THE BLOG
09/14/2014 09:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Is Your Business Taking Over Your Life?

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I just arrived back from a weekend trip to Munich, for fun. Yes, that's right, a weekend trip -- well, a long weekend: four days, 15 hours flying each way and about 48 hours there. Sounds crazy? Yes, it was, a bit -- and that's exactly why I did it. I decided that if I did something this illogical, that I would have some major breakthroughs.

You see, I needed to break out of a rut. You may be familiar with this one yourself. You know the one where you get swept up in work and find yourself consistently turning in 70-80 hour weeks. Even though I own my business and control my time, I had gotten myself into one of those.

It's not that hard to do when you are passionate about the work you are doing. That is definitely my situation because I am excited about the message I have to share and the people I am working with. I am living my dream -- at least business-wise. I am making a difference that is important to me: inspiring, teaching, and coaching others to create successful businesses based on making their unique mark in the world and fulfilling a greater purpose. I love what I do.

I hope you are reading this column because you are on a path that you love, as well -- or because you'd like to be.

If you are on such a path, it's easy to get one thing backwards. I often have to call myself on this one. It's so easy to allow your business to overtake your life. It's so easy to let your drive for success and your passion for what you are doing lead to 70-80 hour work weeks with no days off. It's so easy to put your life on the back burner or to keep telling yourself, "After I get through this next project or reach this next goal, then I'll take some time for..." I'll let you fill in the blank.

What are YOU putting on hold?

What I realized while on this weekend journey to Munich is I had put my life on hold nine years ago when I came home to take care of my father who had Parkinson's disease. Over the six years that ended in his death, my life remained on hold. After he died, I grieved deeply, as we were so close. Then, even after the waves of grief subsided, my life remained on hold as I put all my energy into my work.

It took a trip to Munich and a scrambling of my mind due to the back and forth time change to see things differently. In that moment of looking into the "gap," I realized that my 70-80 hour work weeks left me very little personal life. It was one of those big "AHA" moments. Right then and there I decided to take my life off of hold and "build my work around my life" instead of "my life around my work."

Part of being on a conscious path in your business is making sure that you are on a conscious path with your life, your whole life. It's about designing the life you desire, including how you care for your health, your relationships, and all the elements of the lifestyle that is part of your dream. Yes, business is important. And, a conscious approach to business gives you so much more in terms of meaning, purpose, positive contribution, and satisfaction -- as well as financial rewards.

However, when you are running your own business and it is all of these things, it is even easier to allow it to take over and leave you little time for all the other things that truly matter to you. Soon, your workouts have fallen by the wayside, your diet is all about fast food, you keep rescheduling that date night, your last vacation is a distant memory, you've missed another school play, and you wonder in what universe eight hours of sleep is possible. Soon this starts to affect your productivity and effectiveness as well.

It's at that point that you might need a crazy trip to Munich to snap you out of it. Better yet, if you can catch yourself before you reach that point, you can take some preventive measures. Don't be fooled by the fact that all your peers are doing the same insane hours.

Don't be fooled by thinking that there's just too much you have to do. If your business has taken over your life, it's time for a turnaround. You don't want to look back on your life and feel like you missed it.

So, what is the antidote?

The antidote is to consciously envision the life you desire and build your business around your life, rather than trying to fit your life around your business.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

What would an ideal day in my life look like? Where would this day take place? What environments would I want to enjoy? What activities would I be sure to include? Who would I be with? How would I take care of myself, my health, and those close to me? What would I eat? What gifts would I give?

What contribution would I make to others? How many hours would I want to work to make this contribution? What organizations would I be involved with? What would I do for fun? What part does spirituality play in my life?

Choose what applies to you...

You might want to write, draw, or record your answers. Sometimes getting words or images out in front of you leads to powerful new insights and connections. Then, imagine yourself actually living the day you are describing including the physical sensations, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures so you really feel it--and it feels good.

Tweak it just the way you'd like it, without questioning if it's possible. Just imagine how you'd like things to be. Everything starts with a vision in someone's mind. Why not the vision in your mind?

Personally, I've decided that if something in my work and my life is not bringing me inner peace, deep joy, and more vibrant energy, then it's going by the wayside. My ideal life includes a 35-hour work week. That means some changes at the office--and a lot more possibilities in my personal life.

What would it mean if you took your life off hold? What changes might that mean for your business?

J V Crum III is the founder of ConsciousMillionaire.com; as a business coach, speaker, and podcaster, he is sought after for his unique ability to help entrepreneurs and executives integrate their strengths and passions into a well-defined strategy for creating big profits and making a big difference in the world. Listen to the Conscious Millionaire Podcast, M-F. J V holds an MBA, JD and a MS in Psychology; his best-selling book, "Conscious Millionaire: Grow Your Business by Making a Difference" is available now: http://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Millionaire-Business-Making-Difference/dp/0976719223/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Follow J V Crum III on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jvcrum