I’m a recovering workaholic/perfectionist who suffers from superhero syndrome.
I know I’ll never be cured. But I can work on controlling it. (Right?)
I also know I’m not alone. Plenty of entrepreneurs and small business owners suffer from this same condition. (In fact, it’s so prevalent, I’m thinking about starting a recovery group.)
How about you? Are you ready for membership in Superhero Syndrome Anonymous?
Take this short quiz to find out.
1. You think working all the time, including nights and weekends, is a sign of:
C. Just one of the many sacrifices you have to make when you own your own business. (So quit complaining.)
2. Your To-Do List resembles:
A. War and Peace (actually, War and Peace might be shorter).
B. No more than five tasks per day.
C. It’s pretty long, but that’s okay! You know if you buckle down and REALLY focus, you can get everything done. (Of course, you have yet to really accomplish that, but that’s beside the point.)
3. The last time you took a vacation was:
A. Vacation? Who needs a vacation? Vacations are for wussies.
B. A couple of months ago, and it was fabulous.
C. You’re too afraid to be gone for more than a couple of days, especially if you don’t have your laptop to check in every day. What if something happens? A new client calls? You could lose the business. Or some crisis might come up and there wouldn’t be anyone to take care of it. It’s just too risky to leave. Better to stick around.
4. You believe:
A. People who don’t seem to work very hard but are still making money are pretty lucky (and also pretty lazy).
B. Being successful includes having a life (and the time to enjoy it).
C. The only way to be successful is to work longer and harder than everyone else. (After all, when you’re not working, you’re not making money. So how can you be successful if you’re not working?)
5. Taking time for yourself is:
A. A luxury for only rich (or lazy) people.
B. Something you make a priority each and every day.
C. Nice in theory, but unrealistic in practice. After all, your clients have to come first. (They’re the ones paying the bills.)
Scoring: Well, let’s just say you know who you are.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, I think one of our biggest challenges is achieving balance. How much time can we really spend on our business? How much does that leave for our families? Ourselves? And how can we possibly fit all of that into the only 24 hours we have each day?
This has been one of my biggest personal challenges. I grew up in Wisconsin—the heart of workaholic-ism. That Midwest work ethic can put people into the ground faster than anything else out there, I think.
I grew up equating hard work with success—if you want to be successful, you better be prepared to work your tail off.
So when I started my business, I immediately put that ethic into play. If I could get all my work done during the week, there must be something wrong. I must not have enough clients. And I must not be successful enough.
But when you combined my workaholic nature with my perfectionism, that’s when things started to get out of control. There was ALWAYS something I should be doing for my business. Therefore, it was difficult to justify taking ANY time off for myself. Worse yet, I had a little voice in the back of my mind that would tell me I was procrastinating or being lazy if I wasn’t working, and other negatives like that.
Eventually, I realized I had to do things differently, or I would end up right back where I was again (burned out and unable to help anyone, much less myself). And since I still wanted to help people, and I was still passionate about changing the world, I realized I would have to learn how to run my business differently if I was going to stay in business.
That was really the catalyst for me to change myself and my business. And there was a LOT to change, believe me … including my mindset. It also made me realize the importance of taking time off for me. I learned if I don’t value it, it won’t happen … so I shifted my values.
The bottom line for us entrepreneurs and small business owners is that we are our business. Even if we have a team to support us (which I sincerely hope all of you do), how far we can grow and take our business ultimately rests on our shoulders. And if those shoulders are slumped over, exhausted from overwork and poor health and lack of sleep and loss of passion for what we do, then that’s going to ultimately affect how the growth of our businesses.
It’s that simple.
If you want to discover the secrets of growing a business you love AND that loves you back (which means yes, your business provides you with the time freedom for you to enjoy your life) definitely take a look at my Love-Based Business series including my How to Start a Business You Love AND that Loves You Back and Love-Based Business Models.