I received an email recently, inviting me to attend a seminar for budding entrepreneurs. They were offering courses on how to become a huge business success. I scanned the topics and one course in particular, caught my attention: 'How to become a greater success by becoming more balanced.'
I clenched my very stressed out, entrepreneurial jaw hard, shook my head and said aloud, "Balance, Schmalance!" and then I sent the email into the never-to-be-seen-again junk file with a swift tap of my right index finger, gave a big exhale and relaxed -- a bit. I then started typing my very first blog, which you are reading now.
I have been hearing a lot about achieving so-called "entrepreneurial balance" lately, and I read about the importance of "down time" all over the place and it's time to nip in the bud one big fantasy about becoming a successful entrepreneur -- especially for the first five to 10 years, or longer -- just until you make it to the big time. It took me 10 years to become an overnight success. So, before you start scheduling "me time" in your business plan, please read this.
Now, in the world today, I know it is very unfashionable of me to be out of balance, especially when some people say that we need to be if we are to become a success. And I guess that's why some people are trying to teach it in courses similar to the one I recently read. But I am unbalanced. Period. I don't try to be, I just am. And I owe every unbalanced moment to my success as an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker and author, see, if I was balanced, I would probably have stopped right after thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. But quite frankly, success and balance are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Myth: You want to start your own business and you think that you can lead a balanced life in the process. Truth: There will be no down time for you, my dear budding entrepreneur, nor should you expect any -- well, not if you are doing things correctly -- and this is just my humble opinion based upon doing 15 years hard time in business prison.
I learned a lot over the years in my business prison cell and one message I have for you is this: your life and work will be intertwined and there will be no distinct line between the two and if you are to become the successful entrepreneur that you want to become, you will quickly learn that there is no such thing as balance and instead, there is only one thing: doing whatever is in your power to keep on keeping on and making every second of every day count. And that will most always involve putting the business first and your ideas of balance second... or third... or last... or not at all.
What type of people become huge successes? Not ones that run at sub-par. Not ones that can't understand how difficult (really difficult) it will be most days and not ones that want balance. A good degree of your level of success will be in direct proportion of how hard you are willing to work. Being a successful entrepreneur is not in opposition to life. It is life. It will be your life as it is mine. That's not a bad thing, it's just the way it is.
I should probably be giving you reasons for wanting to be more like me, since I am such a success. You should be encouraged by my gentle, caring words and the state of my life and how wonderfully balanced I am. How I must be so very balanced to live such a rich, full, productive life (I am 55-years-old) with such admirable composure, like heroes and trailblazers we read about who teach us the importance of balance, healthy people who have their minds, body and spirit in perfect harmony.... please... Who are these people then? I can't count on one hand people that I know that are that balanced, even if they are not entrepreneurs...even if they work for someone else!
Do balanced people give us a reason for living? Do they challenge us to become better people? For me, it's the hopelessly unbalanced messes that changed their life around for the better or those people that had lots of crap in their life that forced them to grow beyond their wildest expectations. Take Einstein or Carlos Casteneda or Van Gogh. They were all extraordinary visionaries. Think of any extraordinary visionary and you might think that being balanced will get you to that level. However, when I think of any extraordinary visionary, creator, writer, leader, artist or entrepreneur, you will learn the complete opposite of what these living in balance people suggest. They were anything but balanced. They didn't seek nor crave balance. They craved and sought out passion, engagement, discovery -- extreme intensity. And THAT is something very important that I have always known and now you do too!
So, maybe that's why so many of us overachievers are not balanced; because it's just impossible. If you are an entrepreneur and have been in business for less than five or so years, or you have just started a business or you are thinking about starting a business, let me be very clear; you have to live, eat, sleep, breathe and accept that having no balance in your life means that you will be even that much closer to becoming a huge success. Now there you go...no need to take any stupid courses on finding balance anymore! Now I'm really stressed out...