In his second of a series of blog posts, Ben Hutt, CEO of digital recruitment marketplace Talent Party, shares his thoughts on the three commitments that business owners should make to achieve balance
Life’s complicated. I am a father of three girls (2,4, almost 6) and we just added a puppy to the mix (a boy to balance out the ladies). I run a business with operations in four continents, with more than 40 staff and many hundreds of clients. I have investors and a Board to manage, capital plans and growth to execute against, and all across more time zones than you can shake a stick at.
I spend a week a month circumnavigating the globe, which means I’m perpetually confused about what time it is, and where I am. Last week I was leaving London and at check-in when asked where I was going, I said London. Not just the first time or the second time I was asked, but three times! As I said, life’s complicated, but more than anything, it’s full.
>See also: Year of the plane part 1: Plane perspective
It may sound like a whinge, but I love every aspect of my life, and I have never been happier or more productive. I’ve been out of corporate life for three years now, and I won’t lie – it’s been hard. Fortunately, moments of enlightenment seem to come at just the right time, which is exactly what happened to me recently.
I took four weeks holiday over the Christmas period. It’s been years since I have had more than a week off, and my breaks usually coincide with a ridiculous marathon swim or other challenge so don’t really count as a “break.” Anyway, on my first true break in years (New Zealand and Japan – truly awesome), I had lots of insights about myself, and our business. I’ll save the business for later, but the personal insight that was most important was all about how to deal with the complexity and challenges of my life. As I mentioned, it’s full and complicated.
These were three key promises I made myself:
1. Be present in every moment, in every aspect of my life.
2. Embrace not just work and family, but give permission and make time for a personal goals or passion too.
3. Do everything I do to the very best of my ability.
I’m sure it all sounds simple and obvious, but each of these have been genuinely transformative for me so far this year.
I am a better, more connected and more loved father than ever before (and my team also seem to appreciate me more). I have been able to (mostly) juggle my work day which now spans way too many time zones so that I can see my kids most days, work, sleep, and occasionally find time for a swim. I have booked in for a couple of big challenges in coming years, and quietly nurture myself towards them. I have noticed that by only accepting the best I can do, the quality of everything I do, and the output and attention of the rest of my team has responded too.
So despite a complex and full life, which I embrace more enthusiastically than ever, it seems the only thing standing in the way of all of the amazing outcomes and improvements I’ve described was me. I’m now out of my own way and getting on with being the best I can be, happier and more productive than ever before.
You too can give yourself permission, and you should, now.