GUEST POST BY HEATHER MCDOUGALL
I am an entrepreneur to help create the type of world I want to live in. A beautifully balanced, sustainable world.
With this as my goal, it's important for me to nurture my business' growth and my personal growth with those values in mind each step of the way.
I work with my brother building Bogobrush, a minimal, eco-designed toothbrush brand. We work hard on developing the business with the vision of our ideal world in mind, and that includes maintaining flexibility and balance. For me, this comes through two key principles.
I don’t buy into a consistent 100+ hour work week. In my experience, that schedule seems to be an expectation of startups and founders, and it is easy to fall into because there is always work to be done. But therein lies the trap: there is always work to be done. Whether I work 50 hours a week or 100 hours a week, the to-do list never ends. The difference between the two is that a consistent 100+ hour work week is not the type of world I want to work in, so outside of an important pitch or deadline, I maintain an average 40-50 hours of work each week.
I don’t fit into a regular 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday work week. I believe creativity strikes when it wants and a flexible schedule allows that process to remain organic. To be fair, a lot of work does happen in traditional working hours, especially for meetings with other folks. But, if there are not meetings, I listen to my intuition and leave space for independent work and thought processing.
Maintaining balance in business necessarily allows for my personal growth in the same way. Like most people, I am not one-dimensional, and I’m happiest when my life includes a balance of my passions.
For instance, I love yoga. I practice it daily and teach several times a week. I love to sing and perform so I make sure I am involved in some type of show consistently throughout the year. I love to learn from other people and their stories so I watch documentaries, read books, go to plays and concerts. I spend time with family and friends. I love the environment and need to spend time outdoors hiking, walking, meditating, or relaxing. And, of course, I love my husband and need time with him.
Sometimes my attention is drawn more heavily to one or another of those passions for a period of time, and that can be great.
If my focus is out of balance for too long, I notice my quality of life suffers.
I maybe get moody, or stiff, or stressed. And, when my quality of life suffers, so does anything I’m working on. Everything is connected.
LIFE IS A SPECTRUM
In reality, my life is not a collection of separate passions, but rather it’s a single spectrum of activities and passions. When I nurture the entire spectrum, everything in it benefits. My creativity expands, my procrastination decreases, my productivity increases, and my perspectives evolve and keep me relevant.
if you're interested: my tips
- Permit yourself to find the balance that’s right for you and live it well. I believe life is made of the yin and the yang, the meditations and the actions. So, experiment and explore you. Use your moments of confusion to inspire a change of scene, pace, or activity. Allow your balance to nurture your Self.
- Keep a journal. Regardless of the passions that fill your spectrum of life, I think journalling is extremely helpful. Personally, I keep running journals or notebooks of all my activities, to-do’s, brainstorms, anything - even high level. For one thing, journalling helps me stay on track. But beyond that it helps my psyche. For instance, when I feel stuck, my notes remind me how far I’ve come and inspire me to take one more step. When I feel out of balance, I look at my notes to see what aspect of my life is missing lately. If I feel overwhelmed, I write in my journal to release my thoughts that get blocked up. Most likely, journaling will find it’s own path with you, but I highly encourage it in some way or another. Even if you never look at it, at least you’re getting thoughts out of your head to make space for new thinkings. :)
Heather is a vibrant and curious gal who is determined to help the world be a brighter place. She’s an honors law school grad, a yoga teacher, and a social entrepreneur - Bogobrush and a think tank with her brother. She’s worked on venture finance and non-profit lobbying, and she loves singing, dancing, art, and the great outdoors. Finer her at @heather_mcdougall and @bogobrush.