I was recently talking with one of my entrepreneur friends.
He has started three businesses in the last several years—a
budding entrepreneur. He was relating some of the joys he has
experienced in those enterprises: A sense of freedom from the
corporate world, pursuing his dreams and passions, setting
his own schedule, controlling his destiny and a large potential
for financial rewards.
However, he did mention a few downsides: Little to no outside
accountability, lack of consistent capital, feelings of loneliness,
no steady revenue stream, feeling disconnected from others
who don’t understand his drive to succeed, constant struggles
to survive and a severe lack of work-life balance. Sound familiar?
I think most entrepreneurs struggle with similar issues, especially
balance. There are many reasons they can give for their lack
of life balance and low satisfaction: "I have too much
work to do. I just need a few more hours to finish this project.
I need more money. I have bills to pay. My business depends
on my hard work. My family needs more income. I am solely responsible
for developing, marketing, selling and servicing my product
Any or all of these reasons may be true, which might lead entrepreneurs
to find great difficulty in managing the two sides of entrepreneurship — balance
and success. How often do you struggle with working longer
hours than you know you should to try and secure the next sale?
How many times has your family and friends tried to pull you
away from your office this last month? Take a moment and count
up the actual hours you have spent working this last week or
month. There is always the temptation to do a little more,
work a little harder, talk to one more potential customer in
hopes of making one more sale.
What specific things are you doing to take care of yourself:
physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Many entrepreneurs
overlook these vital areas of life in search of professional
success, yet these areas are full of potential for sparking
the creative, outside of the box thinking that leads entrepreneurs
like yourself to discover life changing products and services
and find a new perspective on your business venture.
Assess Where You Are
Take a moment and write down these 8 life areas:
• Friends & family
• Fun & recreation
• Physical environment & home
• Romance & significant other
• Fitness & health
• Personal & spiritual growth
Next to each area assess where you currently are. On a scale
of 1 to 7, with 1 being "completely dissatisfied" and
7 being "completely satisfied" mark how currently
you are satisfied in each area. Add up the totals of all eight
areas before reading further. The scoring is at the end of
Develop A Plan
As you look at your current level of satisfaction what patters
or themes do you see? Where areas are you the least satisfied
with? The most?
For you who recognize a change is in order, here are a five
simple steps to help you start finding the work-life balance
that leads to success:
1. Choose one area that you are dissatisfied with and would
like to see some immediate improvement in. This should not
worst or best scoring area, but somewhere in the middle. Take
a couple minutes and write down in detail what balance would
look like for you in that area.
2. Now, get out your planner and make a note to yourself one
week from today. In the note, write down:
• The area that you want to improve your level of satisfaction
• The "score" where you are now and the "score" you
want to be at the next week.
• Two things you are going to do to move yourself towards
that goal over this next week.
3. Tell someone about your goal and ask them to hold you accountable — whether
it’s a friend, a mentor, or your coach. It’s easy
to make "new year, new leaf" promises to yourself,
but more difficult to follow through with unless you know someone
is holding you accountable to reach your goal.
4. Set up a time to talk with your accountability partner the
next week. Did you reach your goal? If not, talk about what
kept you from reaching it and what you can do differently
next week. If you reached it, congratulate yourself.
Do something simple to celebrate your achievement.
5. The final step is to go back to step one and do it over
again. Creating life balance is never easy and it’s never
complete. There will always be room for improvement. The point
you can make your life more balanced by taking small steps
in the right direction. Like most worthwhile things in life,
creating life balance is a process, not an event!
8—16 Wow! Things must be pretty rough right now.
17—30 Average score of many small business owners
30—45 There are some very satisfying and very dissatisfying
areas in your life
45—56 You recognize the importance of life balance to
About the Author
Stephen Fairley is a best-selling author, international speaker,
small business coach, and president of Today's
Leadership Coaching. He specializes in
helping small business owners increase their revenues and improve
performance. To receive your free copy of the Target Market
Inventory, a powerful tool to help you rapidly discover your
ideal client, contact Stephen or
call (888) 588-5891.
2001 by Stephen Fairley. All rights reserved. Please contact
author for reprints