Life is Like a Business
You are doing exceptional work as a professional woman. You feel fulfilled and accomplished in this domain.
But how does the bottom line of your personal life look?
Has it flat lined or even gone into the red? Do you drown yourself in more busyness to fill the gap or keep trying with no results?
Is time away from work unpleasant, arid, or a place you simply pass time between commitments? Do you experience feelings of discontent, loneliness, resentment? Even anxiety or sadness?
If so, then ask yourself, “Did my business just happen?”
And then honestly, “Have I somehow expected my life to just happen?”
I believe that life is like a business. Not a game of chance. A good bottom line in life requires all the stuff that you gave to developing your professional life.
A clear value statement, a vision, specific goals and a solid plan to meet these goals. Hard work, risk tolerance, focus. And often a mentor.
If any of this touches you, start by asking yourself two questions:
If your life were a business what kind of business is it most like now?
What kind of business do you want it to be?
I work with women who often appear to have it all, but when they pause to breathe, notice something missing.
My Story (and why I 'get it')
Because for too many years I lived a life of quiet desperation. Every last molecule of time and energy was consumed by getting my doctorate, working full time, and through circumstance, raising my daughter alone.
My idea of relaxation was a power workout so I was fit enough to keep up the pace.
Fun consisted of a night alone, pulling on comfort clothes, ordering food and having a glass of wine.
My future vision went as far as the next list of to do’s, or later how to get ready for my daughter’s visit from university.
My social life consisted of a couple of girlfriends and work colleagues, and four nights a year at the opera or a play. Often alone.
Then I hit one of those birthdays.
You know the ones with dreaded numbers? And as I was going through some old photos, I came across one of myself as a two year old riding a wooden rocking horse with a cowgirl hat, a smile as wide as the sun and a glint of mischief in dark sparkling eyes.
“Where did that girl go?” thundered in my mind.
Then more quietly, “I miss her. I want to get her back.”
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my daughter, my job, my learning...but something was missing. I was proud of all I had done but it wasn’t filling me up.
That moment shoved me out of the grey dust of my life. I decided to make some changes. But how? Well, one of the things I had learned was that you start with what you have accomplished and figure out how you did that.
So I asked myself, how would it look if I approached growing my personal life as I had approached getting my doctorate, being a mom and moving forward in my profession? Why was I surprised at that poor bottom line when I had just let it happen?
I knew a lot about change and so I began to apply all I knew to my situation. I found a lot of stuff simply didn’t work. However some stuff did. And as I began to apply these principles, as I dedicated energy, as I committed to the process, things began to happen. Instead of faltering and pacing at the edge of a bigger future, I was soon actively creating and engaging in one.
But the process of filtering through it was time consuming, lonely and often frustrating. It took much longer than it needed to take. Precious time got wasted as I, a rugged individualist, struggled to figure it out.
I made mistakes simply because I had no one to challenge me or nudge me. I made more than a few false starts. I wish that I had had someone to walk the edge with me.