Tropical Beach? Check
Chilled fresh coconut? Check
Island tunes? Check
What does your ideal life look like? What are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you? How are you feeling?
A short time ago I was my own worst boss.
You know the one who is constantly on your back, 24/7 watching you, criticizing you and measuring you. The type of boss that nothing is ever good enough for and when it is; well that's to be expected. Now get back to work!
I was once told to achieve and move forward “the pain of moving forward must be less than the pain of standing still”.
The message I heard was “always be in pain”. I talked this way to myself for over a decade.
Regularly I would wake at 2 am in a cold sweat, fearing about business, my clients, bills, staff, expetations, procedures and more. I worried a lot and all the time. I put on weight, I lost weight, lost interest in everything and became excruciatingly cynical.
Then I chose stand up to myself and my inner bully boss saying "No more! This is hurting me not helping me".
Life is more than money. Money is important but only to the extent that it allows us to enjoy what is important to us.
Where had it all gotten so wrong?
Looking back I remember embracing financial planning (seventeen years ago) because I got to learn about money, help others achieve what’s important to them, and doing so, I could also achieve what was important to me.
Today the same passion to learn, help and live an ideal life still burns within in me; however for a long time I was immensely unhappy because I had bought into the belief (promoted by the industry and media) that my only value was to make clients money and that this was more important than helping them achieve their goals and the things more important to them in life than money. i.e. living an ideal life without financial concern.
To move forward I had to revisit, reassess and document my own values. I had to reconsider my goals and personal milestones and benchmark once more where I was in relation to where I wanted to be. Just like I facilitate with my clients today.
The result? Happiness. Confidence. Peace. Certainty. Empowerment. Inspiration and Clarity.
It’s important to note that these results didn’t just happen simply because I had documented my values, goals and benchmarked them.
Achieving these results required my total commitment to a plan of action, accountability, implementation and activities across all areas of my life, including my relationships, health, spirit, career, finances and new experiences.
Surprising, even to me, when re-aligning my choices to my core values, long standing milestones quickly came within reach and others that I thought were important became less so.
Making choices aligned to my values has enabled me to make better decisions, in less time and with greater confidence. This has also lead me onto experiencing greater peace, enriched experiences, deeper relationships and much more.
Aligning choices to our values is simple but not easy.
Chosing to do so requires 100% commitment, honest conversations with ourselves and those important to us, turning off from low value distractions and patience, however when we begin and are on the path of mastery, the ultimate reward is not a gold medal but the path itself.
Here are some tips I apply to my own life:
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
I was once told by a close friend that “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Today these words continue to encourage and motivate me when I struggle through times of difficulty; even while I’m living here in paradise.
Once a king called upon all of his wise men and asked them, “Is there a mantra which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time – in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat, and every victory – one answer for all questions? Something which can help me when none of you is able to advise me? Tell me, is there any mantra?”
All the wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the King and gave him a ring with words engraved into it, with a condition that the King was not to read it out of curiosity. Only if, in extreme danger, when the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way out, only then he can read it. The King wore the ring without reading the engraving.
Sometime later, the neighbours attacked the kingdom. The King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. The King fled on his horse and the enemies followed him. The King found himself standing at the mouth of a deep ditch. If he jumped into it, there would be no way out. The sound of the enemy horses were approaching fast and the King became restless. There was nowhere else to go.
The King remembered his ring and about the engraving. He decided to read the message.
“This, too, shall pass.”
The King read it again and again until something struck him. Yes! This, too, will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom; I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the Kingdom and all its pleasures are gone. I am trying to flee from my enemies. But just as those days of luxuries have gone, this time of danger will pass, too.
Calm came over the King. He remained still and silent. The King looked around at the place where he was standing and realized how beautiful it was. He had never known that such a beautiful place existed in his Kingdom.
The revelation of the ring’s message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about his pursuing enemies. After a while, he realized that the noise of galloping horses had receded and that his enemies had lost him.
The King gathered himself and reorganized his shambled forces and fought again. He defeated the enemy and reclaimed his empire. When he returned to the city after the victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing and everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers rained down upon the King from every house, from every terrace as he trotted by. People were dancing and singing. In this moment the King thought to himself, “I am one of the bravest and greatest Kings. It is not easy to defeat me.” In all of the celebration an ego emerged in the King.
Then a ray of sunlight caught the King’s ring and sharply flashed into his eye reminding him of its message, “This, too, shall pass.”
He lowered his gaze and his valiant expression changed to one of humility. He realized, again, that if this, too, is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours. The victory was not yours. You are just a player. Everything passes by. We are witnesses of all of this. We are the beholders.
Character building, guts, a rite of passage and increase self-confidence maybe the dividend of overcoming our difficulties however, What if the choices we make are in fact compounding our trouble? What if we subconsciously attract troubles into our life so we have something to motivate, distract, or justify to ourselves? Worse still, what if we don’t even realise our choices are compounding our troubles?
It sounds cliché but in my experience I needed to hit rock bottom.
Worse still, when I thought I had reached rock bottom, something else would happen and it take me even lower. I even made conscious decisions to hurt myself further in my self-loathing state.
My cynical joke, “it’s always darkest before it all goes pitch black”. Obviously I was not having a healthy relationship with myself and this unhealthy relationship only compounded my troubles.
What was my circuit breaker?
I gave up, all of it, all of me. I accepted that I couldn’t help myself. I was broken and for me I needed to experience acceptance without judgement.
After long searching, fighting, hurting, questioning and sincere prayers I accepted a peace offering. I accepted Christ in my life and in doing so accepted peace with God. Why? Because while I might not like myself and others felt obliged and even happy to point out my flaws; along with everything “This too shall pass”.
Peace has given me the courage to reconsider my priorities and embrace new experiences. It has provided both clarity and minimised distractions, enriching far more of my life than I had first expected.
Here’s some Tips I apply in my own life:
Thank you, from me to you. Thank you for allowing me to share my truth and being part of this journey. My hope is that these words inspire you, comfort you and you find peace.
We meet again my old friend! It’s has been twenty eight years since we last greeted each other. I am here not to compete with you or anyone else, I’m here only to enjoy the experience and improve myself.
5.30am my toes gripping the ledge of the swimming pool as I roll forward and dive into the water.
These days my pool maybe surrounded by coconut palms, the water a comfortable twenty five degrees and the private competition pool less than fifty meters walk away from my home, however I still need to make a conscious decision to get in and swim!
Be it diving into a pool half asleep at 5.30am or wanting to achieve anything important to me in life. After committing myself I have always experienced an initial shock, then awareness and the reality of my decision followed by my acceptance and then simply getting on with the job or task at hand.
Regardless of how many books I read or courses I complete, for me success has required full immersion, simply doing the work and improving my technique and strengths along the way. Just like learning to swim; to become confident and competent required me to step out of my comfort zone and into the pool.
The danger is that success (earned or not) is highly euphoric as it releases natural dopamine’s within you. The quest for this natural high can become all-consuming if gone unchecked.
An even greater risk to us is when the expectations of success are not realised. Increasing our risk of depression and/or seeking external gratifications in order to self-validate. I have experienced both in and out of the pool.
Swimming has taught me a lot about myself and life. And while we love to test ourselves against others and everyone loves a winner; the real winner is the individual participant.
Why? Because simply committing and following through on our own personal expectations is self-empowering i.e. getting out of a warm comfortable bed and into a cold wet pool is character building.
Appreciating that while others may be more naturally gifted, have the newest equipment or simply be better, in most cases everyone can enjoy the experience of self-improvement i.e. learning to swim.
Doing the work is both meditative and a proven path for improvement. Most advances in life often happen after a long plateau.
And finally as with anything in life, to be your best you need to be committed and have committed people around you. Both those who love you and those you pay to help you improve. Accountability is the motivation to action.
Whatever you want to be, become, or achieve in life, at some point you are going to have to get in the pool. I encourage you to ask yourself, “If not now, then when?”
For a long time, I struggled to find my purpose and my “WHY”.
Discovering my "WHY" lead me to a paradigm shift in my thinking and planning. However discovering my “WHY” was the easy part of the journey. The hard part was the courage it took to continuously live life and staying true to my “WHY”.
So far this has as required my courage to:
Leave a well paid and secure full time job and start my own business, without any clients to begin, WHY? Because being true to authentic self, meant me taking full ownership of the outcome.
Stay, the trusted advisor for my clients whilst sensationalist media labelled the wider financial advising industry as immoral, criminal and unethical. WHY? Because being a trusted advisor to me means being at my client’s side both in the difficult and good times.
Back myself and an opportunity that would require me borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars and relocate 3000km away from family and friends. WHY? Because while money is important, it’s only important to the extent it heightens life experiences and events important to me.
Be honest with myself, my expectations and abilities. Recognizing when enough is enough. WHY? Because the choices I was making was hurting rather than helping me and those important to me.
Acknowledge in life there are no silver bullets to my problems however repeating the right activities, heightens my chance of success.
On my 25th birthday (my ¼ life crisis), I had approximately $200 to my name, an unfinished university degree and little to no professional skills; however, I knew my "WHY" and I was committed to see my goals become a reality. My financial and personal goal was to accumulate $1,000,000 by 50 years old so that I could fund my ideal life of travel and adventures, requiring $50,000 annually passive income.
By my 35th birthday I achieved my financial and personal goals.
By my 40th birthday and not living my life in alignment with my “WHY” I wanted to end my life.
Recently I celebrated my 45th birthday. Looking back twenty years since my ¼ life crisis, taking courageous actions remains just as scary today as it has ever been. However, now I step forward with a little more confidence than before and from experience I appreciate the importance of my choices being in alignment with my “WHY”.
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