Don’t Confuse Having a Career With Having a Life

Work/Life Balance is a Wildly Different Experience for Entrepreneurs vs. Employees

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Photo by Concha Rodrigo on Unsplash

As an employee, the way to find work/life balance is to hack the game, beat the system. In an environment where time = money, you must steal time back to reclaim balance. Efficiency, effectiveness, speed, and productivity cap out because time is finite (in business).

The only problem with this approach is, even if finding balance benefits your life in every single way — you’re a better parent, a better spouse, have better ideas, your clients appreciate you more, you achieve more, etc., — there will still be some colleagues who feel resentful or organizational pressure to work more.

It’s too intertwined; you can’t separate time from money in a corporate environment.

If, as an employee, you suddenly redraw the lines, shifting your priorities and boundaries, your company will eventually question your commitment.

Sensing a new threatening distance in your relationship or a shift in the power dynamic, your boss will either respond like a jealous boyfriend or a controlling parent who fears losing you.

They can’t help themselves. The environment hinges on control, hierarchy, and rules.

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Photo by Kate Kozyrka on Unsplash

As an owner, work/life balance isn’t a thing to aspire to; it’s written into your DNA — your culture is you, and you are your culture. If work/life balance matters to you, then it matters to your company.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

You don’t have to do anything on anyone else’s timeline.

If you don’t want to work on your biz at all today, don’t.

If you’re struggling to write the thing, create the thing, promote the thing, try again another day. Let it rest, shift directions, sleep on it, go surfing, or hike a mountain to find your inspiration.

Don’t want to hustle? Don’t.

Prefer to wake up before the sun every morning to squeeze in some production time before the family wakes up? Get it, girl! Prefer to work three days a week or ten days a month? Go on with your bad self.

Don’t want to be on Instagram? Don’t.

Pinterest? Don’t.

Facebook? Don’t.

Don’t see the point of a 30-page anything? You’re right.

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Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

If you jumped into entrepreneurship to create more freedom and flexibility in your life, live free, be flexible, enjoy an incredible lifestyle.

If you’re building a business for your family, to be a better parent, then spend time with your kids, and savor the fleeting years of childhood.

If you disliked corporate politics, be nonpolitical. If it was the bureaucracy that got you down, choose to simplify and move fast. If you loved the resources but wanted to do more, adopt a broader perspective, and get your hands dirty.

The beauty of being an entrepreneur is doing it your way.

Build your business to fit your life, worldview, and live your ideal lifestyle.

Don’t re-create what you had — Create something wildly better.

Better is not relative to anyone else. Better is not perfect. Better is not imperceptibly superior. Better is not a positioning ploy. Better is “what ideally suits you and maximizes your chances of success.”

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Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash

If you once thought, I’m never going to hit my goal if I have to trade time for money, you were right by the way, so break the association.

Re-write your goals to figure out how money fits into the equation. Not the equation you are living now, the equation you want to define your life, the equation that gets you to the next level, and lets you live the fullest expression of your life.

People hustle for money. People show up, clock in, sit in a chair all day for money. People get on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for money. They are political, bureaucratic, and narrow-minded for money, but you don’t have to be.

They write the thing, create the thing, and promote the thing for money, out of a sense of obligation, reacting to a culture that generates 30-page documents because “that’s what we do,” but you don’t have to.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but you must do something, and you do need a plan.

Figure out a profit path; identify how your business will grow; choose a strategy, and stick with it long enough to see results. Learn as you go.

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Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Know your sweet spot. If lifestyle, freedom, flexibility, balance, and family are the Top 5 on your list, don’t be pissed if you aren’t making crazy money straight out the gate, or ever. Put what you want on your list.

You can move beyond your list, but your initial results should correspond with what matters to you most.

Reconcile your goals and your actions. Align your behaviors with your priorities. Choose your Top 5 with full consciousness.

The beauty of building a business is that you can do what you want when you want. Play to your strengths; optimize your advantage. After all, it’s one of the perks of going into business for yourself in the first place, right? No one signs up for the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship because it seems easy, prescribed, or guaranteed.

But hard things are often the best things, and you don’t have to do it how someone else does it. You don’t have to follow anyone’s rules but your own. What are your rules?

You don’t have to be stressed out, defeated, or resigned. You “get to” do it. “Get to” is the reframe. “Get to” implies it’s a choice. “Get to” empowers in a way that “have to” or “should” can’t compete.

How many people want to be in your shoes? To build something they believe in? To live the life they want to live? Start with gratitude.

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Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

Live the life you want to live.

Do something smart, strategic, momentarily courageous. Keep going — consistency matters. Celebrate your wins.

Remain in a growth mindset. Level up when you can. Upgrade when it’s right.

Go big.

Stay humble.

Know your why, be intentional, and do it your way.

Your way is the best way.

Let enough be a feast.

That’s what work/life balance looks like to an entrepreneur.

Revel in it.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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