Anyone that knows me (or even just meets me) can tell that I love my business and work really hard. But I’m not only a passionate entrepreneur, I am a multi-passionate person! One of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made when I first became an entrepreneur was to “compartmentalize” my life. It dawned on me a few years ago that I don’t have a “personal life” and a “professional life,” but simply A LIFE. Consequently, I do things when they feel right, which might include writing an article or taking care of client work on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and going on a bike ride, taking a yoga class or heading out with my dogs on a hike on a Wednesday afternoon. In fact, flexibility and freedom are part of what makes being self-employed so glorious. And yet, so many entrepreneurs continue to separate their personal and professional lives in ways that actually work to avoid an y semblance of balance.
If a strict bifurcation of personal and professional is working for you, great. But ask yourself if it is truly working for you. Are you too regimented in your scheduling of work versus personal endeavors? Does your personal life always get short shifted at the expense of your professional life? Examine whether you really feel balanced. If not, something has got to change. Mix things up and see how it feels. Try to tap into your natural energy flow and rhythm so that you can do tasks when you are in top form, and not when you are “supposed” to. I realize this is easier said than done, and it is a constant battle to have the freedom and flexibility so many entrepreneurs crave. We still have to function within the 9-5 world we live in, and be able to serve our clients at a time when it is convenient for them. But at least try to move awa y from the compartmentalization that can cause you to overwork and resent your business. If you are starting to feel burned out, perhaps you need to work in more time to cultivate your hobbies and passions. Not only will you feel rejuvenated, but you may actually be a better and more well-rounded entrepreneur because of your non-work related activities.
For example, I love to travel and explore new cultures. This could be viewed as only a personal activity. And yet, my travel and exploration of other cultures infiltrates my work in surprising and refreshing ways. I sometimes find myself “studying” the ways of other cultures and comparing them to Americans in terms of productivity, work-life balance, attitudes on business, goal setting, etc. This makes me a better productivity consultant, success coach, business strategist, speaker and writer for sure! Even a simple personal activity like taking a hike or bike ride can fill me with wonderful new ideas to write or s peak about, help me work through a client issue that I am helping him or her with, or clear my mind to make space to create new programs and products.
The bottom line is that we all have to find that unique balance that makes the most sense for us. But I am proposing less of a balance in terms of this versus that, and more of a free flow of ideas, activities and use of time that feels authentic and allows you to be the best entrepreneur you can be. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want?