Entrepreneurs: Life’s Too Short

[NOTE: This post continues a series exploring the topic of entrepreneurship. While my focus has and will continue to be on Facebook ads, I have plenty to share about what I’ve learned while building my business.]

They say you should hustle. They brag about working all hours of the day and night, about slaving away on weekends and not recognizing holidays. Overworking is seen as a badge of honor, as something that should be revered.

Life’s too short for that mess…

Entrepreneurship can easily become a game, if you’ll let it. You’re always watching the Joneses, trying to keep up and do what they do. They brag of their riches, accomplishments and beachside views. Jealousy and envy bring out the worst in you.

Life’s too freaking short for that…

The minute you celebrate this month’s record-breaking results, they are no longer good enough. You’re on to do better next month. And then next month. You’re never satisfied, and feel the pressure of doing more and more.

Life’s too short not to enjoy it…

You realize that no matter how well you do, there are bills to be paid and problems to solve. Whether you’re putting in the extra hours to keep the electricity on or pay for that new car, the anxiety of providing more will overwhelm you.

Life’s too short to allow it…

You work those extra hours while your kids play outside. You seclude yourself in your entrepreneurial dungeon while your spouse watches your shows alone. You do all of this, you think, to create a better day. A day you aren’t guaranteed will come.

Life’s too damn short…

We took our youngest son out of school on Wednesday. Drove him a few towns over, dressed in our best. Taps played and guns blared. We celebrated a man’s life taken far too soon. A father and husband. A man my age.

During the service, words spoken of the impact of his life focused on the little things. His guitar and favorite songs. How he spent endless hours with his son, coaching him and watching him grow. How he cared for and shared life with his wife. About how he helped others. About how he made you feel when you were around him.

There was no mention of educational honors or personal accomplishments, though he was an accomplished man. We don’t know how much money he made or how many things he accumulated.

And that’s what struck me that day. It’s so easy for us as entrepreneurs to get wrapped up in the things that don’t matter that we neglect the things that do. We forget what we’d regret, all with an assumption of another day that may never come.

Life is short, I know it’s cliché. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before. And we’ve all had our own personal experiences that remind us of this from time to time. That is inevitable.

For me, it’s a reminder of not only what is important and the urgency of making those things a priority; but also that I live the life that I can be proud of. One that leaves a mark, even quietly, that makes a difference. A life where those I love and may leave behind will smile when thinking of the good memories we created together.

It’s a good reminder, though I know there’s danger of sounding preachy. Live a life where your core values guide your business, your relationships and all that you do. No regrets. No wasted time on low priority nonsense that won’t enhance your life or the life of others. Do not compromise what is important while milking every last minute you have, as morbid — though real — as that may seem.

It doesn’t mean that we should neglect tomorrow and fail to plan. It’s always good to have a long-term life strategy. But my new goal is to make tomorrow important but today and now the highest possible priority.

Life’s too short to do otherwise.