Two years ago this week I began Smarter Happier. Two years ago this week I wrote about how Kirsty had suffered a “mini stroke” and our whole world had turned upside down. Two years since we decided that something needed to change in order for us to live happier lives in which we feel more fulfilled. We have learned a lot over the last two years; Kirsty and I have both taken courses, attended Problogger, delved deep into the world of internet marketing, and generally got ourselves more organised. We also made a bigger effort to spend time as a family, and took our dream trip to Disney World. So, after two years and all this, are we any smarter or happier?
The short answer is “kind of”. We now have some solid medium-term goals – a four-year plan that I like to call “four years to freedom”. We know where we would like to be, and an idea on how we will get there. This is a wonderful thing and I truly do feel smarter for committing to a goal, and happier knowing there is an end point for what we are doing now. However, now that we have started down this path, found ourselves in the slog, the grind of actually working towards the goal, it is tough. It is the same with every endeavour – you start off excited and motivated and power forward making some awesome progress to begin with. Then, the warm glow of that initial excitement fades and you find yourself confronted with a mountain of work and your goal seems a long way off (1,389 days, not that I’m counting). I am excited for where we want to be, but need to grit my teeth and power through the tough bit.
In this regard, we are working smarter. We have a plan, and we are following it. We have educated ourselves and tried things out, and made decisions based on our learning. One of the original goals was to reduce the work load, but we are nowhere near that yet. We need to put in some hard yards now, so we can ease up in the future. It’s like Pat Flynn says on his podcast, we’re “working hard now so [we] can sit back and relax later”. We know and understand that.
As a family I feel we are in a happier place than we were two years ago – everyone is healthy for a start! The kids are doing well at school (all three are at school now!) and thriving which is about all I want. It might seem funny coming from a teacher, but the only thing I want my kids to get out of school is an opportunity to grow into being themselves. Marks, knowledge, awards – they can all take a back seat to being confident enough to be yourself. Personally, I am not in the place I want to be yet. While Kirsty is making wonderful progress towards her personal and professional goals, I have found myself caught between the things I would like to do (work on our business) and the things I must do (my job). I think this is my current pressure point. I find myself idea-rich but time-poor, and must remind myself that I am still contributing towards our family goals. I have not been able to blog as frequently as I would like (Boo!), or complete the projects that form the foundation of my own business (Boo! Boo!), but I have been able to support Kirsty, encourage her, offer advice, feedback and (constructive) criticism. As a partnership we are succeeding.
So, two years on we are smarter and happier. We have finally got ourselves to a place where we know what we want the future to look like.