How coaching can help you earn less

Surprisingly, it's not a marketing slogan that's taken off... But one of my targets for 2020 is to earn LESS money than I did last year. This is obviously a privileged position to be in, and I am lucky that this is a choice I can make.

So why on earth would I create this goal? Well, for the first few years of building up my business, I was driven to make it work. Success wasn't just about money (see this post on defining success), but it seemed like a large part of it. I felt the need to prove to myself and others that I could earn more as a freelancer than I did in my job. It took three years to start earning more than I had as an employee, and that felt like a huge achievement. So did I pause, reflect on my definitions of success and question my financial motivation? Well, a bit. A teeny bit. I stayed wedded to the idea that my business had to grow each year, that I had to earn more each year. That it was the figures that would prove I was successful and improving.

I now realise that growing up as a child in Thatcher's Britain, it's unsurprising I would have internalised the idea that economic growth is essential. That more money equals more success.

But then a combination of ideas and experiences collided to stop me in my capitalist tracks. Firstly, knowing that our planet cannot sustain more economic growth, that it's insane to think that permanent growth is healthy and natural. Secondly, I was in my year of buying nothing new* (*terms and conditions apply) and buying less meant money wasn't as motivating, that I had enough for what I needed. I'm also enjoying leading a simpler, quieter life - which it turns out is a cheaper life. I had a growing realisation that my time is now more valuable to me - that I don't want to sell it all off and be left with the crumbs. And my work is more enjoyable and higher quality when I do less of it; when I recharge myself with time in nature, being with the people I love, slowing down, resting.

So having come to this startlingly original thought, I then found out there's a whole movement already out there about this - it's called DEGROWTH. Once I'd got over the disappointment of not having invented something new, I was delighted to find out I was part of the zeitgeist. www.degrowth.info is a good place to start.

Would you like coaching around de-growing your organisation? Or just time to think about your priorities and balance so you can design your work to suit you? Please get in touch to find out more.

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© Charlotte Semlyen