In business, we’ve learned to nurture our careers by investing time and energy into the factors necessary for success. We’ve become sensitive to signs of distress, flexible to variables, and willing to adapt when necessary. In fact, we’re so good at caring for business that we even say that we “love” our jobs.
When it comes to caring for ourselves, however, it’s another story. In the process of nurturing our careers, many of us have forgotten to take care of ourselves. We forgo our health for the health of the business. We push, prod, and browbeat ourselves until we’re left sick, stressed, and burned out. The values we used to create work success are largely absent from our personal lives.
Here are five common business questions to ask yourself to evaluate if you are giving your personal the attention that it deserves.
Every great business has a mission statement that answers the question: “What are we creating with our efforts?” Take time to answer this question in your personal life. What do your daily habits add up to? Is the probable end result of your efforts a life of stress, sickness, and exhaustion? If you find that your daily habits are building toward burnout, you know it’s time to make a change.
Business ventures need a goal–a pot of gold at the end of the entrepreneurial rainbow. This is true in our personal lives as well. Take some time to think about what the life of your dreams looks and feels like: time with your family; vibrant health; flexibility; time to breathe; a balance between sharpness and serenity. Focusing on our goals allows us to build the action plan to get there.
In business, this is called an action plan. In our personal lives, it’s called daily practice–the things you do day in and day out to achieve your goal of creating a balanced life. This daily routine is what keeps us on track when life gets hectic. It’s how, in the midst of deadlines, demands, and pressures from work, we know how to care for ourselves. Practices might include activities like yoga to increase flexibility, exercise to get the body flowing, meditation to promote peace of mind, nutrition for physical well-being, a round of golf, deep breathing to modulate your emotions, breakfast with your children, or an intimate moment alone with your spouse.
We succeed at what we measure. Ask yourself what you are measuring in your personal life. Many times the answer is that we aren’t measuring anything. In business, this leads to chaos; the same is true in other areas of our life. Establish metrics and measure them with the same focus you would in business. In our personal lives, these metrics might be things like the level of relaxation in our shoulders, our ability to breathe deeply, a sense of calm in our thoughts, or an overall feeling of well-being.
Creating a compensation plan is an important focus for many businesses because people respond to rewards. This is especially true when it comes to our own well-being. We often set personal fitness or wellness goals, only to reach them, continue to criticize ourselves, and move the bar further and further out of reach. Instead, set up a defined reward structure for yourself that inspires you in your personal care. Keep the rewards consistent with your goals and daily habits while making the motivation significant enough to keep you going through hectic times–a walk on the beach, your favorite healthy snack, a new inspirational book, or just a deep breath and the sense that you’ve cared for yourself.
The balance of work and personal life comes down to the premise that your well-being matters, too. By applying the tools used to create successful businesses, we can achieve success in our personal health. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t stop at the office door. In fact, our greatest successes can come by caring for ourselves and allowing that all-important wellness to carry over into our businesses.
Jason Garner, former CEO of global music for Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, was a member of Fortune’s “highest-paid under 40” list at the pinnacle of his career, enjoying a career filled with rock stars and pro-athletes until his mother passed away and he realized he couldn’t handle it all. In his new book And I Breathed … My Journey From A Life Of Matter To A Life That Matters, he addresses how he went from burned out to balanced.