teenager and the world was your oyster?

I don’t think so, you just got caught up in it all. It’s an easy thing to do.

You get swept up in the fun of being an adult, having the independence that comes with earning your own keep, except, because of that lack of thought to the lifestyle you really want to work for, you’re suddenly working to pay the bills for things you don’t really care about – one day they just turned up.

What happens when you start going to work every day just to pay the bills?

You become bitter, resentful, and really unhappy. You spend your hours at work daydreaming, avoiding, and giving less than your best.

You start to lose all sense of purpose and meaning and the vicious cycle continues.

You’re not serving anyone.

There is a better way that will help you bring back that meaning, so your work is moving you to a place of happiness.

I had someone ask me a very important question the other week.

“How do I know when I’m purchasing something if it it’s something that will nourish the body and soul instead of the quick, feel-good fix?”

This is the point where most of us crossover into that lifestyle that is unconsciously created and imprisons us.

You don’t know how to make the right choice because you haven’t clearly defined the lifestyle you really work for.

What does it look like?

Are you the stay at home parent who relishes in playing Barbies with your daughters and cooking them meals from scratch three times a day?

Do you run marathons, eat healthy meals, and go on daring adventures?

Do you volunteer and give back to your communities with social projects?

Do you travel long-term, or, are you content with a two week trip each year to a new exotic destination?

What do you really want in the moments you’re away from the office? What gives you the most joy?

Remove the bills and the things you own. It’s not about the cable TV, the fast cars, or the swimming pool you dread cleaning so now looks like the setting of Slime 2.

When you start to create the image of your ideal lifestyle, decisions about where you spend your money become quite easy.

Is it moving me towards my ideal lifestyle, or away from it?

If I don’t buy this magazine does it mean I can buy a new organic ingredient that will improve my diet so I can be that fit, healthy person I dream about?

Let’s face it “Who wore it best” ain’t going to get you to dance like the ceiling can’t hold you. And that’s the reaction your lifestyle should give you.

I had quite the revelation about this just recently. Due to the fears and issues I have around money, I tend to worry a little too much about where I’m spending it. Even if I have the money safely sitting in the bank, I can have Great Depression hoarding tendencies.

I started to worry about the amount of work we are outsourcing. We’re so short of time because of our road tripping lifestyle, and in order to get things done, we have to call on other experts. But doing this reduces our bottom line.

I was fretting over having less in the bank would affect us.

“But, hang on a minute,” the voice that knows better than me said. “What exactly are you doing this for? To have more money in the bank or to have the lifestyle you dreamed of? Aren’t you living that now?”

Well I guess so.

“So if you stop outsourcing it means you have to do the work yourself, which means you have less time for your children and less time to enjoy your travels. So you’ll sacrifice all this just to have more money in the bank? What’s the money doing for you?”

And by outsourcing, we have more time to work ON our business and not just in it.

Boom. Clarity.

Having more money means nothing if I’m not enjoying my life. I don’t need to earn more money because my lifestyle is exactly how I want it. I don’t have to save for a rainy day, or for the future lifestyle, because it’s here right now.

Because I am clear on what that lifestyle is and how it gives me purpose, I can easily make a decision on where to spend my money.

Outsourcing is a good money spend for me because it buys me the time to have what I most want in my heart.

Plus, it frees up my time so I can give more to our community, because that’s a very important and motivating part of what we do.

If I tried to do it all myself my time would be taken up doing the bits and pieces instead of the creative stuff that helps others to travel more.

Spending money should always be done in a way that enriches us and moves us towards our ideal life. You don’t need to have a bank account over-brimming with dollars if in your daily life you’re stressed, overworked, and unhappy.

Put all your money into creating the lifestyle you really want. (And the Law of Attraction thing then goes into overdrive because you feel so amazing about your life and when you feel amazing, amazing things keep happening.)

So your task for today is:

1. Get very clear on the lifestyle you really really want. Define what it looks like in terms of health, career, relationships, and passions. Don’t think in terms of monetary amounts you want. If you focus on creating the ideal lifestyle, money will just be a tool to help you get that and it will come more effortlessly and with greater meaning. (we go through this strategy and more in my 30 Day Money Cleanse)

2. Think about how you currently spend your money. If it does not move you towards your ideal lifestyle then make some changes.

3. From now on every time you make a purchase carefully consider if it is moving you towards your ideal lifestyle, and if not, then ask yourself if it is truly necessary?

Tell us:

What lifestyle are you working for?

Are you there yet?

How else can we help you get there?

29 thoughts on “What Lifestyle Are You Working For?”

  1. Can I please ask what nationality you are? I’m a teacher from the US and I am having the hardest luck finding countries that will allow me to teach there. Not because of my qualifications but because of my nationality. I noticed on one of your posts that you’ve taught while traveling and would love more information if you’re willing to provide it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Joanie,

      I am Australian. I probably had a lot more options being part of the Commonwealth. I’d imagine that you should be able to work in some countries. Have you tried Australia or the UK?

      If not, look into teaching english as a foreign language, your nationality should’t be a problem and you can teach in so many countries

  2. Great post. Really strong visualization. I’m already working as hard as I know how towards the lifestyle I want and am part way there, but I hope this post really touches people who are trapped on the Hamster wheel.

    I completely agree with the need to prioritize where you spend your money. It is so necessary to get anywhere that you WANT in life.

    1. Yes. So many people on the hamster wheel want to get off but aren’t sure how. Just a simple switch in thinking can help immensely

  3. I love this post! Within the last year I’ve started to push the budget aside and while I know I am spending more in certain areas (great quality food), I’m not blowing gobs of money on stuff that doesn’t matter. Instead I have spent more on yoga classes and SUP, as well as gifting loved ones and my students with things that I know they will enjoy and appreciate. I know I need to get back on budget to pay off my debt quicker, but things are pretty good right now.

    1. Yoga and SUP seem like a great money spend – so nourishing for your soul. When you feel good, good things keep on coming in. Just believe the money will flow in to pay off those debts.

  4. Absolutely great advice.
    Only that my problem has always been that I can’t figure out what I really want. I’m stuck at “step 1”. But I won’t give up. I’m sure one day I’ll know what I want to do and then I can work towards the next step. 🙂

    1. Yes. A lot of people get stuck at that step. The best way to unstick yourself is take yourself back to when you were a child – what did you love to do. Usually that’s where we find what we really want. But, a lot of the time we do really know what we want we’re just afraid to express it for fear that we can’t have it. Just intend for it to start to unravel and reveal itself to you. Straight from the heart – no overthinking allowed.

      1. I’ve read that in books many times, but what I remember from my childhood is not really what I seem to like nowadays. People change. My interests have changed quite a bit.
        I think deep inside everybody knows what they love doing the most or how they ideal lifestyle should be. Sometimes it’s so obvious that we can’t seem to figure it out.

        I’ll keep working on it, I know that eventually it will come to me. 🙂

        Thanks a lot for replying to my comment. I really appreciate it. ^__^

  5. Thank you Caz – I really needed to read this today! I’m hoping to really drive myself over the next few months to help set up the life I so desperately desire for myself and these are the exact kind of words I need to hear at the moment 🙂

    1. You can do it Toni. You’re an amazingly strong and determined lady and everything you need to make it work is within you. Just believe in yourself. If I can do it, you can too!

  6. Thanks for this Caz, makes so much sense. I think I’ve been moving towards this way of thinking for a while now, minimising my spending on meaningless material things, and the lifestyle I dream of is finally becoming clearer. I’m feeling that it’s almost time now to take that leap of faith! I too dream of the ‘digital nomad’ travel lifestyle, and now that my kids are grown up I really have nothing to hold me back; it’s just that ingrained fear of not having enough money coming in.
    Keep up the great posts, they are very inspiring!

  7. As the daughter of a very successful corporate CEO, I always knew that that an office career was never going to give me fulfilment. I have taken painful steps to ensure that I am highly qualified in a globally recognised profession, with international corporate experience and on the strength of that, have been able to work abroad, afford comfortable travel and put away enough for a nest egg. My partner and I are currently working together to create passive income flows based on wealth management in order to be able to do what we love (travel, exploring, writing, creating) without having to worry about how to fund it. In the end, the simplest things are what gives us fulfilment – and you don’t always need a lot of money for those! Great article!

  8. What a great reminder! I joined a flea market the other week and I cannot help but think how sad it is that we part with our money to acquire stuff that don’t do us any good. Then we have to pay more money and put in time to be able to get rid of stuff. It’s a sick cycle.

    Back to this lifestyle, this post reminds me of the Fisherman Story in Joshua Becker’s blog Becoming Minimalist: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/recognizing-happiness/ Sometimes money only distracts us from what we really desire.

  9. Clark Vandeventer

    We have whatever we really want in life, most people just never think about it. I am amazed when I talk with people about their budgets. I tell people to look at the top 3-4 items in their budget. Those top 3-4 items ARE what they value most. So if they say they value something else more, they are either lying to themselves or they need to make a change.

    Great post. We are working toward a location independent lifestyle with a base in Lake Tahoe. We love Tahoe, especially in the winter because we LOVE to ski. Love having the long-term base coupled with the freedom to move about the world whenever we choose. We’re currently traveling in Thailand and Malaysia for three months.

    1. Tahoe is a place we are keen to visit on our big road trip of the US. It sounds amazing. Love the idea of looking at the top 3-4 items in your budget!! Such a great way to get clarity

  10. Just found your site and after reading this can tell we are of a similar mindset. About 5 years ago my husband and I started designing our life the way you describe and I’m happy to tell you that we not only live that “dream” but I also write about it on my own blog. It is so very possible but we all have to push through our fears and the expectations of others and “go confidently in the direction of our dreams.” Thanks for the confirmation! ~Kathy

  11. Thanks for these posts! I’ve been eating them up. My husband and I are in our late 20s, early 30s, no kids yet, and are planning a sailboat circumnavigation in the next 5-7 years. We are currently teaching abroad, and have taken the first steps toward throwing away convention and having the lifestyle weve dreamed of. It was so scary at first! My question is, how long did you guys have to save before you felt comfortable leaving a stable source of income?

  12. Hi Caz!

    Sooooo exciting with your whole journey. I’m at the office now and its getting bored with stack of paper and servers need to be monitor every single day! I’ll get back to you after office hour k!

    Well done dear!

  13. Interesting post. I think it presents a dichotomy which may exist for some people, but doesn’t have to.
    Not being materialistic – investing in soul-nourishing experiences rather than in “things” – is good advice which we try to practice. It definitely includes travel in our case. That said, our daily work is mostly also soul-nourishing or at least mind-nourishing and doesn’t feel like a hamster wheel. Being a slave to money is definitely not wise but having a daily job doesn’t have to make you that way.

    I’ve been reading quite a few travel blogs lately, being as I started my own very recently. I get the sense that many of today’s digital nomads are fairly young and the advice dispensed is great for people in their 20’s and 30’s. The thing is, there comes a point when your money isn’t needed for “goods” or even for traveling or other soul-nourishing experiences but for very basic stuff such as good health care and yes, that dreaded word, retirement. You begin to realize that you’re slowing down – at least physically – and you may not be able to generate an income forever. If you want to keep on enjoying soul-nourishing experiences (yes, I like the phrase!) you simply have to plan ahead and make sure you have enough for the future, not just the life you’re leading now.

    1. Great insights Anne and very wise advice. I’ve been writing about that very thing today for some upcoming training. It’s a balance and people have to find a way to make it work so they’re not sacrificing a good life now for later (in the land of who knows what will be) but at the same time they don’t want to hit 65 and be penniless.

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