Momentum Podcast: 123
Time With Family
by Alex Charfen
For entrepreneurs it is hard to unplug from momentum. It is the greatest feeling in the world to people like us and once we achieve it and we are feeling it, we are terrified of giving it up. Once we are achieving the outcomes we want in our business, we want to stay there and focus 100% of our time. Our business calls to us, we think about it even when we aren't working, and we can't imagine what we would do without it. This drive for momentum can cause us to neglect the people around us, especially our family. When this happens, we will eventually lose momentum, and sometimes in a dramatic way. There is a better way, when we learn how to spend time with family the right way, it gives us a unique kind of momentum that it's hard to find anywhere else.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
Time with family creates momentum. A few weeks ago I had one of my clients Voxer me in a pretty bad place. She was really struggling because she was fighting this tug of war between wanting to be an entrepreneur and loving the momentum of her business, which is growing like crazy and really wanting to be in that space all of the time, and in this tug of war with her family, her husband who wanted more of her time, her kids who wanted more of her time and really they telling her that they wanted her without the work coming with her and without the phone coming with her and wanted her undivided time.
And as entrepreneurs, when someone takes away the source of our momentum, it can send us into a panic. In fact, my client and I went back and forth on Voxer and at one point she was crying. She was broke down in tears because this is such a major issue for her and for so many entrepreneurs, including me.
For a lot of my career, all I wanted to do was work. I wanted my exclusive focus to be work. I would go to the gym and I would keep working while I was at the gym. I would drive and I'd be working at stoplights. I just wanted to be able to create the biggest outcomes I could to get into higher levels of momentum, to feel higher levels of success. And so much of that for me was motivated by the fear that it would all go away, that I wouldn't be successful anymore, that I wouldn't be able to continue to create momentum. So I spent every minute of every day trying to do so. And I pushed myself like crazy.
And I didn't realize that if you red line all of the time, if you are a 100 percent focused all of the time, if you're 100 percent pushing yourself in business all of the time, there's no contrast. There's no difference. There's no awakenings. There's no time to look up and actually see what's going on. And here's what I explained to my client, that I wanted her to go spend time with their family, to put the phone away, to go and breathe through her nose. Like I would tell you to, calm your body, spend time with your family. I told her, here's some hints. If you have to do this, if you're going with your family and you feel that anxiety and time away from work is hard for you, take a sheet of paper with you, fold it up, stick it in your pocket, and bring a pen so that at any point in time you know you can excuse yourself and go write down anything you need to so that you can get right back to the present and spend that time uninterrupted with the people that you care about.
And here's what happens if you're willing to do that. I do this all the time. I go on a walk every day with my kids and my wife. We don't take phones with us. We get out in the morning, we spend time together. Every weekend we go to the farmer's market. We play together, we hang out. During the week at nights, we sit and we have dinner together and we make sure that we are connected. Here's why. One, because for me as a father, it alleviates the guilt of feeling like I'm not checking in with my family, feeling like I'm not giving my family would I should be giving them because when I'm with them I separate and I make sure that I'm only with them. And the other reason is it creates this massive contrast in my life where I'm in my office and I'm pushing and pushing and pushing, and then I go spend time with my family and it lets my mentality, my consciousness, breathe, relax, take a break, do something different for a while.
And here's the ridiculous payoff you get from doing this. If you are willing to take uninterrupted time with your family, if you're willing to separate from the phone, separate from obligations, go spend time with your wife, your kids, go spend time with your husband, go make time for the people who really matter to you, the payoff is extraordinary, because here's what happens. You will be spending time with family and then that thing you haven't been able to get done for so long that's been frustrating and on the back of your mind will suddenly resolve itself because you're in a different state of mind. You're not redlining, you're not standing on the accelerator. Your mind can be free to do other tasks, to go figure things out that it's been overwhelmed by.
When you spend time with family, the next morning you'll get up and realize chemically you feel different, more grounded, more aware, more present, more able to take on the day. When you are willing to spend uninterrupted time with family, that payoffs for you will be massive because your family will be more connected and nothing derails an entrepreneur more than when there's something wrong with their family.
I always tell entrepreneurs, you are only as happy as your unhappiest child. And it's really, for most of us, true. And for women entrepreneurs, it's even more dramatic. Guys, in a lot of ways, we don't feel the same level of chemical guilt and chemical attachment. There are wives do, than women do. There is something much stronger for women. I know. I've coached women and worked with women my entire life. Some of my most successful clients that I've ever had are women. In fact, I have a disproportionate amount of female clients in most of my coaching groups where in the business world in general. There's a much smaller percentage of female entrepreneurs in my groups. It's usually 50/50 or better.
And I think part of the reason is that I've really focused on helping women entrepreneurs for a long time. I grew up in a breastfeeding support group called La Leche League. I've been around women my whole life. I know just how strong and how capable and powerful they are, but there's this chemical guilt that women feel when being separated from family for too long.
If you don't reconnect, if you don't spend that time, that chemical guilt, that feeling that causes you to be at work but want to be with your kids and then when you're with your kids, you just want to be back at work ... And it's that feeling of not being connected in the way that you want to. And so guys, for us, if we connect with family, that feeling goes away, that guilt feeling goes away and we get right back into momentum. And ladies, for you it's even more important and I think we know this. You know this. It's that feeling of being cut in half when you're working, being stretched apart when you're working, that feeling of having to pretend like you don't think about your kids or you don't think about your family because you want to keep working, but then knowing that it all comes crashing down when you finally do think about it.
See, if you're willing to start taking some time in your schedule to connect with your family, to be there, to be there uninterrupted, you will buy yourself more time where you can operate at a higher level of focus and your results will be greater than they are today. Let me say that again. If you spend time with your family and you're willing to lean in and connect with the people that you love the most, the time that you do spend working will be infinitely more productive. So it's the same time with greater output. When entrepreneur doesn't want that?
It's hard to see this equation when you're in it. It's hard to see that pulling up, putting the phone down and going and spending a half hour, an hour uninterrupted with your family will give you momentum when you come back. So here's the key. At the beginning, you just have to trust this. You have to go do it a couple of times, maybe even more than a couple. You have to separate and spend some time with your family and do so with a level of awareness so that you know whether it's actually giving you momentum, so that you know when you get that momentum, so that you know when those chemicals in our bodies shift and it goes from feeling guilt to feeling connection and foundationally strong and love and everything that we feel from our families, the growth that we get, the connection that we feel that we just don't get anywhere else. And if you're willing to do that, your entrepreneurial career will take off.
It's one of the hardest things to trust because as entrepreneurs, we don't want to give up any momentum in the moment for the promise of having greater momentum in the future. But in this case it's absolutely worth it, because if you're willing to trust that time with family will give you momentum and you're willing to lean in and spend some time here, you will almost immediately see a difference.
That's what happened to my client. She went from being in tears and panicked and feeling inadequate, like she just couldn't separate from her business and go spend an hour with her family or go on a date night without talking about work and she did. After we talked and I shared this same advice with her, she ended up going and separating herself from the phone. She put a folded up sheet of paper in her pocket with a pen and went and spent time with her family. And I got a Voxer from her where it sounded like she was doing back flips. She said, "Alex, I just want to let you know I did it and you're so right. I felt so much better the next day. I got more done than I have in a long time. I didn't realize how much guilt I felt and how it really did improve the mother's guilt I was feeling. And I can't thank you enough because my family is happier and I realized just how much that means to what I can get done."
So if you've been looking for some momentum in your life, if you are ready to create a new level of success, if you're ready to create a new level of connection for yourself and change the way that you are operating right now so that you can have momentum on demand, go spend some uninterrupted time with your family. Take your kids on a walk in the morning, go on a walk with your wife, talk about what's going on with the two of you. Don't talk about the business. Find out where they are and where your kids are, where your wife is. Talk about what you're feeling and how things are going for you and reconnect on a daily basis, because that short period of connection will last you all day and it will help you get more out of every minute you spend working.
If you haven't connected with your family in a while, it might take a few tries to get this right. It might take a couple of dinners, or a couple of walks, are a couple of different time periods where you spend time with them, where you start feeling the effects. But here's what I know for certain. If you don't take the time with family, eventually it will cause you a huge loss in momentum. Because when we don't connect with the people around us, we allow distance to grow there. We allow chasms to grow. We start not being aligned, not being congruent, not understanding each other. And when we get to a place where we are not aligned or connected with the people in our family, those who are closest to us, that has the most dramatic effect on our business and our feelings of momentum and success.
So I want you to remember, no matter how important the business project you are working on is, that always time with family will create momentum and time without will eventually cost you.
I appreciate you being here with me today. If you're looking to spend more time with your family, a great way to do that is to make yourself more efficient and more effective by creating a morning routine. If you're ready to get into a scientifically backed morning routine that will help you get more done by 8:00 AM in the morning than most people do all day tested. Go to morning.charfen.com right now. morning.charfen.com. Download my morning routine. Take a look at it and see if you can create more momentum before 8:00 than most people do all day. And when in doubt, get up, put the phone down, go find your spouse, your kids, spend some time with them, and you'll prove time with family creates momentum.