Six things I've learned in the last six years
Happy Prime turns six this month so I thought it was timely to share my reflections on the profound changes, insights and lessons that have shaped our journey with six invaluable lessons learnt over the last six years.
In life, we often measure our experiences and growth in increments, whether it's years, months, or even moments. Happy Prime is six this month, and I thought it was time to share my reflections on the profound changes, insights, and lessons that have shaped our journey. These six years, which I affectionately call my "Happy Prime" period, have been a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, triumphs and failures. Here are six invaluable lessons I've learned during this transformative time.
1. Embrace change and adaptability
Change is the only constant in life. Over the past six years, I've witnessed this truth in action in many ways. From career shifts that saw me moving from a corporate “safe environment” to the change of being an owner of a small business, to personal upheavals, to global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the high inflation/cost of living economic environment we are living through. Change has been a consistent companion. Instead of resisting change, I've learned to embrace it and view it as an opportunity for growth.
Adaptability has become a core skill. I've discovered that I can navigate even the most turbulent waters by being flexible and open-minded. Embracing change allows us to shed the old and welcome the new, fostering personal and professional evolution.
2. The power of resilience
Resilience is like a muscle; it strengthens through adversity. I've faced numerous setbacks and challenges, from failed projects to personal losses. I've learned that resilience is the key to not only surviving but thriving in tough times.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, and it's cultivated through self-care, mindfulness, and a positive mindset. When life throws curveballs, resilience helps us stay grounded, maintain our mental well-being, and emerge stronger than before.
In the world of LinkedIn and other social platforms, we are led to believe that everyone is a winner. This infuriates me. I’ve been lucky and have had more wins over the last six years than losses, but boy, I have had some F*ck Ups (I’m not going to apologise for the language). These setbacks hurt, but I learned more from these tough times than the wins. Don’t get me wrong, I like the wins, but frankly, any person or business owner who says they have never failed is lying.
We as a community should talk more about the things that went wrong. I am convinced this would help everybody’s mental health and well-being. It’s not a bad thing that a project, relationship or business venture went pear-shaped. If you are brave enough to try something, be it successful or not, you are still a winner in my eyes.
3. The importance of prioritising relationships
In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to lose sight of what truly matters: relationships. Over the past six years, I've realised that fostering and nurturing meaningful connections with friends and family is essential for happiness and well-being.
Quality time spent with loved ones profoundly impacts our mental and emotional health. My poor wife, who has put up with me for over 20 years and will be sainted one day, provides a support system during tough times and multiplies the joys of our successes. Although I admit this is an area that I can always do better, I've learned that investing time and effort into relationships yields some of life's most rewarding dividends.
The Happy Prime family is why I am still motivated and enthusiastic to get out of bed and go into the office each day. My fantastic team keeps me honest and motivated and tells me when I’m talking sh*t to our customers that have supported a little Kiwi company that is trying to fly.
A good friend once told me that New Zealand is a family that looks after each other. I honestly believe this, and I’m honoured to be part of the family.
4. Never stop learning
The world is constantly evolving, and so should we. Whether through formal education, self-study, or experiential learning, I've discovered the joy and necessity of continuous learning.
Even though it seems harder now than when I was in my 20s, learning keeps my mind sharp, expands my horizons, and opens doors to new opportunities. Whether it's acquiring a new skill, exploring a different culture, or delving into a new hobby, pursuing knowledge enriches our lives and keeps us engaged with the world around us.
Like so many people, the COVID lockdowns were tough for me personally. I am a man of routines, so the lack of structure in my life, together with the uncertainty about what would happen in my personal life and also to Happy Prime as a young fledgling company, proved to be a constant challenge. But I found relief in the opportunity to learn new skills.
Yes, I tried making sourdough and baking like you too. But lockdown also gave me time (and excuse) to develop skills that I am rather proud of, be that the ability to brew beer, distill Gin, or my increasing love of BBQ cooking.
5. Mindfulness and self-care are non-negotiable
In our fast-paced society and an industry that keeps on evolving, it's easy to neglect self-care and become disconnected from our own needs. Through my Happy Prime years, I've come to understand that self-care isn't selfish; it's essential. I will be honest; I’ve always thought this was hippy sh*t, and my wonderful friend Christine Jull has bullied me for nearly a decade to be more mindful. I am a work in progress since this come does not come naturally to me, but hey, you need to have something to focus on.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and journaling, have helped me stay present, reduce stress, and cultivate some inner peace. Prioritising self-care means setting boundaries, saying no when necessary, and taking time for oneself to recharge and rejuvenate. It's a fundamental act of self-love that enables us to give our best to others.
One of the things I discovered on my journey into mindfulness is my love of sharing knowledge and helping people. I love supporting the next generation of credit experts, sharing my experience, listening when someone needs a sounding board or being part of the community by supporting people who need it. This enriches my life as much as, if not more than, the people I try to support.
6. Gratitude is the key to happiness
Last but certainly not least, I've learned that gratitude is a powerful force that can transform our lives. During my Happy Prime years, I've made a conscious effort to count my blessings and appreciate the small joys in life. Be that the two boys who call me Dad and are growing up to be wonderful men, my wife who puts up with the ups and downs of what is Rig, my Happy Prime family past and present who keep me loving what I do, the fantastic people who have been more than happy to share their experiences with me throughout my career, the opportunity to travel and find a home on the other side of the world from where I was born in NZ, or the rather nice IPA beer that I brewed last weekend.
Practicing gratitude has shifted my perspective from what I lack to what I have. It has made me more resilient in the face of challenges and more content with the present moment. Gratitude is a daily practice that reminds us of the beauty and abundance surrounding us, even in difficult times.
Reflecting on these six transformative lessons from my Happy Prime years, I'm reminded that life is an ever-evolving journey. Embracing change, nurturing resilience, prioritising relationships, committing to lifelong learning, practicing self-care, and cultivating gratitude are essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful life.
The lessons I've learned during this time have not only shaped my personal growth but have also equipped me to face the future with confidence and optimism. I look forward to the six years of my life, knowing that the wisdom gained during the early days of Happy Prime will continue to guide and inspire me on this remarkable journey.