Immediately after I had completed my role as CEO of our financial planning group, the phone began ringing. “Would you come and speak at our conference?” Or, “We’d love to have you lead a seminar for our organisation.”
Word had spread about how I had succeeded in building such a fast-growing and successful national company from Hobart, a provincial city on the island state of Tasmania.
The attendees of these seminars were mostly owners of small businesses. After I had spoken, several would approach me and ask if I would be available to coach them on an ongoing basis. Because so many were located in different cities all over Australia, I had to say no to most of them.
For those who I did help, we often spent a half or whole day in a strategic planning session. I would usually meet with these business owners in their boardrooms and have a great time brainstorming and roughing out a plan to take their business to the next level over the next one to three years. The meetings invariably ended on a high note, as they now saw a constructive way to move forward.
But I would finish with one last question: “Do you have a plan for your own personal life, distinct from your business?” Silence, followed by, “Not really.”
Then I discovered a very interesting truth.
As I probed deeper, asking them about their families and aspirations, they would suddenly get very passionate about their personal dreams, which had been put on hold while they pursued the ‘business’ of building wealth and attaining success. What seemed to really matter to them had been buried in their subconscious or given a low priority because life had become too busy. You could say they were rich on paper, but their lives were not yet enriched by a sense of purpose and meaning.
I myself was nearly a casualty of this type of business and financial success by doing the opposite – that is, trying to somehow make my life-purpose fit my business goals. It seems silly now, but back then it appeared to be a normal path to take.
During those one-on-one business coaching sessions, we often needed to double-back and modify the business plan so that it became more aligned with their personal dreams and aspirations. This was what I had personally and painfully discovered in my own life through a series of events that got my attention. Ultimately, it led me to redefine wealth and make the transition from simply being rich to having an enriched life.
I traced the birth of my second half career out of this simple market research conducted with these men and women who sought my advice. And ultimately these conversations provided the motivation to produce something bigger – this book.
Over the last few decades there have been an enormous number of leadership books written, most of which provide ideas, methods, formulas and experiences on how to become more successful in business. I have personally benefited from reading and applying the principles from many of these books in my own life and business. I am forever grateful to these authors, as I would not be where I am today without their books and the ideas they convey. The exceptional ones have been catalysts to help me make important paradigm shifts: E Myth by Michael Gerber, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Good to Great by Jim Collins and Maverick by Ricardo Semler. However, the more success I achieved in my business, the more challenges I encountered. Much to my frustration, I could not find the answers to some of these important challenges in the usual business success books.
My aim in writing Enriched is to share the answers
I discovered to those questions that were unanswered in the success books I had read. I hope this book will also help you experience transformation in your life as I did in mine.
I now devote the majority of my time to encouraging others to discover their life-purpose, and with that clarity help them develop a plan to achieve it. By most standards, these people are already ‘successful’. Many are running a thriving business or are in the middle of a remarkable career. But they all have this vague sense that something is missing; life hasn’t turned out exactly as they had hoped it would. So I help them refocus and develop a plan to align their business or career to their life-purpose.
The results have been liberating, transformational and truly amazing.
Few things make me happier than seeing someone ‘get it’, and then make the necessary changes that deliver a life that is far more exciting and fulfilling than the one they had previously. If you are open to some unconventional thinking and have the desire and tenacity to apply the principles I outline in this book, you too can know what it’s like to reclaim the life you’ve always dreamed of living.
Melbourne, July 2012
This introduction is included in the Free Sample Chapter.