Entrepreneurship can be better than therapy. At least for me. (I’ve certainly done a lot of the latter.)
I’ve read endless articles on work/life balance and I’ve written some about it, too. But the more I think about this seemingly fiercesome conundrum, the more I think the cure is in the illness itself: That is, becoming whole in an entrepreneurial work life can come as much through the work of business itself as through carefully ratiocinating what is work and what is personal/family/home. I experience my own emotional business health as not at all a 50/50 proposition. Pity our wives, husbands, and children.
John Mackey’s Conscious Capitalism movement attempts to do on a macro basis a healing of the Earth itself—that is, using efficacious capitalism not only to create money and jobs for millions but also as a more efficient way to solve the larger ills of society through the innovation of creative and competitive business process. Creative destruction, if you will. (Thank you Joseph Schumpeter.) This in contrast to various top-down statist derigismes (Naziism, Communism, monarchy, bureaucratic oligarchy, dictatorship) that, whether well-intended or not, have been proven inefficient when not absolutely diabolic.
But a healthy capitalist process can also heal the individual business striver. The dialogue I hear on work/life issues often seems to define work as what really keeps you from living. I think that’s bullshit. And I say that from the perspective of someone who has found personal salvation conceiving my own private Idaho through a business formulation that creates meaning parallel to money. (Addiction and Entrepreneurship—February 27, 2013)
I want my company, Corporate Rain International, to make me and everyone it touches a better, more honest, more whole person. That is our corporate mission, as much as generating lucre (filthy or otherwise.) I see each of my employees personal development, as well as my own, as integral to the success of my company. A community of personal growth, if you will. A community of meaning. A community of mini-CEOs operating in the fecund emotional soil of service and generosity to each other and to clients.
If a prime imperative is for each fellow-traveler in your entrepreneurial company to be constantly and honestly and fiercely growing together, efficiency and internal innovation naturally follow. I expect it of my employee colleagues. I want every one of my associates to be better than me. Even when I lose a useful associate, who outgrows my firm to a better opportunity, I celebrate a success. Though it may create inconvenience for me as a boss, it is a milepost of cultural success that reeks of value and the best interests of every client and every colleague of and in my firm.
In such an ambience, failure can be corporately embraced, and fearful, inefficient self-censoring can be vastly reduced. Inadequacies and mistakes can become, not objects of condemnation, but opportunities for personal growth in a communal becoming, a collective work of self-improvement.
I think real entrepreneurs are often a little bit crazy. They are possessed of a divine madness, much like artists. They don’t operate by the linear logic of the rest of the world. They are optimistic madmen who can embrace the piquant danger of living each day on the cusp of risk and even potential disaster. They are about the impossible. As that great business philosopher Mick Jagger says, “The only performance that makes it all the way is one that achieves madness.” It’s why real entrepreneurship can’t ultimately be taught in business schools. How can you institutionalize divine madness?
Therefore, the work/life balance for the entrepreneur may well have to weigh in more on the side of her business. For the true entrepreneur to be whole, life balance may be a 70% commitment to business. Again, pity the poor entrepreneur’s wife (or husband.)
So balance for the entrepreneur may be imbalance in the eyes of they world. Poet Fernando Pessoa says this about that:
“Without madness what is man But a wholesome beast Postponed corpse that begets?”