I want to share with you some about my journey as an entrepreneur, which can best be categorized into three major stages:
My first stage of entrepreneurship can only be described as an intensely focused drive. It was a balancing act that ultimately resulted in growth for our business. I was able to enlist support both in work and at home. In the moment, all I could see was the business success and I saw the fact that our family was holding it all together as a success as well. Looking back now, I can’t help but wonder what I missed out on during the time I was burning the candle at both ends…
In my second stage of entrepreneurship I found myself deeply involved in an internal schism. At the same time that our business was growing busier than ever before, I was also growing deeper in my faith. I was the person who let a client go six months without paying their bill because I felt such sympathy for their situation. It was the Christian thing to do, but it was a terrible business decision. I saw competitors sinking to lower and lower lows in order to win contracts – and I simply wasn’t willing to play along. In the beginning I remember thinking “I will be a strong business woman without turning into a witch” only to later say “no wonder successful women have such rough personalities.” I could not make the two sides of my heart reconcile which ultimately led to utter annihilation.
One day I had a huge fight with my husband and upon reflection realized that all our fights over the past year started with some kind of disagreement over the business. It was then that I entered into my third stage of entrepreneurship in which I had a major revelation: not one single project was more important than my family. It wasn’t like I consciously chose work over my family, but rather that I gradually got to a place where all my decisions were being made based on how they would affect the business. As it turns out, for me “leaning in” was actually leaning away from what matters most. Everyone talks about the perks of being an entrepreneur but no one talks about the victims of entrepreneurship: your family, your heart, and in some cases your mental health.
I see you girl, running your business day to day while balancing the rest of your life. I see you simultaneously feeling the pressures of how far you’ve come in business and the potential of how far you can go – not to mention all the people who are counting on you. I see you trying to compartmentalize your life and achieve that perfect work-life balance. But I am here asking you to pause.
Pause and look in your heart. Ask yourself if the most important things in your life are being treated as such. Ask yourself what is driving your daily decisions. Ask yourself if you are fulfilling your true destiny. Only you know your heart, but my heart was telling me for months that something wasn’t right. Nowadays, I don’t take on a single project if it will in any way take time away from my family and I don’t feel bad saying no.
I realize that not everyone can simply walk away from work responsibilities so I have enlisted the help of LaVonne Dyste, LPC-S, NCC, share some tips on how to find peace in the meantime:
- GIVE up trying to do it all by yourself. Do what you are good at in your business and hire others to do what they’re good at. Delegate!
- SHUT your phone off and put it away when you walk into your home. (If you work from home, discipline yourself by setting a time that you are FINISHED with work and BE FINISHED.) No excuses!
- SPEND at least 15-30 min sharing thoughts with your spouse, either over coffee in the morning (before the kids get up) or in the evening (after the children’s bedtime). Do not talk about work!
- MAKE time for exercise – at least three days a week.
- DISCOVER eating healthy.
- STRENGTHEN your spirituality. If you don’t have any, consider getting some!
Thank you for the advice LaVonne! She is a founding therapist at The Springs Counseling Group and can be reached at 210-386-6770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a mom and entrepreneur? I would love to hear your story, even if it is totally different than mine – comment below!
XO – Olivia