The Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Young professionals believe the world is their oyster.

Do you know the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make? Learn how to detect and avoid these pitfalls for a successful business.

They get out of grad school and they’re ready to hit the ground running. They expect to do what they want, when they want, and find success.

While this mindset is positive, it’s essential to learn a few practical lessons to avoid getting yourself in over your head. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to prevent foolish errors that will cost you dearly in the long run.

Here are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make (often at the beginning of their careers). Learn how to shift your mindset to purpose-driven leadership.

The Big, Costly Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

I was talking with author Jack Stack, who wrote and founded the Great Game of Business. We were discussing the young professionals we work with and the common mistakes we see in their career paths. Jack told me every week, he’s approached by young MBAs seeking his help. Often, they went through his program and followed the steps: get an idea, finance the plan, eventually go public.

The entire process breaks down once they’ve mortgaged their home, cashed in their savings, and convinced their parents to mortgage their house as well. Suddenly, they’re stuck with a bunch of financial obligations, but they haven’t really proven they can earn money with their plans.

According to Jack, once they’ve reached this point, it’s already too late to turn back. They’ve missed the mark in the first step by not examining the deeper purpose behind their great idea.

It’s heartbreaking for any of us to see a young professional go through this situation. It’s one of those issues they could avoid if they were aware of the common mistakes many entrepreneurs make.

Mistake #1: They Quit Their Day Job Too Soon

The entrepreneurial spirit is indomitable. Most successful entrepreneurs jump in because they believe in it. They know they have a great idea and it’s a solution to the problems of the world.

But, while jumping in is excellent, you shouldn’t quit your day job right away. While it means long hours and hard work, your regular job is your safety net. So many entrepreneurs have a reactive purpose when they start a business. They don’t want a boss, or they want money, but they don’t realize how much it actually costs to run a business. They may love a challenge where they really grow, and they feel a boss stifles their ability to shine.

It’s important to realize there’s no situation where you won’t have a boss as long as you’re working with other people.

Even as an entrepreneur, your clients and customers become your boss. If you don’t think of them as your boss, you’re adopting the wrong mindset, and you will fail.

If you see money as your road to freedom, you should realize it’s a hollow path. Money becomes a trap in which you’re trading your freedom to earn a little more. You must have a stronger purpose for your business than “be free and earn lots of money.” As you’re working the purpose out, keep working on your day job. Starting a business costs much more than you realize.

Mistake #2: They Finance Without a Timeline

Hand in hand with the idea of quitting your day job is the idea of taking on more than you can reasonably pay off. I’ve seen so many professionals who go out, hustle investors, liquidate their assets, and throw everything into starting their venture.

But when the rubber hits the road, they don’t know how to lead a company to success. As Jack says, they don’t ensure everyone has a stake in the game. They don’t harness the resources at their disposal. Within every company, there are people with brains and hearts—ideas and passion. These people want to become stakeholders. They want to help your business succeed (provided you’ve carefully chosen your team and sufficiently motivated and inspired them through your leadership).

Young entrepreneurs often don’t understand accountability in business. They don’t know how to account for how or why they’re running their business, or where they stand in relation to their future success. They don’t know how to move from where they are to where they want and need to be.

If you don’t have a clear-cut plan and path to pay off your financing, don’t take it on. Find a way to work around it. Slow down your timeline, steady your approach, and focus your efforts. Even if you find an investor or financing opportunity who’s unwise enough to lend you money without a plan for payoff, don’t do it.

Mistake #3 They’re Unprepared for Sales

The first job in any entrepreneurial adventure is sales. If you don’t know how to sell or don’t enjoy sales, entrepreneurial endeavors aren’t your best path.

Even if you don’t see your business as a traditional sales job, you’re going to sell your concept continually. As a business leader, you’re sharing and selling your vision to your team.

You’re motivating your stakeholders to buy into your ideas. You’re selling new ideas to clients. You’re selling your talents and promoting others to invest their trust in your plans.

Perhaps you’re not on the phone closing deals (although, keeping your sales skills sharp is a good practice for any business leader), but you’re still selling daily. As an entrepreneur, you must lead and inspire. You must touch the hearts and minds of your team, your clients, and your investors. You need to reach your people.

If you focus on the service aspect of sales—the way your sales serve the needs of your customers, clients, and even employees—you will find success in sales. Sales is service. How are you meeting the needs of your people? How are you enhancing their lives?

Mistake #4 They Don’t Build their Leadership Skills

Of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, one of the most critical is failing to lead. Authentic leadership always comes back to purpose. A company mission rings hollow and means nothing if no one relates to it.

As I wrote in my book, Beyond Time Management: Business with a Purpose:

“Purpose refers to a wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all reach full potential. Purpose is the heart of the matter. The ‘why’ behind what we do. It summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing. A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. If we think of a projector shining concentrated light through film onto a screen, purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.”

In leadership, people often look at a decision or function rather than realizing leadership requires you to bring everyone to the same page and back to an aligned purpose. Leadership is about your capacity to influence the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others.

To that end, anyone can become a leader. You don’t need to wait for a position to justify your leadership; you can lead from behind and still lead well. You can lead as a stealth “ninja” by throwing directions into productive decisions. You can lead by taking risks. You don’t need to wait for someone to open the door and hand you a leadership role.

It’s not the first mover who creates the most significant change. Lots of the first movers take on endeavors that fall flat or never truly launch. It’s the second mover who supports the first mover and brings on collective action who finds success. The power is in the second investor or the second person who leads your groups. Their buy-in shows you’re creating something lasting.

Entrepreneurs often fail to recognize that their ventures come with a great deal of accountability. When a team is relying on you, it’s not just about coming up with a fabulous idea and getting people to give you money to support your dream. Entrepreneurship isn’t even about the freedom of becoming your own boss.

At the end of the day, becoming an entrepreneur is about purpose. It’s about discovering why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s about doing the needed legwork and putting in the time upfront to ensure you have a stable and successful outcome in the long term.

If you’re working toward an entrepreneurial endeavor, I would suggest you check out the Great Game of Business to learn about real accountability. I believe in Jack’s program so strongly because two of our senior staff members are becoming GGOB coaches. We’ve been using overlapping GGOB technology and concepts within our program for the past few years. It’s a great resource.

For more ideas on leadership and success, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for a More Life Training weekend, where you’ll network with others on their path to success. We’re excited to announce that many of our courses and classes are available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this great opportunity!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

The Amazing Benefits of Living a Purposeful Life


Would you like to live a longer, healthier life?

Studies show living a purposeful life offers many surprising benefits. But what does it mean to live a life of purpose?

Would you like to be more alert? Would you like a stronger immune system and the ability to stand up to diseases such as Alzheimer’s?

While this may sound like a magic pill or a new cure-all, you can gain these benefits without taking a single prescription or vitamin. The secret is in living a purposeful life.

There are surprising benefits to living a life filled with purpose. Here’s how to bring those fantastic perks of purpose into your life today!

The Surprising Side Effects of Living a Purposeful Life

I recently led a workshop on purpose here at the Wright Foundation. It was so exciting and energizing to share the latest findings on purpose with our guests.

The research on purpose is very impressive. There are health benefits galore. Purpose strengthens your immune system. People with a sense of purpose are less likely to experience a stroke or become addicted to alcohol and drugs. Having a sense of purpose even cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, in a long-term study conducted by Rush University, a group of adults was monitored as they aged. The subjects reported their sense of purpose throughout the study. Interestingly, those who reported the highest sense of purpose in their life were twice as likely to be free of the symptoms of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. The scientists studied their brains after they passed away and were surprised by what they found: purpose had protected their brains against displaying the effects of aging, even though some of their brains showed the physical signs of cognitive degeneration. According to an article on the study in the Atlantic:

What that means, according to the researchers, is that a strong sense of purpose in life strengthens or provides a higher level of what’s known as “neural reserve” in the brain. “Reserve” is the quality that allows many physiological systems in the human body to sustain what the Rush researchers call “extensive organ damage” before showing clinical deficits. Neurobiologists specializing in aging have already determined that this concept also applies to the human brain because most of us—regardless of whether we develop clinical symptoms of “Alzheimer’s disease” or not—will accumulate harmful amounts of plaque and tangles in our brains as we age. Autopsies show that. What the Rush researchers’ results indicate is that having a strong sense of purpose in life, especially beyond the age of 80, can give a person’s brain the ability to sustain that damage and continue to function at a much higher level.

Thanks to their sense of purpose, these subjects’ brains had self-corrected the neuropathways affected by age-related disease. If you think of your brain as a series of roads, it was as though their neurons had re-routed to go around the damaged portions of their brain tissue. Their brains were healthier. Further studies indicate purpose can also reduce the incidence of stroke.

These benefits are possible for anyone who is living a purposeful life. In addition to the mind-blowing cognitive benefits, there are also the benefits of emotional well-being. When you live a life of purpose, you’re more efficient, and you delegate better. Studies show you even enjoy better sex! Best of all, a sense of purpose is linked to a longer, healthier, more satisfying life.

So, how do we get more purpose? How do we bring the benefits of living a purposeful life into our own lives?

How to Live a Purposeful Life

As you read through these benefits, you’re probably thinking, “I want more of that! How do I sign up?!”

What does it mean to live a purposeful life? Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

In other words, to live a purposeful life means more than merely seeking adventure and pleasure. A life of purpose is a life of meaning. It’s a life where the deep yearnings of our heart and soul are met, where we’re connected and engaged with those around us.

If you’re living mindfully and intentionally, you discover the purpose in each interaction. Finding meaning in the moment makes a huge difference in the quality of your life. Living by your yearnings is very purposeful. Fulfilling the yearning to connect, to matter, or to make a difference helps us to feel fulfilled and satisfied. Without purpose, you’re unengaged and not all that present in your day to day life. Purpose brings us into the moment.

In the longevity studies, purpose was assessed by asking whether participants agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

  • Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them

  • I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future

  • I sometimes feel as though I’ve done all there is to do in life.

As you see, purpose means living your life with intention and hope. To find the purpose in what you’re doing, look at the intentions you set each day. In each moment, examine what you’re hoping to have happen. What results do you want from each experience? Asking yourself to identify the intention helps you drive your purpose and clarify your direction.

When I eat breakfast with Bob, for example, I consider our time precious. We’re both very busy, so when we get those moments to sit together, I ask myself how I will make the most of the time. How will we engage in a way that ensures our time together is more purposeful and more satisfying?

It’s not to say I always go into my time with Bob with an agenda in hand, but honestly, sometimes I do set forth a plan. I think of the topics I’m hoping to address with him—not the logistics of the day, but real, relevant, significant issues—and I set my intentions to make the most of our precious moments together.

Being purposeful is part of treating yourself well. Purpose may feel like a dry or nebulous topic, at first, but in truth, purpose is nourishing and beautiful.

When you’re living a purposeful life, you’re using your resources better. You’re maximizing your time, your money, and your leisure time. You’re imbuing your life with activities that feel good but also have meaning. Consequently, you end up with more energy and will power. You see results from your actions.

Purpose doesn’t need to feel heavy, either. Your purpose or intention could simply be to have more fun. You could set your intention to build a stronger connection with your spouse or to get to know your friends more deeply. You find purpose by appreciating an experience more fully—going to a concert and letting the music touch your heart, viewing artwork at a museum and taking time to fully take in the beauty, learning more in each experience.

When we live a life of purpose, we find more success in our relationships and more success at work. Author and behavioral scientist Victor Strecher explored the idea of purpose in his book, Life on Purpose, after his 19-year-old daughter passed away. His findings on the concept of purpose showed how it helps us in all aspects of our lives:

Living purposefully, Strecher said, means “applying your best self to what matters most”—an approach he said can have a multitude of benefits, both personally and professionally. Strecher cited several studies on the power of purpose, such as in one in which three groups of people were asked to carry a heavy backpack up a steep hill while blindfolded. The group that was told their backpacks contained nothing but dead weight assessed the hill to be a 42-degree incline—those who were told their packs were filled with important scientific equipment deemed the hill to be just 31 degrees.

When we believe our actions have meaning, work becomes easier, and our load becomes lighter. In the same vein, if we want to find more satisfaction in our work, our relationships, or our activities, we can examine the meaning. What is it we’re bringing to the world? How are we helping others?

Finding our purpose in each moment helps us live more satisfying, longer, and healthier lives. Start living vibrantly with more intention today!

Join us for our Year of More quarter on purposeful living, where we’ll explore ways to set your intentions and get more out of every single day.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Conscious Coupling: How to Engage with Your Partner


Do you ever feel like you and your partner are two ships passing in the night?

We’ve heard of conscious uncoupling, but what about conscious coupling? How do you become more mindful of the connection you’re building with your partner?

When life gets busy, it’s hard to stay mindful of our partner’s needs, to connect and engage with them. Being aware and deliberate in our communication—conscious coupling—is essential to building intimacy and keeping our connection strong.

So, how do you become more conscious of your partner? How do you bring this consciousness into your relationship so you can relish a more profound, stronger bond?

Becoming More Conscious on Your Own

Before conscious coupling, we must become more deliberate, mindful, and conscious on our own. This means making more conscious choices.

Part of becoming “conscious” is simply waking up. Frankly, most of us aren’t very conscious and aware, especially when we’re stuck in a busy routine or pattern. We live life on autopilot.

Think back over the last few weeks. Can you remember significant moments? Are there deliberate, intentional, focused moments where you connected with yourself? What about connecting with your partner?

If the answer is no, you’re in good company. Most people are merely going through the motions of life. We go to work, do our job, we come home, we watch television, we go to bed, we do it again the next day.

Think back to your last vacation. Chances are, you remember details like what you ate, what you wore, or exciting new experiences you had. Maybe you saw a beautiful piece of artwork or a historical artifact. Perhaps you interacted with nature in a new way.

One of the reasons we remember vacation so clearly (and time seems to slow down when we’re on vacation) is the feeling of novelty.

When we go through new experiences, our brains start to fire up and wake up. We become more conscious and aware of our surroundings.

As children, we’re constantly confronted by new experiences. Time seems to pass slowly. Every moment feels significant because it’s new and exciting. We’re awake, alert, excited, and stimulated. When we reach adulthood, the novelty wanes. Suddenly, we may follow the same patterns, eating the same meals, watching the same television programs, and life becomes automatic.

If you want to become more conscious, you must make a choice. Choose to wake yourself up and put yourself in new situations. Give your engagement muscles a chance to flex and grow stronger by using them. Many of us have become quite flabby when it comes to engagement.

This carries over to our relationship as well. We may go along and carry on the same conversations, discuss the day-to-day logistics, yet not engage with our partners. When was the last time you and your significant other talked about something truly meaningful? If it’s been a while, it may be time to re-engage.

Become a More Conscious Couple

One thing Bob and I do often is spending time talking about our vision for the future. We get into in-depth, nitty-gritty discussions where we really dive into topics, even the difficult ones.

If we set time aside together, we don’t want to talk about the same topics we always cover (what did you do today? How did your meeting go? What’s new?) It may sound strange, but until you get used to deeper engagement, you can even go in with an agenda!

I’ll ask myself, what do I really want to discuss? What am I dissatisfied with that I really want to talk to him about? Now, I don’t always create a paper agenda, per se, but in my mind, if there’s a discussion that needs to happen, I’ll go in with a plan rather than waiting to see where it goes. We both set the intention for the time we spend together.

Setting an agenda doesn’t mean only addressing the rough areas or “issues” either. It simply means setting your intention to make the time you spend together more meaningful. What is the intention for the evening or the date? What matters to you both?

Is the purpose of your date together to escape? Is it to get to know each other better? To have a certain shared experience? By setting your intention, you’ll create a more conscious direction for your time together, especially if, thanks to busy schedules, your time is limited.

When I coach couples, I often ask them to schedule deliberate time together each day. Set a date at any time that works for you. It might mean sipping coffee together over breakfast, meeting somewhere for lunch, or scheduling time right before bed together. Spend at least five minutes per day of non-logistical talking. That means no discussions about the laundry, who needs to schedule the vet appointment for the dog, or who’s driving to soccer practice this weekend. Stay disciplined enough to hold these five minutes sacred. Go in with an awareness of what you’re thinking and feeling, and approach with a willingness to share with each other.

For Bob and I, I’ve held to my One Decision to become more aware and conscious of our relationship. I’m certainly not perfect at it. There are days when I spend time with Bob, and I feel like being a blob, sitting around watching a movie or something. And somedays, we do just that, but I still try to approach it with awareness. What do I want to hear his opinion on? What do I notice the experience is bringing up for me? What am I dissatisfied with from the day I want to discuss?

When we set our intention for our time together, even our downtime, it becomes an opportunity to connect and be aware of each other. It strengthens our relationship because we’re consistently acknowledging we love and care for each other. We have an interest in each other and want to express it by being attentive and tuned in to the yearnings of the other person.

Waking Up to Consciousness

I was at the Graduate University this past weekend, and several of our newer students were really starting to light up. They were like, “Oh my God, I’m finally getting it! It’s about becoming more conscious, more aware, more tuned in! I had no idea how much time I had fiddle-farted away.”

Part of it is like waking up. Most of us aren’t awake. We’re going through automatic motions, but we’re not really engaged, living life vibrantly, consciously, and mindfully.

Ellen J. Langer, a mindfulness researcher from Harvard University, says, “When you’re not there, you’re not there to know you’re not there.” I love that because it says it all. If you’re going through the motions, ruts, and routines, you’re not even aware of how UN-aware you are.

Part of becoming more conscious in our relationship is intertwined with becoming more mindful in our every day. We have to wake up to the idea that we can become even more aware. We can even become conscious of the times we’re walking around unconscious.

Consciousness and mindfulness come from living with more intention. What is your intention for this day at work? What is your intention for this evening? What is your intention for this time with your spouse? What would you like to happen that really matters to you?

When we explore our intentions, it changes the focus of our interaction, our conversation, and our engagement as a whole. It changes what we’re doing. If you set a date night, is it to escape, to have an adventure, to add more novelty to the relationship? Go in knowing what you want to get out of it, and what you plan to put into it as well.

Now, does every interaction go perfectly? No, of course not. There will be bad days, times when the kids are sick with the flu, a deadline comes up at work, or someone’s simply in a bad mood. Those are the times when you may simply need to hold space for each other and be there to support one another until you have room to dig in and explore.

Still, approaching your time together with intention and consciousness gives you a stronger connection. It offers you a direction to follow and helps you both become aware of what you’re thinking, feeling, and willing to share.

For more ways to strengthen your relationship, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where we’ll explore new ways to connect and engage with all the important people in your life. Go forth with mindfulness and intention as you explore your world.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Addicted to Work: The Professional’s Soft Addiction

In today’s world many people, particularly young professionals become deeply engaged with work.

Are you addicted to work? While there’s nothing wrong with working hard, it’s important you’re still caring for yourself and making time for activities that give you a sense of purpose.


This leaves some people wondering: can you be addicted to work? Is it possible to become too involved in your career?

The answer to that question is a bit more complex than it may initially seem. There are many positives from being focused and driven in the context of a fulfilling career. In fact, a great job will bring us a great deal of satisfaction and joy.

On the other hand, there’s a darker side to work, and it becomes an addiction. Here’s how to know if you’re addicted to work so you avoid burning out or missing out on other aspects of a fulfilling life.

Can You Be Addicted to Work?

I’m often asked, can you become addicted to work? It’s a common question, especially when we discuss soft addictions.

In short, like many enjoyable activities (shopping, watching TV, social media, eating ice cream), work can become a soft addiction too. Wondering what exactly is defined as a soft addiction?

As I outline in the book The Soft Addiction Solution, soft addictions are seemingly harmless activities that ultimately distract us from our destiny. They keep us zoned out rather than zoning in. They cloud our thinking, interfere with our higher values and true purpose, and distance us from our loved ones. Soft addictions get in the way of our connections with others.

If you’re wondering if your career fits into the soft addiction category, it depends on how you’re using work.

You may become addicted to feeling important at the office. You can become addicted to the powerful feeling you get when you complete a task. You may become addicted to the busyness of your business.

On the other hand, is it okay to work hard? Yes of course! It’s actually very healthy. The satisfaction of a job well done is one of life’s great pleasures. If you love your work and feel challenged by your job, it’s greatly satisfying. If you feel better because of the work you do and feel you’re fulfilling your calling, then I say, God bless.

At the same time, there is a growing body of workers (particularly younger people) who are stressed out, burned out, and throwing themselves into their career at the expense of other aspects of their life. This is when work crosses the line from being fulfilling to being unhealthy. This is when you may need to assess if you’re addicted to work.

I worked with an executive whose wife complained he was a workaholic. She said he never came home, and their marriage was suffering because of his involvement with work. As we explored the situation, it came to light he was getting a great deal of fulfillment and validation from work. When he was at the office, he felt like he mattered. He felt important. He felt valued.

When he came home, his wife was unhappy. He felt like she was constantly complaining and nagging at him. He felt demoralized and unsuccessful at home. Finally, he said to me, “Look, what would I rather do? Be at a place I feel masterful and important, or spend my time in a place where I can’t do anything right? You’re right. I’m avoiding going home.”

Together, we worked on dealing with the issues at home rather than escaping into work and turning it into a soft addiction. Instead of running away from his problems by throwing himself into his career, we addressed the issues head on.

As he and his wife figured out how to better communicate and build intimacy, they were both able to derive more satisfaction from their time together…and the long hours at the office quickly lost their appeal.

Like many of us, he was drawn to the area where he derived the most satisfaction. If you’re fulfilled in all areas of your life—work, home, family, social, spiritual—then you may find your time becomes more evenly disbursed. Is one area getting all your attention? It may be time to explore why the other areas are being neglected and avoided.

What Are You Missing Out On?

If you’re trying to determine whether you’re addicted to work, look at the purpose you’re gaining from the activity. Are you using work to avoid other aspects of your life? When you leave the office, do you use work obligations as an excuse to get out of social interactions, or keep your phone on hand during dinner “just in case” the office needs you?

When work becomes our go-to excuse, we may be using our career to avoid building our personal relationships, connect with family, or even spend time alone. We tell ourselves work is fulfillment enough, but are you also taking time for the activities that recharge your batteries and keep you feeling satisfied?

There’s another woman I’m coaching who’s a very high level professional. She and I have been discussing how her work bleeds into the other aspects of her life. She’s single because, in many ways, she’s married to her work. It fulfills many of her needs. She admits there is a part of her that would like to become more social. There’s a part of her that would like to live her life more adventurously, cultivate a lifestyle, visit the theater, pursue her hobbies and interests.

Yet, her work is so fulfilling, she lets it fill her off hours. She never has the time to develop those other aspects of her life, or work on growing herself in new ways. So, for her, she’s become addicted to work. As she recognizes the need for more balance, she’s learning to pull herself away occasionally and dip a toe in the outside world.

So, if you’re wondering if work has become an addiction, assess how you’re using it. If you’re using your career to avoid personal connections, meet your needs, or as your sole source of validation, it may be becoming a bit too much.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard and it’s extremely vital to your personal fulfillment, particularly at certain times in your life. Simply make sure work is a force for good and positive growth in your life rather than an escape.

Getting Fulfillment Out of Work Without Missing Out on Life

There are many people that abuse the term “workaholic” or demonize the concept of dedication to one’s career. Of course, I want to underscore there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about your work.

If your career is truly your calling, it’s a very beautiful situation. Seeing someone who is delighted and fulfilled by the purpose they derive from their job is thrilling. If you feel fulfilled in your work, there are often peripheral areas of your life, like your relationships with family and loved ones, that benefit from you being a happy, satisfied person.

I see many people raising children, leading in the community, and enjoying a fulfilling career. You can certainly work hard and still lead a well-rounded life.

Some of the most productive workers I’ve seen are the mothers of young kids. They need to get to the office and get their job done so they can go home and care for their child at the end of the day. They’ve learned how to maximize their time to balance their career with their family.

We even see this right before people have a vacation scheduled. What happens at work? You ramp up your productivity to get everything finished before you leave, right? When we really want to get our jobs done, focus, and achieve, we make it happen. We complete our job and find time to enjoy the vacation.

There’s a lot of discussion on balance these days. How do you balance your career, family, and self-care? The truth is, it’s not always possible to balance these aspects of our lives perfectly. It IS, however, possible to derive satisfaction and fulfillment from all these areas. During certain periods of our life, we may focus on our relationships or family. During other periods, we may dedicate ourselves to our career.

Focus on discovering your sense of purpose in all aspects of your life. If your career is truly bringing you fulfillment and not an excuse to avoid other obligations, then there’s nothing wrong with working hard. If, on the other hand, you find you’re missing out on important aspects of your life, it’s time to step back and assess if work has become a soft addiction to avoid or escape other important activities.

For more on living your best, most fulfilling life, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where you’ll connect with others on their learning journey.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.