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The Rise To The Top Lifestyle: Thoughts On Work, Play & Life

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Me, Ria and Lewis Howes At My Wedding

I was sitting at coffee today with my friend Ria Sharon. I’ve known and been good friends with Ria for several years and sometimes (not often enough) we meet up for coffee or lunch to catch up and talk business, life, whatever.

Our conversations in the past, were always very intense. We would discuss the latest marketing tactics and technology. We would intensely talk shop about how our businesses were doing. We would always talk about what MORE should we be doing with our businesses. How can we ramp it up? How can we do better? What new projects should we take one? Bigger, bigger, more, more, bigger, bigger, more, more. Head spinning, head spinning.

Today, however, was very different.

For example:

  • On the business front, Ria couldn’t be happier. She has been writing for a huge website (and getting paid well for it), is dominating with and she has some other projects that are just rocking for her.
  • I mentioned how, I’m super excited about The Rise To The Top getting back to the core of creative entrepreneurs and that I have an idea for a new book (yay!).
  • Ria mentioned she mastering Tango and almost taking lessons daily and is learning Spanish in a really unique way through an app.
  • I mentioned how I’m in the midst (almost at the halfway point!) of a huge fitness challenge to get in absolutely shredded shape by September.
  • We discussed how she has plenty of time to hang out with her kids and is really not that all stressed out about business as she is super happy as to where she is at.
  • I told her about upcoming trips and plans with my wife and how excited we are about visiting Costa Rica and some other fun stuff.

About midway through the conversation, I sort of stopped cold. I said to her, “Wow, this conversation would have been so different three, two, heck even on year ago. What has changed?”

And we realized, how much our businesses and lives have changed in the past several years. Back then, we are ALL about business. Trying to do more. Taking on everything. Keeping hundreds of plates spinning Ridiculously busy. Stressed. High-strung.

It was sort of like we were trapped or slaves to our businesses and that is what identified us.

Now we were talking about how we are relaxed, trying new things and actually sometimes unnecessarily guilty of the free time we have (thats a whole other story).

It got me thinking about The Rise To The Top and the lifestyle associated with it. What I mean is, I was thinking about the common things we all (might) want and associate with. And perhaps things we don’t (not that there is anything wrong with these things but it just isn’t the focus here).

Here is a partial list I came up with:

The Rise To The Top Lifestyle means you do meaningful work that you are passionate and excited about.

As opposed to doing work for work’s sake or trying to make a quick buck by any means and tactics necessary.

The Rise To The Top Lifestyle means you have the freedom to enjoy life.

As opposed to being unable to get away from the office (physically and/or mentally) to spend time with your (fill in your favorites: kids, wife, husband, significant other, friends, etc.)

The Rise To The Top Lifestyle means you have hobbies, passions and activities OUTSIDE of work.

As opposed to only talking about, thinking about and doing work.

I’ll save my story for another time on how I went from ridiculously stressed and putting in crazy, crazy hours on my business to completely changing everything (and the results).

Does this resonate with you? What are your thoughts? What would you add?

  1. Elise Burdick says:

    I love it!  Perfectly sums up my idea of a balanced life.  (Excellent income, the freedom to enjoy it, and all of it sitting on top of the ability to be happy and stay happy, for no reason at all!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      I like what you said “be happy and say happy for no reason at all”

  2. Ria Sharon says:

    David, it’s a joy to share all the twists and turns and varying speeds of life with you. Reading this was such validation that we truly have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. This progress was a result of dedication, passion and hundreds of hours of work but I have to be reminded constantly to take the time to appreciate, be grateful for, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    Especially in our industry when work can provide such an adrenaline rush… it’s easy to forget that the point of work is not to create more work.

    So… when are we hanging out at the pool?! 😉

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Thanks for the inspiration!

      Haha, actually what are you doing a week from Saturday (one week from this Saturday?). We are going to do a BBQ/Garland-fest. Let me know 🙂

  3. Shawn says:

    Love this, David — especially “do meaningful work that you are passionate and excited about.” Earlier this year, I created a “Work I Believe In” section for my whiteboard to remind me of the projects/initiatives I’m truly passionate about to make sure I don’t get side-tracked with other work that is *interesting* but not what *really* excites me. It’s easy to get off course, but it’s a game changer if you can stick to it!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Absolutely, Shawn. And it is one of those things that is both extremely simple and complicated; east, yet difficult.

  4. Jen Vertanen says:

    Awesome post!  I quit my corporate IT job a few months ago to work on building a business around my passions and while I haven’t quite hung my sign out (so to speak), I’m enjoying the process *and* the flexibility being my own boss offers me.  It’s hard walking away from a big fat paycheck but the benefits I’ve gained in the last few months literally are priceless to me and my family. 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      That’s a good perspective, Jen. It is a process. It takes time, mistakes, trying new things and all that jazz. Those that persist, win 🙂 Keep at it!

  5. Cynthia Wylie says:

    I just “down-sized.”  I asked my boss to work two days a week instead of five.  I expected him to say no.  And miraculously he said yes!  Wow.  So I scaled my salary back to 40% (still quite frankly an amount I can live on), still keep my benefits, and I am working on my own business now making my dreams come true.  I think more people should try to ask for that.  You never know!

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