Who am I? What have I done that entitles me to have anything valuable to share? I can tell you that I am just a simple man from a small town trying to figure out how to be successful. By successful, I mean having a happy, well balanced life. A balanced life consists of a journey of self improvement across different areas in life. Those areas are: Money; Relationships; Wisdom; Happiness; and Fitness. Telling you more about me can get to be a long post. One that may have some readers checking out early. For this reason, I decided I would provide a short version and and a long version. If you plan to read the whole post, start with the short version and then continue into the long version. If you want the short version, you can stop there.
As of this date, I am 46 years old, married, and a father of four. I have my own business building web based applications. I have been working about 60 hours a week, across two jobs, for over 20 years. I know…how can 60 hours a week of work be a balanced life style? Believe it or not, it is. More on that later.
I am well educated with two Bachelor of Science Degrees and one Masters Degree. Despite all this education, I don’t consider myself a smart guy. I have gotten by on my work ethic all these years, which has done me well, but has its limits. You may be thinking, “Not a smart guy…you have two college degrees and one post-graduate degree.” Trust me, my SAT scores did not even break 900. I have gotten by on sheer grit and work ethic. But I needed more.
I was not very smart about how I was living my life. This ignorance around how to live a happy, balanced life lasted until I was about 43 years old. I was doing all the things I thought was right, but not understanding why or how to do them better. I worked harder, not smarter. Despite my six figure salary since the age of 30, I still lived paycheck to paycheck with little to no money saved. My only idea of savings was contributing to the company 401(k) plan. My relationships with my wife and kids was good, but nothing great. I was not wise to life, business, or wealth. The only thing I did well and consistent was exercise. I have been exercising for about 18 years now and consider myself to be in pretty good shape.
What changed when I was 43? I started reading. I started to focus on learning. I believe learning is a process, not a destination. I never stopped learning between my college years and age 43. The only difference now is what I am learning, and how I apply it. Today, I have found joy and happiness in all aspects of my life and did that by being the 5and2Guy. Now, I want to share that experience with anyone else who can identify with me and wants a better life.
That’s the short version. I hope it wasn’t too long. You can stop here if you like. I wouldn’t blame ya. But if you want to know a little more about me and how much of an average guy I am, continue to read the long version.
I grew up in a small town, where seafood was very popular…specifically blue crabs. I was born into a poor family, neither of my parents graduating high school. My parents divorced when I about six years old. I spent my early teenage years working on the water…”crabbing” that is. I would wake up early in the morning and go crabbing with my uncle. Crabbing was hard work and my uncle was a hard worker. I would say that my home town is full of people who work very hard, day in and day out. My father was also a very hard worker. A man of two jobs, one at a paint brush factory and another as a night security guard at the hospital. My mom was mostly a stay at home mom, taking the occasional job to help make money. She was always busy working around the house. Since we were not a rich family, hard work was in our nature and something we experienced every day. It is no wonder I have a very strong work ethic and work over 60 hours a week now.
I played all kinds of sports from grade school through high school. Being from such a small town, 2,602 people as of 2017, anyone with athletic skill could play multiple sports. It doesn’t hurt that my mom’s side of the family has sports in their blood. This same blood gave me a natural athletic talent. Combine this talent with constant exposure to sports, and you get a pretty decent athlete. In our small town, I was able to play basketball, baseball, and soccer. I was considered a key player in every sport. I love the camaraderie of sports and the grit of the battle. I always worked hard as an athlete, trying to improve my game in the offseason. I lived in a house with soccer balls everywhere. I also had a basketball court that saw more playing time than a professional one. I have always worked hard to improve my game.
I was also a pretty good student. My grade point average (GPA) was always above a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and I rarely missed a day of school. I didn’t want to miss any days because I would have tons of homework to make up. I would also miss practice for whatever sport was in season. I was a good student because of my effort, not my aptitude. My SAT score was not very good. If memory serves, it was like 880 or something like that. Yeah, not very good, but my work ethic earned me great grades in school. I often surpassed the GPA of many of my fellow students who scored much higher on their SATs. I always turned in all my homework, studied for every test, and participated in class the best I could. Once again, effort was my greatest strength.
I went to college with a dream to become a physical therapist. Not having much money, I did not go to one of those expensive colleges. My undergraduate studies was in Rehabilitation Services. This major prepares students to apply for their Physical Therapy program. It was in college where I met my current wife, during my sophomore year, and made her my fiancé during my senior year. Once I finished my undergraduate degree, I applied to the Physical Therapy program. After my graduation, my wife was itching to move back home to her hometown. After about 3 months with no word back from the Physical Therapy program, I conceded that I did not get in. I agreed it was time to move back to my fiancé’s home town. I should have followed up with the college about about my application to graduate school, but I didn’t. I don’t know why. I guess I didn’t want to hear that I didn’t get in. It is possible that my application had gotten lost. To this day, 23 years later, I don’t know what happened with it.
I moved with my fiancé back to her home area in preparation for our wedding. I got a full time job in Substance Abuse counseling and a part time job in Mental Health counseling. Yes…that is when I started working 60 hours a week. My fiancé and I were soon married, buying our first house, and starting work in the real world. I worked at both jobs for about 3 years, keeping the 60 hour a week pace. I found that I was not making much money. Between the two jobs, I was only bringing in about $26,000 a year. Even with my wife working, we were struggling for money. I also found counseling to be very stressful and not as rewarding as I had anticipated. I was not happy emotionally or financially. I needed a change.
I spoke with my good buddy who told me to “buy a computer and install Linux.” That is exactly what I did. I was able to land a job in computers, increase my income, and was with the same company for over 20 years. I worked over 60 hours a week for this company, building web based security portals and solutions. I worked hard for them and they paid me well. I was able to reach a six figure income at age 30. Again, my work ethic really helped me to excel. On the company’s dime, I earned a Bachelors Degree in computers and a Masters Degree in Network Security. All was going well, and my lifestyle showed it. My family, now including our 4 boys, could afford a bigger house, nicer cars, etc…. But I was still living paycheck to paycheck. I know…how can I be living paycheck to paycheck with a six figure income? Let me tell you…it’s pretty easy. Just spend all the money in your account!!!
Since I was living paycheck to paycheck, I always felt like I needed to earn some extra income. So, about 10 years ago, I started my own software programming business. I dropped my hours on the day job down to about 40 hours a week, since it was salary, and then pick up some night work. This worked great as I was able to add to my income with working about the same number of hours. Now with two sources of income, I was making more money than ever. We were able to pay some bills, buy a bigger house and nicer cars. We bought everything we wanted, even using credit cards. We amassed over $25,000 of credit card debt, still lived paycheck to paycheck, and I was still working 60 hours a week. What was going on???
One thing that I have not mentioned is the effect working 60 hours a week had on the family life. My schedule went like this:
8:45am – Wake Up
9:00am – Start Work on Day Job
5:00pm – Stop Work on Day Job
5:00pm – 6pm – Exercise
6:00pm – 9:00pm – Bathe, Dine, Nap for 30 Minutes
9:00pm – 3:00am – Work on Side Business
3:00am – Go to Sleep
This occurred every week, Monday through Friday, for about 12 years. It is easy to see there wasn’t much time for family. I felt like I was doing right by my family…being the breadwinner and provider. I mean, I am sacrificing here. Without realizing it, I was distancing myself from my wife and kids. Sure, I spent every weekend with them and tried to make up for the lost time, but it was never enough.
I am proud to say, for the past 18 months, I no longer work this schedule. I have modified it like so:
5:15am – Wake Up
5:30am – Work on Side Business
8:30am – Start Work on Day Job
4:30pm – Stop work on Day Job
4:30pm – 6:00pm – Work on Side Business
6:00pm – 7:00pm – Exercise
7:00pm – 11:00pm – Bathe, Dine, Spend Time with Family
11:00pm – Go to Sleep
This change in schedule has made a big difference in relationships with my wife and kids. In my blog, I will share some changes I have made that has improved these relationships. There is one significant update as on January 1st 2019. I now work for myself, full time on my business. So, anywhere in my schedule that says day job, just replace that with my business and that is what I am doing.
What changed 18 months ago that made a big shift in how I worked and how I lived? Quite frankly, I started learning. About a month before this major change, I started to wake up at 8:30am and watch YouTube videos. I would watch vides about technology and better ways of making money. One of these videos lead me to the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I was never a fan of reading, but the guy in this video was so excited about it, I thought I would give it a try. I can honestly say it was the first book that I have ever read and enjoyed. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities and shined a light on what I have been doing wrong in my work life. A world where I don’t have to work every hour for every dollar. This book was the beginning.
That first book lead me to another, and then another, and then another. Now, reading is a major part of my life. I read books about money, relationships, wisdom, happiness, and fitness. Well, I don’t really read much about fitness. I usually watch videos about that. I now read at least an hour a day, Monday through Friday, and in my spare time on weekends. I read at least one book a week on average. With each book I read, I learn something new, or a better way to do something. I then try these things out, seeing if it helps me to improve or not.
I took some time to reflect on what I know now and all my past life experiences. I discovered that I was always a hard worker with a very strong work ethic, but I wasn’t a smart worker. I was always busy. Here’s the problem. Being busy is the worst form of laziness…lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. I thought that if I want to make more money, I would simply work more hours. So I would bust my butt, five days a week (Monday – Friday) and reward myself two days a week (Saturday – Sunday). Like most people in this world, I was trading five days of work for two days of pleasure. I discovered I was the 5and2Guy. I focus on improving in the major areas of my life 5 days a week, and then take 2 days off to be lazy and cheat a little. It can be overwhelming to think I have to be on a diet 7 days a week, or work 7 days a week, or workout 7 days a week. But I can trade 5 days of focus for a 2 day break pretty easily. This is how the 5and2Guy and the 5and2Guy.com came about.
I am happier now than I have ever been. I study and learn new things each day to improve all aspects of my life. Being the 5and2Guy, I am working on myself more than I am relaxing. The 5and2Guy approach with a focus on these major areas of life, has changed my life tremendously. The change is so drastic that to understand it you have to experience it. Check out the five major areas of focus that changed my life and are the focus of 5and2Guy.com:
That’s it. That’s me. If I left anything out or you have questions, post a comment and I will do my best to fill in the blanks!!!
By the way, I tend to use three exclamation points to show excitement. One exclamation point feels like I am yelling, where three shows how excited I am. Since this stuff really excites me, I apologize in advance for the exclamation points.
Good luck with the 5and2Guy approach to a happier, well balanced life!!!