Is it Work-Life Balance or Work-Life Blend?
There's an interesting interview by David Rubenstein with Jeff Bezos about business and work-life that, I believe, is worth your time if you're a business owner. As I'm sure you know, Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.
I believe that business owners learn to blend their work and their personal life, that it's not a cut-and-dried work-life balance. Over time, through experience, we either master a blend of both or we feel exhausted and hassled every day. In the interview, Bezos floated between questions about Amazon's future plans and how he handles being the CEO of the company he started with just a few people.
Work-Life Balance and Mindset
Your mindset as a business owner is the ground for your well-being and financial success. If you have solid ground all the daily annoyances that come your way will seem small, you'll keep your perspective. If you don't have good self-care and a solid ground those same annoyances will pull you off your game.
Bezos talks about his adamant stand on getting enough sleep, for instance. He is careful to get 8 hours of sleep. His self-care extends to the morning hours, as well. Bezos doesn't take a meeting until 10:00 AM so that he has “putter time” in the morning to read, have breakfast with his kids, study, take care of himself. Self-care – the commitment to one's self before others – that's something that almost every business owner I know fails to take seriously. And yet, from that solid ground of sleep and self-care comes the ability to make smart decisions, stay emotionally stable, and feel well.
Feed Your Soul for Better Work-Life Balance
Here's what Bezos has to say about gaining perspective. “I believe in the power of wandering. All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart, intuition, gut, you know not, not analysis. When you can make a decision with analysis you should do so, but it turns out in life that your most important decisions are always made with instinct, intuition, taste, heart.”
From my own experience, “wandering” takes the form of personal and business retreats, alone time, and travel. Even local travel gets you out of your box, and even short timeframes will work. No excuses – taking time to wander is good for you, good for your business.
Keep Your Mind on The Horizon
Another good tip for keeping your work-life balance in check is to make sure, as the leader of your business, to keep your mind far enough into the future. Bezos said, “If you're the head of your company, you need to be out 2 to 3 years in advance. Don't live in the current quarter.”
If you're living day to day in the current quarter, you're not delegating, have a weak team, or don't have your day-to-day systems established correctly. You can't be the pilot and design the next spaceship at the same time.
Summing up the 3 tips
- Self-care and sleep
- Wander time – travel, personal and business retreats
- Keeping your mind on the horizon – you're the visionary of your business.
These two tips about focusing on your customer are great gems.
- “The secret sauce of Amazon – the number one thing that has made us successful by far is obsessive, compulsive focus on the customer, as opposed to obsession over the competitor.”
- “It is a huge advantage to any company if you can stay focused on your customers and not your competitors.”
When I work with a client who only wants to talk about what his (or her) competitor is doing, I know it's the wrong focus. Do your business plan, focus on your customers, and let time take care of your competitors. It's not where your focus should be for long-term results.
And finally, this is a great insight about regrets – which we tend to have when we ignore work-life balance.
- “Most of our regrets are actually omissions – the things we didn’t try, it’s the path untraveled.”
Mindset. Over and over again I find that those who are SERIOUS about business need mindset just as much (if not more) than they need yet another tool. So if that's you, and you are truly ready to commit to your own growth, you might consider a one-hour consult with me. Get the details here.