Today I met with an entrepreneur who is going through the pains of growing their young business. We talked about all the pains that come with learning to communicate your vision with your team, hiring, training, delegating, prioritizing your time, and all the other struggles that are typical growing pains for entrepreneurs.
As I shared some of my own experiences during my early years as an entrepreneur I could remember so clearly that feeling of wanting to tackle everything at once and never feeling satisfied with where you were. On the hand there is a positive that comes from the fact an entrepreneur is always looking at the end vision and they are never satisfied until they can make it happen, which keeps them driving things forward. On the other hand it can take a huge toll on your life because you can get so hyper-focused on accomplishing that end picture in your mind that you can forget to pay attention to other things in your life…things such as your own family or your own well-being. That’s why it is so vitally important that as you are working toward your end goal, whether it be as an entrepreneur growing a company or as a business person trying to climb the corporate ladder, you force yourself to do these three things:
1. Take time to celebrate the milestones. Stop and take a moment each week to look back and appreciate just how far you have come, and recognize that even though there is still so much you want to get done, you have made significant progress thus far. Realize this is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s going to take some time. But you are progressing toward the finish line and that is what matters.
2. Realize that you could work 24 hours a day every day and still not get everything done in your business life that you want to – that’s just a reality – so don’t trick yourself into thinking that it’s worth it to ignore your family in order to finish this “one last thing” today because there isn’t ever going to be a time when you don’t have “one last thing” to get done, which means your family will never get the time and attention they need and deserve from you. You’ve got to define the hours you will dedicate to your work each day and define the hours you will dedicate to your family each day and then stick to it – no matter what! Be willing to put the work down each night, whether you’ve finished or not, and take the time to build those relationships with your family members and loved ones. Protect that time for them as carefully as you would protect your time with your largest customer in business. You will forever be glad that you did.
3. You will be a far more successful person if you are getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, eating healthy, and praying every day. Sure you can live life hyped up on caffeinated soft drinks and fast food and sugar but you will never be as effective or as quick as the person who takes care of themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Without sleep it will take you twice as long to do each task and you will make far more mistakes; without food you will be grumpier; without exercise you will be slower; and without prayer you will be less inspired. Take care of you so you can be more effective taking care of others.
Success doesn’t usually happen overnight and frankly that’s a good thing. The harder you work to find success the more you will appreciate it when it comes and the less likely you will be to squander it all away. Work hard, but work balanced. And remember to celebrate a little along the way.
PS. Speaking of milestones and celebrations I just want to publicly wish my cute husband a very Happy Birthday today (the 10th).
~Amy Rees Anderson