Enjoying life is not a destination you arrive at but rather a journey of self-development. The main route in this journey is slippery and foggy. The light of awareness is needed and meditation is the vehicle that carries you throughout that journey. The challenge is that we are burdened with years and years of wrong programming. We are programmed into attachment to the outcome. As such, we become identified with the result. If the result is as imagined, our ego rises, but when results are disappointing, we start doubting our abilities and losing our self-worth. Truth is: the outcome has nothing to do with you but with the circumstances and the context you live in.
Worrying about the outcome causes stress. But it won’t stop there. When stress is left unattended to, it leads to burnout. Just like a snowflake that falls from the sky onto the snowpack. It disturbs the other snowflakes that lay there which create momentum that finally the whole mountain of snow comes down and buries the village. Should the light of awareness deep inside you is not witnessing the early warning signs of burnout, you are bound to face the same destiny of the village.
Feeling exhausted most of the time is the earlier warning signal of stress. It’s manifested physically in the form of symptoms such as headache, intestinal issues, and back pains. But the root cause of stress can be traced back to the quality and quantity of our thoughts. The mental noise brought by such thoughts obstructs clarity and good judgement.
Growing your business should not be a goal in itself. Growth is the byproduct of what you do consistently and passionately on a daily basis. Then, one day, all of a sudden, the rose will blossom and the spring will bloom. So will be your business. Failing to understand this will make you upset, impatient and irritable. That’s where stress starts to strike and drags you to burnout. Burnout was given as a reason for failure of startup entrepreneurs 8% of the time, according to the findings of the report revealed by New York-based venture capital database CB Insights.
Every startup founder dreams of having a work-life balance in order not to reach burnout. The framework I suggest for combating this burnout and nipping stress in the bud is made of 3 preventive measures.
The first measure is to bring awareness into your life. Awareness is the key to living in balance. When you are obsessed with one extreme, be aware of the other extreme, otherwise, you will lose balance and suffer the consequences. When you are consumed with your new project, the other side; that is, family, runs the risk of neglect. Once you catch yourself in this position, bring the light of awareness and move instantly towards balancing. It’s not a question of how much time you should spend on the neglected side; I mean family side, but a question of spending quality time.
Unwinding your attachment helps you regain balance into your life. Attachment is an addiction to something. Some are addicted to growing their business at the expense of their family, others are addicted to power like politicians, and others are addicted to family. All of those addictions, whether business, power or families are but means to an end. The end is to enjoy your life and savor the beauty of it. Your job is to marriage the two extremes and blend them together to have it all in life.
The second measure is to improve your weaknesses . The first measure was just witnessing what’s going on in your life and what caused the stress you undergo. Having understood that, the second measure that follows is to go directly to develop the weaker end of the balance. If you don’t have time for your family, carve out chunks of time every day to spend uninterrupted time with them. Let your family have your full attention each day, especially at the start of the day and before bedtime.
Build your business around your values, not the other way around. Values are the non-negotiable things in your life. Values are the things that matter to you the most. Family is a core value that gives us energy to withstand the burdens of life. If your relationship with your kids fills you up, don’t take it for granted and set boundaries for respecting that time with them. Set limits of the time you spend with other activities that drain your energy.
The third measure is to work out a system for a balanced living. The trick is to find a formula for growth. There is no fixed formula; yet, the thriving formulas share one common characteristic. These formulas are extremely disciplined so that they are repeatable over and over again. This repetition allows you to refine your relationships by time with your loved ones and leads to incremental growth. When you build up a repeatable formula and master it, you will be able to create a predictable growth built on healthy foundations of balancing and incorporating the opposites in your life.
Being attached to the outcome deters you from enjoying the process. As such, you will be looking for more and more and grow tense and stressed by time. Getting out of this vicious cycle entails you to bring awareness to your experiences, seek balancing the extremes in your life through developing the weaker ends, and, finally work out a system for living that runs effortlessly.