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Success is not about the amount of money you have, it is rather the amount of people you surround yourself with that care about you. Popular opinion states that the more money you have, the happier you will be. While it is true that having no money creates stress and tension, having too much money also creates the same results. My friend and mentor Jayson Gaignard once commented “I was making 22 times the national average income, but I wasn’t 22 times happier.” His perspective was that happiness did not scale proportionately with the amount of money you make. In fact, many find it lonely at the top and can never be satisfied with what they have or have accomplished. This inner drive sends them on a chase that will never lead them to true satisfaction. One also begin to wonder if our friends are truly interested in usor what we have.
How I learned success from a shot of Tequila
I personally learned this lesson as the result of a question I jokingly asked my wife, one cold Canadian winter day: “Why don’t we sell the house and move to Mexico?” “Sure.”, was her response, which was the beginning of an amazing family adventure. Prior to that question, I was running a successful IT support company and built my dream home in cottage country (Morin Heights, Quebec). What seemed like an ideal life was really just a facade for the reality of what it took to create that lifestyle. What good was all of this, if I had no time to enjoy it with my family. I often found myself returning home past 9 PM after the 1-hour commute, to a quiet house, my kids already in bed and sleeping. I was working for my family, but I wasn’t really working with them. I should have been working with my wife to help her raise our children, instead of simply being a provider.
The house sold within a week, was that a sign we were on the right track?
We packed up a trailer and that following October, we drove from Montreal, Quebec to Bucerias, Nayarit near Puerto Vallarta. I applied the 80/20 rule that I learned from Tim Ferriss to my business and concentrated my efforts on my top clients. Yes, my top line revenues declined, but incredibly, my bottom line revenues increased. I was able to tweak my company and have no infrastructure, yet have a local presence with reliable sub-contractors. I would return to Montreal for about 10 days every 3 months to meet the clients and make sure everything was running smoothly.
Living in Mexico, you realize that you don’t need much to be happy.
Spending time with my wife and 2 kids, along with friends was priceless. There is nothing like sharing a bottle of wine with friends as you watch the sun set by the infinity pool in our complex. For five years, we lived in Mexico and my focus was on family, rather then wealth and business.
We really had to get out of our comfort zone to start a life in a new country, put the kids in a Spanish school and work remotely. I have to give a ton of credit to the adventurous spirit of my wife who wholeheartedly went along with my crazy idea.
Many today get into the rat race and work hard all their lives and try to save up for retirement to finally be able to relax and do the activities they have always wanted to do. For many, they simply don’t have the funds to live their dreams or they might not have the energy to do so anymore. I wanted to live my life now. I remember being on the rooftop of our hotel while visiting the town of Tequila with my good friend Kevin. We are sipping 100 percent Agave Anejo Tequila and I couldn’t help but smile thinking how surreal it was for me to be there at that moment. Here I was with my best friend enjoying a mini adventure within Mexico with our families. That memory is priceless and would not have happened if I was still running in that maze with my fellow rats. Some of those rats got to visit Mexico or some other exotic location for a few weeks a year, but here I was living the dream every day.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still working remotely, but the pace of life was much more relaxed and so much of it was spent with friends and family. Something as simple as a pot luck dinner with good friends by the pool followed by a refreshing swim and playing cards as the sun sets were better then any meal I had alone in a Five-Star Restaurant. Years later, it’s not the food we remember, but who we were with at that moment. We did have some amazing meals in Mexico, but I was having them with my family, who I was close to again. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t work on my family rather then my business at that crucial time? Would I be eating alone now, lonely and sitting on a pile of cash?
Although we are back in Montreal because of health care issues with one of my kids, we have kept a little part of Mexico within us. Whenever I get wound up with too much work, I will pour a little shot of Tequila on ice, sit back and remember that time on the rooftop. In that moment, I realize that it’s not all about the work, but I need to stop and enjoy the good things in life now.