The Work / Life Balance Myth
Hey, welcome to the Builders Business Success Podcast!
The purpose of this podcast is to give you all of the tips, tools, and techniques to build a better building business, as well as the mindset and philosophy that it takes to create a great building business.
*This video was extracted from a virtual intensive with our members*
So if you’ve ever read The E Myth, the book by Michael Gerber, you’ll know that the biggest cause of small business failure is the error in judgment, that is thinking, “Because I am good at doing the work, “I will be great at building a business “that does that work.” Biggest cause of small business failure. So the real key here is to separate being a great builder and learning how to build a great business.
We’ve got an interview with the fantastic, Ray Blakney. He’s a serial entrepreneur and a part time sword fighter. So we’re going to talk to him about that. And we’re going to talk to him about the myth that is work-life balance.
Also, we’re going to do our new segment, and it’s called What’d I Say? And it’s a little excerpt from conversations that we have with our black belt members, it’s always gonna be fascinating, always gonna be interesting.
And we’re also going to introduce a new segment and it’s either going to be a tech topic or a book review. In this particular episode, gonna be reviewing the book, The ONE Thing, and you wanna be hanging around for that.
Okay, so it’s time to talk to our very special guest.His name is Ray Blakney. He is an international speaker, a serial entrepreneur, can’t stop creating new businesses. And as I said in the introduction, he’s a part time sword fighter.
HERE IS RAY’S BUSINESS https://www.livelingua.com/
Here’s the conversation with Ray!
“So on the Live Lingua site, when I was sort of late at night, doing my stalking–
Which would be middle of the day for me so it’s not quite as creepy here because of the time difference.
No, it’s very creepy, it’s definitely creepy. There was a quote on the website and it basically said, “I am always working, “or I’m always on vacation, “depending on your point of view.” And this is something that I really want to get your thoughts on because it’s something that I’m really passionate about. Years and years ago when I first started the whole coaching thing, I was actually coaching time management. So I was flying all around Australia, on about a half dozen planes a week and talking to people about work-life balance. Here we are 30-something years later, I don’t believe in that anymore. Unlike back then we had phones that if you put it on in a belt strap, it would pull your pants down, right? And they didn’t have screens on them, and they were for phone calls. But now, there’s just this immediacy, everyone wants the immediacy of communication and I want a response now and all of this sort of thing. And so to be a successful business, I suspect, you’ve pretty much got to be able to respond very, very quickly. And something that I’m passionate about is ensuring that pretty much everything you do in your business is just as enjoyable as what you would be doing on vacation, or on holiday, or whatever. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
I agree 100% with what you’re saying, that there is no such thing, in my opinion, as a work-life balance because work is part of your life. So kind of trying to artificially separate that, it causes more unnecessary stress, right? For me, it’s even worse. Not only do I work from home, but my business partner in Live Lingua, now I run multiple online businesses, but Live Lingua, is my wife. So really, I mean, there’s no separation between personal life and my work life. So when I say that I’m always working or always on vacation, it implies two different things; my wife and I love to travel. So before we had our child, we had our first child a few months ago, we would travel two or three months a year. But what does travel mean? Travel wasn’t, “We’re going on vacation,” it just meant, “We are going to live somewhere else “for a short period of time.” In our free time, we’re going to go and see the tourist stuff, but that’s still meant, if we’re in Japan and Tokyo, we woke up in the morning and worked for a few hours and went out. I do that at home as well. So if I’m working from home, and I’m really tired one day, I have that freedom to just take the afternoon off and maybe make the hours up, maybe not, depending on where my business is at that point. That’s what I mean by I’m always working, or always on vacation. Because it’s not that those two things are separated, it’s that I have the freedom to choose which one of those things I decide to be doing at this time. That gives you a little bit of responsibility as well, because you can’t choose to be on vacation all the time. That simply does not work. But you do get to choose, look, I’m really tired today, I’m just gonna take the afternoon off. Or I’m really motivated. Because if you love what you do, which 80% of my job I do, I don’t mind putting in a 12, 14 hour day sometimes. You’ve been working long enough that you know, you get in those flow states. If you’re working in an office and you think, “This is my work,” and you’re in the middle of the flow state at like five o’clock in that day, and you’re just getting everything done, but you’re like, “Oops, it’s five o’clock, “I better stop working.” You’re actually doing yourself a disservice because if you just work another an hour or two, you’d get so much done, then just sleep in two more hours tomorrow morning, kind of make up that free time. Spend it with your family, do whatever you want. And you can become more productive in that way. So that’s kind of the story behind why I say that. Because of that freedom, I’m always working or I always on vacation.
Yeah, so as you’re probably aware, our niche, the people that we speak to are builders, and I guess the mindset is that they’ve always been working from 7:30 in the morning to 4:00, 4:30 on the tools, that sort of stuff. Generally, there’ll be home, maybe inhale some food for 20 minutes and talk to the family and then they’re back in the office, doing paperwork, and quotes, and all of that sort of stuff. And so, it’s a little more difficult to get this across to that sort of mindset, but I absolutely believe that it’s totally possible to build a building business with this mindset. But you’ve gotto shift that mindset first. So what suggestions might you have to a trades-based person who has kind of, they’ve habituated themselves into thinking, “I have to do these hours, I don’t have a choice.”
I can actually relate because in my first business I was in that… the brick and mortar schools that we had, it was a seasonal business like a lot of the builder businesses, right? In the summers, we’d have a lot more people come down because we’d have students come down from the United States. And I would literally work three months without taking a single day off. I’d work Saturdays and Sundays, because I do the tours on the weekends. Again, we bootstrapped that business as well, we didn’t have the money to pay tour guides, I would have to do all of it. The big revelation for me, and I think a lot of your builders might be stuck in the same place, is that in the beginning, I did not either wanna ask for help or hire help, because I had that mentality that a lot of people do, where nobody can do this as well as me. Nobody can fill out those bids, for builders, as well as you can, is might be something that goes through a lot of the builders heads, if you kind of analyze every single task that you do every day, and you think about, “There are eight billion people on this planet, “there’s not a single person that can do X task better than I can?” When you look at it that way, you realize that we’re not thinking correctly. There’s gotta be somebody out there that can do certain tasks better than you. Now, for the builders themselves, maybe, they have to go and physically do the building themselves. But the paperwork, there’s not somebody in the world who can help you do the paperwork and maybe even do it much better than you can and save you those four hours you’re filling that out? That is how they can free up some of their time. Look for that help, it’s not as expensive as you think. Especially if you wanna outsource to a cheaper part of the world, for just the really boring administrative tasks, you can find people in the Philippines who speak fluent English, are in the same time zone as Australia for the most part. And they can send your emails, they can answer them, that’ll save you four hours a day. That was the big revelation for me to pull me out of that cycle, to realize that I am not the greatest at doing everything, and asking for help and looking for help. And my business actually grew as a result of that. So it wasn’t that, “Oh, I stopped sending my emails myself “and suddenly nobody hired me,” I actually had more time and I did a better job more efficiently in what I had to do in my task. And as a result, all the rest of my business grew even though I was working less.
Yeah. I mean, a classic example of that is another speaker that we had a podcast where I first came across you, Ray, was Carl Taylor. And he’s got a company called Automation Agency. We use them, a number of our builders use them for all sorts of things; design, and web, and security, and automation, and just take stuff off their plates. And I’d want your thoughts on the difference between the mindset of an entrepreneur and the difference of the mindset of a business owner. In my mind, I perceive that is a business owner tends to be that person that you were just talking about, “I can do that, I can do that.” And they do this and they add, and add, and add to their list. Where it seems to me, an entrepreneurs mindset is more, “Here’s a bunch of stuff on my list “that keeps recurring. “Today, what can I do “to get one of those things off it permanently?”
Exactly, exactly. And that was the big revelation I had to go through, to get through what I call kind of the hustle phase, which is where most of us entrepreneurs start, right? We don’t have a lot of money, we just do the work and we do it well. And it’s very easy to get stuck there because a lot of people have this fear of, again, nobody can do it as well as me so I shouldn’t hire anybody to come into the business. As soon as you break out of that, that was the point that my businesses really started to take off and now I own multiple businesses as a result of it, because I’m working on my businesses, not in my businesses, right? I don’t answer the emails, I don’t send proposals to anybody. For my online language school, I don’t teach a single class. I’m building a podcast analytics engine right now, I have programmers doing it, so all I have to do is do the concept. Even though theoretically I’m a programmer, I could do it myself. That’s the mindset you need to get into. One of the things that really helps me is you have to remember why you got into this in the first place. And I think almost none of us got into it to work 16-hour days. If you did, then maybe you shouldn’t hire any help. You’re living the dream, go for it. But none of us, I think, got in with that dream. Our dream was, “I want to make enough money “to support myself, my family, my hobbies,” whatever it is. Retire comfortably, retire early, if that’s something you’re looking for. And is me working 16 hours a day really the most efficient way for me to get there? And I would guess, for 99.9% of the people listening to the podcast, the answer will be no.
What’d I Say?
Okay, I wanna introduce you to our new segment.
It’s called, What’d I Say? Every day, we have conversations with our builders business blackbelt members. And from time to time, I actually say something that’s worthwhile listening to. When we find those things, we’re going to grab them, I’m going to share them with you in this show, in this particular segment.
So let’s have a listen to What’d I Say?
“Encourage everyone to do that, that if you want to have a relaxed day on the weekend or a whole relaxed weekend, that’s what you plan for. So you open up you your diary system and you block it out and say, “I’m doing whatever the hell I want “from that time to that time.” It gives you a sense of control, like just deciding to do nothing or to relax or whatever. It adds to the experience of, “I am more in control.” It is pretty good advice that lazies just put out to everyone and it’s something that I’ve experienced that in over 30 years of doing this is the thing that you never master is the prioritized daily action list, planning part of your day.
You can always get better at applying priorities and figuring out the consequences of doing this and not doing this and getting really clear, and constantly proving to yourself, because we never seem to believe it, constantly proving to ourselves that we can’t do everything.
We keep falling back into this trap that we believe we can do or should be able to do everything and you can’t. Because what generally happens is what your everything is right now you can set up systems, and procedures, and delegations, and automations, and outsourcings to get that off your plate.
So you go, “Oh, this is pretty good. I’ve cleared my plate.” And then you start doing more reading and listening, and, “Oh, I think I might do that, “I might add that to the process, “I think we’ll do this, and we’ll do that, “and we’ll do the other,” and we start filling our plate back up again. And so we end up doing this up and down, up and down, up and down. And it’s just a constant challenge to add stuff, add challenges, add goals to your life, but figure out more effective ways of doing what needs to be done to accomplish”.
One of the most valuable books I have read in, I guess, the last decade is The ONE Thing. The basis of the book is to understand that there is one thing that you can do in your day or in your week. There’s one goal and there’s one purpose for your business, that when you go after that one thing, it can make everything else in your day, or in your list of goals, or in your business far more valuable, and eliminate the necessity to do a whole bunch of things.
So think about that. Even if we just think about that, in relation to our day, if you can answer that question, what is the one thing that I can do today, that will make everything else I do more valuable, and remove the need to do a whole bunch of things that I thought I needed to do? Everything you do is gonna be more valuable, and you’re gonna free up a chunk of time to be able to work on the things that make the biggest difference.
So I can’t encourage you enough, to go grab a copy of The ONE Thing, read it multiple times, and start to put it into your day, into your decision making, and start to ask those questions; what is the one thing today? What is the one goal, what do I wanna go after, that’s gonna make all my other goals more valuable, and potentially, prevent me from having to do a bunch of other stuff that I thought I had to do? It’s a great book, it’s a great philosophy, it can make a massive difference to your productivity and how you feel with your building business. So go grab yourself a copy of this fantastic book.
More From Ray Blakney!
We already heard some great stuff from our special guest, Ray Blakney.
We’re gonna go back to that conversation now and hear what Ray has got to say about scheduling time for your training and scheduling time for proper and quality rest.
“What are your thoughts on, I guess, the discipline or scheduling of your own personal education? I was just watching a video this morning before we jumped on this call. Another coach, who actually coaches dentists, who’s in our group of coach with Taki, I think, who you met.
I know Taki
Yeah, so he’s with Taki, as am I. And he was just sort of helping us understand that there’s a lot of parallels between elite sport and success in business. But where we tend to drop the ball with business is what is the level of or how many hours are involved in competition versus training in sports? And like it’s completely ass up with business, like we do business most of the time, and we try to fit a little bit of training in, and then we get frustrated because things don’t work out the way we want.
So do you have any suggestions or any ideas to help us, I guess, be a bit more disciplined, scheduled, programmed, if you like, to make sure that we’re doing the appropriate training? Otherwise, we’re just going to get frustrated?
I’m gonna add one more level to that advice. So there’s planning your work, there’s planning your training, but one thing that most entrepreneurs, most people, I believe, forget, and I think it’s the most important, is planning your rest. And I think that is actually the most important component. And going back to your sports analogy, if you work out, you don’t actually build muscles in the gym, right? You build muscles in the rest periods between the time you’re lifting your weights. The body, the mind is exactly the same thing.
So you can’t work 16 hours a day for a month straight. Trust me, I’ve tried; I got carpal tunnel, and I was so burned out at the end of it that I did or I just couldn’t think any more. Your body is not made for it. You need to plan your rest more than you plan anything else. Whatever that may be; family time, reading a book, for some people it’s playing computer games, whatever, there’s no right or wrong answer here.
That’s gonna lead into the other two things that you’re talking about. Now that you’re well rested, your training and education is gonna be much more efficient. Maybe you needed three hours to read a chapter before and now you can do it in an hour, or to listen to a podcast, or whatever it is, you can listen to your podcast at double speed because your mind is more alert because you’re more rested. That’ll then carry over into your work because your mind is more alert, you can actually get much more work done, which might free up time for you to do a little bit more training on top of that.
The discipline there, the way that I use it, is I have pretty strict schedules as far as my day is concerned. My training is usually audiobooks, and I do that while they work out in the morning. So I do an hour and a half of workout in the morning of gym, and I listen to audio books while I’m there. I take courses at least twice a year, for a week. So I kind of do these kind of batch courses because it’s kind of hard to fit it into your work schedule all the time.
And I love that.
If you have a commute, add it to that.
That immersive experience a couple of times a year, I think it’s just so important. Like you’re out of your normal routine and schedule and all of that sort of stuff and you kind of get inspired and you can run off those fumes for a few weeks, if not months.
Exactly. A little trick that I do for those, whenever I go on those trainings, and they tend to be at other locations, so they’re not in my city, I usually stay a few days afterwards, they’re usually at a resort at a nice area, or if not, I’ll rent out an Airbnb, and I add my rest period on the end of that. Because not only then… There’s two things that happen, you’ve come in and kind of come out of that you’re on this high about, “Oh, I really wanna implement everything that I learned.” But you sometimes need time for your brain to process all that information. So if you take that weekend and just stay there on the beach and relax, your brain not only processes it, you recover from all the energies you’ve spent on that one week of training, because it’s work, and then you get back to work, not only motivated, but fully rested. And in my experience, those are usually the most productive one or two weeks of the year by far. I mean, I can pump out more there than the two or three months before that”.
So I really hope you’ve enjoyed the show. So what are the big takeaways? What are the things that you can take away from this show and action? Because it’s a whole lot of fun and enjoyable to watch the show, consume the information, but what’s the point if you don’t put it into action? So what could be the takeaway from this particular show? If it were mine, I would be taking particular note of what Ray said, scheduling time and having a budget of time and money for training, to educate yourself. Because the person that can make the biggest difference as to whether your business is successful or not, is you. So that is the person who you need to invest the most time and the most money in.
A great question I remember Stephen Covey would always ask, “When you’re on the airplane, “who do you want to have had the most training; “the cabin crew or the pilot?” I think when I’m strapped into that seat, it’s always the pilot. You’re the pilot of your business, you’re the one that needs to get the training, the education, refine your skills, and it will make the biggest difference to your business.
So I’m sure that there’s been many inspiring thoughts throughout this show. And if you feel that you need a hand to figure out how you can implement it into your building business, that’s what we’re here for. So depending on where you’re watching the show, if you’re watching it on our web page, there’s a button underneath the video here, you can click that, fill out a form and we can be in contact real soon. If you’re listening to it on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or one of the podcast platforms, simply go to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au and there’ll be a button right there on the center of the web page. You can hit that, schedule a call, we can get together and see if we can help you head in the right direction with what you wanna implement in your building business.
So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the show. Looking forward to talking to you in the next episode.
Bye for now.