When I started my business it was just me. I was everything from the CEO to the Janitor to the labor grunt. If I wanted a day off, the business closed. If I was sick, so was the business. When this is the case you become entrenched with working dawn to dusk and beyond, never taking an hour off and even when you do, you are thinking about ways to keep the business moving forward…if you have a significant other this will without a doubt be a topic of stress in your relationship.
This unstoppable 24/7 focus on building their dream, while a vital trait of successful entrepreneurs, is also sometimes the vice that spells their end and sometimes the business’ as other parts of their life are pushed to the side. I can’t count the number of entrepreneurs I have met that are retired now and tell me how they were divorced because they couldn’t focus on anything other than their work.
For anyone who has, or is in the process of starting a business, you very well know that it becomes your child. The thousands of hours, tears, sweat, arguments with your significant other and so many other struggles you go through for sacrifices you make will be far beyond what you would ever imagine.
I attempted to have a conversation with one of my wife and I’s couple friends about this and I came to this realization…anyone who hasn’t done this themselves will never understand what it truly takes, and it was very frustrating trying to explain it to them.
It was like “me after two kids” trying to explain to “me before kids” why I would ever lay in front of a car for my kids or why I would catch my daughter’s vomit in my hand on purpose!…it is something you can’t fully understand until you’re in it yourself…I didn’t understand either until I was in both.
I have to credit my wife 100% for the success of my endeavors thus far because without her support and unconditional love and support I would not be typing this. If it were not for our relationship and her ability to help me talk through all the stresses that come with having 2 kids, running a start up business and pursuing other endeavors I would have folded a long time ago.
I have found for me that the hardest thing for me to do is to step away and let the team that I have been blessed to build steer the ship for a bit. But when I am able to do so, the return on my time away is so much greater than my time here.
Our team in the business grows in skill, confidence and cohesiveness when I am removed as others are forced to step up and fill roles I would usually. My wife and I, the team at home, grow stronger as a unit and our family grows closer and our bonds stronger with the undivided family time. We are able to have fun away from the stress of the everyday grind.
My experience is much like that of the quote in the image above from Gandhi. The speed at which you have to move as an entrepreneur, a parent and a spouse is amazingly fast and exhausting. If we are truly going to be successful however we measure that, it is so important to occasionally take a step back and slow down for a minute to make sure we are spending time with what matters most in our life. This provides us balance, and ultimately our business ventures are more meaningful, successful and fun.
Some of my most productive times have come after a vacation or time away from it all.
Do you find that slowing down and taking a step away actually is a value add to your life, your venture and the teams of support you have in both arenas?