We’d all benefit from more hours in the day. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. When I was getting my firm off the ground, it was a near round-the-clock undertaking. When I wasn’t working on the business I was thinking about the business. It was an obsession, but one born of passion and my own innate desire to create.
I have loved my entrepreneurial journey because I was always clear on why I was doing it and how I wanted my life to look. Yet, if an alien landed on earth tomorrow, I’m not sure they’d opt for entrepreneurship as their chosen path. Things like founder burnout, the struggle for work-life balance, and even the apparent conflict between mindfulness and being in action, often impact the entrepreneurship conversation in ways that I don’t think are all positive.
There is a lot of reading we can do about solutions, but to me, we’re missing the problem; we’re not getting to the root of the root.
We’re not leading integrated lives.
I started my business because I never saw myself doing the 9-to-5 grind, and I didn’t want to answer to anyone. I wanted my life to fit into my job, and vice versa, seamlessly. The two were never at odds with each other because to me they never represented segmented aspects of what I was doing. My life is my life and all that it includes. It’s not this thing I get to once work is done. That’s the value of living an integrated life—you’re putting yourself back in control.
How else can we benefit from living integrated lives?
Our experiences stop being zero-sum. When we’re holding a work-life balance context, we can’t fully give ourselves to either. When we choose to live an integrated life, enjoying our families and taking an overdue vacation aren’t stealing from our work. Working a few weekends, or spending a few nights late in the office aren’t robbing from our personal time. We can enjoy our life without feeling anxious or guilty.
We open ourselves up to inspiration. American mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” Living an integrated life to me means following my bliss. Sometimes that means immersing myself in my work. Other times it can mean pursuing my hobbies and exploring new ideas. When we detach from the obsessive pursuit of “balance” we can source inspiration from all areas of life. Rather than bootstrapping inspiration like it’s something to be called upon as needed, we invite its possibility into our life and allow ourselves to be inspired organically.
We find equilibrium. Balance and equilibrium might seem close in definition, but not to me. The way I see it, seeking balance is reactionary. Something feels imbalanced so I am going to take the following actions to even the proverbial scales. Those decisions and those actions aren’t coming from a place of inner-truth, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t experience the fulfillment we were seeking when we pursue superficial balance. Equilibrium, however, is a state of inner being that we own and can return to. An integrated life is always pointed towards our equilibrium because those energies originate from our desire to return to our equilibrium.
I’m a passionate believer in the power of an integrated life. I believe it’s a byproduct of authenticity and can be a truly transformative change for people—regardless of profession—to make. If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on how we can and why we should all strive to lead integrated lives, check out my recent video on the subject, https://youtu.be/NImtBXSFEbc.