Monthly Archives: April 2017

Entrepreneurs Need to Pick 3

To be a successful entrepreneur, you only have so much bandwidth. Most people don’t understand the plight of successful entrepreneurs — how the company is a full life-consuming project. For the vast majority of these business leaders, you have to pick 3 from your life’s menu of work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends. You can only successfully manage three of these areas at a time.


Work
– This beast must be fed, nurtured, grown, guided, and driven to achieve sustaining success. For most successful entrepreneurs, this is a love relationship and the willingness to devote the time to it comes naturally. Without the proper balance, however, business success can come at the cost of the other aspects of life.

Sleep – Rest is rejuvenation for the business leader. Without enough of this in your life, you will eventually break down physically and mentally and put your life in jeopardy.

Family – The family of an entrepreneur needs to be a forgiving and supportive group. Otherwise, the choice is forced to pick between the business and the family. Statistics show, more often than not, the business wins.

Fitness – Running a successful business is hard. It is demanding. Being in the best physical condition helps with making better decisions, not tired ones that can cause huge mistakes. We often compare businesses to sports with analogies, but we fail to compare the need for fitness the same way.

Friends – Rarely do I see successful entrepreneurs have friendships outside of the worksphere.

So how do you make choices if you can only pick 3 at a time to be successful at? Balance, priority and rotation.

All five areas of an entrepreneur’s life are important and require a constant juggling act. Each person values each of these five life choices differently. For some, especially startups, work, sleep and fitness are all they really have time for, and with that in mind, families should be consulted before diving into a startup situation!

I find the same three become the top priority when the business hits truly rough times.

Personally, I have found a rotation of “seasons” has worked best for me. There are times when family, rest and work are all I have time for. Once I get through that crunch time, I reach out to friends more, spend more time with family, and work on my fitness, all the while knowing the business is suffering a bit for this “season.”

I’ve even reached “seasons” of a week in length, when I turned off my phone, shut the computer and put away the clock for a week to focus on sleep, mental fitness and friendships. Following that week, I am so ready to focus on work, fitness and sleep because I am totally focused and rejuvenated.

Be sure not to fool yourself into believing you can manage all five properly at the same time for an extended period of time. Find your best rotation of your Pick 3 seasons to maintain success in all five areas of your life.

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Stop! Just Stop!

 

Executives, listen to me… Stop! Just Stop!

Take a moment to breathe. You are in a marathon, not a one-hundred-yard dash. You can’t keep up the pace you are attempting for the long haul.

In the age of extremism, I’m watching executives become extremists in how they try to lead and grow their businesses. Only three things can result from what I am witnessing in too many small businesses right now:

Significant mistakes. Because executives are moving like tornadoes, they will eventually create damage in their businesses from a making a poor hire for an important position, overextending resources, failing to follow through, or improperly managing an important customer. All of this will create even more chaos in the business, making the executive feel the need to run even faster.

Health episode. The body can’t manage the pace and stress and poor eating and sleep habits for very long. I’ve heard an executive brag how he can operate on four hours of sleep a night. Sure, but for how long? He is playing the short game when he should be playing the long game. I’m witnessing many executives experience a critical health issue that either takes them out of the workplace or gives them a significantly different perspective on their lives. None go back to the speed they were trying to maintain previously. Don’t wait for a health episode you may not recover from.

Putting the business in peril. I know I can properly drive my car at 70 MPH on the interstate. What if I try to bury the needle at 165 on that same highway? The risk is so much greater, I’m literally risking lives. I am far beyond my skill level. Even though I drive a car that is properly engineered for high speeds, could I keep that car on the road for a mile? Maybe 10 miles? But how long before I literally crashed and burned?

Few executives are leading businesses that can operate at such speeds without incident. Few executives have the body capable of managing the stress and pressure of maintaining their pace for the long term. So stop! Find your groove that is sustainable, surround yourself with better talent, and recognize you are on a decades-long journey.

Even race cars need pit stops. Schedule your pit stops so you can win the race.

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