By Debbie Ruston, Featured Contributor
I’ve certainly been there in my early days of being an entrepreneur. It was part of my personality even when I worked full-time in the corporate world. I worked my 40 hours per week, and always brought work home and worked 4-5 hours at night. This was before I had a family.
I took this same level of “commitment” into my own business. We are conditioned to believe that we must work this hard to get ahead. Very often though, the work that you are investing time in is not productive. I was the type of person that had to do everything perfectly. This is exhausting and when you are in a leadership position, no one can live up to the perfectionist’s example. This is doing a dis-service to those you are leading. Their self esteem and belief in themselves can be affected when they feel they cannot do something as well as you can. Perfectionists hold themselves and the people around them back.
When our daughter was about 3 or 4, we were baking Christmas cookies and the phone rang. When I got off the phone, our daughter was quite upset and reminded me that I had promised not to answer the phone while we baked. Although this might seem like a minor incident, it was a reminder our family is the most powerful internal motivator there is. To feel like I broke a promise to our daughter made me realize that I needed to get control of my hours and walk the walk of what I said I would do…..I always did that in my work (being the perfectionist I was) but realized I was not walking that walk at home. It was in that moment that I made a decision to have an unlisted phone line installed in our home. If that phone rang, we would answer it any time of day because the only people with that number would be our family. This accomplished two things….our children knew when work was done, we had time together and nothing would interrupt that. The other spin-off benefit was getting control of my time. If you don’t learn to control your time, and let time control you, eventually you burn out. hen you are not benefiting anyone. It’s important to work hard and play hard to rejuvenate yourself.
There is a simple thought that if practiced persistently can help…we work to live, we don’t live to work. We work to provide for our families and make their lives better, not to eliminate all time spent with them.
Strive for excellence in everything you do, but when the workday ends, shift gears and strive for excellence (not perfectionism) in your personal life. Give both the same level of respect. This is how you achieve balance and avoid burnout. You will also find that by unplugging and allowing yourself the time with your family, you will gain new perspectives, de-stress, will come up with new fresh ideas