Like sharing war stories, entrepreneurs love to talk about everything they sacrificed to make a business successful.
From the outside, it might feel like a pre-requisite of success is sleeping in the office every night and working until you pass out. It has always been part of start-up folklore that when you start a company you give up your life.
This is certainly true in some sense. When you start a company, the drive to succeed and do well by your investors and team is a monumental weight, one that's best described by Paul DeJoe in a recent post on Quora.
The passion for changing the world and creating something truly great is plenty of motivation to take over your entire being. The problem comes when entrepreneurs assume that working hard means never leaving the office.
Our society has such a narrow definition of "work." For many, work occurs when someone is cranking away at their desk, in a meeting, or on a trip to meet with customers or investors. Obviously, hard work is par for the course at a start-up, but work can come in many forms and some of the most valuable "work" can come from getting out of the office.
Whether it is running, biking, golfing, or dirt biking, stepping back and getting some exercise can be the most valuable time you spend. Being left alone with only your thoughts for long periods of time can help clarify problems and enhance creative capacity to come up with valuable solutions. Just Google search the phrases "exercise and creativity" or "exercise and productivity" and you will be swarmed by a list of research studies linking exercise with enhanced problem solving and focus.
Think beyond the desk. Create a culture where work is defined by hitting ambitious goals, making great things, and building valuable solutions. Encouraging exercise and time for your team to escape the day to day and let the bigger picture come into focus cannot be underestimated (but can be easily eroded).