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Edition 301 – The Social Network

It’s been my experience over the years that most owners of small and family businesses devote:

  1. A lot of time to their businesses.
  2. Less time to their families.
  3. No time to themselves.

As we head towards the pointy end of the year, I’ve noticed that, at least amongst the family business clients that I work with, there’s a lot of “head down” and  “tail-up”. It’s always evident in this final quarter of the calendar year. This year, in Sydney and Melbourne at least, I believe it has been exacerbated by the long lockdowns that each of those great cities have endured. For a lot of these people, there is not a lot of time for much else at the moment.

The difference between Dean Version 2005 and Dean Version 2021 is that I’m much more conscious these days of the need to make time for myself. It’s only after exiting our long lockdown in Sydney that I truly realised how uplifting that can be.

As most of you know, I’m a Motorsport nut and COVID has put the kybosh on attending any in-person events for almost two years. Recently, however, the Supercars Championship has staged four consecutive weekends of racing at the Sydney Motorsport Park in a push to catch up their calendar, which almost buried their 2021 season.

To be able to hear and feel the roar of the Supercars as I indulged in my passion was pure delight. Motorsport is a visceral experience and as I sat there, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much I was enjoying the experience.

What truly struck me, however, were the conversations I had with friends in my Motorsport circle that I hadn’t caught up with for that same two years. Sure, we’ve kept in touch via social media and sent the odd message of “hope you’re keeping well” through a difficult period. But nothing compared to catching up in person, swapping a few yarns, sharing a lot of laughs and indulging in our shared passion and hobby.

For what seems like a long time, my conversations and interactions have been with my family and my clients and not too many others. Whilst I value each of these very highly, it was nice to engage in a different conversation with different people with different backgrounds and at different stages of life. After each event and each interaction with others not in my regular orbit, it was like I’d been on holidays, so invigorated was I from the short time away.

All of this has proven to me that too many of us give up our hobbies and passions as we move through life and, in the process, grow stale. We hop on the wheel of work and life, but in the process, seemingly put individual enjoyment on hold. We tighten the net of people that we engage with and, in the process, miss out on valuable social engagement.

If all of this sounds like you, it’s time to rekindle those interests and relationships. The beneficial impact on doing something so small for yourself may give you the energy boost that you need to get through the next stage in business.

This Week’s Tip

“It’s amazing what the smallest of “time-outs” can do for your social and mental wellbeing.”