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Balancing Act

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | November 7, 2016
Entrepreneurs are people.  Although business people sometimes seem like they can do it all, the extra time spent at a successful business can strain time normally made available for family and friends.  The pressure to perform at work can overwhelm the amount of time you dedicate to those you love.  It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, and the self employed life style doesn’t fit those not willing to make personal sacrifices.  Some concessions need to be made for your business, but family is obviously important.  Here are some things you might consider to bring a little balance to your life:
1. Make the time you do have “quality time”.  When you do have time with family, make sure you are engaged.  Talk.  Play games.  Listen.  Create activities. Put the electronic devices AWAY! It is so easy to always be plugged in, but sometimes you just need a break. A lot of people have more time with family than entrepreneurs, but they aren’t always engaged during the time they have. Don’t just focus on the quantity of time- quality matters.
2. Dedicate individual special time periods- and communicate that schedule.  I have “daddy daughter date nights” once a week.  It is very rare that I miss a date night, and those people thatknow me well enough to make demands on my schedule also know not to schedule time with me on that given night. When people in your life can look forward to one-on-one time, it can make the other demands on your time more palatable.  Plus, you get a built in excuse to use a word that is too rare in the entrepreneurs vocabulary (NO).
3. Find ways to integrate family into your work.- I’m not saying “make family members work for you”, but there are often opportunities for people to volunteer for work- and engage their families at the same time.  We have families that help chalk sidewalks for upcoming events, and it’s a good way to talk to kids about community involvement while spending quality time.  Entrepreneurial jobs are so multidimensional that you can generally find “teaching moments” for family.  Plus, kids generally want to understand what mom and dad do at work all day.
4. Create schedule efficiency.  Some of the best entrepreneur parents I know are masters of scheduling.  When they are at work, they work hard.  When work time is done, they are taking care of family and all of that other “life” stuff.  It’s not a sit and relax sort of lifestyle, but it can be done.
5. Establish a village. – Family and close friends of entrepreneurs generally haveentrepreneurial tendencies.  As everyone works, they can cooperate to lift each other up by helping out.  I couldn’t do what I do without people that are phenomenal with my daughter, and it’s important to recognize those people that make your hectic work schedule possible.
6. Learn patience and forgiveness.- This one is a struggle for me.  We want our kids to have a better life than we did, and social media can sometimes portray “perfect” lives of the families around us.  Life isn’t perfect.  Families aren’t perfect.  Sometimes your child doesn’t want to talk to you or won’t appreciate special times that have been set aside.  Occasionally, you are going to forget something or mess something up.  It’s okay.  Entrepreneurs are those rare folks that spot opportunities to make the world a better place, and then actually make the world a better place- for our family.  Beating yourself up for not fitting into an ideal mold of how you think things should be simply means you can’t enjoy the moments you have.

We can’t “have it all”.  There are personal and professional concessions that every person makes.  What we can do is make a plan to establish the best life possible forourselves and the people we care about.  I know this week’s article is probably the most “touchy feely” of the 300 plus articles I’ve written in the e-newsletter, and I promise to return to my “numbers nerd” articles next week.  
I see awesome entrepreneurial parents all around Emporia that can use a little positive reinforcement heading into the fourth quarter. Your kids are learning some great lessons that they can carry forward in life.  Your work ethic, creativity and opportunistic behaviors that make a business successful are great traits to pass along.  So, as the weather turns a little colder, the cash registers ring more frequently, the nights get a little longer and lives get a little more hectic- keep doing the best you can, and enjoy those closest to you.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.


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