? Achieving Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs

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Discover essential strategies for entrepreneurs to strike the perfect balance between work and life.

IE 387: Achieving Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs with Meg Robertson

Achieving Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs with Meg Robertson

Meg Robertson has been operating as a business, executive, and life coach since 2016. She had been in nonprofit leadership and worked with a coach during that time. 

That coach made her executive decisions more palatable and was a source of support during emotionally difficult times in business by giving her outside opinions and guidance on how things should align. 

Her coach was inspirational for Meg to become a coach. 

While her original plan was to coach non-profit leaders, through word-of-mouth referrals, the business began to spread and she now coaches C-Suite executives, physicians, attorneys, and a wide variety of others in business.     

 What are some work-life balance examples for entrepreneurs?

Meg uses the “Wheel of Life” with her clients to show them that life is about more than work. 

The wheel of life is divided into 8 slices: health, money, career, friends and family, personal growth, significant other, fun and leisure, and home environment. 

By filling this out, you can determine the timing of business decisions based on the other factors in the wheel. Timing is a critical component of making big steps or in deciding to outsource something. 

Meg has her clients fill out the Wheel of Life to determine how to make all areas of life “fire on all cylinders” and figure out which areas are struggling to help with decisions.  

Is Work-Life Balance always possible?

If you look at the Wheel of Life, it is eight different pieces and visually, they are all equal. As entrepreneurs, we know that is not always attainable. 

There are times when the work slice is going to take up 75% of your time. There are other times when it shrinks. 

Meg is a cancer survivor and was not growing her business as she was working through other things. It is important to pay attention to all of the different slices of the pie. 

A lot of entrepreneurs make their business part of their identity. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing until it is time for retirement and it is exceptionally painful because that is all of who you are. 

If you can focus on other things, such as fun and leisure or personal growth, then when you retire, you will have a rich, full life other than just your business. 

Many entrepreneurs are successful and do business because they love it but it isn’t easy. It is a roller coaster ride. You have to push through the lows and keep going with the highs so it can be difficult. 

Sometimes, your attention has to be on your family. Covid was an example of this. You have to find the timing and give yourself grace when you can’t do all things for your business. 

As entrepreneurs, we often identify our value with our business, both to the outside world and intrinsically. That can be hurtful when something shifts in our lives and the balance changes. 

Your worth is not your paycheck. You are worthy, period. Your paycheck is a reflection of what you are adding to the world but you have to give yourself grace when you step away.     

 What are some tips for work-life balance?

Be intentional about the decisions you make. Often, entrepreneurs get stretched really thin, and get really busy, but are not intentional about WHY they are doing things. 

What part of your business is fueling you and giving you energy? 

What parts of your business are depleting you? 

If you love coaching but hate sending invoices, then outsource the invoices. There are ways to find work-life balance by outsourcing parts of the business that are draining or exhausting so that you have more to give to the other parts of your life. 

People struggle to let go of things. If your business is going to grow, you are going to have to let go of certain things. 

To scale up, you will have to do things differently. Know your zone of genius and what lights you up so that you won’t lose energy by doing little things. That may take some time to figure out as you are working through all of the pieces of your business. 

You may have to stay on top of some things and people that you hire to continue to move your business forward. If you hand off social media, Pinterest, or writing on your website, for example, you have to determine if that person is going to make it valuable and worth the return on investment. 

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t outsource things that bring them joy. The whole point of being an entrepreneur is doing what you love. Even if it is more cost-effective to hire something out, keep it for yourself if you love doing it. That is why you got into business. 

Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. On the left side, write down all of the things you love to do. On the right side, write down all of the things you are doing each day. 

If nothing on the left side of the paper is also on the right side, you need to adjust the things you are doing. You should be doing things you love every single day of your life. 

We only get one shot at life and we might as well be doing the things we love.          

How do I set boundaries between work and personal life when running my own business?

Meg has a very hard line on this. When she is on spring break with the family, she does not take work calls. She lets people know ahead of time that she is unplugging for the week. 

She encourages boundary-setting through communication. Let people know when you are available and unavailable, during your breaks or at different times of the day. 

Let them know when you will be inaccessible. Use that time to recharge. 

Prioritize your time around your core values and your priorities. It is important to realize why you would set audacious goals. 

You have to mark off time on your calendar for the things you love to do. You will show up better in your business when you take time for yourself. 

During those downtimes, you may also find that you get business ideas, even if your intention during the activity was not business-related. It gives you the white space to dream, grow, do things you love, and recharge yourself. 

If you are always running yourself ragged, recharging can help your creativity. 

Meg often gives her clients homework assignments, such as laying in a hammock for 15 minutes every night. At first, they resist but when they report back later, they say it is transformative. 

They have not typically given themselves the breathing space to just be. There is doing and being. We are hard-wired doers trying to prove, prove, prove and we miss the being.           

What are some signs that I may be out of balance, and how can I course-correct to regain equilibrium?

Pay attention to your Wheel of Life. If you are spending 80 hours a week on your job and you are ignoring your family, that is a great awareness. 

Meg has people do the Wheel of Life every 30 days because things often change. Certain things need more attention at certain times, so you need to reevaluate and check in with yourself. 

You need to be aware of what is resonating and what is causing dissonance. If you are awake every night at 2 am anxious about work, you need to pay attention to what is going on in your body. 

If you are sleeping well and things are resonating, then you are in a great place in business and you can put more into other things. 

Things can get out of whack. You sometimes need to make adjustments that you don’t want to make that are required for your mental health. When you have a lot of life changes, you need to pay attention and make some shifts.       

 What are the long-term benefits of prioritizing work-life balance as an entrepreneur?

Joy is really important. You only have one shot at life and this is a very short run. 

Make sure you are super intentional about how you spend that time and doing things that you love. 

Everyone is a healthy, happy, whole, resourceful, and creative being on their own and they need to live into all those spaces. 

If you love creating and you are running operations without playing in the creative space, then you are selling yourself short of your gifts and talents. Find ways to lean into the gifts and talents and stay away from the things that drain you. 

An example of this was when Jenny used to plan in-person conferences. She had to plan all of the little details, be social, and be “on” for 3 days when she is an introvert. 

When COVID caused her to cancel the conference, it was a relief for her when she realized she was not meant to do large conferences. She changed the way she was doing things. 

This is a primary example of how something was causing dissonance and how it can leave you drained and exhausted.          

You can look at the Wheel of Life and make sure you are prioritizing your values in your business so that you feel the joy you deserve in both life and business. 

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