Promises promises. We waited two months and finally, summer showed up out of season. September has stepped in with glorious sunshine.
And with September’s somewhat sweaty entrance, comes the start of school and a time for making choices for the coming year, 2024. For us as a family, much has changed. We have now lived in our new house for a year and our world has reshaped itself as our children are becoming young adults.
The other day I read a statement worth remembering for anyone looking to make the right choices for 2024. It was this:
“If it doesn’t bring you peace, purpose, and prosperity, then don’t give it your time, energy, or attention.”
For an entrepreneur, life always has its fair share of ups and downs, but one of the things that often disappears, without your permission for it to leave, is peace. And you can’t put your finger on why it is absent until you decide to make a change.
In the past, I have been rash with some decisions and to help people I have lost sight of the wider picture. Sometimes being kind to one can cause you to be cruel to those you care about.
Purpose is always my priority, and I’ve realised that peace is my platform. Without peace, there will always be a price to pay. So, how do you keep peace in your life? You have to set boundaries. Give yourself space away from noisy demands.
When we moved into the country it helped to give us clarity amid crisis. Nick Goldsmith talks about the power of being outside in his book Rewilding”, and how walking in nature gives us perspective.
Peace is the platform that I operate from. Taking time at the start and end of each day is a must. I take time to build peace and restore it.
I try not to make choices that give me a sense of unease and ignore it and forge on. I listen to the inner voice and go with decisions that maintain or restore my peace. It’s like a squeeze of the hand, a look that says it all, peace is the green light you should be seeking. It’s not seeking other people’s permission, it’s knowing that deep down, in my heart that I have done the right thing.
If peace is my platform, purpose is my priority.
Purpose carries a focus and it helps shape perspective.
Teams are shaped and motivated by purpose and individual team members might find that pursuing that purpose will mark where the path divides. If an individual is no longer motivated by the purpose of the team then it makes sense for them to go and pursue their path. Career progression of individual members is something you can facilitate for a season, but longer term it cannot be at the expense of the priority of purpose.
The team member who has been at the company the longest might not always be the best choice to take a department or a role forward. They may have outgrown you or maybe you have outgrown them as you’ve both matured. Organisations change and people change. Sometimes change is the very best thing for everyone.
Not everyone stays in your team forever (even if you want them to), however, as leaders, we need to act on the signs of transition. As we look to reorganise and redeploy team members, the three questions we should be asking are…
1) Does this team member have the skills for the job?
2) If not, can they learn the skills?
3) Will they embrace the challenge?
When my team has shifted and I have had to face making changes these are the questions I have had to ask. Then I made choices to ensure that the team can collectively pursue purpose.
For me, the first sign of purpose stalling is when there is a lack of peace. There might not be anything you can do as a leader, you have to wait for people to make their own decisions, but time will tell.
The process can be quite painful, especially when growth is something we all value. It’s worth remembering that motives and priorities change for everyone, including for the leader.
However, if you ensure that purpose is always your priority you’ll make the right choices for the right reasons.
A friend of mine says, ‘If it is not making money, it’s not making sense’. Making money is always a priority. And now with inflation and escalating costs of living, it’s all contributing to a mid-life crisis for a generation.
Sadly, money as its motive isn’t enough because you can never have enough of it. The true motive of prosperity is the balance of purposeful work with a tight family. If you get that right then wealth will come, you just have to be patient.
I can recount the days of waiting for the lady with the yellow label stickers at the supermarket for reduced food and walking endless miles without a car. Pursuing purpose for me entailed walking away from money. Now I believe that comfort cannot be your sole goal because comfort, long term, kills purpose.
We were not born to be simply consumers, we are supposed to be producers and lead from conviction rather than circumstance alone. For me, prosperity is more than just money, it comes in your health, your home and in your heart.
When you don’t have it you notice! Covid got people’s attention as everybody’s health suffered in different ways. True prosperity is knowing you have a choice and choosing wisely where your health is concerned. Sickness sucks. Investing in the small things like walking, running and saying no to the wrong types of food has helped me.
Recently I started to limit my intake of food! Now I only eat between the hours of 1 pm and 7 pm and I feel better than I have for years. Health is indeed wealth.
As a leader, I’ve had to sacrifice for my family. Please don’t feel sorry for me though, this is a choice I had to make. Home is our safe space and anyone who drops by will meet Team Irwin. My family are my team and as they grow, one thing is clear, I’m not losing them for money.
I made that choice back in 2001, and I continue to do so. Home is on our terms. I choose to be present rather than absent. As parents, Clare and I both work hard to help our children make wiser and smarter choices earlier in their lives.
Being authentically me and spending time with my people, without expectation, is what I need. It’s important not to lose yourself amid the noise. For me, what keeps me closer to who I am is spending time quietly seeking God. It has kept me sane instead of losing my mind.
I invited God back into my life in 2001 and have been blessed ever since. It stopped me from striving to be someone and focused me on helping others find who they are.
Although I love purpose, today I am reminded that peace is my all-important platform. Summer has come later in my life and for me, I am just starting to feel the sun on my face.
“If it doesn’t bring you peace, purpose, and prosperity then don’t give it your time, energy, or attention.”
Stick that on your wall and give life your all!