It was 12:25pm.
Denis could have been hard at work in his little Provencal grocery store.
But instead, his store was shuttered, and he was outside sitting on the bench with his wife, watching life go by.
Looking calm and relaxed, he turned and greeted us as we walked past.
“It’s a beautiful day!” he said cheerfully.
Each day, they open at 8:30am and then go home for lunch by 12:30pm.
And then, if their grandkids aren’t being too cute (and if they feel like it), they re-open again from 3:30-5:30pm.
They work no more than 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Sometimes they decide to take an extra day off just because…
Spontaneously shuttering their doors and setting off to visit their daughter or whatever else they feel like doing.
We told them how amazing this was to us, being city folks from a busy-land.
“We work when we want, not when you want..” he replied, his eyes glittering.
And that just stunned me for a second, because it was just about the most “anti-business” think I’ve ever heard.
Denis and Laurence were two of the nicest people I had ever met, and every single time we go into their store (and we pretty much shop there daily, since they’re right next door to us), it’s like we’re the only people in the world to them.
But, when they’re closed, they’re closed.
And yet their business was doing just fine.
And they were happy.
My first reaction was to mock them gently: “Oh, they don’t live in the real world.”
And then, something began to dawn on me.
If there’s a real world, I think it’s ME that doesn’t live there.
After a month in France, our 24/7 culture of instant access now seems not just wrong, but downright pathological.
After all, we open up shop online looking for freedom to re-create our lives on our own terms.
And then we find ourselves trapped in a prison of OUR own making.
We expect immediate responses to our emails and phone calls, and constant access via Facebook and text message from the people we choose to do business with.
So get so caught up in the emails, posts and messages flying at us from every direction, that we end up sitting in front of our computers day and night, losing touch with the real reason we went into business in the first place.
I don’t care WHO you are — there’s a real and undeniable cost to this 24/7 access that takes a very heavy toll on our bodies and minds.
It’s just not sustainable.
And it took a trip to France to fully understand that there’s another path that’s possible to travel.
Denis and his wife Laurence consciously make a decision each day to run their business in a way that supports their life, rather than trying to extract every possible cent (and making themselves miserable along the way.)
And the larger we grow Live Your Message, the clearer it becomes to us that business needs to support your life, not the other way around.
That’s why I wanted to share with you the most important system we’ve put in place that let’s us “work when we want, not when you want”… and still have you love us for it… 😉
Click here to read one secret to managing expectations so you can show up and give fully on your terms.
And, if you’re inspired, leave a nice note below that I can share with Denis and Laurence to let them know how they’ve made a difference in our lives.
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Such a valuable lesson – what really counts is how we make people feel when connecting with our business not being available 24/7. The mantra that my husband and I live by is Freedom and Flexibility – its the metric we use for everything we do. Thanks for running a “human” business and showing everyone that it can be done. The french, as usual, teach us so much <3
Daniel + Lewis on to something good.Business should only be part of Life – not all consuming. Say hello to the Smart couple + have a grand time on the remainder of the trip in France.
Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!
Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.