I have a mantra, “Enough is enough when your business erodes the bandwidth you’ve set forth for a great life.”
However, finding (and staying in) the sweet spot between running a successful business and living a great life can be tricky. We all know that true balance in life doesn’t really exist. For an entrepreneur, the enhancements in technology create a never ending flow of inbound messages, new tasks and notifications that are endless and will eat up your mental bandwidth. It’s truly getting harder and harder to “turn off” work, even when you have the best of intentions.
I remember traveling to Mykonos in the summer with Kim many years ago. Smart phones weren’t so smart, wifi wasn’t prevalent and global calling plans were insanely expensive. When we arrived, we would literally put our phones in the hotel’s safe for the 1-2-or-3 weeks. We’d check into our office by email once a day…maybe, and the solve big problems. But, for the most-part, we were ‘off the grid’ and 100% in vacay mode.
Fast forward to today, our phones barely leave our hands and the constant notifications make it impossible to be that ‘off the grid’. Sure, it allows you to work anywhere, which we like. However, that also means that our once sacred, true “time off” on vacation has been cannibalized by the need stay connected.
But honestly, are we any more productive? Successful? And if so, at what cost?
THERE’S A SWEET SPOT
The Entreprenuer Cycle
Over my last 30+ years as an entrepreneur and 10+ years as a mentor/coach, I’ve found that there is a sweet spot between business success and having a great f’n life. I think that the LINE between business and life must flexible and bend in one direction or the other from time-to-time. But I also know that without INTENTION on both areas, you’ll end up in an endless cycle that will not leave you fulfilled.
Here are two examples of Entrepreneurs to help illustrate this:
The Hustler: Let’s imagine a successful business owner who identifies as “busy”. They have a list of things-to-do is never ending, they wear most of the hats in their business AND they want to expand – more physical locations, more clients, more of everything.
The lie they tell themselves is, “When I hit X in revenue, I’ll scale back, take the vacation.” The problem is, the financial goal is constantly being 3x’d. The $100k turns into $300k which turns into $1M. The hustler fears that if he takes his foot off the gas, he’ll lose everything.
The demands of this type of hustle will erode the time he’s established for a great life. If he keeps pushing, he can be at risk for a heart attack, losing connection with his family, or missing out on life’s precious moments with his children.
The Fully Automated Entrepreneur:
Let’s imagine someone who generates 100k per month passively from investments and has perfect systems in place and a great team to manage it all. This is most-likely the end game for the successful The Hustler. This requires zero time or band-with from him.
This is the dream right? Cash-flow AND automation! But here is the challenge. Possibly by this point, they’ve already damaged their relationships, missed the precious moments and their kids are grown. Years of stress and ignoring their health has taken it’s toll. They have to play catch up in their personal life, but it’s overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Maybe they don’t have the personal relationship skills to scale this mountain. Overtime they realize that with the hustle (or anything else filling their life), they get bored. There’s no challenge, no hill to climb.
So what do they do? They go back to what they know, Hustler mode. They find another project to distract themselves from the lack of LIFE fulfillment. This is a cycle that never ends, unless they end it.
Let me illustrate this point:
The video to the right illustrates the “creep” that can happen when you place more value on your business success than your personal fulfillment and LIFE.
As you add more and more to your to-do list, your business business grows, the but so does the demand on your mental bandwidth and physical time.
And, considering there’s only so much bandwidth and time, something else suffers.
For many success entrepreneurs, their health gets put o the back burner, only to suffer a tragic event like a heart attack or stroke.
For others, they spend so much time in the phase of growth, that their marriage disintegrates until it leads to a very costly and sad divorce.
And, we’ve all heard the stories of children who’s parents weren’t around because they were always working, on a business trip or didn’t have time to make it to their soccer game.
When your mental bandwidth and time for a great f’n life is eroded by the desire for growth in your business… something has to change.
YOUR HAVE TWO CHOICES
Stop growing or find your sweet spot.
My coaching clients often come to me because they have this problem. They want to grow and be successful, but they already are feeling burnt out from wearing all of the hats. They can’t even imagine expanding their business without combusting.
When a client has this issue, I first explain that they have two choices:
1. Stop growing their business, maintain your success (because it’s eating up too much of your bandwidth for a great life) and put your energy into the LIFE side of the box.
2. Determine your Sweet Spot. Create the systems and organization you need to make your business more efficient and free up bandwidth so you can put INTENTION into the “Life” side of the box.
Spoiler Alert… they always choose option 2.
FINDING THE SWEET SPOT BETWEEN BUSINESS SUCCESS & A GREAT LIFE
How I tackle this with my coaching clients
This is unique to each person. With my coaching clients, we tackle this in a multi-step process and determine what success looks like in all of the categories of improvement.
First, we take a deep dive into all of the roles of their business. It’s a in-depth ‘check under the hood’ to create systems and organization with the goal of alleviating the stress on their bandwidth. This is what is needed to efficiently and effectively expand a business.
Often, entrepreneurs and soloprenuers are great at ideas and innovation, but can be a bit of a disaster in business organization. Without proper systems in place, they’re swimming in overwhelm and growth will be stagnant at best.
Having another set of eyes, a business coaching that has real experience in operating a business and creating these systems is a game changer for business growth and mental bandwidth.
Then, together we define success in ALL the other areas of life that are important to them. Most entrepreneurs never take the time to do this, and yet wonder why they’re not fulfilled and happy. This life inventory allows us to set personal goals and create a real plan to increase their fulfillment in those areas. Once you have defined what a great life looks like, it’s easier to spot the creep from business.
For example, Kim and I have a day-date every Friday. This day is set aside for us to connect, do something different like explore a museum together or head into the hills of Tuscany. It is NOT for business brainstorming or work. This day-date is one of plans that is in place for us to have a successful and happy marriage.
However, from time-to-time, a project or deadline turns date-day into a working date. If we weren’t highly conscious of the importance of date-day, we’d probably allow this to happy frequently. But, we don’t. We allow the flexibility for a rare interruption in our Friday plans, but do not allow it to be a recurring habit (which is easy to fall into when you work together).
SUMMARY & FREE GIFT
Early in my first career I was a hustler. I desperately wanted to validate my worth by becoming a massive success. And, I did. I had the big house, the shiny car, the family. And yet, I was miserable, I was overworked and I barely got to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I knew that if I didn’t change something, I’d either have a heart attack, or lose the most important things in my life.
I had to find the sweet spot and I did.
And hopefully, shining a light on this will help you find YOUR sweet spot too.
Finding YOUR sweet spot between business success and a great f’n life is personal. It’s YOUR sweet spot. Only you can determine what that “great life” looks like.
To begin, download my FREE “Re-Defining Success Workbook.” This workbook will help you determine what success looks like in ALL areas of life. And, if you need a strategy to improve your business efficiency so you can create exponential growth AND live a great life, let’s work together. Fill out my coaching application here.