As I have shared in recent weeks, I have spent some time over the last month about the fact that I recently celebrated 15 years of being in the world of entrepreneurship and business. And WOW what a ride it has been!
The things I thought I knew but didn’t, the things I had learnt that I never thought I’d need to use that came in handy, the wins, challenges, fun and hard stuff. There is no doubt that being in business is not dissimilar riding a roller coaster most of the time – except you’ve got the controls in your hands.
In recent weeks I have shared the key lessons that I have really taken on about leaderships and teams – because hey, that’s what I’m all about, but today is a little different. Today is about the real lessons, the life lessons, the things most people don’t talk about, but I’m going to.
Learning to juggle has been imperative, and I’m a pretty good multitasker naturally. But the juggle of business, entrepreneurship and the unrelenting nature of loving what you do – and real life – that’s the juggle I’m talking about here.
These lessons have not been easy to learn, and some of the took a looooong time for me to get my head around, but here they are, my 5 biggest lessons on learning to juggle.
Listen number one work life balance is BS will stop
Work life balance is it term that I believe was made up by someone who was keen to make money trying to help people rich was something that is totally unachievable and unrealistic there is no such thing as work life balance. It's a made up concept. The sooner you stopped striving for it the lighter you will feel here's the reality sometimes your life will be all about business sometimes your life will be all about family sometimes
Now I’d been building high performing, successful teams since I was a teenager, so this wasn’t news to me, but there are certainly some lessons that I have needed to take on to truly understand the recipe that is the ‘secret sauce’ when it comes to teams – and here are 5 of those core lessons.
Lesson 1 – Work Life Balance is BS!
Here’s my theory – work life balance, the term, the concept, the movement, is something that was made up by someone who was smart enough to figure out they could make a lot of money telling people they could help them strive towards a utopian reality that is utter BS and doesn’t exist.
You may find a way to juggle work and life, but this concept of constant balance isn’t real and the sooner you stop trying to work it out, the better you will feel.
Here’s the reality – sometimes your life will be 80% work, and sometimes it will be 100% family. Some weeks you’ll barely speak to anyone else because work has (and needs) your focus, and then there will be days or even weeks when your family needs you and your business needs to take a back seat – and that is ok!
Lesson 2 - Surround Yourself With People Who Get It
This one can be hard to hear, and took me some time, but the truth is no one in your life cares how hard it is to build, run, create, grow and manage your business. Your family, old friends, partner - they don’t get it! And you’ll beat your head against a brick wall trying to bring them around (trust me I tried for a long time).
The other thing is you are brilliant at making it look effortless, like the duck madly paddling, they don’t see it. They don’t see the million decisions, the stress, the panic, the constant pressure, because you don’t show them.
My lesson here is to surround yourself with people like you – who get it! Mark my words this will save your sanity! Whether it’s a peer group, a mastermind, a network of like minded business owners, some business buddies, whatever works, find your tribe, support them and let them support you.
Lesson 3 - Self Care is NOT Selfish
You’ve heard me say this more than once before, but really and truly – taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, the only person who can prioritize you is you! You can’t wait for someone else to prioritise you – it’s on your shoulders. You owe it to yourself, your business, your team, your family and your friends – take care of yourself, make it a priority.
You can’t poor from an empty cup, when you’re running on empty you can’t show up how you need to. As an entrepreneur, as a leader, a manager, a parent, a partner, a friend – if you’re depleted and running on empty you can’t show up how you need to.
Lesson 4 - Stop Being a Mater
Working hard is great, and sometimes necessary, but the more we put pride and recognition into working ourselves into the ground, the more we are setting the wrong example. Working 80 hours / week doesn’t mean you have a successful business, it might just mean you have an inefficient business.
So stop, get help where you need it, when you should and however you can. Stop thinking that you need to do all the things – all the time.
Lesson 5 - Drop the Guilt
Ok I’ll be honest, this one has taken me the best par of 15 years to really figure out. I’m taking about the mum or dad guilt, the need to keep people happy guilt, the I should do this myself guilt, the I should be better at this, or know this guilt, the I don’t feel like doing this today guilt – all of it!
Guilt like this does not serve you, it doesn’t help you and in fact it holds you back. Drop it, let it go. It’s ok not to know it all, not to be able to do everything for everyone all the time. It’s ok to have to work in and on your business and not to ace parenting every day. It’s ok to not feel like doing that thing in your business that day. Do what you need to, but drop the guilt.
Well that’s a wrap for this 3 part series, I really hope you’ve enjoyed this peak inside the last 15 years of being a business owner and leader, I’m really excited for what the next 15 years holds.
If you’d like to connect with other business owners, leaders and managers in a group focused on all things HR, people and team management we’d love for you to join us over on our free Facebook Group – HR Support for Australian Businesses.