Thursday June 29, 2017
You've heard it said 1,000 times before, "you need to have a good work life balance." If you work too much you will miss life's little joys, and maybe even some big moments for the special people in your life. Conversely, if you spend all your time just doing whatever feels good in the moment and don't work hard, you won't achieve much either. However, the concept of work life balance is misleading - especially for entrepreneurs. Yes, I'm sorry to tell you that incredible success requires an incredible amount of effort, which eliminates the concept of work life balance as our modern society sees it.
But if you desire to have a great quality of life AND a successful business, there is a way you can have both. Here's what true work life balance looks like for entrepreneurs.
The Life in Work Life Balance
Paramount to having a good work life balance is understanding yourself. How much stress are you able to handle? How does it effect your life? How much sleep do you need to be in a good physical and emotional state the next day? By understanding your physical and emotional limitations you can make better decisions about spending your time and avoid negatively impacting your life.
As you think about your physical and emotional limitations, also consider how your level of introversion or extroversion affects you. If you are an introvert, you will regain your energy when you spend some time alone. Extroverts however, need people to energize them. In which camp do you fall? Remember that the next time you think about planning an event after a long day of work.
Many entrepreneurs are guilty of putting all their spare time into building a business - they don't have time for hobbies. However, some hobbies can help you recharge physically while resetting your brain mentally. Don't feel guilty if you spend time on a hobby while you are building your business. Sometimes you need to step away from something before you can continue. What that looks like is up to you, but it could be something like exercise, gaming, listening to music or spending time in nature. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that fuels your soul.
The Work in Work Life Balance
This is the part proponents of work life balance tend to miss. They focus primarily on letting go of some work in favor of spending more time doing what you love. But as an entrepreneur, sometimes, they are one in the same. Hopefully you love what you do and that will require, and encourage, you to do more of it. Additionally, when you are building a business, you need to push forward with a passion and a drive that few others will understand. When you pursue something passionately your work life balance may seem nonexistent - and maybe it is - but the key is that it won't stay that way forever if you put in the work today. Building a business is extremely difficult, therefore, you have to give it everything from the start if you want to succeed. This means that you may have to put off typical life activities for a time while you build something great.
If you talk to any of the world's greatest entrepreneurs you will hear very unique stories with one similar component - they worked relentlessly to build what they have.
The truth is that successful entrepreneurs can't have a good work life balance, at least not at the beginning. Great success can lead to a great work life balance in the future if you put in the time, energy and money today to grow your business. The entrepreneurs we have seen succeed do just that. Those who fail are those who are looking to make money quick, sell something without putting in the work to research and market it, or those who want to build one program and sell it to the masses for millions before putting in the hard work to build a fantastic reputation first. While the Internet allows for many opportunities never imagined three decades ago, you cannot expect to work five hours a week while touring the world on your private yacht - at least not until you put in tremendous amounts of work first.
The allure of building your own business is the idea that you can set your own schedule, make your own rules and determine your own pay check. The reality is that before you can achieve those things, you need to sacrifice a traditional work life balance for some time until you reach a point when you can bring life back to your work life again. Work life imbalance is normal and necessary for achieving the freedom you want later.
So here's where you have to make a difficult decision. Are you willing to live a life of imbalance for years, decades even, before achieving true success? Or would you rather have a traditional job in which you can shut off work the moment you leave the office? If you are willing to sacrifice some of your life today the rewards can be grand later in life. If you are in the thick of it now and are pushing and striving but haven't yet seen success, I'll share with you one of life's greatest secrets: Just. Keep. Going. Some businesses take years to be successful, others take decades, but don't give up! This does not mean, however, to keep doing the same things that have been unsuccessful in the past. If you encounter challenges and aren't seeing business growth, get some help. Hire a business coach, an assistant or a consultant to help you get back on track and then keep moving forward. Rewards are waiting for those who won't quit.
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