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Issue 2: Living your work

1st February 2016

Either you’re here again because my first blog entry was bearable enough to spark enough intrigue for you to take a second look, or you are as yet undecided – humour me…

So what is this Conker Blog all about then? Well, I can assure you that you’ll not be subjected to an endless rant on the wonders and versatilities of Conker Gin (that goes without saying). What I really want to talk about is the journey of going from working for a living, to living your work. Now that sounds like a negative, right? Just hear me out…

You see, what gets me really excited is the process I went through to change my mindset to go from a well-paid and safe career, to putting it on the line to make an ambitious idea a reality. Because that is all it is: a change in the way of thinking that allows yourself to behave in a way that you hadn’t before.

At 28 I’d got myself educated and qualified to ride out a safe and reliable career that would make me the ultimate provider. School would’ve been proud. I hadn’t been looking for riches; I just wanted a safety net in place so that no matter what, we wouldn’t be counting the pennies at the end of the month. So inevitably I chose a job that I thought I might be interested in, but which I knew would provide.

I chose to sacrifice the now for a reward in the future. Financial security over following a passion; or to put it simply: fun. This has been the work model for generations: 9 to 5 working for the weekend and the eventual retirement package that will allow you to follow your dreams. But what if that future you’re working for never materialises?!

I’ve always had a vivid comprehension of my own mortality. This has kept me off a skateboard and away from cigarettes from day one. I wasn’t the cool kid. But now I’m thankful for this, as it brought me to an early midlife crisis moment at 29 where I thought to myself, “I’ll be bitterly disappointed if I retire or die doing what I currently do for a living.” It really was that simple.

The enlightening truth is that there is no payday, there’s just life. You are living it, right now. And yet five days a week is spent working all hours to afford the cars we sit in traffic jams to get to work, to pay for the house we only see at the weekends. If we really are being observed by a third kind, they must think we’re all completely bonkers.

For our grandparents, work wasn’t meant to be fun – that was for the weekends. But the reality is you’ll be most successful and therefore reap the most rewards from doing the things that make you happy: fun builds your business.

This doesn’t mean that every working day will be filled with laughter and excitement, it’s more that there’s no separation between work and life. This may sound like a negative, but in fact for me it’s a blessing. Instead of spending the day making decisions and working myself miserable and ill for something that means nothing to me other than the payday, every single decision I make during the day is about the life I am building for myself and my family. As a result, nothing is meaningless or mundane – it’s my lifeblood.

For example, today I spent hours on the internet buying stationary. Rock and roll. But as it happens I’m now completely stoked that we’re going to start doing things more efficiently and with quality gear. A sad stationary fetish? Your call, but it all boils down to whether what you’re doing has meaning for you.

This month the world has mourned the loss of some Greats: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey and Sir Wogan. These guys excelled in their day jobs. Now, my instinct was to write ‘their crafts’ – but that’s just it, you wouldn’t consider what they did to pay the mortgage was a day job. They chose the dangerous road of pursuing a passion and they excelled because they were all doing what they loved and the riches followed.

The greatest lesson I take from these guys is that when they left us, they weren’t remembered and celebrated for their bank balance. It’s what you do each and every day that matters and I wouldn’t count on waiting till retirement age to do it…

That’s the Spirit ®

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