At one time or another we’ve all heard a business owner say something like “It’s my baby” or “I spend more hours with my business than with my spouse”…
It’s clear, they are overly invested in their perception of what being a successful business owner really means.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to say you can run your business only working 4 hours a week… That’s about as absurd and far to the other end of the spectrum as people that spend every waking moment working in their business.
Of course when you start a business and it is in its fledgling state it will need more attention and cajoling, as the business matures it should be able to stand on its own and, ultimately when it’s all grown up, you should only have to provide steady guidance and an occasional nudge. How long that cycle takes depends the decisions you made when developing and launching your business, the actions you take early on and a little bit of luck never hurts either. If this is not the cycle you are prepared to demand from your business you should probably step back and think things through in greater detail.
Life is a balance – every single aspect of life should be kept in balance and yet for some reason the entrepreneurial community has made it ‘cool’ to say you work endless hours toiling away to keep your baby… oh, I’m sorry – I meant business afloat… Ok, so what is the balance? How do you know when enough is enough? That’s a little more complicated formula to figure out.
Here’s one tip to help keep things in perspective; take the emotion out of the process. This is easier said than done – but it becomes easier with more experience, skill development and focus. Everyone is excited when first developing the ideas behind starting a business; but what is it that carries them through the troubled times later on? Emotions need to be reserved for important stuff – like family, dear friends, health, births and deaths – to name a few. Not business, believe me when I say, your business doesn’t have any ‘feelings’ toward you, it couldn’t give a rip who owns it, or even whether it succeed of fails – it’s just a thing. It has no feelings, and if you dig deep, a business owners feelings and passion for their business is not really about the ‘business’ – it’s about what the business does for them, what it provides for them and their loved ones.
That’s right – your business does not have any emotions – none whatsoever. Your business is a tool that you should use to BETTER your life. Like a hammer or a screwdriver, take it out of the tool box, use it, put it back in the toolbox and forget about it until you need it again.
I can guarantee that any business owner reading this is thinking one of two things;
“That sounds amazing, if only I could get there” OR “what a load of crap, this guy doesn’t have a clue”… Well that goes to ‘attitude’, which is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart and you can read more about it here, https://charlesmalexander.com/business/your-attitude-will-wreck-your-business-life/.
But in an attempt to keep this post as brief as possible I’ll begin to wrap this up.
If you fit into one of those categories I strongly encourage you to read up on Emotional Intelligence (EI). It is so important to the success of a business owner, I write about it in the first chapter of my book “Live in Entrepreneurial Freedom”. In his book, Emotional Intelligence, by Dan Goleman, he writes that there are five key elements to emotional intelligence;
According to a test performed by the company TalentSmart, EI is the strongest predictor of performance and explains why a full 58% of success [is achieved] in all types of jobs.
You can only begin to get control of your business and work ON your business, not IN your business when you understand that your business is NOT you. It is an extension of your efforts, your ideas, your time and your energy but it is not you; self-awareness.
You can only properly manage your business and employees with solid EI; self-regulation…
And the list goes on.
Long term successful business owners were either gifted with strong EI when they started or developed it over time. The reality is that managing a growing and highly successful business will eat you alive if you don’t.