July 10th, 2017 | By: Carmen Sample | Tags: Culture, Work-Life Balance
I am 7 years in and I have come to accept that it is not possible for me to take a “movie vacation” — ya know on a beachfront bungalow with no internet connection, remote from the working world…. And let’s be real — to an entrepreneur that simply doesn’t actually sound fun or relaxing at all. My ideal lifestyle is to be semi-connected on vacation. I’m a phone call/text message away and I will choose when to respond to emails. That may be the extent of my ability to fully “vacation”…and I’m honestly ok with that. Just as I sleep better when my kids are under my roof, I also sleep better when I’m accessible to my business.
Where do most people find their good friends as an adult? Work!!! You guessed it. When you are the boss, it is an ongoing challenge to find friends because you have to do it outside of work. Of course I still have great work relationships. Yes, we really like each other. Yes, we are friendly, but truth is — true best friends can’t fire each other. This one really sucks actually as the concept of “It’s lonely at the top” is a really true thing. It’s even harder when you hire people that you would like to be friends with. That said, the power differential is there and will always create a necessary barrier, even if you never have to use it.
Yes, you will do it to the point of full annoyance to others. I think primarily about three things: My kids, my husband and my businesses. That is pretty much ALL I think about. I may not be able to hold an intelligent conversation about the conflict in the Middle East, but I can talk about business and work all night long….and I will if you let me.
I have a fairly high tolerance to talking about religion and politics and can maneuver those conversations generally well without a lot of conflict. That said, I can lose my cool pretty quickly when I have vastly differing work habits than my friends. My husband will remind people that “work is religion” to me, in an effort to warn people to be careful how they proceed in a conversation. It is true. If I see my friends start to do weird things in their places of employment I have a hard time being close friends with them. I identify with the bosses they talk shit about and I can’t help but judge them when they glorify “calling in sick” when everyone knows they weren’t really sick. It isn’t funny and work habits matter to me, because work habits are what define a large part of my world.
Your partner has to simply understand AND SUPPORT that your business is like another child. It is your lifeline and if it calls, you need to go. Even more challenging, your partner has to not take that decision personally. My husband will see it in my eyes if I am worried about something and he will stop me and gently say “Do you need to go work?”. Well YES, I do — thank you for not making me feel guilty about it. xoxo. Do you have a partner that promotes any concept of “work shaming”? If so, I would really examine if choosing a business that will dominate your attention is a good idea.
Oftentimes, I find myself completely alone in my entrepreneur world. There is no one to consult with, no one to complain to and no one else that will every fully “get it”. I find it exciting to stretch myself to create my own path, though it can simultaneously be a bit scary and lonely. One of my favorite bedtime stories for my kids is Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. He speaks to this so well:
“All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.” — Dr. Seuss
It’s true. I try to engage in it from a perspective of connecting with others personally, but it irritates me…. The truth is, I probably wouldn’t have a single social media account if I wasn’t trying to promote my businesses on it in one way or another. I have a one-track mind and if I don’t see a way to ultimately make money with something I probably won’t engage in it.
I love the entrepreneur lifestyle — I breathe it all day every day. I even wrote this blog post while out of the country on a “Vacation”. It isn’t for everyone, but I support anyone that wants to try! I will be happy to talk about your work to an obsessive level and be your new best friend. Just find me on the social media accounts that only exist to promote my businesses.
“And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! 98 3/4 percent guaranteed.” — Dr. Seuss
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Carmen Sample is a Social Entrepreneur that built a 10 million dollar biz in 7 years, including a social service agency, treatment agency, retail biz, gallery and a restaurant. Follow her on Twitter: @carmensampleco
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