Coffee Sign

Who Is Steve?

I used to think I needed to be strong to beat others…
Now I know my strength lies in helping others grow!

Steve @ Project Lifestyle

Hi, I’m Steve Floyd, semi-retired, online-business ‘tinkerer’, creator of my ideal lifestyle and family guy.

If you’ve found your way here, then I guess you are interested in similar things as I am.  Perhaps you are looking to make some life changes, accelerate your retirement plan, or simply find a little more balance in your lifestyle.

I have always been fascinated about what makes us ‘tick’ – why some people appear to achieve their goals with ease and live the lifestyle they choose, while others struggle. 

The question was how can I use these learnings to build my ideal lifestyle for me and my family?   And importantly, how could I share this knowledge to help others too?

But first let me tell you a little about myself, my journey so far and what Project Lifestyle 101 is all about.

Growing up on the Moon!

My beautiful wife Claire and I live in Perth Australia, with our two wonderful children. We met in high school (yep, high-school sweethearts!) and have really grown together over the years. 

Steve & Claire

This year we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, which is easily my greatest achievement.  If I achieve nothing more in my life I know how fortunate I am to have found my soul-mate and best friend so early in my life.

I grew up through the 70’s and 80’s, in Perth Australia, which is the most isolated capital city in the world.  When you grow up in a time of Black and White TV, rotary dial phones (only one per house please!) and shops that closed at 5pm and remained closed all weekend, Perth sometimes felt like it was on the Moon! 

Still, growing up as a kid when Saturdays were made for simply disappearing for hours on our bikes with mates, was simply amazing!  If we showed any sign of boredom, mum would kick us outside, or make us take the dog for a walk to the park.  No ‘screens’ to grab our attention and turn us into zombies!

I also managed to grow up at a time when some great music was made.  Fortunately my parents both loved music, which rubbed off onto me.  Some of my fondest memories as a kid were long drives in the car as a family listening to Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and Neil Diamond.  One of my favourite bands to this day is still Jeff Lynne’s ELO (ok, ok….no judging!).

Who has influenced your life?

One of the biggest influences in my childhood was the fact that my Dad started his own engineering business – but unfortunately it was not a good experience.  Dad put everything into the business, which took him away from the family most nights and weekends. 

I saw my Dad sink everything into the business at the expense of spending time with us, and yet ultimately the business still failed. And when it did, it happened in a big way.  We lost everything, including the family house, and eventually my parents divorced. 

Through primary school and into secondary school I had always enjoyed more artistic and creative classes.  I studied classical guitar, enjoyed art and loved creative writing and English Literature.  When I told a family member I wanted to explore a career in Graphic Design, the reply was “why, there’s no future in that!”. 

Instead the suggestion was I look at things like electronics and computers as “that was where the real future lies”.  So I dropped my dream of a more creative career and chose to study engineering.

I learned later that these simple yet powerful influences shaped my life – and not always for the better.  Who influenced you when you were growing up, and what does that mean to your thinking now?

A Career of Discovery

While I graduated from Engineering with honours, I really didn’t enjoy it (no surprise there really).  So my career as an engineer only lasted about two to three years.  

My ‘career’ has taken a number of different paths and unexpected turns, from engineer to consultant, from project management to venture capital, to management of sales and marketing teams. 

I was to figure out later that it was never the actual “work” I enjoyed, but the team leadership and coaching that really excited me, irrespective of the discipline.

In one of my last ‘jobs’, I had managed to work up to a very senior position, as the National Sales Director for a major Australian telco.  I loved this role, as it was all about developing teams across a number of regions, some that were very newly formed.  

Ultimately we were all about building a winning team culture to take on the industry incumbents.  We were achieving all our goals and were really building something special.  I was immensely proud of what we were doing, often punching way above our weight and taking on competitors much bigger than us.

Then, just as I was feeling bullet proof I was made redundant!  There was a change in company management, and a decision made by the new CEO to relocate my role to the other side of the country (3,300 km’s away!).  

What a wake-up call!  Even though I had achieved all we set out to do, and that I was dedicating so much of myself into the company it still made no difference.

The security and safety I felt as an employee, doing a great job in a solid company, had been an illusion.  Since then I have come across so many people who have similar stories. 

Unfortunately I believe we live in a time when employees will be treated like a commodity, and we will experience a major shift in the Company – Employee relationship.

Time for a Change – Time to Reassess

So, knocking on the door of fifty I found myself unemployed.  What a great time to take a moment to reassess a few things….

Yu-An on my shoulders

Looking back now I see how I was giving everything to the job (as my wife will attest).  I was permanently connected to my phone, or on emails, never giving myself ‘down-time’.  

I was away from the house before anyone was awake, and home just in time for a quick dinner, then put the kids to bed.  And that was when I was ‘home’, as I was often travelling to visit the various teams across the country. 

I was doing what my Dad had been doing in his business!

I had locked onto the path of being an employee as I had ‘learnt’ that running your own business was insecure and doomed to fail.  And yet employment had offered no more security. I had been giving just as much of myself to someone else’s business with even less control over the outcome.

Wow – You Mean We Can Retire?

It’s funny when you’re neck-deep in something, that you totally don’t see what is right in front of you.  

Of course we were always working super hard on a retirement plan and building wealth for the “future”.  But we had never really stopped to consider how much we needed to retire.  While I was happy (and distracted) at work, what did it matter?

So it came as a massive surprise when we asked ourselves – could we retire early?  

We did the sums, built budgets and financial models, then checked everything 2, 3 or more times.  And the answer was yes, at the ripe young age of 50 we could retire (very comfortably).

If you want to know how we did it I have a series of posts coming through soon – so keep an eye out!

But What To Do With My Time?

The first thing you notice when you retire early is that the western world is simply not prepared for it.  People look at you funny – “What, you are not yet 65-70 years old and don’t work?  There must be something wrong with you.

How many people play lotto every week – ‘one Power Ball and I’m outta here’.  People say, ‘I wish I could retire early’.  And yet when you retire early nothing prepares you for it.

I think we attach so much of our personal ‘worth’ to our ‘jobs’ it is quite disorienting when it’s gone!

I soon figured out that I had been given a gift, something my Dad was never given.  I could spend as much time as I wanted with my family.  Given we had children later in life (that’s a whole other story), I get to spend as much time as I can helping them.

Steve & Claire

I can spend as much time as I want to help my son and daughter become the best version of themselves they can be, so they can make their own positive impact in the world!  As well as continuing to share wonderful moments with my beautiful wife.  What an amazing gift!

Of course there are things I love doing outside the family, I’m not completely selfless! 

When I’m not blogging I’m usually on my Playstation or watching Aussie rules footy.  I go to the gym 6 days a week, and love ‘tinkering’ with geeky stuff online – including building out an online business.

Oh, and I love coffee. In fact my favourite ‘escape’ is to find an awesome cafe with great atmosphere, grab a coffee and simply write….

I Would Love To Hear From You

Well that’s enough from me, for now…you can find out more about Project Lifestyle 101 here.

If there is something specific you would like to know, or a topic you would like me to cover here, I’d love to hear it.  Simply drop a comment or shoot me an email.

Cheers

Steve @ Project Lifestyle 101