Starting a small business takes work and resources – specifically your most limited of assets, time and money. You invest a great deal in something you believe in, but are still uncertain if it will succeed. Nobody likes to fail, but too often people settle so they don’t have to. Being hard on yourself means pushing yourself to do your best, and of course this comes at a price. Constant stress, priority above your family and friends, or that feeling of “good, but not quite good enough” are all tell-tale symptoms – or results – of pushing yourself too hard. This can leave you feeling tired and down on yourself, and ultimately make it difficult to give 100%.
It’s said that you should give 100% to the things you care about, but how do you give your all to all things? I think that’s a challenge many of us face every day. It comes down to balancing what is important to you and giving your very best to what’s at hand. So, is good ever good enough? Do you find yourself working tirelessly to make more money, out-do your competitors, to feel accomplished?
The truth is, as has always been said – it’s not about quantity, but quality. You could work twenty-four hours each day but would be worn-down very quickly and unable to commit much energy. Or, you could work hard for half or even a third of that and see much more of a difference. The trick is prioritizing key projects and initiatives. It can be easy to get wrapped up in trying to complete the laundry-list of tasks, but following the 80/20 rule really allows you to focus on the things that will drive the most business value.
The other important piece of advice worth learning is allowing yourself to feel good about your accomplishments; give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Good is not good enough if you’re settling, but if you’re doing your best, isn’t that all you can do? Life is too short to run yourself ragged, and too long to do something you’re not passionate about. So what’s your motto on work/life balance? How do you measure what’s good or good enough for you and your business?
As written for YoungEntrepreneur, July 6, 2011