I owned a business for 12 years. In the final few years of my business I read and listened to some of the biggest names in marketing and business development. If you watch Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube or have read one of his many successful books, you will have heard about the grind or the hustle. I won’t list all the people I’ve read about, the messages are the same but packaged a bit differently.
Waste no time. Work every minute, care about the people, and you’ll find success. I don’t doubt these words in a lot of cases. I wish I had put more time into developing the business and making smarter choices when business was booming. Hindsight is our greatest teacher but always comes late. Yet I easily see now (and saw it to some extent when I ran the business) that I sucked at balancing work life and family, even if the pros told me I should keep hustling (don’t get me wrong, they all advocate for family – it’s just hard to balance).
Let’s step away from work for a minute and consider that I also write novels (or have on and off depending on how the business has been doing – I’ve never been as focused as I am now but that’s probably because I have a regular job), race in some long distances (3 – 6 hour completion times) often taking up a half a day every weekend to train for.
COVID-19 has been a challenge in a lot of ways. Balancing work and family, being at home all the time – it’s not ideal. But I have learned several positive things, which is part of a more balanced lifestyle that I plan to continue when COVID-19 is a piece of history.
- I’ve learned that I missed out on a lot of great times with my family by training every weekend for half a day, or working every Sunday. Without events to train for I’ve spent more time running, bike riding and hiking with my family and I’ve loved it. I don’t know what next year will bring, but since the Obstacle Course Race team I was part of doesn’t really exist anymore, I may stick with small local events and spend more time with my family.
2. I love reading to my kids and I don’t do it enough. Two days ago we were going through books on my bookshelf and pulled out The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin. I read it with them from cover to cover. It’s a smaller book, but a great one. Since then I hope to read with them more. James already has a love of books, but I hope to instill the same love in Matthew.
3. I am blessed to have a wonderful home and incredible family. It’s not that I learned this recently, but I have an even greater appreciation for it. Below is a picture of James and I lost in thought (sure, a little staged).