Early on in my career as an entrepreneur, I was told that you can’t be a good father and an excellent businessman. I bought into the lie that I had to choose one or the other. That somehow they were mutually exclusive. What happened is someone who I knew and trusted forced their self-limiting beliefs on me. This level of thinking caused me to bounce back in forth between an extreme focus on my business and intense focus on my family. I would either be all in as a father and husband or all in as an entrepreneur. In my heart, I would feel like I was always robbing from one and giving my all in the other. Always failing, always feeling guilty. This level of thinking leads only to guilt and condemnation.
If you are struggling in juggling the balance between fatherhood and entrepreneurship, follow these four guideposts
Prayer/stillness. When we already feel like we don’t have enough time for business or family are tendency can be to squeeze every second of the day into movement. The desire to be in constant motion is derived from feeling time moving means more ground gained. Movement equating to ground gained can be true, but I know in my life that I am inefficient with most of my day. The Pareto principle states that eighty percent of the output from a given situation or system is determined by twenty percent of the input. Pareto principle is true for my life, and I know that it is true for your life as well. The only way that you are going to figure out your twenty percent that you need to put your effort into is to have reflection and prayer. Pause to ask the creator of the universe what you should do. Pause and reflect on what has worked and even more importantly what didn’t so you can stop spending your time doing it. Prayer and stillness must be built into our lives daily to be the best husbands, fathers, and entrepreneurs that we are capable of being.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Priority. There is a great analogy that Dr Henry Cloud gives. He said if you fill a glass jar with large rocks then put smaller rocks in the jar, and they will fill in the gaps left by the bigger rocks. Then put sand in the glass and it will fill in the space left by both sizes of stones. Last put water in the glass, and it will fill in all the space remaining. However, if you do the opposite and put the same amount of water in first, then sand, then smaller rocks, and last the big rocks the big rocks won’t fit. This is how your life is; you must start with the big rocks. If you know the big rocks for you, you will be the man you desire to be. For me, I must start with God, and then my wife, children, others, then my business. If I approach life with this priority, win! Priorities will help you to be the dad and businessman you hope to be. Here are some questions from Dr. Cloud in his article in Success Magazine to help identify your big rocks.
- If I only had one week to live, how would I live?
- What are the top four rocks—the most important things—in my life?
- How can I create a lifestyle that is in alignment with my rocks?
- What legacy do I want to leave?
Speak. We must express our expectations. Not of others but for ourselves, affirming that I will be a man of intention, focus, and presence. Affirmation is something that I have begun to do more and more. I strive to be what I say to myself in the morning. I am raising my expectation; I expect to win, and, therefore, I rise to that standard. Studies show that we believe more of what we say then what others say. Rewrite your story by using the most powerful muscle in your body your tongue. Speak your expectations and be the man God made you to be.
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Boundaries. You must build your fences. Fences for yourself and for others to follow. A lack of boundaries causes a lack of presence and productivity. We have great freedom we are given, and entrepreneurialism enhances that. With great freedom comes great responsibility and ownership of that freedom. The only way to steward freedom properly is by setting up boundaries. Here are my top five: 1. Biblical match. 2. Mental presence and physical presence to match. 3. A day of rest a week. 4. Priority 5. Identifying a problem or a concern. These are five different banks of my river. When I follow them, my life flows when I use my freedom improperly it always causes a problem for me. Set boundaries to have the freedom that brings life not death.
In the end, perfection is a myth. Improvement and presence are what we should be after. Focus on being the best version of yourselves in the moment of time that you are presently in. Adjust, move, ask for forgiveness, pray for wisdom, and never give in. Failure happens in giving up and giving in. Take a step and trust Him with the rest. Be blessed on your journey.
Are you a good entrepreneur and father?