So it’s time to change things up a little bit around here…
Many of you know that over the last few months I’ve been a little bit quiet.
Cancer and chemotherapy will do that to you… you find you have to really structure the use of your time because side effects can take time from you.
But it has given me time to think about several things and now I’ve got new stuff to write about.
The thing is… a balance driven entrepreneur isn’t just a business owner, founder, CEO, or solopreneur. A balance driven entrepreneur is anyone who is taking control and ownership of their lives. And, they want to find balance in the way they take control and ownership.
Not everyone can be an entrepreneur of his or her life. It takes certain qualities and characteristics.
Imagine the guy who goes to work every day, receives a decent paycheck and then goes home to sit in front of the TV watching football or Spike, or simply plays video games for hours on end. Then he goes to bed, gets up, and does it all again.
This guy is not an entrepreneur of his life.
Now, imagine something different. A woman, goes to work every day, receives a decent paycheck, and then stops at a meet-up on the way home for others with a similar career. She may or may not want to move to another company or position, but she is out connecting and keeping her options open. Once home she grabs a non-fiction book on some area of expertise related to her job, she might listen to a podcast, she may watch an hour of television, but she spends her off time connecting with others and enlightening herself.
This woman is definitely an entrepreneur of her life.
I make this distinction using people who have jobs because careers versus business ownership do not dictate who is and is not a life entrepreneur.
There are simply some passions in life that require a career. I don’t think one is better than the other. Remember I’ve been self-employed for over 20 years.
Once such passion might be that of a firefighter. Let’s face it, you don’t go to firefighter school and then start a firefighting business. Instead you begin your career as a firefighter and you may choose to move up the ladder into higher positions of authority.
The thing is… I want to make sure that we respect the choice to have a career or business because they are both important choices. No ship runs with just a captain.
So wherever you are in your entrepreneurial life journey, I want to make sure I write for you all. No matter which path you take, you want to be successful AND find balance.
What is Balance?
This is an important question because the answer is different for everyone. For some, balance comes from finding more time, for others balance comes from the pursuit of excellence. Some want family time. Some want adventure time. Some want experiences. And… some just want relief from the stress of pursuing.
In order to find balance, you must first determine what balance means for you.
You can do that by jotting down a list of all the things you “wish” you could get done or things you “wish” you could do. This is all the stuff you put off because your job, business, or pursuits get in the way of you finding time for those “wish” items.
Write down what a perfect day would look and feel like, put all the details in. This type of exercise can help you define what balance is for you as well by showing you the things that make you happy and asking yourself if you are finding enough time to do them.
These exercises aren’t hard or very time consuming; they are, however, scary. You may not like learning what’s missing or has been missing from your life. Scary or not, you must do them. Without your own personal balance roadmap, created to help you get there fast, you may never break the habits holding you back.
Finding and practicing your personal state of balance is insanely rewarding.
This site by Mathias Jakobsen is a perfect way to get started sketching out what balance means for you: http://www.thnkclrly.com/
How Do You Find Balance?
So, once you know what you want, how do you get it?
Baby steps, of course, and a plan.
If you know what balance means for you then you already know what steps you need to take to achieve it. The problem is we pretend that we don’t know the steps.
We like to live in denial about what we truly want and what we are willing to give up to get it. There’s the rub. You have to give something up.
Maybe you need to stop working so many hours. Maybe you need to cut spending in one area to have money for the balance activities. Maybe you need to give up TV time. Sometimes we simply need to learn to be more efficient and resourceful.
Yes, it takes a little bit of time and some growing pains but that’s the point. If we aren’t willing to give something up to get what we really want… then, perhaps, we don’t want it as badly as we think we do.
When I gave up satellite television I didn’t think I could do it… but it was pretty easy. The worst part was just doing it, calling and cancelling. After that it was easy. I chose to use Apple TV instead, yes it limited my choices but it also means I’m far more particular about what I watch and when… no more channel surfing. Lots of time and money saved. (As a one-time filmmaker… giving up TV altogether isn’t going to happen.)
We are all pretty good at convincing ourselves that we can’t give something up, but it’s the amount of time we spend thinking about giving that something up that creates the stress. Cut the cord fast and you won’t have time to think about how much you’ll miss it.
Sacrifices are part of a good life.
Keeping It Simple
You’ve all read the articles about people minimizing their lives, clearing out clutter, changing spending habits, getting rid of everything they own and traveling the world; I’m on the fence about all the drama of it.
Sure I like stuff as much as the next person but I really like not worrying about stuff!
While I’m not sure I’ll ever be a true minimalist, I do spend time clearing unnecessary clutter when I can. We all have a tendency to collect things. Once every six months it’s good to figure out what you don’t need. Whether it’s to make room for something new or to simply have one less thing to dust.
The idea is to keep it as simple as possible, if you are spending too much time and effort trying to find balance… you’re doing it wrong.
Simple choices about saving time, money, and effort will have an impact.
Keeping track of the changes you make can help you plan for those balance items especially if more travel is one of your balance items. Using a journal like the one Mathias Jakobsen talks about can be one way of tracking and planning.
Sometimes very small, simple changes can move you in the right direction and that movement can be very motivating. Our brains love rewards.
And, one very important thing here… don’t overthink it. I have a tendency to overthink things and it can stop me from moving forward as quickly as I’d like to.
Do as I say… not as I do!