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Ignore The Others: Create Your Business & Lifestyle The Way YOU Want

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by David Garland in David's Blog

I was at the gym the other day around 11 AM and an older gentleman was working out next to me. He looked over at me and said, “Shouldn’t you be working right now? I didn’t get to come to the gym in the middle of the day until I was retired.”


Just like some people think their religion and political views are “correct” and everyone else must be wrong., some folks seem to think their view of what work and life should be (or can be) is the right one…and everyone else is a dumb-dumb.

The big lesson here, I believe, is what works for you works for you. What works for me works for me. And what works for that guy works for that guy.

You might be the person similar to Marie Forleo who rethought her business model to spend more time near her hubby (as opposed to on the road all the time).

You might be the person who wants the freedom to cut down working hours to spend more time with her kids like Ria Sharon.

You might be the person who wants to create passive income to spend more time doing fun things such salsa dancing and kickboxing like Tim Ferriss.

You might be the person who wants to travel to the world’s poshest places such as Capri, Italy & Mykonos, Greece and compete in epic fitness competitions like Rob & Kim Murgatroyd.

You might have a sense of adventure and charity and spend your free time going on zero gravity adventures and spreading entrepreneurship to less fortunate communities like Yanik Silver.

Or maybe you aspire to be “pretired” like Shannon Ward and Diana Stirling who have spent  13 months living in tropical destinations over the past three years WITH kids.

You might thrive on a structured schedule for every hour of the day. Or that idea might give you a heart attack. You might love to work from home (like me). Or you might need to be an office. You might need a million hobbies outside of work…or maybe just two.

But at the end of the day, it is up to you. There are examples across the board of pretty much everything (my favorites are those that are REALLY living life who have created an incredible, exciting, fulfilled lifestyle). There is no “right” or “wrong” way to live your life and create your business similar to religion and politics.

I know what works for me right now.

  • I love doing The Rise To The Top.
  • I love working from home on a flexible schedule.
  • I love taking time before, middle or after the day to get a workout in or have tea and sushi with a friend if I want to.
  • I love having the freedom to do fun things like go to hockey games and WWE events.
  • I love spending as much time with my wife as possible.
  • I love playing rec sports such as flag football and ball hockey, BBQing, traveling and spending lots of time with my family.
  • I love the freedom and control I have over my business…I can take some time off and I have a team in place to make sure everything goes smoothly and I don’t feel guilty for taking time away.
  • I love the simplicity of just needing a laptop/phone/iPad and the Internet and I’m all set when it comes to business.
  • I get giddy over trying something new and exciting or incredible experiences like the recent trip Marcie and I took to Costa Rica where we hung out with monkeys, took a sunset kayak cruise and zip-lined.
  • I love how I know one day when we have kids that not only will I not be the Dad who is “never there” but I will be the Dad who always IS there (just like my dad was/is to me).

But that’s me. And that is right now.


-You might not know what works for you, until you try it. Give it the “ole college try” as they say. For example, I didn’t know if I preferred to work from home/coffee shops, etc., until I spent time trying to work out of an office.

-Don’t be embarrassed. Just because someone else doesn’t agree with what you are doing or thinks it is weird (ahem…guy in the gym), doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

-Find someone (or multiple people) similar to you to learn from. As mentioned above, someone is out there that you will resonate with be it on a business level, personal level or lifestyle level. Learn from them. Get to know them. Pay attention. If anything, it will give you confidence about the way you want to live your life and run your business. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. Keep an eye for upcoming The Rise To The Top episodes in 2012 with people who have mastered their personal lifestyle design who will open up your eyes. Trust me.

Because, at the end of the day, do any of us really want to be that guy in the gym who deferred the life he wanted and looks down upon folks who are living it now?

QUESTION: What would you put on your “I love” list similar to mine above. Try it. “I love…”

  1. Amen David, we all want a different lifestyle and shouldnt wait for retirement to have it. We left two brick and mortar businesses behind in 2009, to come live here in the South of France.
    We chose an online business model over spending time in traffic and going to meetings in boardrooms.
    The best part ? Taking breaks from work during the day to play with my daughter 🙂

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      John – AWESOME that comment made my night. That is so awesome.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Darn right 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    First of all David you look like you are having a blast and are looking quite buff I might add….which got me thinking…why am I saying I can only make it to the gym 2 times a week? I work for myself for Pete’s Sake!! I can be buff too! PS You have inspired a complete website redesign..and a exciting business addition for me. Keep doing what you are doing because You are getting through to us :)!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Awesome Monica! Nothing wrong with a little body and website redesign 🙂

  3. CreamBmp says:

    I don’t say this a lot, but you seem like a really great guy and a person who thinks like me. I always say to people don’t worry what everybody else thinks or say, but ONLY what you care about and do it if it works for YOU… thats all that matters. 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Appreciate that!

  4. You are living the dream! I love it! 

    99% of the world will tell you it can’t be done. When that happens. Point them to this exact post. Living, breathing, proof that anything is possible! =D 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Leo – Absolutely! A big goal on the show especially in 2012 will be bringing in other people who are rocking it in their own way (more lifestyle design interviews) to really create an inspirational library of peeps who are rocking and rolling with this.

      1. That would be so awesome and helpful! You Rock!

  5. Peter Wright says:

    Couldn’t agree more David, but there is something else, we never know when life is going to throw us a curved ball. Even if we are doing what we really want and enjoy, something can come along and knock us off course. For me it was a heart attack stopping my involvement in farming and forcing me to increase my on-line activities.

    That’s another huge advantage of an on-line business, as long as one hand and your brain works, you can still make money, have fun and survive. 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Peter – Wow thanks so much for sharing your story (and glad you are healthy and rocking). Exactly. I’ve noticed there are interesting pivotal moments for people that range from a problem occurring (heart attack, divorce, something) to the positive (marriage, etc.). The key is something sparks change.

  6. Rachel Rodgers says:

    For me, it was not wanting to be the typical cranky, overworked lawyer. I turned down multiple job offers to try my hand at creating a law practice that would be awesome and fun and serve the type of people I like to work with. Most of my lawyer colleagues think I’m nuts and the rest want to know how I did it. 😉

    I know one thing, now that I’m a mom, I realize how I blessed I am to do fascinating work AND spend everyday all day with my sweet pea!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      AWESOME Rach. You are a great example to anyone who things all lawyers live the same life 🙂

  7. DSG – what did you say to him in response?

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      We ended up having a fun convo 🙂 I still don’t know if he understands what I do though, bless his heart. 

      1. Thanks for the response sir!

  8. I started my own business in 2000 and I can honestly say that I would never consider working for someone else again. In my experience, you’re advice is right on the money. 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      That’s what I love to hear! 

  9. Debbie says:

    Hi David, First of all, love the “Zipping”!
    Also, your article hit a nerve as it is So True about one pursue’s their Passion.
    Does not really matter what it is (the Job) as long as one Loves It and Loves It!
    Blessings Indeed and Looking forward to what is Next on your Horizon. I know it will continue to be Inspirational, Motivating AND FUN!!!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Definitely, Deb. Nail on the head. We all are supposed to be happy and excited with life, right?

  10. Aaron Morton says:

    Well done David; I work with a number of lawyers who see no world other than working to the bone 12 hours a day. The last couple of years has shown there is no concrete way of earning a living and offers exciting opportunities for people to take more control of how they earn a living. 

    Plus being able to use the gym in the middle of the day, you miss busy time..bonus 🙂

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Ugh ya, I think it is just innate in the culture (work, work, work, work, work). The question is how do we help? Show peeps there are other ways? You know?

      1. Aaron Morton says:

        Absolutely David and then show them how they can apply it to their own life!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good shout David. Interesting though that despite having been self-employed for nearly ten years, my now teenage children sometimes poke fun at me by saying “I never go to work” still not fully grasping the concept of flexible working and the work I do that is not client facing: Oh well, put that down to the power of social mores I guess.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Glenn – Hah. But I think there could be an opportunity to teach there too. What do you tell them?

      1. Anonymous says:

        True but no need to justify the conscious decision to work as I am to them. They’re doing it to have some fun at my expense, which is cool, but can also see the love that I have for the work that I do (plus when they’re older and have they’re own family I hope they’ll be able to understand the rationale and make the right decision for themselves). 

  12. Joshua Sprague says:

    Great article, David. This is a great reminder to apply this same principle to every area of our lives. Business, personal, spirituality, relationships, finances, contribution, etc. I think we’re not only able to feel fulfilled when we create life on our terms, but we’re able to help others the best because we’re doing what we are best at. You’re a great example of that with The Rise. You help all of us by doing what you love. 

    Oh, and I love that I have the freedom and flexibility to ski 4 days a week 🙂

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Couldn’t have said it better, J!

  13. Ashley says:

    Nice post David! It’s so true about creating the business to fit YOU. I had to do the same thing as you…I was go-go all the time and checking my email every millisecond. I finally shifted things and shaped it to how it could work where I could do things I love and run my business. Balance is such a huge part of it all and there is nothing like some awesome family/friend time mixed with some sports and outdoors in between 🙂 Right there with you my friend!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      EXACTLY. Whatever works for you works for you. Period. And the cool thing is there are so many models out there of people doing cool stuff that you can find someone to learn from that resonates with you.

  14. So glad I found this post, David. Well written/said!

    I get similar reactions from people who can’t believe I get anything done working from coffee shops all day. And these dumbfounded reactions, surprisingly, aren’t limited to the older generations.

    I decided to go this “Coffice” route on a more permanent basis (and subsequently making it my personal project) after being downsized from a company affected by the real estate bust a few years ago.

    So as David indicated above, you’re not alone. If anyone reading this would like to explore doing just that, working from a coffee shop, it would be my pleasure to share learnings with you and help you turn doubt into confident action.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!


  15. David – I’m with you. 

    I live in Sayulita, Mexico full time, and this place is the definition of alternative life style. Very similar to Costa Rica, but with more infrastructure and near perfect Internet connectivity which was a reason we selected it, as well as for the school. I can’t believe I can live in a place like this, and  wear shorts and flip flops all year long, and hold a “normal” living. Once you take on this life style, I assure you it will be near impossible to go back to the other side. The side that works for someone else’s dream, sits in a 5×5 cube and has to smell other people and listen to office gossip. I know that life too, I did it for 9 years. It takes courage to leap to the other side, but it’s so worth it. I can walk to my children’s school which is 5 minutes away at any time of the day, to make sure I don’t miss any of those precious moments of them growing up. We all eat at the same dinner table every day, and there’s no such thing as TV in our house. I love it, and will beg other people to try it whenever and where ever possible.Preach on friend… I’m listening and with you.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Thanks awesome, G. I didn’t know that is where you lived. Super inspiring and sounds like you are having a blast!!!!

  16. You could do so if you are 100% sure you are right. sometimes is good to listen to others

  17. Anonymous says:

    (crazy iPhone keyboard!!)

  18. Anonymous says:

    I really like this approach, because I can focus on the positive instead of the fear or anxiety.

    I love knowing I can work anywhere with an Internet connection. I love knowing I can attend my kids plays and school parties without asking permission for time off. I love knowing I can take my lunch to exercise or spend more time with a friend building relationships.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      SO right on, Dallon. You hit the nail on the head!!!

  19. Ederico Rocha says:

    When they’re not awesome interviews, they are posts filled with life saving advices. Like all advices, they’re there for the taking, not for the imposing.
    I heard you had a coach, and i presumed it was a motivational coach. Do you have a post of that somewhere or you plan on doing a piece about it and how it affected your life ? 
    Coaching seems big in the US on the contrary to Europe where you’re expected to find everything about everyday life on your own or relying on your parents.
    Keep up !

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Ederico – Great questions. She was actually not a motivational coach but more of a consultant/coach who helped me with what ideas to focus on, business model stuff, etc. I’ve become a big fan of coaching/consultants as a result of her awesome work.  (and haven’t done a post but I should!)

  20. Jhaynam says:

    I love this. I too have gotten the awkward glances and questions at the gym. I ran a business from home for a few years and still do.

    Sorry to shamelessly plug my site, but I’m working on a new idea called that documents stories just like yours of people who live extraordinary lives.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Hi J – Thanks for the comments. I would appreciate it if you did not come here shamelessly plugging your links…pretty bad taste. Thanks man.

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8 Steps to Turning What You Already Know into a Successful Online Course

The 8 step process to the successful with online courses + free gifts for attending!

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