I was walking my dog this morning and pinned to a gate in the gardens of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was the poster above with this headline:
And My Soul Spread Wide It’s Wings
It really resonated with me because it explains exactly why I left banking in 2001.
My job had become soul-destroying.
It no longer aligned with my values and it is impossible to do a job well if you are fighting the system because it does not align with your values. Any action that compromises the values that you live by literally destroys your soul.
And it destroys value – the banks share price has gone from £8 a share to £2.80 a share over a period of the last 14 years.
It has been a lot lower during the financial crisis in 2008 and today it continues to be battered by scandals and penalties imposed by the financial regulators. This is what happens when the lunatics are allowed to take over the asylum and the business departs from it’s core values of serving the customer.
I can’t really describe what my soul is exactly. I just know that I didn’t like myself when I tried to act against my values. The feeling was strong enough for me to resign voluntarily from a highly paid job with no other income to cushion the fall.
The 14 year anniversary of resigning from the corporate world is up at the end of this month.
At the time it was a very stressful decision – I really felt that I was stepping off a cliff into the unknown.
I have never recovered the income that I lost by giving up that job. On the other hand I think the stress of the job would have given me a serious health problem had I continued.
I don’t know what price you would put on having peace of mind and having the freedom to always act in alignment with your values.
To me it is everything – priceless!
Work has always been a significant part of my life – I enjoy working as long as I can feel that I am contributing to my own development and also helping others. So work is an important part of my life and it is unthinkable to me to waste my time doing work that is unsatisfying or lacking in integrity.
Of course money isn’t everything but, as Zig Ziglar says, ‘it ranks right up there with oxygen!’
If you are currently doing a job to pay the bills, but it is in the soul-destroying category, then why not work on something else that satisfies you on a part-time basis?
You can greatly reduce the risk of making the transition from paid employment to self-employment by working on something that gives you passion part-time with a medium or long-term goal of transitioning to your passion full-time.
Jim Rohn says that ‘profit is better than wages.’ Wages can earn you a living whilst profits can make you a fortune.
I don’t really want to make a fortune. I just want the freedom to do what I am passionate about without worrying about lack of money.
Sure I want a nice house, a good car and holidays, but these aren’t as important as doing work that is satisfying.
If I can do that, I don’t really need a holiday because I am already doing what gives me joy and satisfaction.
Also, I only need a car for short trips to visit family and friends and to get in the weekly groceries. Working from home means that I have no need of transport to commute to work. So a good car would lose more in depreciation than the benefit that would accrue by owning it.
I am in the fortunate position whereby I had paid off my mortgage by the age of 37, almost 20 years ago now.
Robert Kiyosaki classifies a home as a liability on his personal balance sheet because it consumes cash rather than earns cash. However, having a comfortable house and somewhere nice to work is important to us all and the cash outflow is a price worth paying to me.
I would prefer to spend my time creating something with the tools I have available whether physical or digital.
So money is only important to me in giving me the wherewithal to cover my day-to-day necessities (- only about £1,000 per month -) and also to allow me to invest into my work and hobbies. Also to enjoy the lifestyle that I currently live.
My business of internet marketing is not capital intensive and my lifestyle does not rely on consumerism – if we can give up the constant hunger for my ‘things’ and simplify and de-clutter our lives, I generally believe that it is possible to live a richer life.
Accumulation of physical things becomes a burden – you need somewhere to store them, to insure them against loss and it is difficult to dispose of them for anything near to what you originally paid for them – most possessions depreciate significantly in value as soon as you buy them.
After leaving the corporate world I genuinely believe that I have a new perspective on what is truly important in life.
Deepening our relationship with family, friends and pets – love in particular adds significantly to life’s enjoyment.
I have spent the last 3 or 4 days looking after our grandchildren during half-term – what price can you put on that?
Having time to slow down and to work and live ‘in the moment’ is also critically important. I always lose so much productivity when I am too busy or trying to multi-task.
Having peace of mind i.e. no worries or external conflicts. Realising that there are many things that you hear about in life that you cannot do much about and have the maturity to let them go rather than fighting them in your mind and becoming angry are also important.
Doing work in alignment with my passion and values is also very important to me.
Having time to enjoy the arts (music, literature, art ) and nature are all free pursuits that feed the soul… ‘and my soul spread wide its wings’.
I would be very interested to hear your perspective on living a good life dear reader – please comment below!