The Chinese have long believed in the Yin and the Yang. Yin and yang are opposite in nature, but they are part of nature, they rely on each other, and they can't exist without each other. The balance of yin and yang is important.
If yin is stronger, yang will be weaker, and vice versa.
This is my mantra when it comes to the way I run my business, although it wasn’t always the case.
Most people who start their own business do so for one of three main reasons. They want to have more time, more money and more flexibility: all to have a better work/life balance.
Six months in, 80-hours weeks are the norm and the family’s excitement in all of your lofty promises of a better life are melting quicker than an ice-cube in the Sahara.
Your business, let’s call this your Yin, is very strong, which in turn has weakened your Yang, which represents your home/social life and relationships. What you focus on is what you get to the exclusion of everything else. Whether your business has taken off or you are struggling to pay bills, if you don’t start recognizing that your Yang needs some attention, you entire life will be out of balance.
For many, they don’t recognize a problem with their relationships until it hits them in smack bang in the face. You know, the “I’m-leaving-you” kind of smack. Two of the biggest things people fight about are money and attention. Too little or too much, it doesn’t really matter. If this is ringing true with you, it is time to step back and take stock of your situation.
I am not saying to devote less time to your fledgling business, I am saying to sit down and acknowledge the things that you could be doing to bring that Yang back into balance.
The first thing I would suggest is sitting down with those most important in your life and thank them. Thank them for understanding your long hours. Thank them for picking up the slack in the family operation. Most of all, thank them for allowing you to create a better life for them.
While we are talking about your family and friend relationships, how has your social life been? Are you making some time to spend with your loved ones? If your answer is no because you are too busy, your Yang will never regain its strength. I have always said, there is no point being wealthy and successful if there is no one you care about to enjoy it with!
How is your health and wellbeing? Are you spending any time looking after yourself? When is the last time you exercised or enjoyed a walk outdoors with the family? If your health has been neglected, this is just another aspect of your Yang that has it in such a weak position. You life is all Yin. I believe that to be at your best, you need to spend some time, even if it is disproportionate time, on all aspects of your life.
When I look back only a few short years ago, I was all Yin and no Yang. My life was my business and shortly, things started to fall out of balance. I had a two-year-old son and was married and my friends were all still in employee mentality. I spent every available minute I had working on my business Cave’ and can honestly say I missed the warning signs. I was disconnected from the two most important people in my life: my son and my husband. They had their own thing going on, and then there was me and my relationship was with my business.
It was hard to hear at first and like most business owners; I was overly protective of people questioning my intentions. A defining moment came when my son at about two and a half said “Mumma loves business more than me.” Think that didn’t cut to the bone?
It was that minute that I knew things had to change. When something is important to you, you don’t need motivation to make it happen. I didn’t work any less on my business; I just made everything else that was missing more of a priority. I found the time. I don’t know where, but I did. I learnt communication and organizational skills I never knew existed! I was present, I was available and I had an off switch. I gave myself boundaries and time limits that I worked until and event though it was hard, I knew it had to happen and happen immediately.
When I look back, I can’t believe what it was like. Three and a half years later and I live my ultimate life. I work in my businesses (I now run four businesses) two days a week and on my business another two days. I choose not to work Fridays and every weekend is family time, either going away on mini-breaks or just spending together. Sure, I run some workshops and my Ultimate 48 Hour Author Retreats four weekends a year, however I choose to do that. I look after my mind and body, catch up with friends regularly and make every moment count by travelling the world three times a year with my entire family.
Being successful in business is amazing and I love seeing so many small business owners so passionate about making it work. Just remember to have the same levels of passion on the rest of your life: your Yang.
Natasa Denman is a skilled executive coach, author of four best-selling books, and founder of The Ultimate 48 Hour Author. Within her mentoring program she guides time-poor entrepreneurs and business owners through the publishing process so that they can have their own story in print. Natasa is also a finalist in the prestigious AusMumpreneur Awards 2014. For more information visit www.ultimate48hourauthor.com.au, the first two people to email Natasa at [email protected] will also receive a free copy of her book.