Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Entrepreneurial Rhythms

I feel like I owe an apology for letting my blog fall silent over the last two weeks. I took a week off for some much needed rest with my family. We escaped to the beaches of Puerto Pennasco, Mexico, where I had no cell coverage and internet coverage was nonexistent. Ahh…peace. My intent was to have a series of entries ready to post while I was gone. But as is my standard operating procedure, I ended up getting two weeks of work done in the week prior to my vacation. Unfortunately, my blog posts fell by the wayside.

My recent experience of this cycle of intense work followed by a vacation free from work points to a natural rhythm that entrepreneurs can harness to their benefit. This pattern reflects the rhythm of work and rest that God modeled in the creation story of Genesis 1. God spent a period of creative activity followed by a time of Sabbath rest. For entrepreneurs, I think the great danger isn’t that they won’t work hard enough to succeed, but the danger that they will work so hard that their work product subtly begins to slide. They feel like additional time will create additional value when in fact there is a marginal decline in the value of the additional time at work. It’s the proverbial need to work smarter not harder.

One of the great advantages to running your own enterprises is the ability to choose how and when to work…the chance to move from working by the clock to working for the accomplishment of specific measurable outcomes. It doesn’t matter when the work is done; it just matters whether the work is producing positive outcomes for the enterprise. My recent vacation reminds me that a rhythm of work followed by a time of rest can produce positive results in excess of just powering through endless weeks of work. The mere act of declaring a vacation free from work forces you to accomplish the important stuff before your departure. It also causes you to develop effective teams of co-workers who are capable of moving the business forward in your absence. There is much value in remembering that the business doesn’t succeed or fail only because of your efforts. Finally, I find that a vacation, free from work, restarts my creative nature, which is so important to my role as a leader.

So, today, get out your calendar and schedule in time for rest. It doesn’t have to be a week long vacation. In fact, a weekly observance of Sabbath helps bring this rhythm into day-to-day life. Faith venture entrepreneurs need to remember the importance of focused activity followed by rest.

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