Lessons From Bali (and some hilarious signs)

Our two month Bali adventure is over, so I thought I'd share some of our lessons.

You may recall we were on a 10 day holiday in Bali in May last year, and I was staring out to sea reflecting on my business. I realised that while the business had grown (the team was up to ten people), I was working harder than ever, feeling more stressed, and not really loving my business. As I watched the fishing boats sailing back into shore I thought I need more of this.

I then said to Trish what would we need to do in the business to be able to be a way for two to three months and still have everything run?

So we made a bunch of wholesale changes. We didn't renew the lease on the office, downsized the team, finished up the fortnightly seminar series we were running, set up coaching clients to work with me on the phone and internet for a couple of months, and then we were off. A two month experiment to see if we could run the business from our new head office ... in Bali!

The verdict?

It’s been an outstanding success. We've had an absolute ball, met great people, lived in paradise, and managed to be away for two months rather than two weeks - something I haven't done since I started working almost fifteen years ago.

And the business? ... It's worked well in terms of maintaining the business, but not for growing it. I didn't put on any new clients while I was away, but managed my existing clients with only a couple of minor technological hiccups. It was also a great environment for writing and thinking. And I made some great contacts and felt part of a great community in Ubud.

The conclusion is that I still need to be based in Australia for what I'm doing, both with Love Your Business, and The Money Workshop, but I can be away for two to three months at a time. Which I will definitely being doing more of!

Someone asked me last night what was the most important thing I learned. I couldn't narrow it down to one, so here are the three main lessons I received:

1. Don't die wondering. I've read that we regret the things we don't do much more than the things we do - in other words it's better to have a crack and fail than to die wondering. It would have been easier and safer to stay in Australia and have a normal holiday. And much less fulfilling. This was a lesson leading up to the trip - I looked at my life and my business and wasn't loving what I saw. And I run a business called Love Your Business! It takes courage to be honest with yourself about what's not working in your life and business, about what you're not loving. And it also takes courage to not settle for that - to change things.

2. Relax. On the day I arrived in Bali I had made an appointment to meet Bayu, the director of a local conservation organisation called Friends of the National Parks Foundation. I emailed and said that I'd be there at 4 pm, but if the plane was delayed and I was going to be late I'd call from the taxi. He wrote back and said "4 pm island time" was fine - it was ok if I arrived later, I didn't need to call. Which is indicative of how Bali works. Everyone is much more relaxed about time, work, and life in general. This can be incredibly frustrating if you let it. I booked a car and a different one showed up (without the seatbelts we needed for my nephew's car seats), someone cancelled an appointment because it was raining, there are rolling power outages because the repairs on the cable from Java are running months behind schedule, the internet is slow at best and drops out regularly, navigating can be a nightmare. Or rather than be frustrated, you can just relax and go with it, someone is late, doesn't show up, something breaks or doesn't work, so what? By the end our trip I was much more relaxed about all these things, and about life in general.

3. Less is more. We lived out of a suitcase for two months and didn't miss any of our stuff. People in Bali live much more simply than we do - typically a family compound the size of normal suburban block of land would have three generations living in two-room homes. Despite not having 40-square, 5-bedroom 3-bathroom mansions, people didn't seem less happy than your average Aussie. The final lesson reinforced how unimportant our stuff really is.

Finally here are some of the funnier signs I saw on our travels:

No Jackets

Attention No Jackets

Found this one at Bintang, our local supermarket. No bag, fairly standard. No dogs and no smoking, possibly would go with out saying, but better safe than sorry. But no jacket? Luckily the supermarket wasn't air conditioned.

Antiques Made to Order


Antiques made to order ... got to love it.



What will surely become the internationally recognised symbol for the mentally disabled - a simple looking person with lobster claws for hands and wings.

What the??


And this one ... well ... you see ... I've got nothing. As Rove would say, what the ???