A great deal of attention, effort, energy and time goes into running a business. With all there is to do, it’s easy for those who own a company to sacrifice many aspects of their life, if not all of it, in the pursuit of success. However, there’s a tremendous benefit to everyone involved — owners, companies, team members, customers and families — to creating and maintaining a balance between life and work.
As an owner, you’re the foundation of your businesses. The more inspired and invigorated you are, the stronger your company. There’s no benefit, though, to working yourself into the ground. When you become fatigued and worn down, your business suffers simply because you don’t have the mental energy and clarity needed to be the caliber of leader necessary to create the level of success you desire. In addition, the relationships you have in your personal life will suffer because they, too, require your quality time and undivided attention to grow and prosper.
Remember, your business is only one aspect of life. You also have interests, hobbies, passions, your health and the important relationships you share with others outside of work. When you choose to become increasingly consumed by business and neglect these other aspects of your life, your happiness fades away. The more unhappy you are, the less your financial success will ultimately mean to you because of the tremendous price you paid and what you sacrificed along the way to achieve it.
Once your children have grown, you can’t go back and recapture those wonderful times in life. When a divorce occurs, it is impossible to return to the past and make up for neglecting the marriage. When your health fails, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to get it back. The No. 2 regret people express on their death bed is “Why did I work so hard?” I encourage you to not make this your regret as well.
The interesting thing about striking a balance between life and work is that in addition to improving the quality of your life, it also allows you to be a more productive, creative and effective business owner. When you make —and take — time to care for yourself and engage in the other aspects of your life, you recharge yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. You have more to give. In essence, you increase your own potential and, therefore, the potential of your company.
When you’re balanced and refreshed, you treat the people in your personal and professional lives better because your perspective is clearer and your attitude more pleasant. Your fuse and patience aren’t so short. When you treat people better, they have the tendency to do the same, and your relationships will thrive as a result
Going on vacation, taking your spouse out for your a regular date night, spending quality time with your kids and pursuing your passions aren’t synonymous with work and business. While it’s true you can take your work with you on vacation, the reality is that neither will be the best they can be as long as your attention is divided between them. One must give way to the other.
When you go to a ball game with your son, skiing with your daughter or out on the town with your spouse, be fully present with them. When you attend a family function; hang out with friends; read a book in a hammock on a sunny, warm afternoon; or anything else you decide to do, enjoy the moment for all it’s worth.
The secret to all of this is truly stepping away from your business when you get outside the office to engage in the rest of your life. Turn off your phone, step away from the computer, leave your business thoughts and concerns behind as much as you can — and you can much more than you realize. When you choose to do so, all the moments of your life will take on a greater meaning for you and everyone involved.
In the end, we’re all left with the sum of the moments of our life gone by. We’ll either be pleased with the life we lived or we won’t. Live your life with the intention of creating balance among its differing aspects and you’ll not only be successful, but perhaps more importantly, you’ll also be happy.