My son is graduating this year and can you guess what he asked for as his graduation gift? A brand new sports car to show off to all his friends? No. How about a week long Caribbean vacation to give his brain time to heal from his super-intense final exams? Nope. Wait…maybe a fresh stack of crisp $100 bills that he could use to buy whatever his heart desired? Nada. For his graduation gift, he simply asked if I would go hiking with him.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that my kids mean the world to me. They are #1 in my life and come before anyone or anything else. In fact, when I am with them, I make it a point to turn off my phone and focus on them and only them, hoping that they realize the love that I hold deep in my heart for each of them. So, when my son wanted to spend time with me as a way to celebrate his academic achievement, words cannot express how happy that made me feel.
Certainly, it isn’t always easy to have work-life balance when running your own business, however, in my years as an entrepreneur, I have learned just how important it is to control my business versus letting it control me. While some things do need to be handled with a sense of urgency, like if your pipes have burst and the place is flooding or your alarm has been set off and the police request your response, most of the time you can actually step away from your business and it will be okay.
In fact, it is healthy to take some time off and decompress. If you don’t, you risk burning yourself out and no longer enjoying your career. Worse yet, overworking yourself can even hurt your health as The American Institute of Stress reports that 10 percent of strokes are caused by work-related stress. Not taking time to get away is often responsible for other health concerns like chest pains, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, digestive issues, and more.
That’s not to mention what all work and no play can do to your family life. Spouses and significant others become more like distant roommates than cherished and trusted companions. Your kids become these young adults that one day you wake up and wonder who they are and how they got so big right under your nose without you realizing it. Why? Because you were so focused on your business that you missed everything that was happening at home.
One of the best ways to avoid this scenario is to set boundaries, like I have. For instance, when you are engaged in family time, turn off your cell phone, shut off your computer, and do nothing other than spend time with the ones you love. It may make you feel a little anxious the first couple of times you do it, especially if you’ve never utilized your phone’s power button before. Nevertheless, the quality of time you will get with your family and the bonds that will be strengthened with them will soon overpower that feeling and transform into a feeling of contentment and ease.
Who knows? You may actually begin to look forward to shutting out the rest of the world for short periods of time, leaving you renewed and refreshed and more energized than ever. (Did I also mention that The American Institute of Stress has found that “stress shrinks the brain”? How is that for a valid reason to shut off work and de-stress for a while?)
So, make it a point to control your business without letting it control you. The sooner you get a handle on it, the happier you will be. The happier your family will be too. And if you’re a family person like I am, then it will be more than worth it!