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Growth and Work/Life Balance: Can You Achieve Both?

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Growth and Work/Life Balance: Can You Achieve Both?

Is work/life balance realistic for you at this stage of your business?

If you’ve worked with us at Business Benchmark Group, or read what we share to help tradies grow their business, you know that I’m straight talking when it comes to my coaching style. Because that’s the quickest way to get you the results you deserve. Tip toeing around the issue doesn’t solve your problems, and that’s my job.

So today I’m here to talk about the myth of work/life balance, why it’s stunting your growth, and what you should aim for instead – because work is important, but it shouldn’t be everything.

In the early days of your business, your presence and proactive work are key to growing to the point where you are no longer pivotal to the day-to-day running of your business. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming this is the stage you’re at.

In everything we do, there is cause and effect. If you want to leave work everyday at 3 PM or take extended weekends, there is a cost. That cost is time away from growing your business, and the effects can be less revenue, a less productive team, mediocre customer service, slower growth, etc.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about your business being productive, so you can enjoy the other things in life. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – more important to me than spending time with my wife and kids. I work hard in my business so that I can do that.

The lie we’ve all been sold

The thought that you can tailor your career or business around your personal life and have them fit together ‘just so’ has got many into trouble. This idea comes from the many business ‘gurus’ who profit from selling you a dream with the easiest and quickest route.

But the catch is, there is no easy and quick route. You’re not going to work with a coach who takes you to $1M+ per year in revenue by making a few small changes and spending 12 hours a week working.

Business is demanding. It always has been and it always will be. There are no magic tricks and shortcuts to success, so you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes. 

Hard work and effort need to be part of your routine. If you knock off at 3 pm every day to pick the kids up from school, how will you motivate those staying at the office? Do you think they will power on until 5 pm, or be on Facebook at 3.01 pm? If you’re close to signing a major client and they want to meet at 8 am, are you going to say no because you have yoga?

So…what’s the answer?

I’m not suggesting you hustle until you drop, forget about your family, and put your life on the back burner until you’ve grown your team to run your highly profitable business with minimal input from you. Hard work is important, but you’ve got to enjoy the journey to the destination too.

Instead, it’s about personal alignment. Your personal life must be aligned with your goals and dreams. That includes your family, friends, pets, social commitments – whatever is going on in your life. It’s your job to make it all fit together.

Without this personal alignment, professional alignment won’t happen. No one reaches success without sacrifice. The more you have alignment and harmony, the more you can achieve. Ultimately, less is more.

So that being said, I prefer to aim for work/life harmony. That means you recognise that sometimes the business must be the priority. Sometimes there will be late nights (or even all-nighters), and weekends and early starts. That’s just part of the process when building a business. 

The reason you do this is to make your business more productive and successful, and the reason you want the business to be successful is so that down the road you will have more time and freedom to do the things you really want to do. You have to do whatever it takes to make the business strong, and then you can back off a little. 

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Reap the rewards of what you sow

Whenever your business needs you, you must be there. But when your plan allows time off, because you have great systems and great people in place, and everybody is being productive, that’s when you get to relax. 

One of my aims for my business is to never work another month of August in my life. That’s right. Never. I’m not there yet, but I’m close. So, right now, I’m working really hard to achieve that goal. The effort comes now, the reward later. 

It’s not about 50% work, 50% family, or whatever other percentage you come up with. Sometimes it will be 100% work and at other times 100% family. The key to managing this is that the people around you understand and support you in what you do. 

You need to manage their expectations and explain to them what you are doing and why, and that if you are working hard now, it’s so that you can have the rewards later. Nothing can undo a business quicker than an unsupportive spouse, family or loved ones; believe me, I’ve seen it happen too many times. 

If your personal life isn’t aligned with your dreams and goals for the business, you’re going to have a problem. You need to talk to your loved ones. If they are not a support structure, you are doomed.

Flexi time is successful for mature organisations, but many organisations are not yet mature enough to manage with this. The moment you introduce this and you’re not mature enough yet, the cat is out of the bag. For this to work, you must have ownership of tasks and accountability built into the culture of your organisation. 

Playing golf on a weekday, taking that extra holiday, or only working part-time is not a never. It’s just a not right now.

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