The concept of work-life balance has been and will continue to be debated endlessly. The topic gets more complicated for entrepreneurs, as in many cases their work is their life. It’s hard to draw a line between the two. Here are seven beliefs that will put more balance in the lives of entrepreneurs.
1. Business is pleasure
When I tell people that I am traveling to another city, sometimes they ask me whether the travel is for business or for pleasure. I struggle with a good response. It seems like there is a sense of duality baked into the question — I must be traveling for pleasure, but if not, I may be engaged in activities that are not pleasurable, so I must be doing work! Honestly, it has been ages since I felt I have worked. In fact, I can’t think of that day when I was not excited about going to “work.” If I love what I do, then how can it be work? I have talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs who share the same feeling. It is universal in the world of entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, you need to develop the mindset that “business is pleasure.” There is no other way.
2. Intense work is rest
I borrowed this from the renowned teacher of “Practical Vedanta,” Swami Rama Tirtha, who said, “Intense work according to Vedanta is rest.”
I have had the privilege of watching hundreds of true entrepreneurs from close quarters, and rarely have I found anyone complaining about more work. In a way they operate like self-winding watches — the more they work, the more energy they seem to gather for more work.
It is another mindset that will serve you well if entrepreneurship is your path chosen.
3. The best relationships are lifetime relationships
I used to say there are only two kinds of relationships: ones that are long term and the others that are very long term. Expanding on that statement, the longest term possible is when you stretch the timeline to your lifetime. When you aim for lifetime relationships, something magical happens. First, it will never occur to you to take advantage of anyone in the short term. Second, those that don’t subscribe to a similar philosophy will walk out of your life sooner rather than later.
When you don’t have to second-guess people that are close to you, the level of stress automatically goes down.
4. Small is the new big
Small is the new big, especially when it comes to winning. It is good to say you will go for a win-win relationship. The person on the other end is also thinking the same. In theory both of you want to have a win-win arrangement. Deep inside, it might get tempting to get a “slight edge,” meaning a slightly bigger win than the other person.
The problem? When you do that, the other person can see through it and puts his or her guard up in all future transactions.
A better approach is to go for a smaller win by intent and design. Let the other party always win big. The advantage with this approach is that it drastically reduces the cost of making deals by a huge margin, plus more people will want to make deals with you.
5. Detachment from the outcome
The famous quote from Bhagavad Gita goes like this: Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Burmatey Sangostva Akarmani
The above quote translates to: You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions
Do not let the fruits of your actions be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.
It is an apt statement for an entrepreneur and actually anyone else. Note that there is nothing in the above quote that suggests that you should move away from the efforts involved. In fact, as an entrepreneur, you need to aggressively attach to the efforts. It is only the results you should graciously detach yourself from.
6. Payback is directly proportional to the level of immersion
We live in an age where we can get busy for no reason. Information comes at us from all directions. Social networking and social media capabilities are right at our fingertips via smartphones. There is no end for the ability to instantly connect to people and information. However, the payback rarely comes for superficial engagement in anything. Depth is not optional.
The only way you can get depth is deep immersion in meaningful activities. It could be a conversation with a colleague or a customer, or it could be an email you are sending. The more immersed you are in that act, the higher the chances of your payback.
Next time, try this: Immerse yourself completely in one or more meaningful activities so deeply that everything else becomes a blur. You will notice your effectiveness shoot through the roof.
7. Good and timely help is expensive but it’s cheaper than the cost of not having it
Entrepreneurship is a team sport. You need to and must work with others to reach a goal that’s well aligned with everyone involved. If you stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone, you will get stuck more often than not, requiring expert help and timely advice that will help you get out of the stuck state. This is not a sign of your weakness but a demonstration of your resourcefulness.
The truth is that timely and good help is expensive, but you need to invest in that kind of help. If you don’t, you will end up paying a price to learn the same lessons on your own and you will probably pay more than what it would have cost you to get that timely and good help.
Rajesh “Raj” Setty is a serial entrepreneur and a business alchemist based in Silicon Valley. He currently serves as the chairman of JiffleNow and also as president of WittyParrot. He was instrumental in founding several U.S. and India-based technology and publishing companies. He has authored and published 14 books and more than 1,875 blog posts. You can read his blog and follow him on him on Facebook or Twitter.