If you ever laughed sarcastically when someone mentioned life-balance as an entrepreneur, you probably are not experiencing true happiness as a leader. You have a lot on your plate and may believe that you have to sacrifice your freedom if you want to make your dreams happen.
Work-life balance is more than just taking a vacation or making sure you make the yoga class each week, it involves the following four essential keys from eastern wisdom traditions that must be fulfilled for a complete and happy successful life.
Sense pleasures are important, what would be the point of living? This essential key for happiness is fueling the senses, experiencing great food, human touch, beautiful music, nature, and art. In the east, they call it "Kama" or pleasure.
Too many entrepreneurs spend time in meetings without windows, facing computer screens, alone and disconnected from human contact, and skipping meals. A deep part of you craves to feel good sensually. Connect with nature, turn off the news, listen to beautiful music, get a massage, or read a great book. Make time for personal relationships and hugs are great too.
Building a company is empty and stressful if you do not give your work meaning. In the east, they call it "Dharma" or your purpose. A purpose isn't a career or type of work you do, but a personal expression that feels aligned with something bigger than you are.
I have been around many business owners with good intentions when they first began their company, but then quickly became obsessed with the numbers as their company grew. If you do not know (or remember) your "why" you will eventually burn out or resent your work.
To identify your purpose, just think about what you or your company does that serves a bigger role in the world. For example, you can be a financial consultant but that is not your purpose, but how and why you do your job. Maybe you like to educate others on what you know or take care of others and nurture their investments. You will notice when you recognize what your purpose is that you enjoy expressing yourself this way in all areas of life.
3. Success and Wealth
I was personally very surprised when I learned that they actually teach in eastern traditions that wealth and success ("Artha") is important for happiness. They believe it is your duty to become successful and make the most of your talents to share with the world. True success is not just about financial success, but it must include wealth to some degree.
If you have enough financial resources, you can hire more staff, reach more customers, spread the word about your business and present to others the embodiment of success. It really does not serve anyone to be struggling financially as you put a drain on yourself, your family and your community by not having enough.
I used to feel a conflict with my success as if I was not supposed to make money helping others. What I learned over the years if that a successful person helps others by showing them possibilities. No one can change the world if they have not achieved some level of success. No one is inspired by someone who is in lack and fear around their finances. Instead of feeling guilty for the success you have, embrace the abundance as an important key to life.
The main key to happiness is freedom ("Moksha") and none of the other three will bring happiness without this last piece. The attainment of Moksha is about freedom of mind or non-attachment.
If you are too attached to pleasure, it leads to addiction. If you are too attached to success, you will never feel like you are enough and constantly striving for the next big win. If you are too attached to your purpose, you will create an overinflated ego which will eventually deflate when you feel as though you let others down.
Feeling happy without the need for the other three keys is freedom. What is most surprising is that when you are non-attached you can truly enjoy all of them fully. Many people falsely believe it is about letting go of these things to be happy, but you can enjoy them but not let them control you and your state of mind.