Balancing Business And Joy: When Is The Successful Mind Too Much?
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Often in business, our lives are run by numbers. Revenue, profits, losses and margins — we tend to make many, if not all, our decisions by these limits. It makes sense; it would be unrealistic to build a successful business and not pay attention to the numbers.
Once you become invested in growing your business, your goals can become centered on those numbers. It takes a thorough and hardworking founder to be on top of what many deem tedious or complicated. Being devoted to a detail-oriented approach in your business is often what makes a successful company.
But does it make a successful life?
When you are beginning to get into the thick of starting your first company or a new company, it can feel like an exciting, new adventure. It can become all-encompassing, and while that dedication can pay off, it can also slip into obsession. If you are obsessed with a new product or service, it can be difficult to pull yourself away from it.
I’ve found that sometimes when I’m in the trenches, it can be challenging to turn off that entrepreneurial brain. It can creep into other areas of your life as well — spending time with friends and family, self-improvement, even fitness. Maybe you notice that you’ve started tracking your health and wellness the way you track revenue. Perhaps when spending time with family, you wonder what you could be doing instead to be more productive. Whatever the case, you can start to look at your life like a business.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with structuring your time or your self-improvement goals. Having a plan can help guide you and aid you in completing the steps you want to take. I am all for using strategy and organization to perhaps reach a certain fitness level or keep you on the track to daily meditation.
But sometimes in an effort to structure those activities, we forget why we’re doing them in the first place. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in stats or numbers as a way to ensure you live a balanced life that you forget you’re supposed to enjoy that life too. As silly as it sounds, I think it’s imperative to value your enjoyment — especially for the activities outside of work.
I’ll use reading as an example. Many entrepreneurs emphasize the importance of reading and learning, and I couldn’t agree more. I myself have made more efforts in the past few years to make time for reading — not just for the knowledge but also for the pleasure.
In an effort to read more, you may start to track how many books you read in a month or in a year. You may even add up the number of pages you’ve read through services like Goodreads. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially if seeing your progress brings you joy!
However, it’s possible to get to the point where you start to feel guilty for not reading. You may feel guilty you haven’t read enough or couldn’t beat a past month’s record. Whatever the case, the activity becomes soured, and your guilt turns you away from it. Then, you may read less, feel worse and the cycle continues.
Now, I’m just using this as an example but it can be true for fitness, meditation or even travel. Anything that you can track — how many miles you run, how many minutes you meditate, how many places you go — your entrepreneurial mind may glom on. You may even find yourself trying to quantify other activities or avoiding them if you can’t.
That entrepreneurial brain may struggle to find the “benefit” in everything. But should there be an investment in everything? Should there be a ROI on life?
Much of this really boils down to toxic productivity. Productivity is often highly praised — sometimes even worshipped — in the entrepreneurial community. Thousands of books, articles and podcasts teach you tips to maximize your time and productivity — sound familiar?
While I have nothing against productivity, I don’t think we need to be productive every second of the day. You see, when your business brain is assessing the worth of activities outside of work, it can forget one, simple thing: joy.
I say, value joy. Value things that bring you joy. After all, joy is immeasurable.
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