After a successful business sale in 2021 – you are left wondering what’s next. But with that business sale also came a shift and a full cleanse of daily tasks and duties, colleague camaraderie, employees, obligations and responsibilities. Gone were the day-to-day tasks keeping your business humming and running, your identity at the office, the watercooler discussions – and the ever looming daily question of ‘where is this business headed’. The plate was literally clean – clear of any distractions, messes, inventory, phone calls to make – or lawsuits looming over you at any minute. It was hard to say goodbye to a work culture, family, and daily routines that took the better part of last decade to assemble. What took it seemed like a lifetime to figure out and setup – was liquidated in less than a few months timespan, and new tenants were living in our 8K sq ft warehouse that literally housed our life.
The challenge started coming in the days or weeks after the sale. Once the office was cleaned out, and a small apartment was acquired to keep some semblance of a work life – the true challenge begun.
The plate was clear – as in REALLY clear. The closest to a formative work-life balance was to retain some semblance to a working life, therefore the tried and true schedule of four day workweek was kept up. But how do you now fill 32-36 hours of a workweek, with no business to run? Taking stock of full inventory of things to do – obviously there was certain accounting and getting-the-house-in-order type tasks to accomplish. FINE that took maybe several months. After that – back the drawing board came out to try and establish new tasks to work on and move forward. And boy – does it all feel silly in the beginning. Explaining to relatives, family and friends what you are now ‘ doing ‘ . Doing things literally for ‘ no results ‘ or gratification – outside of the task of just essentially doing them. You are even now questioning – what is the end result or gratification that you are looking for? Is it money? Fame? Long term wealth? Skills?
It is hard to pinpoint what the new bullseye is , when you had the same target for so long that you were shooting and aiming for. Once that rug has been pulled out from under you with a business sale – you are left stranded there looking around asking yourself what is the point now and what should your day-to-day life be aimed at?
So how do you frame – or aim towards something new…from scratch…with no destination?
1 – You get room and space to explore things and ideas that seemed out of place or silly, when you had a full time business to run! Things such as
2 – You get to pick and set a different target. With so many new emerging fields, and social media attention at an all time high – getting followers in a passionate field is a challenge upon itself!
3 – Your time horizon expands from looking at a one year result / process to thinking about ten, twenty and forty year horizon. That introduces new challenges, thinking patterns and actions from that mindset shift.
Starting new is hard because:
You need to redefine your aim
You need some day-to-day schedule still
You need targets otherwise all the time gets gobbled up
Priorities – what were they, what are they now and where are they headed? You must consider the small and large picture of life to fit in all activities and expectations.
Values – questioned as well. What is important? What changed now vs 10 years ago at the start of last business? What are you trying to accomplish now? What should be more / less the focus ? None of these questions are easy to answer or pinpoint to immediately. You question yourself from the day before the sale, to 5 to ten years prior. You look at your evolution. You wonder if your old values even hold any candle to what you are trying to accomplish now and where you are headed. And all that combined with a growing family, and a mortality that you know is now one decade sooner. It all plays a roll! Are you drawn to explore the same world as before, or ready to start fresh and anew on a new adventure to learn new skills, discover new friends and enter a new industry? Change is hard! And most of all you are required to drop all ego, be a fool and start at ground zero. And also – now you finally got to a place where unemployed college grads, and alcoholic bums hang out! You got all the time freedom in the world to explore, write, and daydream – but all finally after achieving such a lofty goal (business sale!).
You must give yourself the benchmarks, assignments, and goal posts to tackle. How will you know if you arrived if you don’t know where you are headed?
You must change your thinking from expecting a result (tomorrow) from taking action today. The result must be the process that you are undergoing to reach your destination
You must determine what is worth giving two f*cks about instead of spending the entire day at the pool hall or arcades drinking beers
This is like the old adage – needing something to retire TO. Yes, some of the daily to-dos and tasks got washed away – but the overarching picture of goals and destinations still remain (I wanna be wealthier, fitter, healthier, smarter and wiser then I was the day before). Once you have that as a destination, you need to work backwards and redefine your goals, objectives, and day to day tasks to help accomplish all of the above.