The word "selfish" has a bad rap. I get it. Being "concerned chiefly or only with yourself" seems like kind of an asshole move, but is that always the case? I don't think so. The "Screw you, suckers!" variety of selfishness deserves its critics, but what about the kind of selfishness that simply means you're putting yourself first?
I work from home on Fridays. It feels like such a treat. I don't set an alarm, so I wake up when my body wants to. I shlepp around in jogging pants and I spend the day writing or working on administrative stuff. I take a long lunch and I enjoy a manicure or a hot bath or a sunny stroll. I love that I can do that.
You're working your tail off, and yes, you are getting enquiries, invitations to speak at events and so on. But if you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something isn't right -- you don't feel valued or respected, or worse, you feel taken advantage of -- then it's time to set stronger boundaries in your business.
Startup life is a series of hard compromises. It's having to decide between taking my kids out on a Saturday or putting in the extra hours to get my startup business off the ground. It's the occasional argument with my wife about who's supposed to pick the kids up after school even though I know it's my turn but I got caught up sending my hundredth email of the day and lost track of time.
Some time ago I began to question this whole idea of work-life balance. I asked why do we frame the debate as if work and life are not one and the same? Do we not think work is part of the continuum that makes up our life? For me, anyway, and I suspect many others, work is an essential part of life and how we contribute to our society.
Many people may think it's really just a matter of time until true equality for women and men is achieved. Saying it's a matter of time is too often an excuse for maintaining the status quo. We need to keep our eye firmly on the ball and put in place deliberate steps to change how things are, into how you want them to be.
Think of all of the crap that is going on with your physical health, especially any recurring issues. Only you and your doctor can determine what might be causing these symptoms. But if you have an unresolved chronic issue, or recurring health issues, or multiple health issues, it's possible that some of that is rooted in some neglected stress. Don't you think?
Creating work environments that reflect the reality that both women and men are working and raising children is critical to not only women, but to the competitiveness of the economy. We are not maximizing the talent pool when 50 per cent of the population is absent from the vast majority of leadership roles that shape our economy.