The F Words [Not what you think]

By Paul Batz, founder of ‘What Really Works’

Entrepreneurs unite!  Perhaps the primary benefit of being an entrepreneur comes from the stress…at least the stress I have today is the stress that I created – not the stress thrust upon me. Once my wife and I got past the initial paranoia of the “start up” (especially no paycheck with two kids in college) we decided we like this path. By virtue of the fact that you read the EO blog, you know what I mean.

Our buddies who have never taken the leap can’t possibly understand this: the stress of the independence is also freedom.  And we like the blended lifestyle – our work is not only “what we do” … its also “who we are.”  And that’s OK.

Recently, my friend Tim Schmidt and I wrote a book entitled What Really Works, Blending the Seven Fs for the Life You Imagine.  We researched how successful people manage their lives through the lenses of “faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future” – the Seven Fs.  The first line in the book reads:

“We don’t believe in the notion of work/life balance. Mostly because the reference implies one is a sacrifice for the other. Work is life. Life is work. Human beings were made to enjoy working hard and building things.”

Our conclusion: trying to keep our personal and professional lives separate – or balanced like a teeter totter – isn’t working anymore.  The people we admire most are well-rounded leaders in our communities who know how to blend the Seven Fs:

  • Faith: our spiritual life.  Spirituality is a peculiar and amazing thing.  We are all spiritual beings – regardless our chosen ‘religion’ most humans find a source of identity and strength by listening to, and nurturing our spirituality.
  • Family: our loved ones. In the research for the book, more than a thousand college-educated, knowledge workers rated Family as their most satisfying of the Fs, and they also said Family was their highest priority for increasing their satisfaction.
  • Finances: how money funds our priorities. While some see our income on the rise…most people today see the opposite. Here’s the deal about finances:  the only way to be truly satisfied with our finances is learn to be grateful for what we have…not spiteful about what we don’t have.
  • Fitness: the health of our body. In our survey, Fitness finished dead last in satisfaction, and dead last in the priorities.  Fitness really should be easy, except for the fact that we have to eat less (and better), drink less alcohol and break a sweat more often… How’s your Fitness, really?
  • Friends: the people who share our joys and disappointments. The book research reveals that women tend to be more satisfied with their friendships, and they also place a higher priority on friends. How are you doing with your friends?
  • Fun: the part of life that is playful and joyful. With so much of our ‘life’ spent ‘working’… can’t we make it more fun?  Would the people you spend the most time with describe you as fun?
  • Future: the hope that we have for ourselves, and others.  Future is less about optimism, and more about the commitment we make to a better world. Future is a major driver for many entrepreneurs, how about you?

Personally, I find the stress to be manageable when I am finding ways to effectively keep all of the Seven Fs within my daily and weekly routine.  Is that true for you?
But, alas, nothing significant is ever accomplished alone!  The chronic failure of entrepreneurs is really the failure to build a team.  At some point, we need to be surrounded by people with differing skill sets who share our vision – people who can “protect us from ourselves!”

Who is the team who make sure you are living a blended, well-rounded Seven Fs life?  Maybe its time for you to assess your Seven Fs. Then, seize the day! Set some new goals and find a buddy to help you practice your blending.

Paul Batz is an author, speaker and executive coach; and founder of What Really Works, a leadership coaching and publishing company, headquartered in Minneapolis.   He can be reached at [email protected].


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