Maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life is something that you can only truly monitor through the reactions of those who have to deal with you every day.
If you’re being asked to repeat your name to your confused children, the alarm bells should be ringing. If your wife reacts violently to the latest admission that you’ll be spending a night in the office, maybe it’s not her that’s being unreasonable.
Maybe workaholism has you by the balls.
These are warning signs and nothing less. Entrepreneurs are often praised with the positive attributes of being passionate, determined and willing to go the extra mile. Our greatest fault is that somewhere in the thick of it, our personal identity becomes so intertwined with the projects we’re working on that to be separated fuels resentment and a shitty attitude towards those who remember the more care-free caricatures we used to be.
It doesn’t matter how many times you explain the stressful nature of your work, it will always seem like a weak argument.
Most people judge stress by the battle for oxygen on a cramped morning commute, or the constant uncertainty of how a moody boss is going to lash out at them.
To see us sitting in our home offices, Spotify blaring to the max, makes it very difficult to understand how we can’t afford ourselves a simple Off switch. The ability to snap and morph in to the infinitely cooler husband, father or friend who reaps the rewards of his split personality’s sheer grit, rather than drowns in the magnitude of how much is yet to be achieved.
This type of in-fighting can prove more than destructive to a small business. Just because your home office is lacking the small red button marked “Self Destruct Completely”, don’t assume the same effect can’t be achieved through negligence and tunnel-vision.
It can, and in my case, it almost has.
One of the buzz words you will often hear mentioned alongside running a business is accountability. Without accountability, it’s impossible to drive a business forward. You won’t find a single entrepreneur in the world who doesn’t advocate the importance of discipline.
Unfortunately, discipline and accountability are double-edged swords.
If you start holding yourself accountable for the failure to realise long term goals, on a short term basis, your private life is going to suffer a body blow as you take this frustration out on everybody else. Not directly, but by allowing the workaholic in you to prosper and grow. It becomes the dominant personality.
It’s a great balancing act to be able to hold yourself accountable for short term failures, while still appreciating that when you work your bollocks off and the lucky break doesn’t materialise, patience is in order.
Self-destruction is almost guaranteed if you can’t differentiate between those elements of blame. The workaholic will grab any opportunity to dominate your life, but it’s an attitude that will never subside – even in the face of great success. It has to be controlled.
You have to hold yourself accountable for keeping the workaholic on a leash, not just exercising it regularly. Anything less and you have a wild untamed beast on your hands. Unfortunately, that beast is yourself.
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