Living Life Back To Front

By Terry Gormley


I’m living my life back to front.

I didn’t realise that’s what I’m doing until my wife pointed it out to me, but when she did, I had one of those great epiphanies that people talk about. I’ll try to describe it.

We were talking about moving through the stages of life and that generally, the older you get the more money you have. Then you retire, and not only do you have more money but suddenly you have time. Lots of it – if, and it’s a huge if, you have your health. Reaching retirement age or getting old is a privilege that not everyone gets to enjoy, and I feel blessed to have got this far!

But, as Mrs G pointed out to me, it’s when you’re younger that you need the money. It’s now that you need more time. We’re accustomed to the conventional path of working all through our younger years and then retiring.  Which is front to back. But I still wasn’t sure what back to front really meant until I asked myself one question: what would you be doing if you didn’t need money? Most people don’t think this way. We flow through life on autopilot without really thinking about the end game, and we do this in business too.

So I did some calculations and seriously looked closely at the amount of money I felt I needed to have the lifestyle I wanted and I made the decision that I wasn’t going to do it any more – the long days, the nights away from home, the hours of life wasted in the car, sat in traffic as the clock ticked on.

There were no options for selling my business at that time so I made a drastic decision; I closed my company.

I appreciate that everyone’s situation is different and that not everyone can do this but if there are ways for you to stop trading time for money, I urge you to try it.

Now, I ask myself the question all the time. Would I be doing whatever it is I’m going to do today if I didn’t need the money? If the answer is no, I don’t do it.

I find it incredibly liberating.

During all the years I’ve spent coaching business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve always talked about that pivotal conversation with Mrs G and I’ve seen the positive impact of that switch in mindset in others. All too easily, life can become the 40-40-40 plan. Most people spend 40 years of their life working 40 hours per week (if they’re lucky) only to retire on 40% of the income that they had when they were working. How can that be right?

Business owners are often highly driven working machines, but like all engines they’re always in danger of burnout. If you reach that stage you’ve pushed yourself too far, and how can you enjoy retirement if the damage has already been done?

Get your time back now, when you can truly enjoy your life.

One of the business owners who sold his company to Fidelis is an avid traveller. It feeds his soul. He’s seen more of the world than he ever could’ve done if he’d continued grafting in his business. He was heading for the burnout I just mentioned, but now he’s found a way to be free.

Back to front. It’s the future!


Terry Gormley, Senior Partner

At Fidelis, we are always pleased to hear from business owners who are looking to sell or exit their business. Wherever you are in the process, for a confidential, no obligation discussion please get in touch.

Contact details:

Telephone: 0161 410 7070


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