My name is Jeff, and I am a recovering workaholic. It’s an addiction to be sure and one that affects many business owners. In relative terms, I thought my addiction was harmless. It wasn’t hurting me or my family. My friends were supportive and okay with my work habits. I assumed.
Sure, I missed my son’s first birthday, but it was an important business trip to Boston. I’d make it up to him. Okay, so my wife had to attend several family events and invitations on her own, but I was busy growing and developing my business. I had many friends, but I often found myself working alone into the wee hours of the weekend mornings.
Many years later now, I understand that my desire to succeed was slowly eating away at me, affecting my personality, and alienating some of those who were closest to me. It was something that I had to work through on my own. There was no Workaholic Research Foundation to provide support. I could not quit cold turkey.
The difference between now and then is that I am older, and perhaps wiser. I have life and work experience and along the way I have learned much from my family and friends, often the hard way.
When you are young, you think you are invincible. I now count my family as one of my biggest successes. I have perspective.
I spend many hours mentoring small business owners and student entrepreneurs, and the first thing I tell them is that “you run your business, it doesn’t run you”. I advise them to make time for family, friends and giving back to the community. Success is a wonderful thing to have, but as I found out it is a difficult thing to measure. I now know success is about balance.
I came across a great quotation, may it become your mantra. “Reputation is what people think you are. Character is who you really are. Take care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself”. — Anonymous