Andrew Griffiths new book – 101 Ways to Have A Business and A Life – due for release in June 2007. Exerpt follows –
Why write a book about having a business and having a life?
The idea of writing a book to help business owners find some sense of balance in their overcrowded lives came to me from two very clear inspirational sources, both equally significant. I am sure that since you are reading this book and clearly looking for a few answers, the following will ring true in some shape or form for you. Rest assured, you are definitely not alone.
The first source of inspiration came to me from the sheer number of business owners that I meet who feel that finding some kind of balance is the biggest challenge they face. I have done training seminars, sat on panels, been interviewed and conducted keynote speaking events on the topic. It never ceases to amaze me when I look into the room and see an almost desperate look cross hundreds of faces when the possibility of having a life and a business is tantalisingly introduced to the crowd.
There was a time when just running the business was the challenge. Today that is only a part of the problem. Trying to have a life as well as a business is a much bigger issue and without doubt, when I ask business owners if they could have one thing, right here right now, the answer is almost always the same “I wish I had a life”. How crazy is this?
So rest assured, if you feel like this you are not alone and that in itself is important. In this manic, intense world that we live, where there are a dozen ways to communicate with everyone else, with expectations higher than ever before, its easy to see how we lose control of our lives and get sucked into the vortex of the modern world.
The second and most relevant source of inspiration was the difficulty I personally faced with doing the same juggle and dance. Whilst I have battled with finding any kind of balance in my life, it reached a real peak about five years ago.
I had never been busier, had as many obligations and commitments or fought to keep some kind of sanity in amongst the craziness that was my daily life. I was running a marketing company with lots of clients, writing books, sitting on company boards, working for charities, mentoring other business owners and generally making sure every minute of everyday was full.
I certainly had workaholic tendencies that saw me starting at the office around 5am in the morning and working through till 8 or 9 pm, seven days a week. I lived like this for so long I forgot any other way of life. Looking back it was ludicrous and sad. At the time I paid a heavy price, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but I hid behind the long suffering business owners belief that running a business was supposed to be all consuming and really, you didn’t get to have a life because small business owners don’t.
I wore these beliefs as my badge of honour, other business owners would sympathise with me over just how tough it was to run your own business and if you weren’t putting in at least 80 hours a week you really weren’t serious about the whole thing. And I believed and helped to spread this propaganda.
In my most out of balance stage, my weight ballooned and I put on over 50kg. I never exercised, I ate poorly, my marriage broke down and my friends stopped calling me because I was always too busy to talk to them. The turning point came when my sister died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 35 (I was 33 at the time). This shocked me into realising that the life I was leading was going to kill me. My doctor, my wife, my friends and even my clients were all telling me the same thing. But old habits die hard and even though I now realised that my life had to change I didn’t really know how to change it. But the shift had started.
Today my life is busier than ever. I have come to terms with what balance means to me (and it is a little different for each of us) and I know that it is something every business owner can achieve. I don’t want to be a Zen Bhuddist Monk, I like a certain degree of stress and I do my best work when I am under pressure. I like the buzz of having a lot of projects on the go at once and doing exciting and stimulating work but now I realise that there is much more to life than this alone and how sensational it really is to be able to enjoy every aspect of my life equally. I realised that the one thing I really wanted to lose was the manic nature of my daily life.
Personally I don’t think there is one simple piece of advice that will bring the balance and harmony back, it requires many smaller changes and basically reprogramming and refocusing to undo the bad habits that have been created, often over many years.
Today I am healthier, happier, more successful and definitely achieving far greater results in every aspect of my life. The manic day to day craziness has gone (most of the time) and I have a very deep sense of calm and understanding that makes getting out of bed a delight. I get to face each day with a sense of anticipation and excitement that at one time I had forgotten. And I like the way this feels.
So, my motivation in writing this book is to share some of the lessons I have learned the hard way so that hopefully you can improve the quality of your life and your business. I believe that you can have a business and a life, and if you can balance the two and find your own sense of harmony, the end result is magnificently rewarding for you and everyone you come into contact with.