I went to lunch with a friend and mentor of mine recently who has owned his own successful company for many years, and he said to me:
“Amanda, I don’t work. I love every minute of what I am doing and it is mine, so this is not work-it is play. I play all day.”
A powerful statement & an aspirational goal to any newly starting entrepreneur…but really isn’t this what we all seek for true happiness, success and personal fulfillment? And maybe this has something to do with more than just passion & luck to find the “right career”? Maybe this is beyond capability and experience. Maybe this ties back to the ever elusive balance I have been seeking for most of my professional career…
Passion & Drive to Win
I have been passionate in just about everything I have done professionally…even the assignments I didn’t particularly enjoy. The reason? Frankly, I like to win. I always have; my family, friends & husband will all tell you I am a relentlessly competitive game/card player. I love facing new challenges & designing strategies to overcome them which is something that translates both personally & professionally.
I cannot say that I have never been tempted by superstition…but with that said, in recent years I have far less patience for others who cast luck as the responsible party for good (usually in others’ lives) & bad (usually in their own lives) decisions. We make our own luck. As a famous entrepreneur said in a recent interview:
Opportunities Won, Opportunities Lost
This is called experience in my book…and it eventually translates into capability, depending on our ability to learn along the way. The key is to take the personal emotion out when things don’t go the way we plan (which can be difficult), try to reach & learn from the situation, then move forward without baggage. Learn from the past. Be Present. Dream of the Future.
Success = Happiness = Achieving Balance?
I am not the best (yet) at maintaining work-life balance…in fact I am just starting to get a grip on what this must mean/feel like once you achieve it. I have had the tendency to go “full speed ahead” in one or two areas at a time, slowly letting other areas slip, then readjusting the sails as needed. Examples: A) Working outrageous hours, taking on more & more professionally, but letting my social life and/or health slip. B) Full engagement on my health & fitness along with work, but letting personal time suffer…You get the idea.
Now that I work for myself, it is not any easier to achieve balance. The difference is that now when I work too much, it’s for me, so in some ways it doesn’t feel like work. I have been on vacation for a week but when I check emails or work a little in between, I enjoy it & don’t have difficulty disconnecting afterward. I recognize that it is early in my independence and I am not yet generating income, answering to stakeholders or facing crucial deadlines…but I wonder, is this a little closer to balance? When your work is enjoyable enough that the lines are blurry with fun time?
The tides are always shifting, the sands moving, the trees growing, the earth turning & changing…as are we. So the challenge remains how to keep everything moving at the right pace to keep balance. I will let you know what I think about this one a little later in my new career;)
If you haven’t read “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz, it is an excellent and practical guide to happiness that is a perfect accompaniment to my thoughts above.
Please share your thoughts on my blog!