I sure hope not. In my opinion, work should be in service of living a great life. Work is a means to an end. It shouldn’t be at the expense of our preferred experience of life.
I wonder how many small business owners and their teams have it differently. Not that there’s one “right way” to look at this, but from my perspective it seems like many people work out of obligation vs inspiration. This is probably why many people hate their jobs.
What would life be like if you were absolutely in love with your business? What would it be like if most of your employees felt the same way about their jobs? This may require a completely new perspective on your entire life in general.
Don’t think there’s a common theme in your life inside and outside of work? I beg to differ.
In my work as a Business Leadership Coach, I always say it’s my job to coach the whole person. What that means to me is there are habitual ways of being, thinking and doing that we carry around with us everywhere. It’s part of the human experience.
Some of these habits create positive consequences, some of them are negative. If we want to live great lives, we need to be able to distinguish between what’s working and not working in service of that end.
I have a client who loves what she does, but when we began working together, she didn’t love where she was doing it. She was a full time employee and had been taking freelance projects on the side while dreaming of growing her business without allowing work to consume her life. She just didn’t know how.
It was a classic E-Myth (book by Michael Gerber) scenario. She’s a talented technician who believed she could do better with her own shop. And she was right.
What she found was that growing her business was not proving as difficult as keeping the rest of her life in balance.
She told me, “Before I always prided myself on having a rich life outside of work but the more I invested in building my business, the less I actually took time for those things. I felt overwhelmed by all the demands on me and my apparent inability to balance clients, projects, friendships, and hobbies.”
Remember this isn’t a one-size-fits-all conversation. Everyone is different. This is about distinguishing your preferred experience of life and creating THAT for yourself. So, if you’re the type of person who loves the hustle, so be it. Do you.
All of this applies to all of us because it’s about becoming more self-aware. It’s about knowing what inspires you and what makes you happy. Yeah. I’m asking you to consider that work and happiness can and should be able to exist in the same space at the same time.
Prioritize Your Self
During one of the first few conversations this client and I had about moving her business forward, it became clear that she was holding on to something. She was upset about something that she thought was inappropriate to talk about in a conversation about business.
I encouraged her to share with me what was going on for her. When she did, I found out that she had some family members in South America she hadn’t seen in many years. She missed them and felt it was impossible to be able to go visit them while her business was in start-up mode.
My client lives in Maryland, USA. South America is far and expensive to travel to. That plus the fact these family members mean a great deal to her, had her want to stay at least 3-4 weeks. How could she possibly leave her new business for that long? She was torn.
After asking some questions to clarify the situation, it was clear she was putting other people’s needs before her own. That wasn’t working.
She realized this unmet need was draining her energy. Energy that was needed to crush her business goals.
This is the classic conundrum of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do we put our head down and hustle until we can afford some much needed time off? Or do we create a way to take that much needed time off so we have the energy to get results at work?
From a business perspective, our job is to be and do whatever it takes to get results. From a personal perspective, our job is to be and do whatever it takes to enjoy life. Part of my mission is to have you consider the possibility of having both of these scenarios play out in your life at the same time.
This story has a happy ending. My client and I worked together to plan her trip at the same time as working on her business. She transitioned to working her business full time, visited family in South America for an entire month, and when she ran her numbers upon her return she realized her revenue had increased 300% from the prior year.
The moral of the story is that living a great life and crushing it in your business can happen at the same time. The consequence of having it any other way is unfortunately commonplace in the world. In my opinion it’s an epidemic.
If it seems impossible for you, you’re not alone. It seemed impossible for my client when we started. It seemed impossible for me too when I started trying to answer the question of how to have it all for myself.
The steps to take are simple, but not always easy.
- Decide it’s possible. This shift in perspective will lead to options instead of reasons why not.
- Make a plan
- Tap into your resources. That’s why they’re here.
- Take action against your plan
- NEVER give up.
You got this. Now go forth and crush it.