“The only journey is the one within.” ~Rainier Maria Rilke
Hello and welcome!
I’m here because I understand how challenging it can be to juggle so many things when you’re an entrepreneur.
It’s hard to know what to sacrifice and what not to sacrifice. It’s hard to know how to prioritize your endless to-do list. It’s hard to give yourself permission to take time off from work. It’s hard to believe that you can actually get out of survival mode with your business.
And it’s especially hard when you’re doing this all alone.
That’s why I’m sharing my story with you. I believe that it is possible to find happiness, freedom, and fulfillment as an entrepreneur without working 60 hour weeks, not having time for friends or family, not taking care of ourselves, and not having time to engage in things we like to do outside of our work.
When I left my job to start my business in late 2010, I accepted 60 hour work weeks as the standard. I often worked until late at night and on the weekends. I didn’t get enough sleep or exercise. I put aside my own hobbies and leisure activities, because who had time for that?
I thought all of this was normal, because it is the model that we have for entrepreneurship in our society.
Yet I had this nagging sense that there must be a better way. It must be possible to start and run a business without putting your relationships with friends and family on hold; after all, life is short and there’s no guarantee that they will still be there waiting for you when you decide to finally take a break from work. It must be possible to take care of your own health by getting enough sleep, exercising daily, eating well, and not suffering from undue stress. It must be possible to cultivate your spiritual life, pursue varied interests, and have leisure time, even if you’re an entrepreneur.
I guess you could say that these are all things that I was not willing to sacrifice on my own entrepreneurial journey.
In this process, I’ve found three things that have helped me:
- Self-care. Let’s face it, if you don’t take care of yourself, everything else falls apart. Getting sick or making bad decisions due to being too tired don’t help you or your business.
- Goal-setting. When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything you have to do. Being able to focus and make progress on the things that matter is crucial.
- Support systems. No, you can’t do it all on your own. Take things off your plate, get the help you need, and establish support systems to help you.
It hasn’t been easy to make all of these changes. It’s taken a lot of self-discipline to develop new habits. I’ve had to do a lot of inner work to gain clarity about what I really want in my life and my work. I’ve had to invest in the help that I need so that I’m not doing everything on my own. I’ve had to experiment with time management and productivity systems to find one that actually helps me to meet my goals.
In short, I’ve had to get out of my own way so that I can focus on both building a business and having a life.
However, having made a few key changes, I do find that I feel a lot better about my decisions. I do have more time for the things that are important in my life. I have more time for reflection. I have a better perspective of how both paid work and non-paid work and activities fit into my life.
Some people call this work-life balance. I actually prefer to think of this in terms of mastery. If mastery is to pursue excellence in a given activity, what pursuit can be more worthwhile than to become the best person that we can be, without sacrificing parts of ourselves or others?
This is an ongoing process, one which can be considered a life’s work.
I won’t pretend to have found all of the answers. My path has been one of many missteps and stumbles punctuated by moments of clarity and understanding. This blog is where I share what I have learned and continue to learn in case some parts of my own journey may be of value to others. I hope that you will join me on this path.