Life After Work


Growing up and living in two different continents, across many different countries, I’ve had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of lifestyles and see how many choose to live. Throughout this, one of the biggest lessons that I have learned is the importance of building a strong work life balance – which, in my belief, is the need to structure your work around your life, not your life around your work.

I believe that understanding this is the most important aspect to building a true work life balance. Now, the truth is not everyone is born rich, and not everyone has riches come their way, but that does not mean they have to be slaves to their work. People always talk about how money isn't everything, but then they go work a job they hate and constantly complain about. I believe that one of the worst things in life that you can do is simply work for money; just live to work and work to live. So the question I always found myself asking was how do I create the lifestyle I want regardless of whether I'm doing a corporate desk job, working minimum wage, owning a business, or being one of the super rich?

This is also when I found myself running into my first and biggest obstacle, a trap many of us tend to fall into with time – we get so comfortable with the everyday that we accept it as the norm and settle.

We let routine and laziness pervade our everyday life. We choose comfort and security over our passions and freedom. We choose to listen to the fear of the unknown instead of the excitement of the unknown. We settle; and when we settle we stop learning, we stop growing, and that is truly when we start getting “old”. Routines are important to a certain extent, but have too many of them and they can become limiting, wiring us to feel “old”. In a way, I feel like this is why when an older person tries something new they sometimes say "I feel so young again”. It’s rethinking the way we think.

So how does one fit work around their life? I have a list, as all good posts should have, of the top 4 things you can do immediately to work towards a more positive lifestyle.

1. Sit-down and think about what you value in your life.

Write it down. See it in front of you, your own handwritten truth. See the kind of jobs you could qualify for in the immediate future. Compare and contrast. Does Job A get in the way of Life Value B? Or do they work together? The job does not need to be your dream job yet, let's start with complementing your out-of-work life first before improving the work itself.

For example, my co-worker –  an accomplished author – loves to write in the dead of morning between 1 and 6 AM. At the same time, he likes to work with people. So, he found a corporate customer service job with a 4 to 12 PM shift to gain an income, fill his schedule, and meet his need to connect with people.

For myself, I began with a regular 9 to 5, but everything I like to do – my dancing and martial arts – happens in evenings. So again, my job never takes away from my life.

2. Set achievable goals.

Now that you’ve found a job that doesn't conflict with your lifestyle, see where you want to be in the future. If it's at your current job then you are set. You have exactly what you want so just keep enjoying the pleasure of being exactly where you want to be, knowing that most other people are still desperately trying to get to the same place.

If you are like me and aren’t there yet, then set achievable goals. What are you willing to do short term, and long term to achieve the success you want? Visualize success. This is not revolutionary advice, but it doesn’t need to be.

I'm a big fan of lists so I write down all my short and long term goals. My short term goals tend to be 1 year long, such as advancing a level in martial arts or doing 3 job interviews. My long term goals tend to be 2 to 5 years long, such as getting a black belt in a martial arts style. A short term goal could be to save $100 per month and a long term goal could be to buy a property. As you’re doing this, be careful not to use lack of knowledge as an excuse. You have no idea what to do – does that mean you should just wait and let the years pass and eventually be filled with regret? I think not. If you want to be a business owner but don’t yet have your idea, then spend your time learning everything you can about becoming a business owner. That way, when your idea does come you will be ready with the technical skills. Build a foundation, the structure itself can come in place after.

3. Create an environment of continuous personal growth.

This can mean surrounding yourself with positive and successful people, people that support you and your vision and passion. Find friends who will be a positive influence. Find people who have or are in the process of achieving the success you want, then learn from them. Read books. Do something, however small, to push you forward.

4. Remember that you’re your own biggest critic.

We all need to remind ourselves that our greatest barrier is our own self-imposed limitations. I think this is important because realizing, accepting, and controlling this means that we are in control of our future and success – so long as we are willing to put in effort and overcome failure.

5. Stop saying “Thank God it’s Friday”.

This is a poisonous phrase.

It subconsciously and verbally vocalizes to yourself and others that you hate Monday to Thursday; you hate 4 out of 7 days of your week. Do you understand what that means? It means you can't stand more than 50% of your week, of your life, and you are grateful that the weekend has come so you can forget about Monday through Thursday. Work on building a life where you enjoy every one of your days. The truth is, don't expect to get all your enjoyment from your job as things will never go perfectly no matter what your job is. Nevertheless, It shouldn't take away from your overall lifestyle.

The best part about all of this is that it need not be drastic. Drastic change may not even work for you. Not everyone has the luxury or the will to quit everything they are currently doing to start anew. I know I personally like to take progressive steps rather than leaps and bounds. If you want to start a winery and you are working in insurance, don't just quit your job to try it out. Learn how to make wine, speak to wineries that are successful, and start slow. Small steps will give you the necessary footing to take bigger ones later on. If you fail at your side hustle you always have your main job. If your side hustle picks up, it’s easy to phase out your desk job for your own business or idea.

At the end of the day, building the lifestyle you want is a process; what’s important is that you don’t dwell on your mistakes. Shoot for the stars. If you miss, at least you’ll fall on the moon right?

Aleksa is a financial professional working in the banking industry by day and building his empire by night. After work, his lifelong hobby and passion has been martial arts. Aleksa is a lover of latin dance styles, a constant traveler, and an avid thrill seeker.