Are you one of those people, who wishes that there were more hours in the day? I know that I am, and I know that I sometimes struggle in getting my priorities right.
Maybe you know someone at work, who is so wrapped up in a certain project that they let everything else slide. Maybe one of your friends can’t get enough of a certain activity, and as a result they are slowly drifting away from your group. I am sure that there are times when our heads are so obsessed with something (or someone) that everything else is drowned out.
Passion is what makes life worth living, but it shouldn’t turn your life upside down to the extent that your life is not your life anymore.
There are so many books and articles encouraging us to follow our passions, and, in a way, any small business owner is doing exactly that. They are creating their own destinies, forging their unique paths in the world – every day bringing new challenges to occupy their already busy minds. While passion is exciting and all-consuming, it is the everyday things that start to suffer.
This is something that is not covered anywhere near enough on MBA courses or on accelerator programs. An entrepreneur is no good in the long-term if they destroy their lives with their single-mindedness. Burnout and stress will get the better of them in the long-term. Encouraging them to dedicate their lives to their business is all well and good, but the different side of the same coin could also be that which ruins other parts of their lives.
One useful way to find a little more balance in life is the practice of mindfulness. I am not talking about sitting cross-legged on the floor contemplating the wonders of our existence (although that may help too). What I mean by mindfulness is the ability to “be present” in any situation. Having passion for your work is great, but if you can learn to confine that passion to when you are sitting at your desk, you will be much more “present” when you are playing with your kids or having a romantic dinner with your wife. You might describe it as an on/off switch.
Family time… On. Passionate about work time…. Off.
This is far from easy, and I struggle with this, but the fact remains that you always have a choice of which mode you will be living in. So many people say that there is no work/life balance anymore…. That it is simply work/life blend. Well, I would like to disagree. If I can’t concentrate utterly and entirely on my kids when they are telling me about their day at school, then there is something not quite right. I might be passionate about my day at work, and itching to get back to it the next day, but there is a time and a place. No blend here, thank you very much.
I suppose that by writing this blog, it is my way of locating that switch again. I know that I want to have more balance in my life in 2016. Don’t we all?
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury