Having your own business rarely takes the path we expect. We often enter entrepreneurship out of the desire to live a more purposeful life, to have more free time, and to make an impact. Or perhaps the main draw is to make more money. Sometimes, especially over the last 2 years, the concept of work-life balance might be the driving force.
So let me state this upfront. I am not a huge fan of “work-life” balance. Why? Hmm, I think I could write a book as to the reasons, so please allow me to do my best to sum it up.
First, what exactly is work-life balance? Does it mean the same for everyone (simple answer – NO). Is work-life balance working 40 hours, is it working 20 hours, or is work-life balance more based on flexibility in your schedule?
Second, why is ‘work’ equal to ‘life’ in the equation? Work is part of your life, as is your social life and your spiritual life. Your physical and emotional wellness impact every aspect of your life.
Third, work-life does not measure the quality or alignment of the work. Is working 20 hours in a job that brings out the worst in you or that depletes your health better than working a job in which you lose track of time because you love it? Not in my book.
And fourth, if work-life balance is a main driving force, why do so many entrepreneurs have anything but that ‘balanced’ life they envisioned?
Focusing on work-life balance alone does not equate to a balanced lifestyle.
Why Work-Life Balance Alone is Not the Answer
So, what am I a fan of? If you’re familiar with my work, you know I talk about living a balanced lifestyle. So much that I trademarked BalanceUP® several years ago. BalanceUP® is not the same as “work-life” balance. It might coincidentally feel like that for some individuals, but it is SO MUCH MORE!
Let’s back up a little. I am a life & business coach for individuals with any health challenge that impacts their ability to start, manage or grow their business. Guess what! While often that might look like helping business owners manage priorities, incorporate efficiencies and even restructure their business; other times it means I help my clients be able to work MORE or more consistently! That’s right, more, not less. If you struggle with setbacks from health flare-ups or unpredictable symptoms that impact your level of work, focus, or even your ability to work that day, you know what I mean.
The Well-Being of You and Your Business
BalanceUP® is about building your business to support your health and well-being while simultaneously also being built to support business growth and to be able to sustain the impact of uncertainties that come with health issues. This means smart processes, built-in efficiencies, and like a house built to stand the test of time, a strong foundation. It also requires envisioning a long-term business strategy that is aligned with both your success and well-being goals. That’s the business side of things.
But the business needs you! At least until you build it otherwise. And for you to show up at your best so you can share your gifts and make an impact, your overall well-being is key. Notice I did not say you need perfect physical health. You don’t! Instead, by working to improve and align all 7 areas of your well-being (physical, emotional, spiritual, social, work, personal development and your environment), you bring energy to your life. You achieve a more balanced state. Inner peace guides you in making decisions from a place of being grounded, knowing who you are, knowing your value, and knowing that you are enough. It’s a place of great empowerment. It’s freeing.
Living from a Place of Balance versus Achieving Work-Life Balance
When you make decisions from a place of balance, energy, one of your most precious gifts, can be used in a way that keeps you on task. You make decisions aligned with where your greatest priorities (business or life) rest. This inner balance guides you in living in alignment. You by nature reduce stress and make space for more peace, more joy. You use your energy to support your success, to share your gifts. Living in alignment brings about a quiet confidence that no course, no guru, no book can give you. It comes from within.
For example, if you value relationships and the latest guru tells you that you HAVE to go into Facebook groups, single out individuals who are your target audience, and start conversations with them with the intention of selling them your products or services, ICK!!! There, I said it, ICK! How does that make you feel, deep in your heart, befriending others for profit? If it makes you feel great, you can stop reading here. Chances are you prize profit over people. And that’s not my gig.
What if instead, you develop meaningful relationships and from those relationships you gain clients? Or by sharing your work, by serving, your audience self-identifies with you and your product or service. There are many ways to attract and gain clients. When you learn to align your marketing to your beliefs & values, you support living a balanced lifestyle.
That’s just one sample of aligning areas of your life. In this case of building business relationships your beliefs & values represent your spiritual side, alongside your work. This same concept applies to all areas of your life. It applies to everything. Everything you do either brings energy to your life or drains it.
Sharing Your Gifts
This is just touching the surface of what living a balanced life and BalanceUP® represent.
A balanced lifestyle gives you the freedom to choose how much you want to work, how much you want to play, how much you want to simply live. It also means you can vary that by season, however you choose to define your seasons. It’s flexible. It supports your well-being. It comes from a place of deep self-awareness, not the external quantifications of ‘work-life’ balance. BalanceUP® represents that you continually work to bring all areas of your life into greater alignment, resulting in an infinite ability to continually achieve greater well-being, which enables you to live more fully, to share your gifts, to truly make space for peace and joy. This is what life is about. Life is not about work-life balance.
Want to Bring More Balance to Your Life and Business? Start Here.
If you’re already an entrepreneur and certain health issues impact your business or your ability to grow your business, I recommend taking the BalanceUP® Lifestyle & Business Assessment. You’ll gain laser focused results so you know where you best use your time, energy and resources. If you’re considering starting your own business, you might enjoy starting with the BalanceUP® Approach to Living Your Best Life workshop.
For ongoing tips around building a business that supports your health, well-being and success, sign up for the BalanceUP® Lifestyle Newsletter.