January 22, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Last year, Tim climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and in light of the current crisis is now focusing on an upcoming 100-mile race in Colorado. He is the owner of a successful pet treat company and takes his German shepherd, Ronin, on his escapades.
Cheryl, the founder of a Fortune 5000 company, is also a champion water skier. She plays chess in the park at noon most days. She is the epitome of healthy, wealthy and wise.
Emmaus is looking forward to an epic hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, in Peru. Every year he takes a 10- to 14-day adventure with his family of five to learn the essence of business from nature.
These and many other entrepreneurs are exhibiting a more holistic experience of life and business. They are not seeking the mythical “life balance.” They focus on life integration. These owners and leaders also appear to excel in life and enjoy life more than many of their predecessors.
Why? The alignment of body, beliefs and business. A priority of physical, mental and operational goals provides the catalyst for increased success.
In my thousands of hours of conversations with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I’ve looked for the results of this alignment. What does an integration of body, beliefs and business produce? It gives them what I’ve labeled the E.D.G.E.
People with the E.D.G.E. meet each day with positive expectations. After rising early they do what doctors and fitness experts have been begging us to do for years. They drink a large glass of water, exercise, and eat a healthy breakfast. This allows them to enter their work energized and focused.
That’s not earth-shattering, but the things that make the largest impact rarely are. Starting the day with a predictable and positive ritual ensures the right beginning and creates more energy for the day.
Entrepreneurs with the E.D.G.E. do not limit their drive solely to the business. They are adventurers in all aspects of life. “Having it all” is not a wish but something to be pursued. Whether it’s family, friends, travel, workouts, meetings, yoga, meditation or private retreats, they are driven toward an ultimate outcome for their lives. The goal is integration across the board, without compromising any area of life.
Drive is often confused with obsession. The key is to have a healthy drive toward a particular destination rather than an imbalanced focus on extreme expectations.
This shouldn’t have been surprising. During our conversations, many entrepreneurs spoke of sharing: sharing knowledge, sharing adventures, sharing shortcuts. They want the best for everyone around them. They are not selfish and self-centered; they want to give in a way that betters those around them.
As one founder put it, “I like to give ‘experience bonuses.’ When I return from a break, the team always wants to know where I went and what I did. After some brief highlights, I ask who else would like to do that. Most of the time every hand goes up. So I decided to make that part of the bonus — over and above compensation. The high performers on the team are gifted the trip. They would never spend personal money on it, so they get to see the world through a different lens on our dime.”
This might sound similar to energy. Energy is internal and fuels the external. Enthusiasm is external and fuels the internal. In entrepreneurs, this trait creates loyalty, excitement, trust and belief. Even in failure, the enthusiasm flows.
Kathy, who started a marketing agency five years ago, says, “I am enthusiastic about and to my employees. I look for their strength and gifts, then I recognize them publicly. I want my team to know their worth. With clients, I discover their key differentiator and brag on them for it. It enables us to rally around a common cause as the relationship progresses. I am enthusiastic about my work. Positive results and outcomes affirm clients, employees and me.”
For an entrepreneur, it may be more important now than ever to gain the E.D.G.E. Life can be disjointed. Business can become a silo. Physical and mental health can be ignored. An integrated holistic life may be just the advantage a disconnected entrepreneur needs.