Here’s a situation you may know well: Things get stressful with work or your business. It’s an offseason, or a new competitor has entered the market, or there’s a brand new opportunity on the horizon and it’s time to put the pedal to the metal in a new way. So, as you get preoccupied with work, other aspects of your life begin to get squandered. It happens. Imagine that we are all pots of water, and the ‘plants’ in our lives are the big buckets: family, health, social life, and work. When you’re pouring all of your ‘water’ into one plant’s soil, the other plants wither and eventually die.
I, like you, used to be the type of person who poured and poured all of my water and sunlight into my work “plant” and then saw firsthand how my relationship with my family and my support network began to suffer. We often think of ourselves as pulled in all of these different directions and being spread thin because of our competing responsibilities and commitments. What I didn’t know is how much it was actually hurting my business to deny the other areas of my life.
I’m a big fan of Garrett J. White, the founder of Wake Up Warrior. He talks frequently about the power of approaching life holistically. We can’t just be warriors in our work and business lives. We have to also show up as warriors for our families, our spirituality or religion, or connection to something beyond, or health and wellness, and our friends. We’re warriors not by virtue of how we do one thing, but how we do them all.
He has a points system for every area of our lives: how we work, how we spend time with our family, what we eat, and commitments such as daily meditation and workouts. As I began to evaluate my own performance against this point system, I realized just how much I was allocating my points to work, with little time for anything else. I knew that needed to change.
I think the reason that most people wait to make changes in their lives is that they think they have to go through a radical transformation to get there, which sounds like a lot of energy. I began to add points to my holistic chart with small steps and actions. I became cognizant of telling my wife that I love her every single day – a small but mighty step because we so often forget to take the time to do that. By telling her how much I love and appreciate her, it softens our communication and opens up the channels, and makes me slow down and become more intentional in my moments with her. I don’t just grab my coffee and run out the door without acknowledging her presence. I stop, notice her, and take the time to tell her my love and appreciation, while also feeling it. This gives us both a gift.
With my daughter, I’ve created a nightly habit of reading to her every night before she goes to bed. I know she won’t be little forever, and that these are moments I can’t get back. My business will ebb and flow. I’ll reach new goals and hit valleys, too — but she is my only daughter, and she deserves some water and sunlight, too. I need her to know that I’m here.
How It’s Helped My Business
By becoming more present and intentional with my family and friends, I noticed something: my business began to thrive. I thought that I would have to compromise or sacrifice on aspects of my business to make these changes, but the reverse happened. I found that the time I spent working and at my desk was much more present and intentional, and I felt better! I no longer felt like I was a fragmented person who had to separate out areas of my life. I began to communicate openly with my family about my needs, wishes, and worries, and my wife began to feel more involved in my business, too.
To begin open communication with your own support network, first evaluate how you are doing currently in every “plant” (or bucket) of your life. What could use more water and sunlight? Then, start to add little “drops” here and there. Take the small steps to be more intentional and to give more. I promise that the more you give, the more will be given back to you: in presence, love, comfort, optimism, and abundance. Approach life holistically, and see how all your plants grow.
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