Achieve Success While Maintaining a Healthy Work Life Balance

Entrepreneurship is a lot like athletic competition: if you don’t prepare yourself mentally AND physically, you’ll find you don’t have what it takes to play the entire game.  The competition in the business world is grueling and relentless and you have to be able to play until the final buzzer!

This is one of those “Do as I say – not as I do” kind of blog posts for me.  Like Monika Mundell, I too have been suffering the health consequences of living a life that has fallen out of balance.

Success is all about balance.

I love word pictures and here’s one to illustrate my point:  to achieve success in your business, you must stand upon a three legged stool.  The three legs of the stool are:

  • Exercise
  • Eat Right
  • Sleep

Trying to build a business which requires you to work 12 – 16 hours a day without doing those three essential things is a recipe for disaster.

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Here is my story of life balance disaster.  Let is serve as a warning to others.

It started 6 months ago when I fell out of the habit of daily exercise.  I believe exercise is an essential ingredient in your quest for success.  Your body was created to move, not to sit in a chair all day.  Daily exercise sharpens not only your body, but your mind as well.

In my case, exercise is the foundation of EVERYTHING healthy and good in my life.

Exercise serves to keep my diet “healthy”.

For example, if I try to eat my favorite food of all time – Pop-Tarts [cue angelic singing] – and exercise, I’ll find that I struggle to finish my workout.  If however, breakfast is a bowl of steel cut oats or an omelet, I’ll have enough energy to exercise and then jump into working.  If I don’t eat healthy, I see the effects when I exercise.

Exercise also helps you get a good night’s sleep.

When I’m exercising, the quality and quantity of my sleep is GREATLY improved.  When I don’t exercise, well – I begin to become acquainted with the various mattress companies infomercials which run during the wee hours of the morning.

So for more than 3 years, my day would begin by putting on my walking shoes, putting a leash on my dog and walking a mile or more every morning.   If 7:00 AM rolled around and I didn’t have on my walking shoes, my dog would begin barking relentlessly until I started our pre-walk ritual.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that silly dog could tell time!

Then, I came down with the flu.  I guess the dog knew something was up because instead of launching his full scale high decibel barking assault, he just whimpered and whined outside my bedroom door.

Well, the habit was broken with the dog after a week – and when the daily exercise stopped, everything else went to hell in a hand basket.

So at this point in time, I’m not walking, I’m busy working and  my family is subsisting on Pop-Tarts, frozen pizzas and fast food.  It should come as no surprise that I began having trouble sleeping about this time.

Fast forward just a few months.  I feel like crap and my twisted, nutrition deprived mind decides the problem lies in a partially impacted wisdom tooth that has recently emerged.

It’s not my junk food diet that is making me feel like crap.  It’s not my lack of exercise that is making me feel like crap.  It’s not the fact that I’m only sleeping 4 hours a night that I feel like crap-  it’s my tooth that is the root of all evil.

In a nutshell, my idiot dentist prescribes an antibiotic to which I have a reaction which the leaflet says could be fatal.  When I call the office, the woman says, “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll see you next Tuesday.”  The idiot dentist pulls the infected tooth and  the infection rages out of control.  A month later,a doctor is telling me, ” This is really serious.  You could die.”  I walk out with a referral to an ENT and enough prescriptions to start my own pharmacy.

After CAT scans, blood tests, specialists and way too many hours sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms, I’m really regretting NOT paying attention to maintaining a healthy life balance.

Oh, I’m so back on the “wagon” when it comes to diet and exercise – the sleep thing just follows naturally when I’m doing the first two.

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Don’t wait until you’re making the rounds of various doctor’s offices to pay attention to the “basics” you need to achieve success.  Trust me, productivity takes a NOSE DIVE when you’re spending your days in a doctor’s waiting room!

If the three legged stool is in balance – exercise, eat right and adequate sleep – then you have a firm foundation upon which to operate your business.   If you think you can “cheat” the system – think again.   It’s true – an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure!

I thought I was invincible – and I discovered I’m human.    I guess that discovery is just another part of the aging process!

This blog post is part of Stacey Hoffer Weckstein’s “Life Balance Group Writing Project“.

The “Real Deal” – The Value of Authenticity in Blogging

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

David M Ogilvy

It’s no secret that I’ve been a HUGE fan of Cath Lawson for quite some time now.  While I don’t remember exactly which blog post it was that I first read, but I still remember the feeling that washed over me when I discovered her blog.   Was it recognition?  Was it relief?

It was probably a little of both.  After all, I’ve publicly declared that there are times when I feel like I’m the only ” honest politician in Washington” because sometimes, I sometimes get EXHAUSTED by the “self proclaimed gurus and experts” who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk!  I was half way through reading my first Cath Lawson blog post when I recognized that I had found another “honest politician”, even though she lives “across the pond” from me.

See, Virtual Impax is NOT my first rodeo.  I’ve jumped in and out of self employment ever since the birth of my oldest child and I worked extensively with entrepreneurs and business owners during my time as an AE with an advertising agency.

So it’s only natural I guess that when I had trouble finding a reliable cleaning lady, I decided to start my own cleaning business on the side.  I don’t know WHY I thought that was a good idea at the time.  Looking back, that one was PURE FOLLY!  “Let’s see, I can’t find ONE person who will clean my house properly – I think I’ll start a business where I have to plant my foot in the buttocks of a CREW of people who don’t know how to clean a house properly OR show up for work!”

In the end, I learned A LOT about myself.  I discovered that  I SUCKED as a boss.   I ran my business like it was some kind of charity organization.    I hired women who needed flexible hours and extra money instead of hiring people for their work ethic.   I hired dwarves instead of giants!  I hired people who wanted easy money, not people who took pride in their work!

Of course, my employees used and abused me.  (As Liz Struass would say, “They were people being people.”)   I closed shop when I had a dream that I was working in food prep at McDonald’s.  In the dream, I was stinking of grease and exhausted, but I declared  within that dream that it was better than cleaning houses.

So that’s probably why, when Cathleen would write about the trials and tribulations of running her plumbing company, I could relate.  I recognized the voice of another battle scarred business veteran.

With that said, I don’t know why I was so FLOORED by reading Cath’s offer to run an ad for free on her blog.  I just sat back in shock and awe.


As a matter of fact, I’d say she’s a MARKETING GENIUS!  No wonder I’m such a fan!  Not only is she a giant, but her readers are as well.   As her readers have been finding this blog, I’m feeling quite privledged to be in the company of so MANY giants at one time.

By the way, I can DEFINITELY tell a difference between Cath’s readers and mine.  Cath’s readers leave comments.  Mine email me or use the contact form.  Either way is good for me!

Is it egotistical and arrogant, or confident and self assured?

Last week, I had a startling “dress down” via email. I have to admit… I was shocked! I mean, I’m a cuddly, lovable ball of fluff filled with marshmallow goodness! Yet when I put forth this self-description to friends and family… they dissolved into a puddle of hysterical giggles. Then I see where Catherine Lawson wrote about “Do you think you know it all“… oops…. maybe I do.

She links to James’ article “The Classic Entrepreneur” over at Men with Pens.

An entrepreneur is more than just a person who strikes up a business. There are specific personality traits and quirks that make up the classic profile of an entrepreneur – and they’re not very flattering.

His post continues…bull headed, control freaks are terms that appear at headers. Other unflattering terms such as “egotistical” appear under these headers.

OUCH! It appears that I am suffering from the classic symptoms of entrepreneur-itis which is pronounced by some people as “bossy, know it all jerk”.

However, I’ve been candy coating those descriptive terms. Instead of “egostical” I prefer “confident”. “Bull headed” is labeled with the much more flattering term “self confident”.  Am I being sef delusional?

I’m not alone in my struggle. IttyBiz offers a tongue in cheek “quiz” with the post Getting More Jobs: Are You Cocky Or Do You Have Balls?. The next post references the backlash unleashed as a result.

I admit, I thrashed about the evening following my stern dressing down. I thrashed… while Naomi found pay dirt with “Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless

She’s right.  It all boils down to fear.  It makes sense that the emotion I was battling was fear.  She was right… as soon as I labeled that monster, I was able to process it effectively.

When I began this “self employment” journey a decade ago, I came from a position where I was PAID because people liked me. The more people who “liked” me, the more money I made. That’s the way the ad game is played. I sold my agency’s services to business owners who were successful enough to have built a business big enough to hire an agency. None of us had a functioning accurate crystal ball. They signed because we “clicked”. When they signed, I heard “Ka-ching!”

Talk above Pavlov and his experiments…. they like me, I make money. They don’t and not only do I not get rewarded with a nice big check, but my actions are reviewed and I get to meet with the agency owner to “improve” my process.

So it makes sense that my fear would be based upon some well founded experience.  They like me… I make money.  They don’t like me… my kids don’t eat.

Customers can’t measure quality… they can however decide whether they like me.

So I’ll work on making sure “confident” doesn’t escalate into “egotistical” … because really, isn’t egotistical just a matter of “confidence on steroids”.

One thing about it…. my blog and it’s readers will certainly let me know when I stray into “egotistical” land.