It’s true, as an entrepreneur, especially one following her passion, I can get all consumed by work. I love coaching others and at times, can’t turn it off. Someone observed recently that I coach even when I’m not ‘on the job’. I’ve managed to find the work that simply IS me, much more than ‘what I do for work’. So, yes, when I’m home in the evenings or on weekends, it’s all too easy to wander into my home office and work on something. It might be something as mundane as accounting, or it could be creating some new materials for an upcoming workshop. The point is, it’s easy to do and I really don’t mind it in the least. However….is that what’s best for me and the people I work with?
Last night, I was at the local Organizational Development Network meeting and this lack of balance hit me right in the face. The facilitator, Chris Richardson, using a methodology called Elemental Insight, walked us through an exercise which brought each of us face to face with our current reality. In the exercise, three people played different roles in our lives: you, your work life and your personal life. In a rather mystical way, the three people, without any knowledge of you or your life, played out their roles, noticing their feelings, and moving around the space following only their feelings. My ‘personal life’ felt constrained and as my ‘work life’ moved around the space, my ‘personal life’ felt compelled to remain behind it. Watching this play out, made it all too apparent to me that in my current mode of operating, I do put my personal life behind my work life. While this wasn’t an Earth-shattering realization, it did bring it front and center.
Now, what do I do with this information? While it’s hard to step away from work, work that is my passion and helps so many others, last night helped me see that I need to make more of an effort to nurture my personal life. Life is short and full of surprises. My work will not suffer if I spend a few less hours on it, particularly on beautiful summer weekends. In fact, taking time off, relaxing and restoring, will likely enhance my work. I’ll return to it on Mondays, renewed, reinvigorated and better rested and able to support my clients.
I’m sure this is a lesson all entrepreneurs can learn. When you find your passion and follow it, you simply don’t have that compulsion to ‘get away from work’. But remember to stop, relax and renew. You’ll be much better prepared and able to pursue your dream. I live on the beach, here in Seattle, and I promise you, on any given sunny weekend day, you’ll now find me out enjoying life, relaxing, breathing in the fresh salt air, and returning to work on Monday with a new energy! #dreambelieveachieve
It’s true. Being an entrepreneur involves many long days of work, which I never mind. After all, every single minute of time I spend working is for my business. No longer do I work long days at someone else’s request or to build someone else’s bank account. No, everything I do is done for me and my clients. It’s that simple!
But, along with those long hours comes freedom. Freedom to choose when you work. Take yesterday. It was a gorgeous, 80 degree day here in Seattle. When it’s sunny here, we are all hard-pressed to stay inside. After all, it could be 60 and raining the next day. So, as I sat in my office at home, I decided to make a change of scenery. It was low tide, which always beckons me to take a walk, but I stuck to my guns, and my work. Instead of taking a break from work, I took a break from my office, moving it outside to my front deck where I could enjoy the sun, low tide, and all the marine and human life going on. It was the perfect solution! This is something I never could have done working a ‘regular’ job in an office somewhere.
Then, in late afternoon, having a rare open calendar, I decided it was time for a break, and went kayaking in Elliott Bay. I have to admit, it still feels like I’m playing hookie. It takes time to get used to playing in the afternoon. But, I know I’ll be happy enough to spend an hour on work in the evening, or on weekends. That’s the freedom of self-employment!
I got even more decadent and decided to stop in at the restaurant next to the kayak shop for a beer and enjoy the opportunity to spend just a little more time relaxing in the sun. It was fun to watch the water taxi arrive from the city, bringing with it commuters returning home, realizing that I’m one of them many days, but not today.
So, for all the blood, sweat, and tears that you pour into your business, remember to take the time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished. You’ve worked hard to build your business. Stop and smell the roses and bask in your success once in a while. #dreambelieveachieve
Andrea made the choice to leave the corporate world in May 2013 to pursue her dreams.