The path to freedom is achieving optimal work/life balance. By freedom, we mean the ability to regularly step away from your business, both physically and emotionally, to develop other aspects of your life. We are not talking about how you spend your time but rather the freedom to step away.
The purpose of this white paper is to provide a path to freedom, the single most important ingredient to achieving optimal work / life balance. By freedom, we mean the ability to regularly step away from your business, both physically and emotionally, to develop other aspects of your life.
It’s also important to briefly discuss what this whitepaper is not. We are not talking about how to use your personal time, how to better manage your workday or techniques to improve happiness. No – that’s entirely up to you. As you know, definitions of personal and professional success are highly personal and unique. Our focus here is the precursor to optimal work / life balance — freedom.
WORK / LIFE BALANCE STARTS WITH FREEDOM
Ironically, if done right, creating freedom from your company will likely increase the value of your business, perhaps significantly. The more your company can operate, indeed thrive, without you, the more valuable it becomes to a purchaser. Makes sense — right? In the financial world, this is called transferable enterprise value and it can be measured fairly accurately allowing you to calculate the value created by the initiatives you undertake to free yourself from some or all of the critical aspects of your company.Unlike most employees, the daily life of an owner is typically characterized by a lack of freedom. Whether at the office or not, an owner’s mind is constantly pre-occupied with the latest client issue, product launch, marketing strategy, HR issue, etc. The fact is – owners are often tethered to their work which crowds out the development of other aspects of their lives. And, it’s the other aspects of their lives that create the “balance” in the work / life balance equation.
So, the first step to optimizing work / life balance is to create freedom while simultaneously increasing the value of your company. That’s our focus for the remainder of this article.
For many owners, the notion of freedom from your company is at best far-fetched and at worst a counterproductive myth. It stands to reason if, like most owners, your company’s success largely depends on your direct and consistent involvement, then stepping away will cause irreparable damage. You are the most effective salesperson, product / service designer and constantly must manage key accounts — no wonder, the theory and practice of freedom appear to be polar opposites. And, to further complicate matters, your net worth and family financial stability depends on the health of your company.
Wow, feeling demoralized? You’re not alone. Most owners start in the same place. They have built a successful company with their blood, sweat and tears but, now typically after years of success, they come to realize the lack of sustainability of their work / life imbalance. This is the owner’s dilemma and it’s not for the faint of heart.
ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS
Fortunately, there is a path forward and it rests on the inherent alignment of interest between your desire to address your work / life imbalance and your interest to increase the value of your company. In fact, this alignment is not limited to your interests alone, your family, friends, co-workers, customers — indeed all stakeholders in your life and company share this alignment. The simple truth is … the more the company depends on your unique value contribution, the more it consumes your life and the less valuable it becomes.
So, what does this mean practically? While, there’s no single path forward, there are common themes and strategies, a few of which are listed below.