I was 23 when I determined to live the life of an entrepreneur.
Like many, I was seduced by the idea of independent wealth, “owning my time” and changing the world. But how I pursued those goals have often led me off course. I always believed that if I just worked harder and longer hours that it would equal a greater chance of success.
Then in 2009, I came down with whooping cough.
It completely debilitated me for three to four hours a day as I huddled in a ball fighting coughing fits for over three weeks. I believed everything would fall apart if I didn’t work 60, 70 or even 80 hours per week. It was during this time I not only found this to be a lie, but I discovered the contrary to be true. That month I made the same amount of money as I did the month before. I was forced to slow down, spend more time with family, focus on getting healthy, read and SLEEP! This experience helped open my eyes and began a shift in my view of work and success.
Here are a few ways I have found greater tranquility and balance in my work, worship and family:
• 1. Rest regularly without guilt. You are not lazy for getting sleep, going on a weekend trip or taking Friday off. Building regular rhythms of rest will result in more productivity.
• 2. Work is not just where you get a paycheck. We are not one-dimensional beings. Your work is combination of your craft, your calling and all the things you are responsible for stewarding.
• 3. Get a hobby. Play a sport, join an improv group, start a craft night. Whatever it is, do it for fun.
• 4. Be all there. This is so difficult in our digital age where often we are carrying on five conversations at the same time via text, and getting pinged for every new email, Facebook comment or LinkedIn request. If you reset the expectations of those who communicate with you most, you will find it easier to focus and seize the moment. This also shows respect and honor to those you are with. One simple way to start is by going into your phone settings and turning off all notifications that unnecessarily ping you when you are with others or in a meeting.
• 5. Go deeper, not just wider. It’s easy to overcommit ourselves — saying “yes” when we really should say “no.”
• 6. Give back. Making money isn’t all that matters in life. There are skills you have that can make a big difference in the world around you. .
• 7. Take new meetings. Get out of the routine from time to time and take new meetings with people you haven’t met. Doing this can be both inspiring and open unexpected doors.
You can also read this article on Cincinnati.com, published on January 4, 2014.