Momentum Podcast: 387
Compartmentalization Is A Myth
by Alex Charfen
Compartmentalization for entrepreneurs is impossible. We can't just stop and separate from who we really are. In reality, if there is something wrong at home it's going to affect you in your business and if something is stressing you out at work you're going to take that home with you whether you admit it or not. If you want success in your business you have to make better personal decisions. That's how we grow the businesses we want and achieve the outcomes we know we're meant to make.
Full Audio Transcript
Forever I've heard of the myth of entrepreneurial compartmentalization, some magical process where we can separate our thoughts from the present and think only what we want and act only how we want to in certain situations, rather than others. We all know for people like us it doesn't work like that.
Compartmentalization is an absolute myth, and the reality is ... Here's what compartmentalization is. For those of you who haven't heard the phrase, it's like something that came from coaches, or consultants, or trainers, this discussion around how you can compartmentalize how you behave, or think, or act in one situation from another situation, like you can compartmentalize as an entrepreneur. You leave your home life at home, and you leave business in the office or vice versa. Once you're out of the office, you don't bring any of it home, which it's impossible, that separation from who we are as entrepreneurs. We can't just stop. We can't just compartmentalize what we want to compartmentalize.
In fact, here's the reality. If there is something wrong at home, it is going to affect you in your business, whether you admit it or not. If there is something wrong in the business, it's gonna affect you at home, whether you admit it or not. So, personal decisions, the decisions you make, are business decisions. I often get asked by entrepreneurs what would I go back and tell my younger self, if there was anything I could say, what would I say? I think for me it would be make better personal decisions, because I've done really well. I think the amount of progress I've been able to make in my life, the amount I've been able to put out there, you know, it's never been enough. I've always been frustrated it wasn't more, but I've done pretty well.
But I think I would have done so much better if I had trusted that personal decisions were affecting everything, because I used to date people where relationships didn't feel good. They didn't feel great. In fact, I was in a really abusive relationship for a few years. I thought I could separate what was going on at home from what was going on in my business, and so it wasn't really affecting my business. I now have the perspective to know that during those years my business, my life in business, what I was doing was completely damaging, I mean, damaging for me in how I was working and what I was doing, damaging for the people I worked with, because I was not a very nice person back then. I was crazy reactive. ... damaging in a lot of different ways.
You don't know it in the present. You think you're compartmentalizing, but it just doesn't happen. Really in relationships that is a huge place where we, as entrepreneurs, go down the wrong road, but there's really three places that I watched with entrepreneurs that cause the most issues, the most damage, the most challenges, relationships, health, and alcohol. Add personal habits and those are the big ones. I watch a lot of people who are either in relationships where they're not being transparent, in relationships where maybe they're not being honest and integral, or in relationships where they're not communicating what they really want, and they think that that's gonna be okay, that it's not gonna damage their relationship, that everything's gonna move forward, and they're gonna stay in momentum, but the reality is that any of those things are gonna damage your relationship.
I've also known a lot of people that, like me, are in abusive relationships where they don't feel safe. I'm not no longer in an abusive relationship. I just wanna make it clear that now everything's good, but I was. Not like me now. ... are in relationships where there is a ton of pressure, and noise, and fear, and anxiety, and all of those things will hold back your business. Personal decisions with health. There was a time in my life where I was incredibly unhealthy. I was stressed. I wasn't sleeping. I was eating too much. I was drinking too much. I was almost 300 pounds. I was high cholesterol. My doctor told me I was his next candidate to die, literally. He told me that I was the most likely candidate for a heart attack that he had.
When you compartmentalize decisions for your health, when you think that you being unhealthy is not gonna hurt your business, I can tell you, again, I look back on those years in business, and I wish I could have a do over when I was fully present, and fully aware, and not sweating when I got to top of staircases, not eating the wrong foods, and eating a ton of processed food, and slowing myself down, and screwing up my metabolism, and all the other things that I did. I wonder what would have happened if all of that pressure and noise was gone. What would my businesses have looked like?
Then the last big one, besides relationships, the people who you're in relationships with, your health, and then the last one is alcohol. Then of course illicit drugs, but alcohol ... I've actually seen more people have more challenges with alcohol than with any illicit drugs. Unfortunately, more recently I've seen a lot of challenges with opioids, with prescription pills, but alcohol with entrepreneurs is one of the biggest issues out there. The challenge is that if you make the decision, the personal decision like it's okay to go out at night, and drink, and party, but you're still gonna be really successful in business, I've got news for you. Drinking, partying, the alcohol, what it does to your metabolism itself, what it does to how you think, all of those things are dramatically slowing down your success.
So, compartmentalization is a myth. Personal decisions are business decisions and vice versa. You have to live an integrated life, not one where you try and separate things out, because it's just not possible. If you're experiencing challenges in one part of your life, those challenges are gonna bleed over into all parts of your life. So, don't think that for a second you can do this compartmentalization stuff. Start being real with yourself about where you are and what's going on in your life.
Look at the three alignments for an entrepreneur. The three critical alignments are how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about the relationships that we have and that we're in, and then how we feel about our business. Then the three needs we have are what do we need from ourselves? What do we need to be providing to ourselves? What do we need from the relationships were in? What do we need from our business? What's the relationship, what's the interaction we want to have in all three of those alignments? If you get clear on those, if you get clear on where you are, things will get infinitely easier, because you're gonna start making decisions where you make better personal decision.
Here's what happens if you start making better personal decisions, if you start taking care of yourself. You get into relationships with people who make you feel bigger than you are, who make you feel energized, who make you feel excited and, please, for people who make you feel safe, and you take care of your health. You start getting into physiological momentum, and maybe you don't drink as much or just stop drinking all together. I can tell you that there is a direct correlation to the most successful entrepreneurs I've ever worked with and how little they drink. Most of them don't drink at all. I gave it up 15 years ago, because I knew how much it was taking away from me, and I knew how much I was exchanging with alcohol to my business and to really my life in general. When I met Cadey, it was enough. I gave it up and stopped.
So, don't think you can compartmentalize problems out of damaging your business. Don't think you can compartmentalize business problems out of damaging your relationship. Start looking at the three alignments that you have, relationships, yourself, and your business, and determine what you want from each. That's gonna help you actually live a life you want, where you don't feel like you have to separate parts away, and it's be a life when you don't feel like you need to drink to have momentum, and you won't chase the false momentum of alcohol. You won't chase the false momentum of fast food, or a sugar rush, or any of those things. You'll actually start improving in all areas.
When you, as an entrepreneur, lower pressure and noise everywhere, it gives you more presence, more awareness, more to do, more gas in the tank everywhere. That is how we see the future. That's how we really grow the businesses we want. That's how we get to the outcomes we've always known we should have. If you're ready to understand yourself better, and stop limiting behavior, and create unlimited momentum, download ... Don't download. Go buy a copy of the Entrepreneurial Personality Test Book. In fact, you don't even have to buy it. I'll pay for it. All you have to do is pay for shipping and handling. Go to FreeMomentumBook.com. The Entrepreneurial Personality Type Book will do three things. It will help you understand yourself better, stop limiting behavior, and create unlimited momentum. FreeMomentumBook.com.