In writing about the notion of multipreneurship, my aim is to create a conversation around a way of life that tends to be marginalized.
What's important about the sentence above are the words way of life. Whether I'm working with small, home-based, and micro-businesses or leaders in organizations and government, there is an ongoing and elusive quest for balance - in the workplace, or between work and life. I'm just not convinced this is the right hunt. We talk about the importance of work-life balance, as though work and life can be carved neatly in two and divvied up into a perfect and sustaining arrangement. I don't buy it.
I'm not suggesting that workaholism and burnout don't exist, or that there isn't a need to ensure that we get adequate rest, nutrition, exercise, and time for happy idleness. What I do suggest is the possibility of making a conscious, aware, holistic choice to approach working life in a way that honours the complexity of balance.
This framework suggests balance as a duality that can sustain busyness and mindfulness at once.
An old chestnut in this conversation is the one that goes, "When you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work." I'm not entirely sure I buy this one either, mainly because I truly love my work, and it feels like work. Hard work, at that. Sometimes, it gets sweaty on that tightrope while I'm juggling. Yet, I wouldn't trade it.
This is typical of a multipreneur. We're hard-working. We love our work and we love to work. There isn't this big-deal separation between work and play. Or for that matter, between work and rest. It is common for multipreneurs to wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, remember it in the morning, and call somebody to get things rolling, despite their lack of sleep. And we don't resent it. We love our juicy creativity. Doing lots of stuff is our way of life and to some degree, this sets multipreneurs apart from people who have jobs, or business people who focus on a single product or service.
Most multipreneurs spend years honing their lifestyles to create a beautiful mix of projects, people and passions. We live comfortably with a work-life model that's always changing, and even interchangeable. We like starting new things and abandoning things that aren't working and moving on to something else. We 'get' improvisation as a way of life and we understand the complexity of balance - we're masters at it.
So what's the message here?
No more effing apologies.
I don't know about you, but I'm just plain tired of justifying all the stuff I do. How about you? Do you get told to slow down, get focused, choose one thing and stick to it, take more downtime? Sheesh. Enough already. I get plenty of downtime. Being self-employed, I get to work or rest when I feel like it. I'm not sorry about it.
I can take an afternoon nap after lunch out, go to a mid-week matinee or spa, even take a month or two off - when, and if, I feel like it. I control my schedule. It doesn't control me. And guess what? I also get to work when I want. Multipreneurs are basically doing exactly what they want to do.
How do you know when someone is doing what they want to do?
Because they're doing it.
People will raise their judgey little eyebrows when you announce you're taking on a new project, forging a new alliance, or have yet another new idea. Let them. It's not your problem. It's not their problem. In fact, it's not a problem at all.
Your business (and mine) is staking your claim. Saying a big, fat, noisy YES to who you are and your way of life.
Rarely, do people suggest to painters that they are producing too much art or being too creative so they should slow down and take a break. Should Picasso have stuck to painting and never taken up sculpture? What about Oprah - talk show host for life, so no TV network, no Leadership Academy for Girls, or extraordinary movie roles?
Now, you might not be Picasso or Oprah, and neither am I, but in our own little worlds, we are the artists and producers of our lives. As far as we know, we only get this one.
Live it however you please. Without apology.
Where do you feel the need to apologize for the way you work, or the amount of time you spend at it? What would it be like to let that go?