According to the 2013 Pew Social Trend Study, more women than men find it difficult to advance their careers while raising a family. The pressure mounts in the nearly 40% of all homes with children younger than 18, where women are the primary breadwinners. While many studies focus on the work/life balance issues of professional women, fewer studies document how women entrepreneurs tackle this issue. There’s even less support for entrepreneurs around managing the stress that accompanies seeking work/life balance.
Far too many budding entrepreneurs are unaware of the real challenges of balancing it all while keeping their dream alive. In recent months, I listened to many entrepreneurs share the same story of a tireless journey of starting a business from scratch. Limited startup funds, 18-plus-hour days, less time with family and friends and even marriage counseling were among some of the experiences I heard about from those who attended my coaching sessions for women entrepreneurs. Along with the typical challenges that often come with entrepreneurship, women shared issues of balancing their passion with family responsibilities and self-care. The reality is that some women entrepreneurs, including myself, struggle to find that often elusive work/life balance.
My personal entrepreneurship journey followed a similar path. Among my many successes were shadows that dimmed the light on those accomplishments. My work became my priority and I started to lose my family as well as my purpose. While I made significant progress in growing my company, I lost sight of what mattered the most – my family. The hard truth is that I viewed financial success as an indication that I was creating a better life for my family but failed to take into account the cost of achieving that success. I became laser focused on spending every moment on my work. Eventually, it had to end.
Far too many budding entrepreneurs are unaware of the real challenges of balancing it all while keeping their dream alive.
It wasn't until I became completely physically and mentally exhausted that I forced myself to change. Though the journey has been rough, I discovered that work/life balance was never going to work for me. However, I did find ways to manage my life better without feeling like I had to give up my dream. I came up with these strategies to keep myself healthy and sane:
Sometimes even simple, quick fixes like these can help to bring some normalcy back to your life. And for most of us, this is enough to qualify as balance.