Five years ago, I was burnt out. My Larry Jacob Internet Marketing business was surviving. I was paying my bills, but it seemed like it took everything I had to keep it going. It was sucking me dry and I was exhausted.
What got me there?
I launched my business fulltime December 11, 2014. That was my last day working in corporate America.
Yay! Right? It had always been my dream to own my own business, but this wasn’t working like I had planned.
My Larry Jacob business started as a side hustle. I had a day job that enabled me to run this side business which I was growing. It was slowly approaching in income what I made in my day job. I wanted to quit my job, but then there were these other things. I was pushing 50 with two kids in college. I was the primary breadwinner at home and we had plenty of debts on top of that.
That was making the jump complicated. It wasn’t an easy, risk-free choice.
Well on that one special day, I was let go from my day job. It wasn’t totally unexpected and I felt kind of relieved. It would have taken me forever to quit if they hadn’t force it on me. They did me a favor.
Fast forward a few years and I was surviving. We were paying our bills, but it seemed like all worry and stress and anxiety. I was at the point where I knew this couldn’t continue. I was unhappy. We were unhappy. Something had to change.
I happen to belong to a church with a strong men’s group. It was a real community and I had once attended it. My business kept me so busy I had completely dropped out. My thinking was, “I don’t have the time for that.”
Given where I was, I decided to start showing up again. The have a once-a-week Friday for the Men’s Prayer Muffin. (Terrible name, but they do serve muffins.) I would sometimes join a few guys for coffee. That got me started. It wasn’t something drastic, but things started changing. My business didn’t grow. My income didn’t change. I did start thinking about my business (and my life) differently. I started reflecting, “Why did I start this business and what is it I wanted from it and for my life?”
There was a guy in that community that worked a prison ministry. It was something I remember my grandfather did. I thought to volunteer to help out. I followed that up by visiting with prisoners once a month. I taught an entrepreneur class at the women’s prison helping prepare them to leave and start a business when released. This was all very rewarding, but more importantly, doing this and other things like this got me out of my head.
I noticed these activities and the time I was choosing to spend with people I cared for, didn’t take much time away from the business. Those had been my excuses. I had felt that if I spent time more time in my business, it would do better.
And it was that busyness falsehood that was taking me under emotionally and spiritually. It was my messed up thinking that was messing me up and messing up my relationships. I started my business, as do many business owners, thinking about the money I could be making. I dreamt about the freedom it would give me and instead here I was chained to my business like a prisoner.
I had allowed my business to become my purpose, my center and the focus on my entire life. I was unbalanced and it was keeping me from the things and people I most enjoy.
It’s easy to see that now, but when I was in the middle of it, I was blind to it. When I look at the changes I’ve made since, I’m still as committed to making this business a success. I’m not less driven. I’m not less determined. I am committed to keeping the purpose of the business top of mind. The business is here to serve me. I own it. It does not own me.
Because of my renewed perspective, my life has gone from like watching black and white TV to going to full technicolor. I work hard and am spending fewer and fewer weekends working. I start my day really early. I work hard and make a point to end my days before dinner time. Heck, I’m now the ministry leader for the Friday morning muffin.
And do you know what has replaced all the worry, stress and anxiety? It’s definitely NOT regrets about returning to my corporate job. I’m done with that. It is NOT filled with thinking about work, work, work. I mean it does sometimes, but for the most part I’m thinking about spending more time with my wife of 37 years. I’m thinking my tribe. That’s my three daughter. One daughter has blessed us with our first granddaughter. She’s so fun. I’m thinking about visiting my other daughter who lives in Ft. Myers across the state. I’m thinking about other daughter and fiancé who are getting married soon.
I’ve learned to cherish and enjoy my relationships and the community around me that encourages and supports me. I’ve come to see that the relationships I had been neglecting are the most important things in my life and I’m making time and mental space to enjoy them.
So here’s my question to you. How are you doing in this space? Share with me where you are at. Is your business where you want it to be relative to the rest of your life? What have you done to fix lack of balance issues to transition into a life that’s really enjoyable for you?