Sunday, December 28, 2008

Work to Live, or Live to Work?

It is noted that wisdom is the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, attain certain goals, or counsel others in doing so. Therefore, it is important to apply wisdom when addressing the question of whether you want to 'work to live, or live to work' ? In other words, "How do you balance personal and family life with the commitment to a business?"
An article that appeared in The Watchtower of 4/15/2002 provides valuable insight into these questions. The article shared a "story that has been told thousands of times with many variations. A senior villager in Benin, West Africa, related the following version to some younger ones.
The fisherman returns home in his pirogue and is met by a foreign expert serving in this developing country. The expert asks the fisherman why he is back so early. He replies that he could have stayed out longer but that he had caught enough to care for his family.
"And now, what do you do with all your time anyway?" the expert asks.
The fisherman responds: "Well, I do a little fishing. I play with my children. We all have a siesta when it gets hot. In the evening, we have supper together. Later, I get together with my friends for some music, and so on."
The expert interrupts: "Look! I have a university degree and have studied these matters. I want to help you. You should stay out fishing longer. You would earn more and soon be able to purchase a bigger boat than this pirogue. With a bigger boat, you would earn still more and soon be able to build up a fleet of trawlers."
"And then?" the fisherman inquires.
"Then, instead of selling fish through a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the factory or even start your own fish-processing plant. You would be able to leave your village and move to Cotonou, or Paris, or New York and run the whole thing from there! You could even consider putting your business on the stock market and earn millions!"
"How long would that all take?" the fisherman asks.
"Perhaps 15 to 20 years," the expert answers.
"And then?" the fisherman continues.
"That is when life gets interesting! the expert explains. "Then you could retire. You could move away from the hustle and bustle of it all to some remote village."
"And then what? asks the fisherman.
"Then you have time to do a little fishing, play with your children, have a siesta when it gets hot, have supper with your family, and get together with friends for some music.""
Yes, a synopsis of life's ambition in a very effective story. While taking business initiatives seriously, it is wise to consider to what degree, and to count the cost.
Having a good routine is always beneficial when one must allocate time to various endeavors. Understandably then, extending time in one area will always come at a cost from another.

For time designated specific to a home-based business, many prefer a structured day-time routine geared around a typical business day schedule. After all, consider that most of your contacts will be local.

Additionally, flexibility is an obvious asset that you can then tailor to properly suit your needs. Some might choose to extend their working hours, as needed whether in the morning, evening, or weekends, and doing so on a limited basis.

I personally recommend that one build a business model with the goal of sustainability, thereby achieving balance in life for the equally if not more important things. Recognizing that your CAD reputation and quality of work determines whether you have work, it is easy to become unbalanced or consumed by it. Endeavor to remain confident that your CAD reputation and quality of work are also the very same factors that will allow you to achieve a sustainable business with clients that will be pleased to work with you time and again.

It may be an old adage, but it certainly rings true that no one has ever had written on their tombstone: "I wish I had spent more time in the office". With that in mind, time and experience will serve well in being able to exercise wisdom to properly balance your family and personal life with the responsibilities of managing your CAD business. In this way, you can achieve the goal of 'working to live'.