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A Question of Sacrifice

17 November 2014

I speak to many women in business about work life balance and my main message to them is that there is no such thing as perfect work life balance. We are just stressing ourselves out trying to achieve it.

Women in business often feel pulled from pillar to post. Running a business means they may have to sacrifice time with their family. Spending time with their family means they may have to sacrifice time spent on driving their business forward. And then the guilt sets in. 

To me having perfect work life balance means that there is complete equality in the energy between your business and your family, and this just can’t happen.

Being a Mum in business there are times when you have to sacrifice family time for your business. Other times you sacrifice your business for your family. These sacrifices change depending on the stage of your business and the age of your children.  If your business is in the start-up phase (generally, the first 5 years) you will likely have to sacrifice some family time to grow your business.

So how do you get over the guilt when you put your business before your family?

  • Make sure you have a bigger picture, a reason why you are doing what you are doing.
  • Accept that you might not always be there for your children, but they do have other people around them who love them and give them the support they need.
  • Know that the times you choose your business over your children, is only for a relatively short amount of time.
  • When you are with your children be ‘present’ and most importantly just ditch the guilt!  Guilt is a wasted emotion and if you are doing something that you are passionate about there is no need to feel guilty.

In the end if you feel the sacrifice is too much, then this might be the time to put your business on hold for a while.  If you have built a business that doesn’t rely totally on you then you will find it easier to step out. If not, find a way to change your business to suit your family circumstances. This is where working with a coach or mentor can help you to work out what is important to you and how you can re-structure your business to suit you.