I confess - I am a compulsive workaholic. There, I said it. I have a natural bent toward full speed ahead or dead stop. If left to my own devices, my natural tendency is to work until I hit burnout. And the truth is.... I don't really dislike that about myself. I am very comfortable operating in those two speeds.
I know I am not alone. I know there is someone reading this and emphatically nodding their head in agreement. Moderation and balance are foreign concepts for most entrepreneurs. We are by design naturally gifted at functioning in the extreme. We are driven people. We work off inspiration. We are always improving upon the last improvement. We seek excellence. We know in our heart of hearts that nothing is ever really the final version because we chase innovation and innovation always demands more.
It is hard to argue against the value of the entrepreneurial spirit. Our visions would never be birthed without our ability to push through obstacles and tune out nay-sayers. Entrepreneurs typically flourish during the creating/building season but begin to bog down when the running/maintaining season arrives.
Why is this? Have you ever noticed the very qualities needed to start a business aren't necessarily the ones that are best to maintain a business? And vice versa, the very qualities that are needed to maintain a business are not the best ones to spark growth. Would you like to take a guess which is the longer season of a successful business? The running/maintaining season is the longest.
After the business is launched, it is the season that stabilizes and preps the business for the next growth spurt. We must be able to recognize the shift in seasons. Why is this important? It is important because we cannot violate the following principle:
"Imbalance only works during seasons of rapid growth."
Even in seasons of rapid growth in our businesses, we still need some sense of balance in our personal life to be capable of maintaining the grueling demands upon us. Hmmm. So what do I do if my authentic self exists in a natural state of imbalance? Will I ever know the calm and tranquility of enjoying what I create? Could I end up unknowingly sabotaging my success? I have good news for you.
You can learn to create balance out of imbalance. Before I tell you how you can create balance, let me tell you how you can potentially miss the mark. Most people think in order to create balance they must learn to develop traits they simply don't possess. If I make decisions quickly, I must change. I must slow down my decision making process.
If I am fast paced person, I must change. I must become a slow paced person. If I am a risk taker, I must change. I must remove risk from my life. You get the point. Let me save you some time and frustration - you won't be able to become somebody your aren't. Well, you might for a short time but it is not something you will be able to sustain long term.
You will end up feeling like a failure at something you aren't even equipped to achieve. You cannot change your nature. You can achieve balance but you must commit to staying true to your authentic nature. Balance only occurs in context of your authentic self.
"You can't work against your authentic nature. You must embrace and work with it."
So how do I stay true to my authentic nature yet enjoy balance? Each of us has a God-given purpose and an authentic core to support and achieve that purpose. It resonates within and throughout us. It is a thread that is knit into the fabric of who we are and all we do. Build upon the foundation of that core. Never dilute your strengths but instead build in complementary elements to achieve balance to your imbalances.
The 10 Commandments of Building Balance into My Entrepreneurial Strengths.
I will stay faithful to my authentic nature.
I cannot go against my nature because it exists for a reason. My nature was created to support and help me achieve my God-given purpose. My nature will always manifest. If I fight my nature, I am trying to become someone other than myself. Trying to change my authentic core will only result in dissatisfaction and frustration. The most powerful gift I can give to myself is to make the vulnerable choice to be authentic in every area of my life.
I will be honest with myself.
I will live the reality of what is instead of the illusion of how I would like it to be. I will soul search so that I am capable of telling myself the truth in every area of my life. I will learn my strengths. I will learn my weaknesses. I will confront my fears lest they overtake me. I will strive to remove my biases and filters that distort how I see reality. I can only make wise choices if I have accurate information.
I will commit to take care of myself first.
It is only out of the overflow of caring for myself that I have anything to give. If I do not take care of me, I will not be able to care for anyone else. I realize the best way to care for others is to care for myself first.
I will not be all things to all people.
I will accept some people will love me, some people will hate me and most people will fall somewhere in between. I accept that how people feel about me really has little to do with me but is based on their own experiences in life. The people that look for the good will always find it. The people that look for the bad will always find it.
I have no power to choose how other people think, react, or feel. The only power I have in it is how I chose to respond. I choose to respond in a way that is consistent with my authentic nature. I will not allow my character to be altered by the choices of others.
I will stop at 90%.
I acknowledge the 100% mark is an elusive milestone that I will never feel is achieved. I acknowledge there is no discernible difference to the majority of the population in going from 90% to 100%. I admit the last 10% will only serve to drive me crazy and waste valuable time in exchange for a zero return on my investment. I will not exchange my sanity for the sake of the last 10%.
I will not allow my self-worth to be based on something that fluctuates.
I will not allow my self-worth and what I believe about myself to be based on my performance, the opinions of others, or anything else that fluctuates. I am not defined by my performance or what people think of me. I will not be a people pleaser or the world's puppet. I make a choice to receive my self-worth only from what my Heavenly Father says about me. His Word never changes and is always accurate in defining me regardless of how my emotions might fluctuate. I choose to believe Him. He is my maker and He knows me best.
I will set up my routine to nurture myself.
I know I have a natural bent toward extremes. I will setup routines to bring balance to those extremes. I will set alarms to remind me to eat/move around/stop working if need be. I will force myself to stop at certain intervals to make sure I nurture myself. I will not ignore the routines I setup. I will take the time to enjoy and celebrate my accomplishments. I will enjoy my family, friends and other people. I will respect the need for balance even when it is difficult to embrace it.
I will not tolerate unproductive internal dialog.
I accept I will make mistakes. I accept I will not always be the best version of myself. I accept that I am human. I accept that I cannot control everything. I will not tolerate any nonproductive dialog inside my head. I know my fears will try to speak to me but I will speak back to them. I will not allow the negative words of others to take up space inside my head. I am proactive and solution minded. I have no use for unproductive internal dialog.
I will surround myself with safe people.
I pledge to learn the difference between safe and unsafe people. I must learn the difference because I need a support system I can depend upon. I know I need people that will be able to speak truth into my life. I know I have a blind side that I cannot see. I must trust others to help reveal it to me. I need people capable of giving me feedback based on my best interests with no agenda of their own.
I will give myself permission to be a work in progress.
I will commit to enjoy my life's journey. I know my journey unfolds as I walk it. I may not be where I want to be but I am not where I used to be. As I seek truth, I will grow in wisdom. I will enjoy the journey and the people that accompany me on it. I will get exactly where I am to be in the right timing. I won't arrive early and I won't arrive late. I am a work in progress.
Although I am writing this article addressing entrepreneurs, the principle of balance and living true to our authentic nature applies to all people and all areas of our lives. I truly believe we all have a God-given purpose that we are driven to fulfill. Understanding your specific purpose helps align your choices in life to ensure you boldly live out your purpose. I am attaching a pdf worksheet to guide in you in recognizing and defining your authentic purpose.
By Angie Lynch
With over twenty years of ministry and counseling experience, Angie Lynch educates, equips, and empowers people to live their od-given purpose.