Life Balance – It’s not just a fluffy term!
Sixteen years ago I did not set out to be an entrepreneur. It wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary. I just knew that I wanted to call Muskoka home year-round, and that I did not want to work in the hospitality industry. And, so, I created a job for myself.
I had no way of predicting that it would grow into a full career. Nor did I envision the pressures that would come along with it. At the time I was just trying to make a buck while pursuing a hobby. I thought of it as a ‘side gig’ and went on wondering what I’d do as a full time job. The kid I was then would have never, not in a million years, been capable of visualizing the scope of the amazing people and projects I encounter every day in this, my ‘full time job’.
As the business evolved, I did too—morphing into newer and newer versions of myself. It’s been a lot of hard work and I have learnt so many lessons. Many of which would have cost me a lot less money had I had a coach in the early years. However despite the financial risk of being independent, I always encourage people. If you have a dream, an idea, a wish, something that you love doing that you could actually support yourself doing…go make it happen.
Then, once you get to a point where you are established and comfortable enough to start scaling back the hours you work, it’s important to take care of yourself. “Life balance”—it’s a term we hear often. Some people think it’s nothing but a fluffy trendy term. It is that. But it’s also a real concept with real consequences, and it’s attainable with enough self-discipline.
Be disciplined with yourself first and foremost. Apply it to your family whose needs go way beyond the hours you already plugged in at work and in society. Be prepared for the guilt trips you will hear when you attempt to escape to yoga class. You deserve to live a quality life! And if you’re working to start and sustain a business, you absolutely need to give yourself a revitalizing break once in a while.
While exercise and fresh air is important for your body, it’s also vital that you calm your racing, stressed out, overwhelmed, “how the hell am I going to pull this all off by Friday?!?!” mind. For my mental balm, I swear by two things: mindfulness meditation and having a dog to get me walking outside several times a day.
Meditation and K9 companionship bring me peace and balance, a calm and clear mind that is able to sustain productivity at work each day, and that gives me my basic foundation for living. My work-life balance isn’t always perfect—but making time for my personal practices makes me a much happier and nicer person to deal with in my profession and in my personal life too.
Whatever it is that brings you into balance, I urge you to be very disciplined about it. Integrate that which brings you peace each and every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. In this way, as you grow as an entrepreneur you will be learning a critical lesson that took me many years (and dollars) to master: Pay Yourself First.