Cross the Line

August 13th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

You’ve probably never had someone tell you it’s a good idea to cross the line, but Rich will today.  You’ll find out why…

Maintaining a perfect life balance as an entrepreneur is impossible. I’ll confess to anyone who asks, I live my life constantly and consistently out of balance. But, along the way, I’ve learned an invaluable principle: cross the line of balance as frequently as possible.

It’s unavoidable; you will have ups and downs depending on the dynamic demands of your business. There will be times when you can play golf in the mornings and have family picnics on the weekends. Other times you will lose sleep and go weeks without swinging an eight iron. I’ll say it again: find the line of balance and stick to it as often as possible.

If you find yourself at work constantly for a week, make time to be at home for a long weekend. Entrepreneurship occasionally requires you to live your life in extreme conditions. Make sure you’re switching back and forth between work and the rest of your life. You’ll cross the line of balance between extremes often enough to feel some sort of normalcy. Use your time wisely, and make sure your priorities are in order.

Another important note: when you must go out of balance at work, communicate to your loved ones that your schedule is a deliberate choice, not an uncontrollable accident. Help them understand that the effort is critical for a specific time period. Then ensure you stick with the time period.

Your conversation might look like this:

I’m going to have to spend a lot of time at the office the next two weeks. We have some critical milestones approaching, so I won’t be around much. At the end, though, let’s celebrate by going on a long weekend to the lake house.

Ed Viesturs made this statement about climbing and life, epitomizing the balance he maintains:

“The fact is, even before I was married, I made a commitment to myself to be smart when I climb in the Himalayas. What I’ve learned is that life is a balancing act, you can have a family life but you still have to work, you have to do what you do. Climbing big mountains is what I do, I love it and I’d say I have been fairly successful. But my personal style includes avoiding stupid mistakes. The life I live now shows me every day that there is more to life than climbing.” (“Viesturs Returns to Annapurna,” GreatOutdoors.com)

In keeping with the principles of “Reward Yourself,” don’t “forget” this reward! It’s the spirit of the adage work hard, play hard. It just so happens in entrepreneurship that the sentiment ends up looking more like work harder, play harder. The time to play hard is a freedom granted to entrepreneurs who are able to manage their time effectively.

Porter’s Points – Cross the Line

  •  Cross the line of balance into a balanced life as frequently as possible.
  • Talk to your family and trust relationships. Let them know that your going out of balance is a deliberate choice, not an uncontrollable accident.
  • Make The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey required reading and then live it. At our company, we do.
  • Schedule important life events in your calendar. Stick to these commitments unapologetically.
  • Schedule a long weekend every month or so and leave every respect of the office behind.

 That concludes Chapter 11: Climb High, Sleep Low.  Next time we’ll begin Chapter 12: The Heart and the Head of the Entrepreneur with an introduction from Ron Porter.

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