Today an entrepreneur will launch his or her dream into an enterprise. For many founders reality will quickly set in. Anxiety and stress plus the daunting daily demands of entrepreneurship can be overwhelming. In fact, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 34 percent of entrepreneurs reported being worried. This is four percentage points above employees.
To survive and be successful in any enterprise require relentless focus. Statistics say the average entrepreneur works about 60 hours per week. Many founders agree that even when you are not working - your mind is constantly racing with what if and what next. Over time, you adapt to a new normal and learn to build stamina under stress.
I started my business 10 years ago. Although I have no regrets, it has been one of the most challenging pursuits of my life. In the early years, my business was my boyfriend, baby and my best friend. It totally consumed my life. Six months of intense sacrifice turned into 12 months and then three years. I realized if I didn't make significant changes, my obsession with work could lead to a lifetime of regret.
I'm not alone. Many founders and closet workaholics struggle with how to set healthy boundaries with work and not neglect what matters most in their life. Here are three steps to finally break free and take back your life.
Check your motivation - Get clear on what drives you. What do you value and why? Your motivation is the strongest indicator of intention. Could your motivations be a compulsory obsession with yourself. Are you achieving for the sake of validation, people pleasing or to prove that you made it against the odds? Check your intention and be clear about your "why" for the work you do. It may be costing you genuine relationships, joy and peace of mind. Ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" It's all about getting honest and clear. If you realize your motives aren't as genuine as you thought, take a step back and assess how you can begin to shift. Grounding your work in authentic value can now become a new focal point each day.
Set limitations - Acknowledge your limitation as the first step in creating healthy boundaries. Let go of what you can't control. If you have identified spending time with your family as a priority, what accountability structures can you put in place to make sure you remain true to that commitment. Letting go is liberating. Perspective helps you realize what matters most. Share with someone you trust to help keep you accountable. If you know that having a social life is important, set boundaries for the days when you will make social activities a priority. This may mean creating days or hours where you will not work or leaving the office early. The power is in your accountability.
Choose progress over perfection - Many perfectionist and achievers live in a constant state of highs and lows. You may start out with great expectations for a project or customer engagement. However, if the outcome doesn't match your optimistic expectation, you feel defeated. You may think the answer is to work harder and perform better. Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the book, Mindset gives a different point of view. She explains the power of a growth mind-set which rewards the process verses outcome. She recommends spending less time documenting your skills, success and accomplishments. How are you developing, growing and learning? If you lost the contract or are over extended in your finances -- take a step back and look at what you learned in the process. These powerful lessons are liberating and can be the stepping stones for your next success.