I had the opportunity to sit with Nashville great Mark Montgomery yesterday for a couple of hours and exchange life stories. For as interesting as he is (read: very), what was most interesting was his straight forward approach to getting the info he wanted/needed from the conversation. An interesting example of this, and the reason for this blog post, was because of a very pointed question he asked…

“As an investor, if I was looking at your company to invest in and saw all the things you were involved in outside of that company, that would scare me. How do you get away with all of it, and why?

 

My answer was simple: “I take my work life as serious as I take my personal life“. At first he looked at me like I was a little full of crap, but then I went on to explain.

Loving What You Do

Most of us have hobbies or things we LOVE to do: gardening, biking, playing music, mentoring, volunteering, mountain climbing… you name it. Because we love these things, and because (for the most part) we don’t get to do them as much as we would like, we can become obsessed with them. We read articles, write reviews, enroll others, buy gadgets and in some cases fundamentally change our lives for these personal life things. That’s pretty serious. I take my job that serious.

I love what I do. I love where I work. I love the people I work with. I take my job as seriously as I take my hobbies. I approach each day like its that one week a year where my friends and I get together to hike into the woods and camp, climb mountains and tell stories by the fire. I love my job. Everything in my life is part of one story. My personal life bleeds into my work life. I believe it should be that way. When you are a well rounded person, you are a better employee, a better friend, a better spouse, a better parent. Don’t believe me? Ask the people I work with. It’s a shame I have to call them “people I work with” because for the most part, these are my greatest friends and people I share most of my personal and professional time with.

Work Life Balance is for Wussies

Some people call what I have explained here “work life balance“. That is such a politically correct way of explaining peoples lives in this world. Why would you not work for a company you believed in? Why would you not love your job? Why would you not work with people you would call family? Work life balance to me says “I know you hate your  job, but if you have hobbies and friends that will make it better.” I know I’m making generalizations and stretching the definition, but whatever. I have no work life balance and I love it. There is no line between where work ends and life begins.

About My Imbalance

I am a founder (or founding member) of many companies, some here in Nashville (Anrovia Design, ShirtsBymail, Podcast Alley, Mevio/PodShow, CarlSays, Checkd.In, Jumpstart Foundry, Change:Healthcare, EVBE, etc). This is my work, and my life. No balance. I love my startups, as a matter of fact I love many startups (Im a mentor for Source Your City and NextGxDx, and others too). I also love being outdoors, gardening, cycling, motorcycling, family time, creating things with my hands, and more. My work life balance is so out of whack, but that IS my balance.

 

I work hard because I play hard.

Work/life balance is for wussies.

I take my work life as serious as my personal life.

Do You?

 

In Summary…

Mark, thanks for the time we spent together. To anyone reading this, I would love to talk to you more about this topic and help you find a way to work as hard as you play. Most importantly, don’t let people tell you about you. You decide who you are, what you love, and what you do… not others. Don’t be afraid to go balls out.

4 Comments

  1. I have wondered that same question about you before. I mean, a VC who heavily backs your day job even seems to encourage you to do all this extra stuff.

    I made a very concious effort to eliminate “side projects” when I started Bizen. Then again, I do have another business and 6 kids and just trained for a marathon. I guess it is about the same.

    • theFerf Author

      Like in most startups, you back the person not the idea, right? I’ve been fortunate enough to be trusted to destroy it day after day by my investors. So much in fact they support me in other personal and professional endeavors knowing two things: 1) I will NOT let you down and 2) Everything I do as a person makes what I do for you (the investor) better. 

      By being allowed freedom to explore my curiosities, I’m making the products I build awesome more quickly. Im able to explore new concepts on the side slowly, and use that knowledge to quickly implement in my day job, and so on.

      And yes, 6 kids, multiple successful businesses and training for a marathon NO DOUBT counts as “side projects” :) You amaze me.

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