“If this doesn’t work out, I’ll go work for Starbucks as a barista.” So said a client to me just this morning (I told him thanks for the blog topic).
What leader, what entrepreneur hasn’t said this (or something similar) at some point, or maybe multiple points on their journey. I clearly remember when I was starting out as a freshly graduated engineer in 1987 thinking how easy the partners in the consulting firm had it.
The firm (like many consulting firms at the time) had a three tiered structure. You were partner, manager or staff. From my vantage point, all the partner did was travel from project site to project site, take people out to expensive lunches and then go home to their mini-mansion. The managers did all the leading of the projects (and any “interesting” aspects of the project) and the staff did all the grunt work.
All I ever wanted was to be the boss and live that lifestyle. Sure, I’d put in my time, pay my dues. But when I became partner, it was going to be “The Life of Riley” (for you youngin’s, that means a life of luxury).
Well, that never happened, but I did go on to start a few businesses and lead some teams of people.
And multiple times throughout the past 30 years, I have thought I would be better off working a simpler job.
Listen, I am NOT disparaging Starbucks or people who work at Starbucks. I have friend who have worked there and who continue to work there. Quite honestly, it sounds like a great place to work (plus free coffee). You make good money and it looks like people are having fun.
My point is simply this: As a leader, as a driver, as a business owner, don’t you sometimes long for clear roles, boundaries and expectations?
Don’t you weary sometimes of all the decisions you have to make everyday, all the problems you have to solve, and all the people you have to please? I don’t know about you, but I often fall into my bed at night exhausted from the mental energy I’ve exerted throughout the day. This past month, I’ve looked at my wife several times and said, “I don’t know, my decision making ability is tapped out for the night.”
I think we all get there at times, don’t we? When I realize I am becoming tapped out, I know I need to get some time away from the business. Sometimes, I only need overnight and then everything is ok again. Sometimes, I need “a mental health” day, and sometimes, I need a vacation.
Ask yourself: Are you getting enough R&R? Are you sleeping well at night? Do you take time periodically to refresh and “get away from it all?” Can you put your work down and relax?
If the anwer to any of this is no, then you have some areas to grow in. I know I do.
So with that, I am going to take a little time right now.
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Until next time,
Dr. Jeff Van Meter
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