Slave To Your Business? Read This.

I’ve decided to take August off from my blog.

In fact, I’ll be stepping back from everything except my existing client work.

This isn’t easy for me. I made a commitment at the beginning of the year to blog every week. Plus, I have a lot of new projects that I’m excited to get started on.

So, why am I taking August off?

Because I refuse to sacrifice my life in the name of my business.

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This week I’m moving from Washington, DC to an 80 acre farm property in West Virginia. My girlfriend Emma and I will be creating a new life out there. One that will ultimately fuel my business just as much as my business will fuel it.

But that new life won't materialize overnight. August is going to be a crazy month. We’ll be moving, settling in, and hosting our first workshop.

So for the next month, my lifestyle and business will be in direct conflict. Because of how I've set my business up, this doesn’t happen often. But when it does, I want my lifestyle to always be the winner.

There Are Two Types Of Entrepreneur

The world of entrepreneurship breaks down into two main camps. There are lifestyle entrepreneurs, who’s goal is to build a business that supports the life they want. And then there are startup founders, who’s goal is to build a business that scales and revolutionizes an industry.

This is a simplification. But it’s a helpful distinction to know. You’ll need to decide upfront what your priorities are and why you're building your business in the first place.

I’m obviously a lifestyle entrepreneur. I’m not interested in building something particularly scaleable. Or something that I can sell off in a year or two. Those things are not important to me right now.

The reason I started my business was to make a meaningful impact, on my terms, in a way that bolstered my health and relationships. I won’t ever compromise that.

As Jonathan Fields says in one of my favorite posts, “Entrepreneurship is not about building a great business, it’s about building a great life.”

How To Integrate Work And Life

Screw work-life balance. I’m more interested in work-life integration. In blending the lines between work and play.

Work-life integration is a mindset, not a business model. And it starts as soon as you do.

It’s easy to think, “I’ll step back from the business once I’m making six figures.”

Hold up.

If you’re not willing to prioritize your life over your business when you’re small, how on earth are you going to have the discipline to step back when it’s growing?

I don’t care how brave you look on the outside. If you can’t take time off from your business, you’re still being driven by fear. Because if you were really committed to serving with your whole heart, you would also commit to filling up your own emotional gas tank first.

And filling your gas tank means connecting with the people you love.

Why You Need Connection

A few years ago I became obsessed with positive psychology, the study of human fulfillment and well-being. In all of the research that I’ve seen, one key finding stands out: true happiness comes from your relationships, not from your accomplishments.

If you’re anything like me, you might have a core belief that you’re not enough. That you need to “do” more in order to be worthy of love. And so you work your ass off trying to achieve more and more and more.

The irony of all this hustle is that it often pushes away the very people that we want to be loved by. Those people love us for who we are, not for what we do. All they want is to spend some high-quality time with us.

That's why my focus in August is to strengthen my relationships with people I love and set a solid foundation for the months to come. This has the primary benefit of being 100% present during the move and the side benefit of strengthening my business in the future.

It’s easy to think that, as entrepreneurs, we get to be rugged individualists and do everything ourselves.

The truth is, I don’t do this entrepreneurship thing in isolation. Far from it. My girlfriend, my family, and my friends are the bedrock of my business. Without them, everything else falls apart.

The Trap Of Entrepreneurship

In the quest to succeed as an entrepreneur, it's easy to fail as a human being.

This is the trap of entrepreneurship. The paradox of freedom. We make the leap because we want the autonomy of running our own business...and instead our business ends up running us.

Most entrepreneurs don’t realize this until it’s too late. Then they wake up one day tired, unfulfilled, and trapped in a constant state of fear and anxiety.

Don’t let that be you. Don’t trade your long-term happiness for short-term success.

Take Saturdays off. Go on vacation. Stop working after dinner and watch American Ninja Warrior with someone you love (that's what I'll be doing).

See you in September.

(Photo credit: Christos Tsoumplekas via cc)

Greg Faxon

Greg Faxon, 2829 Connecticut Avenue NW (Apt 513), Washington, DC 20008, United States