Whether you run your own business, manage a corporate budget, or lead a team in a charitable organisation, you're no stranger to working within constraints; constrains on time, money, or people. While contraints can be an asset if they force you to think creatively, It can be tough to operate effectively when you feel shackled in some way.
And when it's your time that's at a premium, and you're splitting that precious resource between business commitments and your family, what tends to get thrown into the mix is a big old helping of guilt.
If you're not careful, this guilt can start to have a huge impact on how you use your time…
I'm sure you've caught yourself thinking about work or checking emails when you're in family mode (perhaps you've even been called out on it?). You might equally find yourself over-promising (and then not delivering), whether that's baking cakes for school, or meeting a client deadline.
Guilt can send you into a tailspin when you've dropped the kids off at school or nursery so you can work, but get to the end of the day feeling like you've not got 'enough' done. Spending time on your hands and knees getting messy or building play-doh shapes, when you 'should' be finishing off that project or working on a proposal… It can feel like you're losing the plot.
Many of us wind up in a constant state of grass-is-greener guilt, feeling simultaneous remorse for not giving enough attention to our loved ones, or our business, whilst spending time with the other. This might well be the point when you decide (like I did) that enough is enough.
If you're ready to call time on those pangs, and think about what's really going on and how you can change it, this post is for you.
Guilt and the antidote
Talk to any parent – or any business person – and you'll find there's enough guilt to go around for all of us, because there's always more we can do. So what's the fix?
- Guilt is an emotion like any other. It's important to acknowledge it, first and foremost. Be real about what's going on for you.
- Set about changing your mindset. Because when guilt is making you feel bad, it's time to let it go. It's not serving you. Choose the script that will fuel your mental game for the day, on purpose.
- Manage your expectations of yourself, both as a business person and a parent. Get real about what's achievable. Start with today.
- Be kind to yourself and acknowledge everything you ARE doing. Sliding into a 'I'm falling short' mentality only serves procrastination, self-doubt, and a negative thought loop. Some days you might find yourself burning the midnight oil on a time-sensitive business priority, and then have to do a 7am childcare run. Don't beat yourself up for not getting everything done. It's a tough mix.
A postive reframe on family life
Rather than dwelling on everything you're not doing, and letting that guilt nobble you, think about the positive impact your business is having on your family. Aside from paying the bills, you're modelling how to be independent and self-reliant, giving your kids an inside look at how business works.
This article has some great tips about how to use family time pressure constructively. I love this quote:
"Don’t just tell your children about your business when things are going well—share when you’re facing challenges or are disappointed. But also share how you’re going to work through it and surmount it. Children learn by what you do, not just what you say. "
Though it may not feel this way, your business life does benefit from the juggling act you're performing; change is everywhere in our 21st Century business world, and whether you're a fired-up entrepreneur, a bright hungry manager, or a forward-thinking leader, you need to be comfortable with changing direction quickly. And as a business person and parent combined, you get a crash course in using that skill. The ability to spin on a sixpence is actually a great strength! Something to cultivate.
Balancing it all
The fact is, you can do it all - it may just be that you need to change your definition of balance. It won't always be a neat 50/50 split between business and family (or 60/40, or whatever that "ideal" ratio looks like for you). Sometimes your business life gets more, sometimes your family will. It all balances out in the end.
But beware: thinking endlessly about how things could be different will most likely stop you from getting started in the first place.
Over to you
Do you juggle family and business responsibilities? Even if you don't own your own business, guilt is a feeling that often comes up when we're finding a balance between competing priorities. How do you manage it, and do you have any tips to share with others? We'd love to start a conversation about this, so come over to Twitter, let us know
Ready for a change?
One of the biggest barriers to being able to find that elusive balance between family and business is the billable hours business model; breaking away from that and working with a passive income model instead, so that revenue doesn't depend on you putting in more hours, can revolutionise the flow of your week. For me, growing a passive income was a gamechanger when it came to regaining control of my time – and dropping some of the guilt.
If you'd like to explore the passive income possibilities in your business, then I'd love to connect with you for a Passive Income Breakthrough Session. In this one-to-one call we'll tap into how your business could start working for you, and you'll leave with strategies and tips that you an use right away. Click here to book your session (it's free!) and find out more.
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