Are You Still Working Like a Dog?

Have you been in business more than a year and are still feeling like you’re constantly working like a dog?

I recently ran into some highly successful and powerful women entrepreneurs.  These are women who have been their own boss for years. Women who have created successful companies, been recognized for their entrepreneurial expertise and philanthropy all while raising a family.  They have my utmost respect for what they’ve created and my gratitude for ways in which they inspired me when I first took the leap.  Yet, when I saw them recently, I felt deep in my bones that these women were weary from the journey and overdue for a kindler/gentler pace.

I Burning the Candle at Both Endsthought: What good is business success if your personal life and well-being get lost in the process?

As a business owner it can be very easy to get caught up in a cycle of overwork where you burn the candle at both ends (and maybe the middle too!).  Even if you purposefully take time to be with family, you might find yourself feeling guilty.  You feel guilty when you are working too much and then feel guilty that you aren’t working when you do take time off.  It’s a nonstop circle of feeling guilty about not being “good enough”.

Personally I hit a point a few years ago when I simply hit bottom feeling frustrated, exhausted, and miserable. I call it the FEM Triangle (like the Bermuda Triangle of unsavory outcomes). No matter how hard I worked, my desired goal was just out of reach. Even when I reached a goal I would immediately create a bigger next-step goal that was just out of reach.  I found myself working evenings, weekends, and everything in-between.  My relationships suffered, I didn’t feel as healthy as I wanted to, and I was not spending time doing the things I love.  This was not the idea of successful self-employed business owner that I had in mind!

What changed for me was making the decision that I would no longer put my to-do list and business goals ahead of everything else in my life or wait until later to enjoy other parts of my life. I would build the business that I want to ultimately have right here, right now, not later after I met some arbitrary, elusive goal.

This decision changed everything.

I firmly believe that you absolutely cannot be successful if you have to compromise one part of your life as collateral damage on the way to business success.  Yes you’ll have a give and take between the different parts of your life at different times, but if you integrate the personal and professional consciously, you never have to worry about work/life balance.  Yes you have to take action and do the work, but if it feels like you’re working like a dog, something is out of whack.

Working this way can be so ingrained as a socially acceptable addictive behavior that you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Let’s take a moment to enhance your inner awareness around this right now. You know you’re in this trap if you find yourself:

  • Dragging yourself through your day mentally, physically, or emotionally
  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight (or yo-yo’ing between the two).
  • Working early in the day, all day long, into the evening, and on the weekends.
  • Skipping sleep to get work done on a regular basis.
  • Telling yourself all this extra work is necessary to pay your dues.
  • Justifying that working late and extra hours is a means to an end.
  • Unwilling to disconnect from technology for a period of time each day and week.
  • Unable to take time off.

Do you see yourself in any of these statements?

If so, now is the time to draw a line in the sand and decide that you want things to be different.  It might feel scary but it can be done.  If I can go from frustrated, exhausted, and miserable to working only 4 days a week most weeks while growing my income and business, you can too.

Take a lesson from what I witnessed in my colleagues.  Financial and business success alone will not miraculously change you from a workaholic to a happy camper with free time. Only you can give yourself permission to claim and create what you really want.

Do you want more from your one precious life than to work really hard (even if you love what you do)?  If so, contact me for an exploratory conversation about how I can help you create more time for all the things you love both in your business and beyond.

photo credit: gfpeck via photopin cc

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