P2M2 Your Work-Life Balance

Instead of being the boss and master of all you survey it is easy to find yourself an underpaid servant to your business.

You do whatever is necessary, whenever it is necessary.

Your Work Life Balance

When I talk to small business owners I often hear the phrase

“There is so much to do and so little time to do it in”

Something has to give as you try to balance the time demands of your business, your family, your friends and still find time for a little “me time”… where you can indulge yourself.

What gives is often the business owner as burnout is threatened, stress levels are sky high and there is a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and on the edge of losing control.

When things get too much, the business ambitions are sacrificed and you settle for so much less than you could have achieved.  (The Death Spiral Of Profit)

There is a better way…

Take control and decide what you want from your business and what you will give it in return

You can think of it as learning how to be your own boss.

And if that sounds unrealistic think about this statement.

Most people spend longer planning their holidays than they spend planning their lives.

A holiday is specific and it happens because you narrow down your options:

  • When will you go on holiday?
  • Where will you go?
  • Who will you go on holiday with?
  • How much do you want to pay?
  • How do you want to travel?
  • How long will the holiday last?

The more questions you answer, the closer you get to choosing and booking your holiday.

In contrast your life can seem a vague concept beyond the biological requirements of eating, drinking and sleeping.

It just happens, minute by minute.

You make little choices in the moment.

Should you do this or that?

Success is clear when you are booking a holiday but what does success mean to you personally?

What Is Success?

Success can be whatever you want it to be.

We each define our own rules.

It’s both a privilege of personal freedom and a curse when it allows us to drift without direction or purpose.

Read: What Is Success?

Read: Your Work Life Balance In A Drawing

The Entrepreneurial Myth

Michael Gerber identified three roles in business:

The technician – who gets stuff done

The manager – who organises

The entrepreneur – who designs and builds the business

Gerber argues that much of what we think of as work lies in the area of the technician and business owners need to let go of the day to day work – by building a team to operate the systems – and focus on designing the business.

Read: The Entrepreneurial Myth

If you want some extra homework, I recommend you read “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber (Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk – affiliate links).

Your Chance To Design Your Work Life Balance

Because you are the owner of the business, you have both the power and the right to design a business that works so well it gives you the life you want.

It’s a chance to live purposefully and act intentionally.

You will see this as a repeating theme throughout your membership of Your Profit Club.

Decide what you want and then plan how you can achieve it. Looking into the future gives you hope – about the possibilities of what can be and lifts you out of the problems of what is.

If you don’t clarify your future, you let life drift along, with other people and chance setting your priorities and controlling your future options.

Read: Your Primary Aim and Strategic Objectives

Your Long Term Perspective For Success

In his book “The Unheavenly City”  Dr Edward Banfield looked at the problems of urban conurbations in America and the self reinforcing nature of the problems.

One of the things examined in detail was why some people become financially independent and manage to escape a bad situation when the majority are trapped.

Banfield discovered that attitude was much more important than concrete factors.

The people who are successful are those who take the future into consideration in every decision they make and who are prepared to sacrifice short term pleasures to achieve long term goals.

You can see the same pattern in attitudes to debts and savings. The poor spend today and think they’ll start paying back tomorrow. Those who become wealthy concentrate on saving now for the future.

Let’s start looking at the issue of these big life defining and business defining goals.

Vision and Mission

I know these two words can have bad connotations for some.

They represent some of the worst abuses of big company business-speak.

Too often vision and mission are reduced to the bland, the generic and meaningless.

I remember hearing the story of the Business School Professor…

He announced to his class that he was going to read out one of their employer’s vision and mission statements and he wanted people to put their hand in the air if they thought it was their company.

When the professor had finished reading, half the class had their hands in the air.

But if used properly vision and mission can really mean something.

Just because a tool is used badly doesn’t make it a bad tool.

We need to know how to do it right.

For me a vision is a clear view of the future…

It is an emotional experience which captures the imagination and inspires you to action.

Your mission is your purpose…

It’s what you want to achieve and in particular I believe a mission should explain what the business will do for its customers and the business owners.

Don’t Get Hung Up On Words

I want you to think about how these ideas apply to your business – and there will be some exercises later – but I don’t want you to get hung up on the words.

During Pillar 1 I explained that some measures are snapshots in time – the balances – and other measures refer to flows – how things are changing.

Your vision is a balance… it is a snapshot you can see in your mind and it’s something to work towards.

Your mission is a flow… it is what you continually aim to do each day and week.

Your vision should be fire up the emotions… it’s what you want… what you really, really want.

Your mission is the business logic… it’s why you do what you do.

If you search on the Internet for more ideas on vision and mission you will find a lot of claptrap and many different definitions.

Ultimately it’s what works for you.

It needs to be a direction which gives you the passion and commitment to build a great business.

When you know where you are going, you can start to live intentionally by acting purposefully.

And when you create a compelling vision and mission, you gain the power to communication your destination to your employees and the other people you need to help you.

Safari Holiday Example

To show you the difference between a vision and a mission, I thought I would move from thinking of it in terms of business to my personal life.

I love going to Africa on safari.

We did it for the first time in 2001 and we’ve been back another five times and plenty more trips to come.

My vision would be:

“We’re sitting in a open topped Land Rover or Land Cruiser. Although it’s early in the morning… about 6:30… it’s already sunny and warm. We’re hushed because our spotter found leopard tracks a few minutes ago and this beautiful and most illusive of creature suddenly appears and starts walking towards us. It’s not bothered by us and walks to within ten yards and before athletically leaping into a tree, which it climbs easily and lies down on a thick bough, looking down on us briefly before closing its eyes to catnap.”

My mission or purpose for the holiday would be

“To go on a safari holiday to Botswana next May. We will see many different animals and birds including the Famous Big 5 and at least two species we’ve never seen before. We’ll come back with some great stories and photos.”

As you can see, there is a huge difference.

Examples Of Vision From Politics

OK let’s have a look at  few more famous visions from the world of politics and see how words can be used to stir the emotions.

Martin Luther King I Have A Dream

William Churchill We Shall Never Surrender

John F Kennedy Man On The Moon

Three men with a clear vision, each leading to success.

Business Examples of Vision

I have found a few examples of vision statements for businesses.

The first inspired Henry Ford

“I’m going to democratize the automobile, when I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everyone will have one”

In the early 20th century, Ford’s vision was very ambitious but we know how it turned out.

It’s the same story with the next… one entrepreneur saw the world differently from others and created something extraordinary.

“A computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software.” Said Bill Gates

Microsoft is a marvel… even if the software is bloated and unreliable… for a long time it has held a 90% market share for operating systems which is incredible.

The next company has also been remarkably successful

Amazon say

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

And keep setting standards for ecommerce websites.

The final one is from a CEO I talk about in Pillar 6 when we look at customer service and retention.

“The preferred airline of the business traveler” Jan Carlzon Scandinavian Airline System

This doesn’t have the visionary quality of Henry Ford or Bill Gates but it is short, simple and easy for staff to understand and very clearly specifies the targeted customers.

Business Examples Of Mission

Three examples of mission

You can see that these are much more closely linked to purpose and don’t have the snapshot effect of saying that’s been done.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

“eBay’s mission is to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.”

It’s not that far away from Amazon’s vision.

Finally the World Health Organisation say their mission is “The attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”

Designing Your Life-Work Balance

I’ve deliberately written Life-Work balance rather than the more common work-life balance because I want you to start with what you want to get out of your life.

What do you want?

What do you want to do, achieve, be?

A few years ago I went to a Michael Gerber event “In The Dreaming Room” which was his project after he left E Myth Worldwide. The entire two day event revolved around answering the question “what do you want”.

I expected more questions but that was it.

We were expected to build our dream… and dream big around that one question.

I found it easier start by saying what I didn’t want.

It helped clear my brain of the negatives and you may find it helps you.

Try to build up a picture of your life going forward.

What do you want to achieve?

Who do you want to be? What do you want family, friends and work associates to say about you? What qualities do you need to have people say those things and what do you have to do?

What stories do you want to tell your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren?

You can even go as far as thinking what you want to be said in the eulogy at your funeral or the obituary in the newspaper or trade magazine.

It’s a bit morbid but it certainly gets you thinking about the impact you want to leave on the world.

The clearer you are on your own personal game, the easier it will be to see how other factors need to fit together and contribute.

Learn To Live Intentionally

This is a quote from Michael Gerber on page 13 of The E Myth Revisited

“…great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next.

The difference between the two is living fully and just existing.

The difference between the two is living intentionally and living by accident.”

I find these words very powerful as they contrast the difference between taking active control of your life and just letting it happen.

Creative Tension

Psychologists say that you have creative tension if you have a difference between your vision of the future and your current reality.

It is this tension which provides the motivation and energy for you to close the gap.

It only happens if you acknowledge the truth of where you are even if that means facing up to some harsh realities and you can see clearly where you want to be.

The weaker and more hazy your vision, the less powerful the force inside you to change.

Write Out Your Personal Vision & Mission

Find something that works for you and inspires- it might be a vision, a mission or both.

You might want to look one year ahead, five years, ten years of to the end of your life.

There’s no right or wrong – only what works to give you direction and balance in all the different areas of your life.

Start with what you want. Be selfish and let your dreams race ahead.

Then look at the life with your husband, wife or partner. What do you want together? What do you want for the other person?

Then move onto your children. What do you want for them?

Then your wider family, your parents, brothers and sisters.

Then your friends.

And society and the environment.

Take the time to identify what’s important to you and especially what you are prepared to spend time, energy and money to make happen.

An alternative way to tackle the exercise and to help you to decide what you want in your private life is an exercise Internet marketing guru called Core Influence.  It doesn’t directly lead to a vision or mission but you may find it useful.

Creating A Picture Board Or Vision Board

I haven’t done it myself but I know some people find this technique useful.

Create a picture board or vision board of the things you’re working towards and place it near your desk so you can see it and be inspired often during the day.

Find a photo of your dream house, car, holiday and create a collage of what you want.

Then imagine yourself having those things to remind you why you are doing everything you do.

Personal Vision First Then Business Vision

OK I can understand if this seems a bit light and fluffy to you and not connected to making more money.

My view is simple.

When you know what you want, you can start making plans and taking actions to get it.

If you don’t know what you want, you can lack direction and motivation.

Your business has a vital role:

  • In what it takes from you – the opportunity cost of the time and energy it takes
  • In what it gives back – in terms of money to support the lifestyle you want

If you were the shareholder who employed a Managing Director or CEO, you’d have to define the deal in salaries, benefits and future opportunities.

Do the same for yourself and make it something you can achieve with an ambitious stretch.

It needs to be challenging without being impossible.

Define your deal:

  • The time you will give to your business during the working week and the holidays you will take during the year.
  • The money you will expect to be paid by the business.
  • The results you want the business to achieve and the satisfaction you’ll get from achieving the targets.

The Sweet Spot

It’s time to focus on customers.

You need to find the sweet spot where customers wants and needs and the owner’s wants and needs overlap rather than competing in a “I win-you lose” situation.

Your inspiration to build your business may come more from what you can do for your customers than from you having a better lifestyle and more money.

Start thinking about what customers want and how you can build it into your business vision and mission. There is a lot more about this in Pillar 3 on Your Market Position

The Strategy Of Preeminence

I had a real eureka moment when I first discovered Jay Abraham’s ideas on the Strategy of Preeminence.

I see it as the finest way to create the mindset which creates a win-win situation by focusing on value for customers and owners.

Read: The Strategy of Preeminence (This includes a video of Jay Abraham explaining why this is such a powerful technique.)

Would you prefer to buy from someone who is prepared to sell you anything or someone who is protecting you and looking out for your best interests?

The more you help your clients make the correct decisions based on what’s good for them, the more you become the trusted adviser whose advice they rely on.

The strategy of preeminence is a powerful way to overcome any inner resistance you have to sales and marketing.

Actions To Take

This is an essential step to help you to get your business and life in the right perspective.

Only you can decide what it is.

  1. Do the “as is” and “will be” Venn Diagram of your life and business. Seeing things and thinking in pictures can give you a different insight.
  2. Set your personal vision and mission. Decide what you want and over what time period. Pick a time period you can work with and go through the important relationships in your life and decide what you want.
  3. Define your business vision and mission (you will probably come back to edit it later but get something out of your head and onto paper). Think about what your business needs to deliver to you, your customers and the other important stakeholders including employees, suppliers and society.

Try to be specific. The more bland you are, the less power and energy you’ll derive from your efforts.

Put your ideas away for a couple of days and come back.

Re-read and ask yourself:

  • So what?
  • Who cares?

Is what you’ve written motivating to you and will it motivate others?

Are you creating a game that’s worth taking part in and will give back generous rewards?

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