Anyone who has been a successful business owner has sacrificed their personal life at some point.
I’m not against working hard, but at what expense?
I hear a lot of 20 somethings say they want to focus on their career then get married and start a family in their 30’s. Well guess what: relationships don’t grow on trees nor come without a cost – mainly time.
It’s the same reason why most celebrities and professional athletes aren’t able to maintain a strong family unit because they’ve chosen to put their careers in the forefront and their relationships outside of work on the back burner. If you’re fortunate enough to have a selfless spouse who can hold the house down while you’re away then it can work, but that takes a special individual to put your needs before theirs.
When I look back on my career as a full-time entrepreneur I realize why I never met my own lofty expectations: I put people before profit. It’s your choice which one you choose, but rarely can you pick both.
I had too many boundaries in place to go “all-in,” therefore I would work up to a certain point, but cared about my lifestyle more than my possessions.
This post isn’t to mock those who have made it big nor is it putting those who are relationally-focused on a pedestal. It’s my observation of over 10+ years of reading, hearing and witnessing first-hand what it really takes to live the American Dream.
If there’s an understanding in terms of priorities that your career is first then those associated with you have to abide by it. Of course hard work alone doesn’t guarantee anything, but without it you don’t stand a chance.
The realization I came to is: people are most important to me.
When I first started my business I had financial goals in mind that I hit quickly, but over time I realized to reach the next tier I’d have to sacrifice the relationships around me. Since I wasn’t willing to do that, the numbers of hours I dedicated reflected in the amount of the paycheck (or lack thereof).
Fortunately I married someone who shares my values. I love that she is raising our two kids at home until they are full-time at school. We can make it on a single income because we live lean and value our time together the most. You don’t need a lot of money to be happy, but you do need to allocate a great amount of time to others.
It’s up to you to decide what currency is most important: time or money. Once you do, it’s easy to know where you should spend your energy.