Life and business both need equilibrium.
Balancing work and play, sales and marketing, family and your profession, are tough pursuits. If you are doing too much of something, you’re likely to be doing too little of another, which means that you are getting the balance wrong and should take a hard look at your business vision as well as your life strategy.
I thought that today I would offer some hints about how to progress in both your business and life by seeking a little more balance.
1. Balance working hard with working smart
This is a rule I’ve spoken about before – in fact, I’ve elaborated widely on the concept in Life Leverage, because it is an idea that is close to my heart.
The costs of working too hard by far outweigh its benefits. If you work 70-hour weeks and fail to find a private/professional balance, you’ll burn out, you’ll never see your family, and you’ll become a stressed-out, miserable wreck in no time at all. On the other hand, if you work in short bursts and rest frequently, you’ll keep your energy levels high.
The best way to avoid overworking yourself once you are pursuing your business vision is that as soon as you can begin to do so, you should start leveraging. Hire people and outsource so that you don’t spend all your time doing the jobs you’d rather not do, and find the right division for you between completing your most profitable, satisfying tasks yourself and paying someone else to do the rest.
2. Plan well but take practical steps forwards
Having a great business plan is essential, but I’ve met too many entrepreneurs who have set out their fantastic step-by-step guide to building their ideal profitable business, but then never gotten around to starting. I would always advise that after you have put in your research and your due diligence, you start immediately and perfect your craft as you go. You’ll make mistakes, but at least you’ll begin building momentum and will no longer be procrastinating.
There is never an ideal time to start, so you should begin sooner rather than later. Have a firm vision of what you want to achieve, plan realistically, review the plan, and then make a start. It doesn’t matter if you end up variating from the plan; it is a guide rather than a fixed map.
3. Be aware of your mistakes but don’t obsess over them
Entrepreneurs who are hyper-self-critical have the same problem as people in everyday life who beat themselves up: they are often insecure, full of stress and failing to reach their natural potentials.
Everyone has weaker points.
Everyone messes up.
Not every venture or strategy will pay off.
Once again, the related advice for improving in business works just as well for improving in your personal life: roll with the blows, pick yourself up, and don’t feel too bad about having messed up. There are plenty of other people who will take pleasure in harshly evaluating your business moves and outlook for you, so while it is important to recognise what you did wrong and learn from it, it is also important to resist making yourself feel too bad for your errors. You’re only human.
4. Trust people but verify their claims
Approach every potential new contact with optimism and an open mind, recognise their strengths, and trust their motives – but verify their claims. This is particularly essential if you are considering hiring or partnering with someone, where it is essential that you research, ask around and put in your due diligence to ensure that they are a right fit for you and your brand. If you are considering hiring someone, always phone up their last three employers and ask their opinions on the potential new recruit.
Seeing the glass half full and infusing your life with positivity helps to make you a magnetic, attractive personality to be around, once again in both the private and professional arenas, but don’t be taken for a fool. Let your optimism be a strength rather than a drawback that allows people to take advantage of your good nature.
5. Stand up for yourself
Being and entrepreneur can be an electrifying, exciting pursuit, and along your journey towards success you will meet a full range of people. Some of these will become long-standing peers and companions, enriching your life, but others will do everything they can to put you down, and often within the public arena.
Trolls, critics, haters and bullies are everywhere in both life and business, and the bigger your profile becomes, the more common they will become. In many cases, it’s best to respond politely, thanking them for their bad review or their negative feedback, and picking out the good advice (if any) they have offered you. However, there are also times when you need to defend yourself, call them out, and tell them plainly that they are wrong.
Being reasonable and thanking people for taking their time to offer you their two pennies is one thing, but you must not allow yourself to be bullied.
6. Sell, but care
It’s important to recognise that selling effectively should never be the same as selling out. Don’t be like these happy-clappy types who lie about money being a solely negative influence and who are afraid to make money. Without money, you will never make a positive impact on the world, and without selling you will never make money.
This does not mean that you should abandon your principles, though. You need to care about your clients to ensure that you deliver a strong service. You have to listen to what people need you to do in order to solve their problems. If you do this, and you adhere to your business plan and vision and refuse to step away from the values that are most important to you, then you will be another step closer to striking an effective balance.
What other areas of business do you think are essential to strike a balance in?
Read more about striking a balance in my book Life Leverage, which you can find here
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