We live in a society that idolizes entrepreneurs. However, very few people understand that entrepreneurship is a handshake between joy and suffering, risk, and reward.
Most simply want to be “half-entrepreneurs,” ditching the formalities of corporate America for the freedom of independence. The trouble is, these half-entrepreneurs never fully untether the safety net of working for others, and often flee at the first sign of trouble.
Authentic entrepreneurs, however, find the strength to muscle through the hard times and persevere. This perseverance is an admirable trait, but it’s important to remember that it often comes at a high cost.
If left unchecked, the individual entrepreneur’s identity can become so entangled with the business that all perspective is lost. Relationships wither, and the personal joys of life outside of work become forgotten memories.
I should know; I’ve been there myself before. At various points in my life, my identity has been so wrapped up in my business that I didn’t know where BodeTree ended and Chris Myers began.
Fortunately, I’ve also learned that it’s never too late to turn back. Balance is achievable if entrepreneurs have the self-awareness to recognize problems when they arise.
Here are three lessons that I’ve learned throughout my journey.
Take time for introspection
Real entrepreneurship takes grit, dedication, and a maniacal degree of passion. Unfortunately, the traits that create successful entrepreneurs can be a double edged sword.
It is all too easy for entrepreneurs to lose themselves in their creations.
Grit, passion, and dedication can easily morph into an obsession. When this happens, the very traits and behaviors that propel us become the things that hold us back.
The key to avoiding this is perfecting the art of introspection. In today’s day and age, we’re bombarded with an excessive amount of external stimuli. From text messages to smart alerts, the average person is connected 24/7.
Of course, this constant flow of information is multiplied tenfold for entrepreneurs. We spend so much time responding to things that we often neglect to reflect on our thoughts and feelings.
If we train ourselves to embrace silence, quiet our minds, and converse with ourselves, everything changes.
Deep, authentic introspection allows us to differentiate between passion and obsession and identify the flaws in our behaviors.
This level of self-awareness is key to carving out an identity that is grounded in reality and separate from your business.
Reconnect with reality
The realization that you’re disconnected from reality can be terrifying, but it’s an important step towards finding balance in life.
When I struggle with getting caught up in my business, I often think back to the Allegory of the Cave as expressed in Plato’s Republic.
Read more: Forbes