Understand the relationship between your business and your life.
“Well, I don’t allow my personal and professional life to mix. I keep them completely separate. What I do on my own time with my own life has nothing to do with my business or work,” Dave (name changed) said firmly. But is it possible to keep your personal and professional life separate? Even if you could, is it a good idea?
The truth is, it’s not possible nor is it a good idea.
Why? Think of your business as a living, breathing thing; because it is — just like your body. It needs nourishment, rest, social connection, purpose — all the same things you need. It also needs these things in varying amounts within varying times.
For example, your body needs more water and air when exercising, less so when it’s dormant. Your business needs more resources when it’s operating at a high capacity than when it’s at lower capacities. You need social connection, meaningful relationships, and a sense of purpose to your life. So does your business. Without these things, your business will struggle to thrive.
your business and life are so critically linked, they must be managed together to optimize both
But perhaps the most critical thing to note is that your business and life are so critically linked, they must be managed together to optimize both. It’s a symbiotic relationship — a balance that can only be achieved by working together. I found a great example of a symbiotic relationship on www.sciencedaily.com: the termite.
Consider The Termite
Termites live on cellulose, mostly from the dead wood they chew, but they depend on protozoa in their gut to provide the enzymes that can digest the wood. These protozoa would die outside of the termite, and the termite would starve if it didn’t have the protozoa to aid in digestion. Similarly, your business needs your healthy personal life to thrive and grow, and you need a healthy business to reliably support and sustain your life.
The mistake many entrepreneurs and small business owners make is they assume that if they have a great idea, are devoted and work hard, that will be enough to succeed. They completely ignore their personal lives, which eventually begins to impact their business in ways often unforeseen, but predictable nonetheless. One impacts the other — just like the termite and its protozoa.
So What Do I Do?
1. First treat your business as you treat your life. Ensure both get what they need to stay healthy and fit. Don’t get so overly focused on your business, you forget about your personal life, and vice versa.
2. Next, realize that what you do to the one, affects the other; the health of the one, affects the health of the other. If you ramp up efforts in your business in an attempt to increase your business, realize you’ll need to compensate in your personal life to keep things in balance; in this case make sure you give yourself time to rest from your increased business efforts.
3. Finally, constantly monitor the health of both your business and personal life. Using the two principles above, make adjustments when you see things getting out of balance.
By remembering the symbiotic relationship of your business and personal life, you will be able to respond to imbalances keeping both healthy, enabling you to not only survive challenges, but to thrive in them.
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