I was talking to a friend last week about what we do to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work. He mentioned that he really likes reading mystery novels, but every time he does, he feels guilty. He feels like he should be reading some business book or tech or something to help his business.
The idea that you should be 100% focused on growing your business pervades our industry, and it is bullshit. There are a lot of people who make money off this idea: conference organizers, VCs, accelerators, boot camps, authors, bloggers, and journalists. By keeping us feeling that we’re not doing enough, that we’re not good enough, we spend money buying their products.
Should we spend time focusing on our businesses? Of course, sometimes a great deal of time. Sometimes the right thing to do is to miss your child’s game, or go right back to work after dinner with the family, but most of the time we have to find time for everything. Including ourselves.
After my divorce, I learned that if I am not well then my kids are not well. If I am rested, not stressed out, healthy, and happy, then they are calm and feel safe and loved. Work/life balance doesn’t just mean making time for your spouse and your kids. We need to make time for our friends, our parents, and ourselves, and we need to do it without feeling guilty.
I challenge you to change your perspective, to make selfish time for yourself. Doing so will not only improve your happiness, it will improve the happiness of your family and the health of your business. I challenge you to give yourself permission to enjoy the little things in life, instead of just working all the time hoping the big fish will come in.
If you wanted it to build a product you’d find a way to get time to work on it. If you really wanted to start that new hobby you’d sacrifice something to find the time and money to do it.
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