Elements of The Entrepreneurial Mindset Series Element #10: Your Business is a Subset of Your Life, Not the Other Way Around

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 20, Issue No. 19a
December 1, 2022

By Dan Coughlin


Your Business is a Subset of Your Life, Not the Other Way Around

When your identity as a person is primarily about your business, and secondarily about your personal life, your marriage, your children, your parents, your friends, and your community, problems have the potential to set in.

This is a case of Misaligned Priorities.

Your business is very important. It likely provides the financial fuel for you to care for the people in your life. It is an outlet for you to pour in your leadership and creativity. It allows you to add value to other people. So your business is very, very important.

However, and this is a big however, your business is not more important than your life.

Let me say that again. Your business is not more important than your life.

Sadly, when a person centers their life on their business, marriages tend to crumble, relationships with children often become strained, and friendships usually begin to disintegrate. All of the hard work has led to exactly what? A captain of a ship driving endlessly into the sea with no comrades or relationships? Is it really worth it?

Quality and Interrelated Aspects of Your Life

You get 24 hours a day seven days a week. You get 52 weeks in a year.

Now what will you do with that amount of time? The starting point for allocating time is to identify your priorities.

If your business is your main priority, then you fill in your business calendar first and then whatever scraps of time you have left over you can distribute to your health, your family, your friends, and your community. As crises pop up in your business, those scraps get reduced, and then you can try to give those important people in your life smaller and smaller bits of time and energy and attention.

If your priority is to have a healthy balance in your life, then you schedule the various pieces of your life on to your calendar at the same time. You schedule time for your work while at the same time scheduling time for your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, and your community. As crises come up, you immediately find new times on your calendar for the people who were affected by your schedule change. You keep this balanced approach going week to week as things arise.

I’ve heard people say, “Life balance is an illusion. It doesn’t exist.” Far too often, these are entrepreneurs who have basically made their business the number one priority in their life.

Life balance doesn’t mean you give the exact same number of hours to every person and every activity. It means you identify the various priorities that you want to commit to, and then you make sure to follow through on those commitments.

It’s the difference between sailing out to life’s ocean by yourself or with other people.

And by making your business a subset of your life you can build stronger relationships with important people in your life who can enrich your energy and understanding which can enhance your business.

It’s a healthier way to build long-term sustainable success in all areas of your life, including your business.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at dan@thecoughlincompany.com with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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