As an owner, you’re the foundation of your business. The more inspired and invigorated you are, the stronger your company will be. Conversely, when you become worn down, your business suffers 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. Plus, you’re unhappy.
A great deal of time, attention, effort and energy goes into running a business. With all there is to do, it’s easy for those who own a company to sacrifice many aspects, if not all, of their lives in the pursuit of success. There’s no true benefit to working yourself into the ground. But there’s a tremendous benefit to everyone involved — the business owner, company, team members, customers and families — when business owners strike and maintain a balance between life and work.
Remember, your business is only one aspect of your life. You also have other passions, interests, hobbies, 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 second-most cited regret of people on their death bed is: Why did I work so hard? I encourage you to not make this your regret as well.
The more unhappy you are, the less your financial success will ultimately mean to you because of the tremendous price you paid — what you sacrificed along the way to get it. Once your children have grown, you can’t go back and recapture those magical 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 interesting thing about creating life-work balance is that in addition to improving the quality of your life, it also allows you to become a more productive, creative and effective business owner. When you make and then take time to care for yourself and engage the other aspects of your life, you recharge yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. You have more to give. In other words, you increase your own potential and, therefore, the potential of your company.
When you’re refreshed and balanced, you treat the people in your personal and professional lives better because your perspective is clearer, your attitude is more pleasant, you’re more patient and you’re happier. When you treat people better, they have the tendency to do the same and your relationships improve as a result
Going on vacation, taking your spouse out for date night, spending quality time with your kids and pursuing your passions aren’t synonymous with working 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. A “working vacation” isn’t a vacation, it’s merely working in a different location.
When you go out on the town with your spouse, skiing with your son or to a movie with your daughter, be fully present with them. When you attend a family function, hang out with friends, read a book in the hammock on a sunny afternoon or anything else you decide to do, enjoy the moment for all it’s worth.
In the end, we’re all left with the sum of the moments of our lives gone by. We’ll either be pleased with the lives 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.
The secret to all of this is truly stepping away from your business when you get outside the office to engage 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 for everyone involved.