I was once a workaholic- don’t fall for the trap like I did

December 19, 2019

Greg Holman Rags to Riches

Much like Billy Houston, the character in my first two novels, I too was once a workaholic.

Yep I didn’t know when to stop. Work consumed me. I guess part of it was the so called thrill of the chase. The adrenalin you get as you grow your business, the feeling of excitement. The feeling of the satisfaction when you pull off the next big deal.

I’d come home exhausted after spending the week travelling across the country chasing new business. Weekends I just wanted to stay at my Noosa home or take the boat out for a relaxing cruise. A time of recovery. I was lucky I guess. All the hard work over twenty plus years meant I had a beautiful home on the water, my own white sandy beach in what I consider to be one of the nicest parts of Australia – Noosa.

But Monday morning I’d often be up at 4.00am to drive to Brisbane to catch a plane to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne or wherever I was needed. The price I paid for living in Noosa, far away from a capital city airport.

Virgin airlines sent me a nice email to inform me that I was in the top 1% of travellers using their airline. But I often used their competitor airlines  depending on flight availability. Heavens forbid where I would have rated If I only used Virgin Airlines as my flying partner. Perhaps I would’ve received an airline seat as a souvenir to take home.

But in the end I realised if I didn’t slow down and start to take it easy – well it may well have been the end of me. And you can’t take life’s luxuries with you when your number’s up.

So I pulled the plug, I called it quits and decided I wanted a life away from the corporate world and all the associated stress and pressure. I was 58 and decided whilst I was still fit and healthy I’d find a house on a beautiful beach in a small village in Thailand.

A place which wasn’t full of people, traffic, noise and pressure. 12 months of travelling around the islands and mainland of Thailand and I found the perfect piece of paradise.

I now spend half my life in Noosa and the other half in Kamala, Phuket. A typical day in Kamala will be an early morning walk along the beautiful white sandy beach followed by a swim then a morning coffee across the road from my house. Coffee as good as any you’ll find in Noosa. Sometimes I’ll skip breakfast and head up to the boardwalk on the beach and have a fresh coconut with some delicious squid and vegetable noodle soup. In between I’ll spend a couple of hours writing  my third book. Yep, I started writing 18 months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and been buoyed beyond belief by all the positive reviews I’ve received. Book two, Billy Houston Fall from Grace has just been released and has already received a number of 5 Star Reviews from readers in America.  Book three should be available in March 2020.

Twice a week, about 6.30 am, I head off to the gym. It’s a 2 kilometre walk through the village. I’ll do a 45 minute  workout then walk home and have a swim on the way back. After each gym session I’ll cook breakfast at home before I head out for my daily coffee.

Monday and Friday afternoons are set aside for barefoot lawn bowls. Its all very laid back, put on a pair of board shorts, singlet and with a cold beer in hand we play competitive lawn bowls in my village. It’s the only lawn bowling green on the island of Phuket. A cross section of people from many countries and different backgrounds. A lot of banter and a lot of fun. They call me ‘Hollywood’ because I brought back from Australia a bright set of red bowls in a purple bag. The only second hand bowls I could find on my last visit to Noosa.

Every evening I eat out, normally Thai food. You see I’m spoiled for choices in my village with upwards of 40 different Thai and European restaurants – all within walking distance of my house.

Some mornings I’ll take the stand up paddle board out or perhaps have a game of tennis at the resort built on the headland only a 5 minute walk from my home. The land slopes steeply from south to north with the tennis court built east to west which means we can only serve from one end at 7.00am. You try and throw the ball in the air to serve from the western end and you’ll get blinded by the morning sun.

You never get bored here, there is simply so much to do. It’s a beautiful climate, warm, balmy and fine most of the time. The water temperature is superb. I don’t have a car or motor cycle, everything I need is within walking distance. If I need to travel further afield I simply grab a taxi.

My life is stress free without a worry in the world. Such a contrast to my working life back in Australia.

I’m back and forward to Bangkok at the moment. Yep I’m looking to build another business but this one will be in Southeast Asia. If you read my second novel, Billy Houston Fall from Grace you’ll see what I’m considering doing. But I’ll finish my third book in the Billy Houston series before I embark on that business journey.

But this will be a business that others run for me. I’ve built the initial strategy but others will implement that strategy. This business is all about giving back as well. Five percent of all revenue will go back to charity to help those less fortunate living in Southeast Asia. I’m 90% certain I’ll start this business but I’ll make that final decision in the New Year. Though the more research I undertake the more  excited I get about the potential of this new business.

But one thing is certain if I start my next business. I still want to live the life I describe above and divide my time between Noosa and Phuket. Just a few hours a week at board level, steering the ship so to speak will do me. Why build another business?  Because I’m a serial entrepreneur and without the thrill of building businesses I’d probably age and wither away.

But I’ll never become a workaholic again . Why? Because it takes years off your life. Stress is the killer and life is too short.

Wherever you may be in life’s journey take a moment to cherish those close to you , take a moment to smell the roses and importantly, remove all stress from your life.

Unlike Billy Houston, the main character in my three novels, I can take the foot off the pedal and smell the roses. Billy, unfortunately is a workaholic with three failed marriages and an ex-Thai girlfriend, a man who can’t stop building businesses. It’s in his DNA  – more so than mine.

It’s why he built two massive businesses worth circa 500 million USD each. One that listed on Wall Street and the other on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Yep, Billy Houston is a pretty amazing character. If you like to read stories about inspirational characters, people who don’t have a fear of failure and never give up then you’ll love reading about the exploits of Billy Houston.

But don’t become a workaholic like Billy – smell the roses, enjoy life and importantly cherish those who you love.

I’m giving away a FREE digital copy of my brand-new financial thriller BILLY HOUSTON FALL FROM GRACE to the first 100 people to join my mailing list! Click here: http://eepurl.com/dCUTzv

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