Work Life BalanceI mentioned in my introduction that Kate and I spent five weeks in Europe in June and July. For us travel is important. We absolutely love visiting new places and learning more about the world. We haven’t counted recently but I think together or separately we have visited about 70 different countries.

Why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because I want to give you an example of a business owner (or really owners in our case) that has designed the business around delivering what he or she wants. Travel is important so we build the business to allow us to do it.

More broadly this is an example of getting alignment between personal and business goals. Our goal is to visit a minimum of one new country each year and most years also spend time with friends in France in the European summer.

When we plan each year for the business we make sure we block out the time needed for our travel. We start with that, not try to squeeze it in later. We want to make sure that we get to do some things that are important to us by choice and not by accident. We plan to ensure it happens.

As an accounting firm coach and consultant one of the things I will often help firms with is planning. And the first place I start is to make sure that each owner has spent time reflecting on their circumstances and identified goals they have personally that they want to share with their fellow owners so that the planning for the business can take these into account. This is a work to live not live to work mentality. Can you see the distinction?

Even with a single owner I make sure there is a clear articulation of personal goals before we talk about business goals.

It is not uncommon to see an accounting firm owner who says that family is important to him or her. It is also not uncommon to see that same person working really long hours and saying they really don’t get to see their family nearly enough. And then when they are with their family they are often still thinking about the business. Sound familiar?

There are many reasons why this occurs but I believe the fundamental reason in many cases is because the business owner does not build the business with the goal of quality family time at the centre of it. If you are serious about this you will find a way to make it work. I didn’t say it is always easy but if you start with the intent and a determination to succeed you are half way there.

So here are a few questions to those of you who are business owners:

  • Have you thought seriously about what your personal goals are and what is important to you?
  • Have you built your business to align with those goals and what is important to you?
  • If not, what are you going to do about it?

If you need help with this I will be happy to assist.