Hey! This is my first blog post since the Bahrain crisis started, that is not related to the crisis in some way! I guess this is a good thing. I’m not sure I’m done talking about politics yet though… we’ll see.
Anyway, here’s an article I wrote for the March issue of Octane Magazine, the official magazine for Entrepreneur Organisation (EO). It might inspire some of you entrepreneurs out there. Hope you like it:
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I suppose like most entrepreneurs, I had a feeling of invincibility starting out. When I launched my first company in 2003, I thought I was bulletproof. I would get up at 4 a.m. and churn out 16-hour days, conquering everything in my path. Sure, I’d get tired, but I could sleep it off later. After all, I had a business to run.
When I started my second business in 2006 and my third a year later, the stress started to accumulate. Still, I felt like I could handle it all. I thrived on the pressure and kept moving forward. I was a locomotive on a mission, constantly moving for the benefit of better business. Friends and family would tell me to slow down, but what did they know? I was a super-human entrepreneur and they were mere mortals!
Everything came to a standstill in 2009 when my father was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said he only had a few months to live. The stress I had always managed to avoid began to pile up like a load of dirty laundry. Not only did I have to deal with my father’s terminal illness, but I had three companies I needed to keep afloat. I pushed myself to the limit, trying hard to balance every part of my life: my businesses, my sick father, my worried mother, my wife and three kids.
The final straw came when my father passed away last year. Being the oldest son, I found myself with an onslaught of new responsibilities. I was unprepared and overwhelmed. I felt completely exhausted. I had finally burned out— physically, spiritually and emotionally. I knew I needed a break, so I took some time off to travel and collect my thoughts. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and it provided me with some much-needed insight into how to effectively balance my responsibilities as an entrepreneur, husband, parent and sibling.
Looking back, this series of events taught me some major life lessons. First, I realized I’m human. I can’t do everything myself, and I need to let go of certain responsibilities in order to get ahead in business and life. Second, I learned that not operating at 100-percent capacity all the time doesn’t make me any less of an entrepreneur. Work will always be there, but life won’t. By knowing my own boundaries, I can spend more time enjoying what I’ve worked so hard to build. That’s the true mark of success.
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Talk to you soon.