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Leave Superman to the Movies and Comics, Because Despite What You Think, You Can’t Do It All

It seems that everyone likes to live vicariously through superheroes, but vanquish any thoughts you have of being Superman when it comes to your business.

I know a guy I call the Superman Entrepreneur because he literally thinks he’s invincible. On the surface, everything looks good. Not only is he building three businesses, but all of them are doing well and have real growth potential.

The fly in the ointment is that he’s overextended both financially and from a time and stress perspective. We’re about to refinance one of the businesses, which would cut his financing costs in half. Sounds good, huh?

Stretched Too Thin

Unfortunately, most of those positives are negated because he’s way behind in his sales tax payments. The reason for that is he’s stretched too thin and he refuses to relinquish any degree of control.

On more than one occasion, I’ve counseled him to consider getting rid of one of his businesses (theoretically cutting his workload by a third). Not only would his stress level diminish, but so would his astronomical workload.

Every time he’s balked, cutting short the conversation. For now, he’s mostly able to keep things under control, but what happens if things change? Think about all the possible problems that might emerge.

Perhaps a fire destroys inventory. Maybe a market collapses when a competitor comes up with a better product or service. There could be unexpected legal action that throws him into a bind, and so on.

Then there’s his personal life. What if a child, his spouse or his parents suddenly require extensive medical care? What would happen if he had to go through a divorce? What if his personal finances got clobbered by a bad investment?

Life can still be super.

There’s no shame in not being Superman. The entrepreneur I cited here may end just fine with his three companies and, if so, more power to him.

However, there’s always more to life than running yourself ragged. If the entrepreneur took a step back or maybe sold off a business (or relinquished some of the control and duties in his three enterprises), he’d probably enjoy life more.

Don’t discount the importance of a positive work-life balance. When you’re old and gray, you’ll be less likely to have regrets if you took some time to attend those elementary school plays, vacation with your spouse or spent extra hours with your parents in their declining days.

Yes, this is a column about how to succeed in business (while really trying), but you can’t succeed if you have no life outside of work or if work is tearing you apart on the inside.

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