MERIDITH ELLIOT POWELL
Chasing The Elusive Dream Of Work-Life Balance MERIDITH ELLIOTT POWELL
4 Vital Lessons I Learned From Taking Time Off
just took a month off from work, an entire month where I made the decision to go have fun, travel (to Southeast Asia) and not to focus on growing my business. Okay I will admit, I did still answer some emails and I did make some sales calls, but still I was for the most part MIA (missing in action) from my business. This is my second year in a row doing this. Giving myself permission to turn off my entrepreneurial drive for two full months per year. Even though the idea scared me to death the first year, I decided to do it as an experiment just to see what would happen. What would happen if I took my foot off the gas and focused my attention elsewhere. To my surprise in 2017 the result was that my business increased by thirty-percent. We will see what happens at the close of 2018. So why did I decide to do this? Well, like most of you who run your own business or are part of a team that is driven to succeed, I work all the time. I never turn it off. Now I love what I do, so this work is not something I don’t like, in fact it’s just the opposite. It is something I have passion for and, I am driven to do.
10 | ENTREPRENEUR PLATFORM MAGAZINE | September/October 2019
However, I kept reading the articles, listening to the gurus about the importance of taking time away from the business. That doing so would actually recharge my battery and increase my productivity. Also, I wanted to travel. Now that my husband has more flexibility in his work, it is the first time in our lives that we have the ability to take those three and four-week vacations. Being a life-long workaholic, I started small. Three years ago, I took my first two-week vacation half of which put me in a location with no internet access. When my business did not suffer it motivated me to take it a step further. In 2017 the goal was to take one-month off, and I chose May (one of my historically busiest months). When the world did not come crashing down, and I actually realized how much I enjoyed my month away, I decided to take December off too. When my accountant told me at year-end that my business actually went up, I was sold on this idea of giving myself permission to chase this elusive dream of work-life balance. Now I don’t really believe in balance nor am I striving for it. I think a smarter goal is to know what you want out of life, both professionally and personally, and merge those together in a way that has you feeling excitement whether you are doing either. For me, I had found that in my professional life, but there were goals and things I wanted to do personally that I needed time away from my business to achieve.