You may already know this but my family and I actually made a sea-change 6 years ago in search for more balance in our lives, mine in particular!
We had a holiday house near the beach in the spectacular Port Stephens area which was only an hour’s drive from our home and my office. On a Friday afternoon, we would leave the office just before 3pm, pick the boys up from school and head away for the weekend. We would make the return journey Monday morning and I would be at the office by 9am to start the week. Our little 2 bedroom unit was cosy but realistically, it was all about being together and to embrace a much needed change of pace for those few days. It allowed us to recharge, regroup and ready ourselves for another busy week. We spent every school holidays at that unit and I would do the commute back to the office.
One Christmas, my husband Jason and I were sitting on our balcony and I could see he was a little down. I asked him what the matter was. He said he was depressed. I was shocked. He had barely had to do any work during the break, had enjoyed many a cold ale with mates, had sunned himself on the beach and managed golf at least twice a week. What could possibly be making him sad? He said he didn’t want to go home and was sad that our 6 week holiday was about to end. I said, “well home is where our families are and where our businesses are – there is no way we could move here”! But then I thought about it and thought to myself why not? Fear was the only thing holding me back. What would my parents say? I was nearly 40, the eldest of 6 children and we all lived within a 10 minute drive from Mum and Dad. What would my staff say? What would my clients say?
But did any of that really matter if the move made my husband and my boys happy? What if the move brought more balance into our lives and allowed me to slow down and be more present with my family?
I took a deep breath and said to Jason, well if you are serious about this, you need to contact the schools and see if a position would be available for the boys. Initially there was only a spot for one so we agreed to just wait and see. We wouldn’t stress, we would keep this idea to ourselves and leave it in the hands of others. We agreed, if the boys were offered positions we would re-locate. I’m a big believer in “things happen for a reason”. We received a phone call and the boys would start the following year – Callum would go into Year 5 and Dempsey Year 4. We had around 6 months to break the news to loved ones and clients. We got used to the mixed responses, but you now what, we have gone on to make some other decisions that have received similar mixed responses but we are comfortable that the decisions we have made have been the best things for our family and isn’t this the most important thing?
We have never looked back. I have also managed to reduce the commute to 3 days a week and I very rarely go into the office during the school holidays.
If someone would have told me this was possible 10 years ago I would not have believed them.
What it took was for me to make that decision and then I needed to design a plan to make it all work.
My advice to you is to “THINK BIG” and “PLAN BIG” without any limitations. You never know where this process will lead you and that elusive biz/life balance might be more achievable than you think!