Have your cake and eat it
‘Finding your passion’ and ‘loving your work’ may well be uplifting soloist sentiments, but what happens when you just wish it would all go away and never come back? Surprisingly, the answer may be found in cake mix. Here are the ingredients.
What follows is an exercise I ran through with architect, Gina recently. Gina has run her business for over two decades and it’s served her well. Note the past tense. Lately she’s started hating it with a vengeance and it’s making her miserable.
And a big thanks to my good mate, Carl Sherriff from Corporate Storyteller for his fine illustrations.
Over the course of an hour together, we pulled things apart and it became clear she was very immersed in her business to the detriment of other areas of her life. I invite you to take yourself through the same process.
To create your own cake you’ll need:
- A blank sheet of paper
- A small saucer
- A pencil and eraser
Start by drawing a circle by tracing the circumference of the saucer. This is your blank-canvas cake. It will shortly start to look like a pie chart, but with my sweet tooth I’m sticking with cakes.
“Things get messy if we look to our work to satisfy all our needs and wants.”
Next, mark a point in the centre and taking this circle as a snapshot of the life you currently live we’re going to mark out segments using the points below.
How dominating is your work?
To get started, consider how much of your life and very importantly, your headspace, is taken up currently by your business and mark out the size of that slice. Gina’s slice immediately looked like Pac-Man.
Okay, now we’ll see how other areas of your life are doing. Keep that eraser handy, you may need to make adjustments. And no fibbing, ok?
1. Personal creativity
The keyword here is ‘personal’. Writing work-related blog posts, Facebook updates and Instagram images, may feed your marketing funnel, but are they feeding your creative soul? Mark out the space you feel you honestly devote to personal creativity.
As above, I’m not talking about followers, fans or subscribers, I’m talking about your tribe. The people you love to commune with as opposed to those your business needs you to connect with. They may well be one and the same, but if you’re getting worn down by your business, perhaps what once was, has changed. Assign your slice.
3. Health and wellbeing
How much of your time do you give to yourself? Mental and physical health and the pursuit of activities that refresh and recharge. This is the slice many busy soloists ignore too readily.
4. The people who matter
If you’ve already bundled them into ‘Community’, you might like to think again and allocate a segment that reflects the attention life partners, family and besties are getting. Hmmm, are status updates and the occasional sms enough?
5. Learning & growing
This is the time you give to improvement and professional development. It may be reading, studying online or stretching by upskilling in areas of weakness.
6. Adventure and travel
Adventure needn’t be scaling mountains or swimming with sharks, it might be doing something small that’s a little outside your comfort zone.
We tend to think of philanthropists as wealthy individuals handing out money, but really it’s simply the action of promoting the welfare of others. So how big is your philanthropic streak, the time you allot to giving back?
Finally, how much time do you give to thinking about where it’s all heading? Your plan for the future. Draw the line on this final slice of your cake.
So how does your cake look?
For many of us, of course work comprises a sizeable chunk. The danger comes when it’s so dominant it doesn’t allow for any semblance of a balanced life.
Things get messy if we look to our work to satisfy all our needs and wants.
Do you need to add a few more ingredients to your mix, and finding your passion again?