A Simple but Essential Ingredient to Freedom Focused!
March 29, 2022
Lisa shared a story with me that is all too common for small business owners.
As a single mother looking for a way to earn a living and support her family, she discovered that popcorn, cotton candy, and peanuts were the answer.
She started by selling popcorn at swap meets, car shows, and other community gatherings, and quickly realized how profitable it could be.
Eventually Lisa expanded into the vending business at sporting events and concerts, employing teams of hawkers who walked the isles selling popcorn, cotton candy, and peanuts directly to spectators in their seats.
Recognized as one of the best in the business, she was asked to provide all the hawkers for the event of all events... the Super Bowl!
From single mother without a job to super successful entrepreneur was the stuff of dreams.... but the price Lisa paid was high.
I met Lisa on a Spring Break trip to Egypt with my three daughters. She explained what she did for work with great enthusiasm, and you could tell that she loved and was passionate about the vending business.
Lisa's daughter was now 28 years old and she couldn't be more proud of the person she grew up to be.
Her success as a small business owner meant a beautiful house in Florida near the beach, a cook to provide meals at home, a nanny to take care of her daughter, and the best primary schools and college that her daughter could ask for.
However, after a long pause, Lisa admitted to me that she was absent for most of her daughter's years growing up.
She was exhausted, burned out after working long hours for 25 years, and searching for a way to exit her business.
Most of all, she regretted working so much while others took care of her daughter, and now she was 28 years old and that time was lost forever.
Lisa had always wanted to see Egypt, and booked this trip with a friend to finally start living her life rather than living her business.
Lisa booked this trip with a friend to finally start living her life rather than living her business.
When my youngest daughter was four years old (middle daughter five and oldest seven), it was finally time for us to begin exploring the world as a family.
There were practical reasons for travel, primarily to keep the girls busy during the one week of the year they didn't have summer camp or school. But there were important personal reasons too.
Like Lisa, I was a small business owner with plenty to keep me busy. But taking time away from my business for time with the girls, and rejuvenation for myself, was thankfully something I prioritized early in my business and their lives.
Every summer from that point on, we spent one full week exploring a new destination. First within our home state of Arizona, starting with the Grand Canyon and the next year to Tombstone and Kartchner Caverns.
In 2011 we took the big road trip out of state to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, and the girl's first time on an air plane in 2013 to North Carolina to visit family and see Colonial Williamsburg and Washington, DC.
2018 was the largest leap in our travel adventures, finally going beyond international borders to see the wonders of Greece in Athens, Olympia and Delphi. This trip changed everything for us all.
The girls were now twelve, thirteen, and fifteen and "seeing the world" would never be a dream for "some day", but something they had already done, expanding the world they knew far beyond our hometown.
Our time traveling together was and continues to be our highest quality time as a family. We leave all familiarity at home, take care of each other, and build shared experiences that will last a lifetime.
One of the most important goals in life is to have as few regrets as possible.
If we never take another trip again, I won't have regrets about "time lost", about missing my daughter's years growing up, or never having lived my life rather than just my business.
Rejuvenation and Freedom
I spoke about the power of rejuvenation in my previous article about "Quiescence", which is "quiet time" for replenishing your energy stores.
Rejuvenation is both necessary to achieve Freedom Focused as a small business owner, and at the same time a product of being Freedom Focused.
Once you've established your own dream team of employees built around a clear set of core values and working collectively toward a shared vision of a bigger better future, your business can start to create the space for greater freedom and rejuvenation time for you, the owner.
Don't wait until it's too late to start taking the necessary steps to live your life rather than live your business, especially if you're a relatively new/young business owner.
As a new business owner, like I was when my daughters were still young, you can focus on a balanced approach to running your business sooner rather than later so as to minimize regrets about time with family, friends, and for yourself that may be lost forever.
Lisa told me that her trip to Egypt was the beginning of a change towards quality time for herself to rejuvenate and she was now committed to spending more quality time with her daughter. Better late than never!
I've already planned the next several trips with my own daughters for this summer, next year, and even the year after that.
As long as they're still available to travel, and before careers and families make it harder, I will make every effort to take advantage of this time with them and make the most of my rejuvenation time.
Make a point to create a Freedom Focused business, spend time today with those you care about most, minimize any regrets, and don't forget to always stay...
Focused on your freedom!
Listen to the podcast episode: #021 Living Your Life Rather Than Your Business