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Question: I’ve recently started my own business, and I’m finding it tough to stay connected with my friends the way I used to. How have you been able to stay engaged with your social circle?

Maintaining a healthy social life amidst the tunnel vision of getting your business off the ground – or closer to your revenue goals – might seem like an unrealistic thought, but trust me, it’s not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining our sanity, growth, and ultimately, our overall business success.

The entrepreneurial journey can be isolating – especially when you’re going at it as a solo founder or with a small or non-existent team. We’re often consumed by all the work that needs to get done to bring our visions to life. However, I’ve personally learned that neglecting my social life to make more time for my business can actually lead to burnout, creativity stagnation, and even strained relationships. My social circle serves as a support system, a source of fresh perspectives, and a way to unwind from the daily grind.

I admit to not always being as consistent as I want to be with juggling my work commitments and spending ample time with friends and family, but it’s something I’m much more intentional about managing.  Here are a few tips and ways that I’ve been able to get better at balancing a social life with the demands of running and leading a business:

1. Prioritize Your Social Calendar

Just as you prioritize meetings and deadlines, carve out time for social interactions. Treat these engagements as non-negotiable commitments – a lunch with a friend or a family dinner deserves the same level of respect and uninterrupted interaction as a business meeting.

2. Embrace Technology

In this hyper-digital age, staying in touch with friends and family has never been easier. Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been leveraging FaceTime catch up calls to bridge the gap when meeting up in person is tough to do. It might not be the same as a face-to-face interaction, but it’s a valuable way to maintain connections.  I also try to spend some time on social media each day to stay in the loop of what my friends are up to and so I don’t miss important celebrations or milestones.

3. Quality over Quantity

It’s not about the number of friends you have, but the depth of your connections. Invest time in cultivating meaningful relationships with fewer people rather than spreading yourself too thin. A few close friends who truly understand you and the journey you’re on can provide immense support.

4. Learn to Delegate

As entrepreneurs, we often struggle with relinquishing control. However, delegation is not only vital for business growth and people development, but also for your social life. By entrusting certain tasks to capable team members, not only are you giving them an opportunity to develop their skills, you also free up time that can be spent on nurturing relationships both inside and outside of the business.

“Here’s the beautiful thing – nurturing your social life doesn’t just benefit you; it ripples positively into your business.” – Nancy Twine

The perspectives and ideas you gain from your interactions can lead to innovative breakthroughs (I can’t tell you the number of incredible ideas I’ve generated for Briogeo from ideas stemming from dinner conversations with friends). I know firsthand that regular networking can open doors to collaborations, partnerships, and potential investors. And let’s not forget the mental and emotional recharge that comes from spending quality time with loved ones.

I mentioned earlier that the road to balance hasn’t been an easy or consistent one, but it’s definitely gotten better over time by being intentional about striking symmetry between chasing my dreams and cherishing my connections. Let’s recognize that a healthy social life isn’t a distraction; it’s an investment in ourselves and our businesses. Remember, we’re not just here to build empires; we’re here to build a life worth living.