The Clarity Sobriety Brings for Entrepreneurs
Addiction is a plague on entrepreneurship.
Nobody does their best work when they’re hungover.
When you’re off drinking or lying in bed hungover, there’s a competitor getting a leg up on you. If you’ve fallen into the trap of smoking marijuana throughout the day or week, I promise you that those with a clear mind will be building momentum against you while you’re in a haze.
It’s very difficult to put in the necessary extra work of entrepreneurship if you’re at a diminished capacity.
I believe that one of the key factors for people to be able to build a successful business is sobriety.
I’m a former drinker, and I know that few things have been as helpful in my life as sobriety. Even if you think you have control over it, binge drinking, smoking weed, and other addictive behavior does nothing but get in the way of entrepreneurship – even if you’ve built a business around drinking with prospects or clients.
I’ve connected with hundreds of entrepreneurs to talk about their finances, taxes, and business development. Few people are provided the intimacy that your accountant is given. Accountants get to see exactly how successful your business is, what you spend your money on, and the levels of momentum you’ve built as an entrepreneur.
When small business owners connect with me for their tax, SEO, marketing, and business development needs, it’s usually because they’ve been able to get their business off the ground, and it’s time for them to take it to the next level.
I’ve noticed a new theme rising during my conversations: for those that once participated in addictive behavior, their business flourished when they embraced sobriety.
When you’re itching to catch a buzz, you’re less likely to utilize your time for productive marketing efforts – like building momentum through hand-written thank you notes or pumping out well written blog articles for your website.
Great entrepreneurs fill their margin time with “upward and forward” activities – both mentally and physically.
If you drank the evening before, you may think that you’ve experienced some pleasurable “unwind time,” but I promise there’s a competitor that’s working harder to beat you while you’re nursing that hangover.
Last month I bumped into an entrepreneur that was frustrated and kicking himself because as we started to put together business plans, his vision culture, and a marketing plan, he realized how much time he’d wasted smoking weed.
“Dangit, I could have been doing this 15 years ago, but I was stumbling along in a stupid haze because I was high! Think of how much money I could have made!”
I’ve met person after person that’s said the exact same thing. Trust me young people, instead of seeking pleasure through addictive behavior, your future self would much prefer you to use your time for growth activities and entrepreneurship.
3 Key Benefits of Sobriety
1 – You Can Use Margin Time to Work on Franklin Covey’s “Non-urgent, Important Activities” and the 20% in the Pareto Principle
You know what helps build momentum in your life? Using margin time to do really impactful things.
What you do with your margin time is critically important as an entrepreneur, and it’s usually where the “things that matter” are either conceived or done.
If you’ve ever studied Franklin Covey, you know that they talk about “urgency” and “importance.”
Activities can either be important or unimportant, and then either urgent, or non-urgent. The principle they teach is to work hard to get out of the “tyranny of the urgent.”
Urgent items are the fires that need putting out. They are usually the things that you did not proactively plan for, haven’t established a system around, or try to bully their way into your schedule. While urgent matters need to be handled, you should be able to manage systems around them so that they aren’t disruptive and quite so urgent.
Important things are the things that build momentum in your life and business. They are the “20%” activities that produce the 80% results in the Pareto principle.
Non-urgent yet important activities are the activities that often yield the greatest results. When is it that you can work on non-urgent, important activities? Margin time is probably the best!
If your capacity is diminished in any form, it’s usually difficult to enter the “flow” and get meaningful work done. If your margin time is consumed by a diminished capacity and haziness, then it’s nearly impossible to work on the important, non-urgent things.
You can more easily work on your business and build momentum when you’re sober.
2 – You Can Do what it Takes to Fulfill Your Mission, Purpose, and to Live Out Your Values.
The difference between entrepreneurs and being an employee is that entrepreneurs do what it takes to be a business. It’s really not that complex – but it’s not easy.
When you’ve been avoiding sobriety, you’re more likely to do the bare-minimum and take the path of least resistance, just like everyone else.
But great entrepreneurship happens when you take the path of most resistance, and do the hard things that other people won’t. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work smart or that you should try to do everything on your own, I’m talking about execution on the “anomaly activities.”
What’s an “anomaly activity?” It’s the things that need doing to be different than the rest.
Anomaly activity might sound a bit like the “20% activity,” or the “important, non-urgent,” and it IS close.
But Anomaly Activities are the extra things that you’ll need to do to accomplish your mission, purpose, and values. It’s what it takes to be completely different than the competition.
It’s what it looks like when the mission, purpose, and values of your specific organization are put in action.
3 – Financial Momentum
When you embrace sobriety, you’ll notice a great deal of extra cash sitting around in your bank account. Not only will you be saving a great deal of money by not purchasing alcohol, but you’ll also notice that your work will get a higher return.
When you are sober, I promise that you will be able to drive more business and get better results than before. To borrow from what I mentioned above, I guarantee that you will have the energy to go out and make extra sales and that the quality of your work will increase.
Now take a look at the financial impact that a moderate drinking habit or addiction has. If you spent a mere $50 a week on your habits, that’s $200 a month. If you saved $200 a month for five years and invested it into growth stock index funds that earned 8% annually, and then let it sit for another 30 years, you would have turned your $12,000 investment into $160,701.
That’s if you quit saving all together, and only invested for the initial 5 years at $200 a month. If you would have saved $200/month throughout the 30 year waiting period, you would have $458,772 invested.
A $200/month drinking or marijuana problem not only stifles your ability to get work done, but it’s denying your future self a great deal of money.
I could probably list out 15 additional ways that sobriety is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs, but I think I’ll stop at that. The bottom line is that you’ll get more done, work in a more meaningful way, and save money when you sober up.