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How to disrupt busy culture and build a business that sustains your life

How to disrupt busy culture and build a business that sustains your life

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

I grew up immersed in the hustle culture. As a girl, I watched my father sniff his food and run out the door, leaving us at the table. Mom explained, “Sabrina, your dad never ate a leisurely meal as a family. They always ate on the go, usually from the kiosk: popcorn, hot dogs and soda.’

When my father grew up, everything revolved around the family businesses. My grandfather, “Slim” Starling, owned a gas station. To sell more gas, he installed a large screen on the roof of his gas station and gave buyers of five liters of gas a free ticket to the show. Cars came in en masse. Gas sales boomed!

There was work to be done. Now they are not only active in the gas station business, but also in the drive-in movie theater business. It was difficult to find good help. The family ran the businesses. Everyone worked, even my father, then a child. The companies, successful as they were, took over their lives.

Related: 5 traits and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs in 2023

Growing up, I saw that my father was always on the go and never took a break. Work always came first and there was always more to do. This mindset was harmful. In graduate school, I juggled teaching, a practicum, a full course, and writing my dissertation. My head was buzzing with what to do. I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I declined my friends’ invitations because there was always work to do.

In my 30s I was a hot mess of anxiety. I signed up for a yoga class and discovered that there were spaces between breaths. I realized that it is possible to pause in life. So far I’ve filled the breaks, rushed through the breaths and life because there’s work to be done.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was determined to get a handle on this. I quit my job to start my coaching business and control my time. You are probably picking up on the flaw in my thinking. Having a baby and starting a business at the same time made it challenging to manage my time.

A few months after my daughter was born, I rocked her to sleep in a dark room with just enough light from the moon shining through the window to read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited. Like most of us, I realized I was doing it all wrong. Hard work does not lead to success as an entrepreneur. Grinding grinds us.

Related: Health Is Wealth: How To Move Away From Busy Culture

When I met Michael Gerber a few years later, I asked the question I carried with me: “I coach entrepreneurs and help them have a better life. Yet I do it all. How do I build a team and a repeatable business? ” model?” He replied, “My dear, I own a coaching business and I’ve never coached a day in my life!”

That answer disappointed me. He told me nothing – Yet he told me everything. He says I need to think about my role differently. If I keep doing my job, I get a similar result. Not only do I have to think differently, I also have to show myself differently. My whole being had to shift.

I started asking myself another question: “What is possible?” and I became clear about what I wanted: a business to support my life. I didn’t want to work more than 25 hours a week to be with my family. That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Related: Hustle Culture Is Killing Your Greatness

Pushing boundaries to innovation. A 25-hour work week for the past 18 years forced me to be effective, not busy. I paid attention to what worked and did more of it. I focus on my $10,000 an hour activities daily and let the rest go. My business continued to grow; I took care of my health and was present with my family.

I have made mistakes, experienced setbacks and learned from the learning experience. I have also had the privilege of coaching thousands of entrepreneurs. We start with the question: “What are your victories and successes?” I followed the answers and focused on what works to get the best results: a profitable business and a good quality of life at the same time.

I study successful entrepreneurs and collect data from over 400 with our Better Business, Better Life Assessment. Clear patterns distinguish successful entrepreneurs with profitable businesses and a high quality of life from people with burnout. The majority, 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs, have a burnout. One in ten is not burnt out. I’m excited to share what we’re doing differently in future articles.

I am on a mission to disrupt the pressure culture in entrepreneurship. The busyness culture reinforces the idea that you have to sacrifice your life to have a successful business. Hustle culture would have us believe it just is.

Related: Why Busy Culture Can Be Toxic To Your Business

I believe in another opportunity for entrepreneurship. I believe that work supports life, not the other way around. You don’t have to sacrifice your health, well-being and important relationships for the sake of the company. I invite you to declare that your business will support your life. You will benefit, and so will your company.

I didn’t let my clients know that I worked 25 hours a week for years. They worked 60 hours or more per week. I was afraid they would judge me for not having a ‘real’ business. When a team member said, “Dr. Sabrina, not only do you have a real company, you have a really cool company,” I knew it was time to share what’s possible.

Pushing boundaries to innovation. Boundaries force you to set up systems and train your team. You can leave work at 5 a.m. or earlier every day. You can turn off your phone at night. You can take weekends off. You can practice. You can be fully present with your family. You will benefit, and so will your company.

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