Always Thinking About the Business

Entrepreneurs, owners and execs have many things in common. One of which is that we’re always thinking about the business. I repeat, we’re ALWAYS thinking about the business. With this comes the struggle between work life and personal life. No, I’m not talking about what I believe to be the overly-discussed, overly-conceptualized and overly-idealized work-life balance. I’m talking about maintaining a passion and purpose for your complete self and your complete life.

The Frustration

I’ve tried and failed many times at work-life balance. As a business owner, there are times where such a condition simply doesn’t exist. As a person, there are times where balance is as simple as a little less work and a little more personal time. Reading about the topic frustrated me more than it helped me. I didn’t feel like this utopian state of work-life balance was possible or existed.

Passion and Purpose

I’ve always been passionate and purposeful about what I do and the things I choose to undertake. These are characteristics of who I am at my core and they have brought more good than bad in my life. So I got to thinking… What if I were to change my view? What if I were to look at it differently?

What if I utilized them to define a healthy separation instead of the so-called work-life balance? What if I were deliberate about creating space in my life?

Anything But Easy

Achieving space to create a healthy separation is anything but easy. It’s 8:01 p.m. and I’m writing this while I’m home. I’m a student of this process and a teacher of others (where a proven track record of achievement is much more clearly defined).

To say that I’ve had to be diligent about developing systems that support a healthy separation would be an understatement. For me, home can’t always come second to work and prioritizing home doesn’t mean that I’m compromising work.

There’s value in hobbies, interests and friendships. They offer support to a healthy separation; they don’t compete against it. Easy to say, much harder to recognize and act on.

The Business of Family Business

Recognizing this value can be especially difficult within the boundaries of family business. When you work together, it’s nearly impossible to not take business home. Yet I know that I must value the totality of my life not just the working aspect of my life.

I once asked a client’s daughter how their Thanksgiving was; her response was heartbreaking. “What Thanksgiving? We had a business meeting.” Don’t judge. Think about how closely this may resemble some aspect of your life.

When you’re passionate and purposeful, creating a healthy separation is hard work. It’s hard because of attributes like commitment, dedication, care and concern. And yet, if we don’t make the effort to do so, we never gain the ability to understand and appreciate the value of a complete life.

Recognizing this, I’ve developed 5 tips/reminders to support a healthy separation. Reminders and tips to myself and for myself. Maybe they will help you as well.

  1. Have a defined time each evening when you shut off work and focus on home.
  2. Develop a code word or hand signal your family can give you when you’re crossing over into work at non-work events.
  3. Set aside certain days each month that are strictly personal. Use these days to focus on your family, friends and hobbies.
  4. Develop a hobby that you love and take the time to identify how the hobby helps you confront your work with clarity.
  5. Take a vacation!

With an appreciation for the journey and the recognition that we’re all a work in progress.


P.S. How have you worked to create a healthy separation?  Share your tips in the comments.

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