As the seasons of my new life unfold I continue to obtain ever-increasing clarity on my identity and my purpose, so choosing the actions that fill my day is generally a process that happens purely as a logical extension of my inner knowing. I have become very clear on the sort of person I am, including my strengths and weaknesses, my temperament, my skills, my values, my priorities, and my beliefs. With these insights, I strive to direct my decisions to line up with goals that fulfil my natural attributes. This well-developed sense of self has stemmed from my days as Alec’s wife.
Alec and I worked for years at perfecting the balancing act of our time-hungry careers. I loved teaching with all my heart, but I was mindful of the greater purpose that it served in providing the financial stability we needed to grow our business. For Alec, this business was the cause that he championed with zealous passion. For both of us, this business was the priority, because it was the only structure in our lives that had the capacity to function as a springboard able to launch us into the ambitious desires that we shared for social and community work. We both wanted to stretch out into the world with influence, using our business to fund projects of community empowerment in education, business, and family. He worked at our vacuum business all the time, while I worked my teaching by day and our business by night. The juggling act was crazy a lot of the time. Somehow we squeezed in everything we wanted with our work, kids, health and fitness, and social connections at church, and with other friends too. I can’t emphasise enough the challenge that Alec and I always had with maintaining balance and intimacy in our life, but our goals motivated us to stretch ourselves past our boundaries into new capacities.
The completion of my study saw me starting work in local primary schools, but even while I was at university Alec was progressively developing a restlessness for more autonomy than our Godfreys franchise could ever provide. Before I had finished my degree Alec and I were confronted with an ultimatum that would change our course permanently. In Alec’s entrepreneurial ambition he had decided that our supply of niche vacuum cleaner spare parts could be put to a use that had further reach than simply selling from our Wagga Wagga franchise. Even in his pre-Kerry days of youth, Alec had loved computers. His lifestyle involved ongoing investments of time and money to keep up with the latest developments in technology. The internet opened exciting new opportunities for Alec, who became increasingly obsessed with combining the two loves of his life by selling his vacuum spare parts on eBay.
Alec’s eBay shop, Nelson Vacuums, was successful instantly. It was relatively easy to build, and with none of his competitors able to boast the same range of niche vacuum cleaner spare parts, he was able to quickly achieve a modest cash flow to reward his efforts. Things were going along swimmingly … that is, until Godfreys got wind of Alec’s internet endeavours. They were quick to inform Alec that his online activities took his business outside of the geographical boundaries of our franchise region, and in this way violated our business contract. With this item being the only one on the agenda, we were summoned to Sydney and asked to make a choice then and there. We had discussed the very real possibility that this might happen, and with a deep breath we both jumped out of the security of our franchise boat, into the unknown ocean of our own independent business.
Alec and I always shared the same belief system about work. Over every season of our life we made choices that opened autonomy and empowerment, attracting the sort of fulfilment and success that can only come from operating in our strengths and our passions. Nowadays, my personal commitment to significant work is alive and well, and continues to motivate me towards goals that energises me. As terrifying as it is to take leaps of faith into possibilities that exist only in your imagination at first, the alternative is nightmarish to me. I never want to live a day that compromises my innate purpose or my God-given strengths. I am at my most free when I choose to live a life that I love. As the only candidate for the job, I rise to the challenge of building a life that loves me back.
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