Forty-nine and dressed to impress. Busy day ahead. Breakfast with her accountant come business adviser, then back-to-back meetings until dinner time, when she retreats home to check in with her hubby and his day.
She had always been a forward-thinking entrepreneurial type, restless with today, pushing forward to tomorrow’s achievements. Things simply didn’t happen as fast as she wanted.
The cafe was quieter than normal this morning. Shaun, her business adviser was waiting for her typically late arrival. Not too late, but late enough to put the entrepreneur in a slight fluster. “Not the way to start the day,” she thought.
Shaun seemed different. He seemed slower, more deliberate, something was going on. During the first five minutes he picked up the financial reports and put them down three times, unable to bring himself to talk about them. It wasn’t that the financial performance was poor, in fact, it was outstanding.
However, he was worried - for his client. Especially, for the health of this thinking and feeling human being in front of him, who had turned into a productivity machine and had lost herself in material accumulation and entrepreneurial addiction.
Up until a couple of years ago, Shaun was your typical accounting type until a rather nasty and bitter divorce sent him on a soul-searching and life-changing journey.
He didn’t go to Peru or India. However, he did read, listen and explore what it meant to be human, and perhaps more importantly, how to live a life of joy, peace, happiness and all of the other wondrous emotions.
In some ways, Shaun was annoyed he hadn’t learnt these insights some 20-odd years prior. Although, at the same time he knew if it wasn’t for those years, he may have never been introduced to this other way of thinking and being that led him to be happier than he could have ever imagined.
Shaun hesitantly asked his client, “What else do you want and need to be happy?” He didn’t know how his question would be received, he just knew he needed to ask it.
“Where do I start,” she replied with a defiant grin. “I want more revenue and profit, less staffing hassles, better work-life balance. I want to lose some weight, be fitter, go on a holiday with my husband and see my kids get married.” The list could have easily gone on, however, that was enough for today.
With the caring eyes of a saint and gentle voice, Shaun shared “Just imagine if you could be happy with what you already have. Just imagine you didn’t need anything else, or anything less, to be entirely happy.”
The entrepreneur’s facial expression changed immediately. It was a confronting idea; one that couldn’t be easily repelled. She had more than most. Yet, for some reason was discontent and had been for as long as she could remember. She hadn’t had anyone suggest this before, especially not her business adviser, his job was to help her get more and reach higher heights.
She sat back and looked at Shaun in a way that she hadn’t looked at him before. She was folding, she was letting go, and for a moment permitted herself to be vulnerable.
The grasp of her assured ego slipped. Not a lot, but just enough, for her shoulders to relax. Just enough for the business-like expression to soften, and the warmth of her femininity to gleam through.
Her mind was able to see the fallacy of the promise that more means success, and success means happiness. She needed to move. Standing up in the quieter than normal cafe, she walked around, feeling the new-found space within her body, her mind and her soul.
Shaun sat back with a broad smile. “Your life can feel this spacious all the time. You don’t need to always fill it to the brim with desires about the future and thoughts about what else you should have or should be doing. You don’t need to delay your happiness based on some future event.”
Silence fell upon them. The entrepreneur got it. Not in an intellectual way; in a much deeper way. With the most caring eyes and gentle voice the not-so-hasty entrepreneur said, “thank you, Shaun”.
A demeanour Shaun had never seen from his client. She was slower, more deliberate, something had gone on.
In some ways she was annoyed she hadn’t learnt this lesson some 20-odd years ago. Although, at the same time she knew that if it wasn’t for those years, she may have never been introduced to a way of thinking and being that would lead her to be happier than she could ever imagine.