On my way back from the school run this morning, I had to pause to let a young rabbit hop off the lane onto the safety of the bank. Since cars are few and far between in our neighbourhood in East Devon, the rabbit seemed untroubled by the mechanical monster bearing down on it.
It sat. It hopped a short distance away. Then sat. It looked up at the bank. Then hopped further down the lane. Then leapt on to the bank and into a field.
Almost unexpectedly, I caught myself enjoying the moment.
The rabbit entered my life briefly and caused me to pause and think. It reminded me that my wife and I had made a clear decision to move to this part of the country to improve our lifestyle from what we had had, living in a suburb of London. However, when we first arrived here I saw living in Devon as a constraint on my business, which depended in large part on my working for clients in and around London. I often admitted that I had left London but not yet really arrived in Devon. I had to start thinking hard about what I really wanted from life and find a way for my business to make it so.
This required a complete turnaround in my mindset. I would join the weekly commuters on the Exeter station platform on a Monday or Tuesday morning, and again in London on a Thursday or Friday evening for the journey home. In between I would work long hours and live out of a suitcase, calling home every day but living almost as a tourist in two worlds.
Business was good, but lifestyle was not. Sure, the business was making it possible to have good holidays and the like, and allowing us to make provision for when it may come to an end. But this made the journey through life a focus on an unclear destination with only an occasional glimpse out the window. What I was doing was working in my business and being grateful for the lifestyle it delivered, rather than deciding what lifestyle I wanted then working on my business to make it possible.
I talk about this in more detail in one of my online classes (see here), but one of the key questions I had to ask myself was "how do I want to live?" I decided that I wanted to have the freedom to take my son to school, to be at home when he comes home, and enjoy the area of outstanding natural beauty in which we live.
So I set about shaping my business to deliver this. I resigned my membership of "the weekly commuters" and instead confined my work to the locality and my study where I can look over my computer screen at the woodland that surrounds our house. As part of this I have added an eLearning business to my portfolio and have students in twenty-six countries. I guess I can claim that as a "global business".
If I had caught that rabbit in my headlights at 6 am as I rushed for the station, I would probably have been frustrated at the time it was costing me to wait for it to hop out of the way.
Today I am grateful to the rabbit for offering me this moment.