So let me ask you a question?
Why do you go to work?
When I ask this question…and I’ve been asking lots of people in the last month including a seminar of 56 small business owners four days ago….most people think the answer is simple. You go to work to earn money to pay bills and provide for your family.
Simple answer, but not true.
You go to work because that’s what’s expected of you.
Everyone you know expects you to go to work. Society expects it. Your family expect it. Everyone knows that you get a job and go to work. Which, in theory sounds great? You work hard at school to get into University. You work hard to get a degree, then a diploma place then a traineeship. You land a good job, keep your head down, get promotion, climb the ladder to partnership and live happily ever after.
Well, that used to be the theory.
The reality in 2012 means working longer and longer hours just to make ends meet, there’s too much month left at the end of the money; not only could you begin to get blighted financially, but your mind and spirit have started to go as well and you exist to work.
The unfortunate thing is that this is so ingrained in us as a way to exist, that if things start to go wrong – as it’s starting to for many people working in law firms – we start to blame ourselves. We blame ourselves for our inadequacies and try to make amends by working longer, harder and faster. And people would rather suffer a heart attack, sleepless nights and unnecessary stress than stop working, because work is what we do.
Others I know are running up massive debts so that they can maintain a standard of living that their salaries cannot sustain.
Is this the way it should be? If this way of living is not delivering the goods financially and spiritually then it could be time to consider an alternative way of living.
Rather than simply “earning a living” why not “create a life of quality”?
If society pushes you into “going to work” as the only game in town; why play a game with rules where you cannot win?
One of the things that I think modern lawyers should abandon with immediate effect is hourly billing. Customers hate it, legal employees spend too much time working out who to charge for what and senior partners have their egos boosted by declaring how much per hour they charge.
But imagine for a moment that you could buy time rather than charge for it? How much would you be willing to pay?
Let’s imagine you are on your death bed about to breathe your last and an angel gives you a chance to buy some extra time.
How much would you pay to turn the clock back to when your children were young so that you could spend a few extra hours playing with them?
How much would you pay to go back in time so that you could tell your mother, father, partner, brother, sister or friends just how much you loved them, at times in their lives when they needed to hear you say those words the most.
How much would you be willing to pay to be ten years old again playing in the late evening warmth of a summers day?
And what would you pay to have your time over again to pursue that dream that has eluded you your entire life?
No, time is not money because you can’t put a value on time and those who try to value their time only in terms of money will always undersell it.
My time, your time, everyone’s time is precious and priceless. Once that hour or day has gone it’s gone forever and all the money in the world can’t change that.