Leading in business should stem from leading in life. All of our hard work need not be at the cost of our personal lives. Not only do we need to honor our inner lives as well as our outer lives, it’s our inner lives that fuel what we do and can keep us motivated. Rather than taking energy away from our working life, our personal life reinvigorates us and viscerally reminds us why we’ve set out to make the world better to begin with. As entrepreneurs, we have the rare privilege of knowing we are working to create change and meet needs so where better to start than at home? Crucial to this balance are the commitments we make not only to our families and friends but ourselves. The big picture should be included in everything we do. It will remind us what we’re working toward and help us shape the best path to achieve it.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — President John Quincy Adams
At what cost comes success? We’ve all considered the elusive work-life balance. Managing our home life is not so different from managing our business: scheduling activities together, time management, playing to everybody’s strengths, prioritization. Taking advantage of shared interests and compatible time slots, for example, can result in productive brainstorming at work or a drink with friends while the kids are at a nearby class. Inasmuch as leadership requires a focus on the goal, it’s as critical to remember why the goal is important. When we focus on the whole as well as the goal, prioritization becomes clear. With quality over quantity as our approach to the time we put in at work, we have both to offer our family and friends – not to mention ourselves. There is no more important means of maintaining the energy it takes to lead than taking care of ourselves.
“I’m leading at work, and I’m leading at home, and the skill set is no different.” — Liz Wiseman, entrepreneur and mother of four
The expectations we are trying to meet are often our own. As leaders, we are motivated to meet goals and feel an innate urgency yet we have to be careful not to let that drive us to attempt to meet unrealistic expectations. Regardless of where the expectancy originates, empower yourself to only work the hours you need to and always remember you can only do what you can actually do. Delegation or collaboration is equally important at home and work. Never hesitate to let others help; the concept that we can’t ‘do it all’ is born of the truth that we can’t be everywhere and do everything but we don’t have to. By sharing the workload, you’re saving time and energy but – moreover – you’re offering others the opportunity to grow and succeed. Acknowledging that you can’t do it all (and don’t need to) frees you up to assess when and where you’re truly needed, and work the hours that work for you.
“Imagine working 20% smarter instead of 20% longer. Work-life balance and startup success aren’t mutually exclusive. There are enough hours in the day to be effective and present.” — David Cummings
Truth be told, being in a leadership position gives us a certain level of autonomy which may allow us to tweak our schedules. Yet, we cannot avail ourselves of that at the expense of our team’s time and coworkers’ similar needs – at least not if we want to continue to foster their own creativity and leadership. It’s about working smarter rather than harder. Give yourself permission to skip the things that can either get done without you or be done later. Above all, if we prioritize our commitments to our family with the same importance as a client or business meeting, we can approach both sides of of our life without inevitable regrets and guilt. One key to ensuring our time with loved ones is protected is establishing our availability. Whereas it’s not a problem to acknowledge receipt of a message during such times, for instance, the response can and should wait. After all, our clients and business partners would want us to prioritize them with the same tenacity.
It’s time we get tenacious about every aspect of our lives, and remember balance is only possible through letting go of extraneous expectations.
-California Center for Economic Initiatives works at the grassroots levels to support leaders by building an infrastructure where budding leaders can access information and resource on growing their community projects.
-Article Written By Dorian Dorey