Last weekend I took my mom on a quick trip down to New Orleans. Both of my sons live there and she’d never been. About a month ago I decided we both deserved to be there for Mother’s Day, so I booked the tickets and hotel. I took Monday and Tuesday off too, so I had 4 glorious days in a really cool (if hot and humid) place with people I love.
As a business coach and mentor, I’ve pretty much always been a head down, git-er-done sort of chick. My mister says I work harder than anyone he knows. I’m a workaholic and I sometimes have trouble “shutting it down” and stepping into my life.
I think that’s probably typical of most successful entrepreneurs. I also think, at least for me, it has, in the past, hindered my success and growth.
All work and no play not only makes Jill a dull girl, it also steals her creativity, flow, and inspiration (all of which, in my opinion, are essential to your success as an entrepreneur). It’s basically like being on a “fun” diet. You deprive yourself of fun hoping it will mean your business is more successful. In actuality, the opposite result is more common.
Unfortunately for me, it took me years to figure this out.
I didn’t get it when I was a single mom and my kids told people “My mom’s always working. We mostly see the back of her head because she’s always sitting at her desk in front of her computer.”
I didn’t get it when I bumped into a friend in my small town Starbucks one day who said, “OMG! I thought you moved – or died!” because I’d been cloistered in my home office, head down, working on my online business for months at a time, never making time for the people in my life outside my immediate family.
I didn’t even really get it when my beloved husband John was diagnosed with terminal Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma and given less than a year to live. I mean, I think I started to get it, but not completely.
I finally DID get it about a month before John died, as we made decisions about hospice and palliative care and the reality of his fast-approaching exit from this world hit me.
Thankfully, I did get it then. I stepped away from my business and into my life, allowed myself to let go of all but the most pressing business obligations, and spent as much time as I possibly could with him and our family.
Since John’s death, my mindset around this has shifted, mostly because I understand how fragile life is. I totally get that today could be my last day on earth so I better make sure it’s a good one. I work less and play more. I’m probably still a workaholic by most people’s standards, but the difference now is, when I’m not working, I’m truly not working. I don’t check my email on my phone incessantly or feel like I have to answer a message the minute I get it or risk losing it all. I have shifted my priorities.
Here’s what’s happened since I made the decision to do that.
- When I do work, I’m happier, more focused, and more productive.
- I’m more creative
- While I still work with a plan most days, I feel like I’m much more able to tap into my intuition and take inspired action when I’m lead to stray from my plan and do that
- The people around me are much happier because they’re getting my actual, focused attention when we’re together
The bottom line is that my business is no longer the most important relationship in my life. I’ve put it where it belongs. Still in an important spot, still a priority and something deserving of my time, attention, and love, but not above what’s truly important in my life and that’s the people and relationships.
After all, those relationships are the reason I’m putting so much of myself into this business in the first place. Remembering that has served me very well in the three years since John died.