I had owned my first company for a few years when my wife realized that she’d given all she could. She asked me for a divorce. This came after waiting for me every night, handling everything at home by herself, including our kids, because I was rarely there to help. On the rare occasion I was home, I barely had the energy and patience to be present with my family and relationships.
A typical workday closed out with me calling home at about 5:30. “Honey, I’m leaving now. Be home soon.” On the way out, I’d pass by the machine the factory floor manager and I had been troubleshooting most of the afternoon and see that it was down again.
An hour later, another call home. “Sorry, honey, it’s going to be another hour.”
This was our life for a long time because I’d invested in the idea of the selfless entrepreneur making huge sacrifices in order to grow his business. The company I’d bought required tremendous investment with significant process and operational reengineering. It all took a lot of time. The only way I knew to make it happen was to clear my days of everything but work, pushing myself to the limit.
I told myself that by putting the business first, I was building something that would help my family in the long run. Once it was smoothly operating, I’d be able to turn back to them, to my health and my own personal development.
Every morning I’d get up and head into the office, feeling energetic and optimistic, but as the day went on, as people came to me looking for input, answers, solutions, I was neglecting the work I needed to do to manage my energy and to stay focused on the big picture.
I learned later that I was on what’s been called the Path of Force by The Powerful Man group. Putting my business before myself, my family, my health, and my relationships, I was heading for a dead end. Instead of ensuring success, I was creating obstacles for myself and draining my own energy.
The Path of Force essentially means you’re pushing as hard as you can for as long as you can. It’s trying to effect positive change from a place of low energy, like driving from New York to Los Angeles in first gear. It’s going to take longer, and you probably won’t make it before your engine burns out. Creativity is sapped, opportunities are almost invisible, and every new initiative feels like pushing through deep mud.
It was devastating to lose my marriage, but it did force me to rethink my approach. The good news is there’s hope on the other side. If your business is sucking away the rest of your life or you’re finding it hard to balance your health, self-development, relationships, and financial security, it’s time to stop managing your time and start managing your energy.
I hope you’ll stay tuned for part two of this blog post, The Path of Energy, where entrepreneurs can tap into new sources of vitality and insight.
In the meantime, you might find this post of interest: https://keithsmith.io/entrepreneurial-energy-how-to-invest-in-yourself-to-attract-positive-outcomes/