Most entrepreneurs I speak with often find their personal life and health at odds with their success. “It goes with the territory,” they claim.
Let’s look at this against well-documented start-up data.
Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney started a company called Play Bigger after successful careers in high-tech looking for data that would help others find the sweet spot for being successful. They input years of data on public and private startups. According to these guys , successful tech startups take 6 – 10 years from launch to IPO (Initial Public Offering). At that point, entrepreneurs have just begun to capitalize on their success. We all envision high-tech companies getting to the “success” goal line quickly, yet the ones who are big winners take on average 8 years before they make much money and after an IPO there is still a lot of hard work. (Low tech companies may even have a longer horizon.)
Ten plus years is long enough to manifest some pretty sad weekends and some fairly serious illness if you believe an unhappy life is required when shooting for success!
Yet, the majority of people I have seen who put great emphasis on work-life balance are usually people who will never make it to the top. Why? Because they don’t have the drive to go the extra mile required for the big wins. They say ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’, firmly protecting their boundaries.
Does this mean you have to settle for either a rotten “life” while bragging about your success or lower your goals to meaningless dribbles in order to save your relationships and health? No!
When you do this your relationships will be enlivened by your passion and enthusiasm for your project, not diminished by your lack of energy you give to them. You will find your friends and partners excited for you and lending help towards your goal because they see your joy and believe your vision is truly meaningful. (By the way, they can only believe that and act accordingly if you truly are passionate about it.)
As for your health, when you believe in your goal you are firing neurons that increase vitality. When you are worried about success or wishing you had a more interesting job you are creating tension and producing cortisol and draining your life force.
If you hate your work and are always waiting for the weekend, you don’t have a great work-life balance. You have the classic “rat-race.” On the flip side, if you work hard for success at a job or business you aren’t passionate about you will burn out and be disappointed at all the things you gave up in order to win.
So rather than look back 20 years from now and wish you had done something different, start asking yourself what matters to you? What impact would you love to make? How might you spend your time that would wake you up in the morning excited for the day?
Then go start taking steps to do it!