If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you know that I’ve struggled with work/life balance.. I’m aware I’m not alone in this and that it’s something pretty much all entrepreneurs struggle with, but that hasn’t made being a constant passenger on the Struggle Bus any easier.
In the past, I thought my biggest problem had to do with time – I always found myself working early in the morning/late at night and would pass up on doing things because there was “always work to be done.”
In that regard I’ve improved – I’m doing more fun shizz on the weekends, traveling more, proactively searching out shenanigans. Yet I’ve realized I’m facing a more insidious problem than just time imbalance – I have a huge imbalance in how much brain space, focus, and attention I give to work compared to everything else.
Giving time to things outside of work is great, but if I don’t allow myself to be present during those times (i.e. I’m thinking about work) then is that really quality time? That’s not a rhetorical question – the answer is no. What is the point of getting out and doing partaking in said shenanigans if my mind is always somewhere else? And it’s not just that I think of work when I’m in the act of play – it’s also that the podcasts I listen to and the books I read are all business/productivity/marketing related.
The irony in this imbalance is that people start businesses so they can ultimately leverage them to support the life they want. I started Be Awesome Not Broke with the hope that it would allow me to live my purpose, which is to have incredible experiences with the people that I love and help/teach others how to do the same. A business is supposed to be the vehicle for an awesome life, not Gandalf standing in the middle of you and that life saying “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
So why is it not that way? Why do I feel work is keeping me from, rather than moving me toward, the life I want?
To be honest – and we’re all about honesty time here – I think it comes down to having a scarcity mindset. Deep down I have this fear that if I don’t work my ass off all the time and give all of my attention to the business that it won’t ultimately be successful.
Is it a rational fear? As an entrepreneur, I would say it is. But is it serving me? Absolutely not. What’s funny is if you go back and read that post on work/life balance from a year ago, I literally told myself how to deal with scarcity. Back on February 29th, 2016 I wrote “Having fun doesn’t detract from your business – it grows it.” Really…I wrote that? Sorry guys – I must have blacked out. For a year.
I bring this up (again) because this scarcity mindset is what keeps us from focusing not only on what will make us happy but what will ultimately make us successful. And I use the word successful to include financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I’ve realized that focusing so much on my business has cost me the head space and ability to be present to others, as well as limited my empathy and stopped me from being truly proactive in my relationships. That ain’t right. Again, my business will end up being successful because of my relationships, empathy, vulnerability and compassion, not in spite of it.
This scarcity mindset doesn’t apply to just entrepreneurs – it’s for anyone who has doubts/fears about their work/money. If you’re in a similar mindset, here is a question I’m currently asking myself that you might find helpful: “If I was on my deathbed and looked back at how I’m living right now, would I have any regrets? Would I be happy with how I spent my time?” Yeah, it’s deep. but it’s giving me the kick in the pants I need right now to live more in alignment with my values.
I’m saying this as much for you as for myself: work and money are only tools to help you get what you want out of life. They should never be the main focus or goal. 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. We can worry less about work and money and find ourselves ultimately having more of both. At least that’s what a wise me once told me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories, experiences or insights if you’re willing to share. Obviously, this topic (and I) are a work in progress, so I’m welcoming of any conversation around it. My time and headspace will be yours 🙂
Somegare over the rainbow