A topic I see written about on a regular basis is the ongoing discussion about separating your personal life from your business life. For years I tried to do this and about fifteen years ago I gave up and have been much happier since.
For the first twenty years of my business career I felt guilty. Everyone said I was a workaholic and the only thing I cared about was my business. Even though I tried arguing with those who said those things, I always lost the argument in their mind, but not mine. I felt that there was a separation between the business and myself.
Actually, in retrospect there probably wasn’t much of a separation. I would think about the business when I wasn’t there and when I took a vacation I still thought about things I wanted to do when I got back. The issue was I really enjoyed running my businesses and after twenty years or so I finally decided that it was actually healthier to integrate the two instead of trying to separate them.
The reasons for integration were as follows:
I really enjoy business strategy. I’ve always enjoyed learning and practicing business strategy. For me free reading is often a management or strategy book on how to improve the effectiveness of organizations I’m involved with.
My livelihood is tied up in my business. We all think about our jobs. For me it wasn’t only my job, but my career and what was me. I’ve always had a personal and corporate mission that went well together. It makes sense that the business is me and I’m part of my business.
Business is fun. I can’t think of many games I would rather play than the one of business. The strategy of how to successfully service Clients and Customers has been one that has always fascinated me. I still haven’t found a better game to play.
I’ve gotten rid of the guilt. Now that I’m not trying to separate my business from my personal life I don’t feel guilty about spending time making my business or my Client’s businesses better. Yes I spend a lot of time at these activities, but for the most part there really isn’t anything I would rather do.
Making your personal and business life connected allows congruency. If you own a private business and have some success you are in a very small group. Instead of being guilty about not separating parts of your life, integrate them instead. For many business owners including me this allows for a more congruent presentation to the world.
As always, I’m interested in hearing your ideas on this topic. Please let me know what you think.
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