A friend kindly pointed me to this blog post: The Hidden Costs of Starting a Company.
Most entrepreneurship posts are about the excitement, the passion, the challenges, etc. Many are how-to guides. But few talk about the negative consequences of the entrepreneurial career path. The post says
“You can have your start-up and one thing. You can have your start-up and your health. You can have your start-up and your family. Or you can have your start-up and your significant other, but you can’t have multiples. If you try to have multiples, you’ll be poor at all of them.”
I think this statement is too forceful, but it is far closer to the truth than a newbie might think. Entrepreneurship isn't something you do 9-5 and leave at the office. It is something you love and that you bring with you almost all the time. It requires Great Effort and Great Attention.
But this isn't unique to entrepreneurship - any job where there is a the potential for Great Things to take place usually requires Great Effort. And Great Effort comes at a cost of the most precious thing we have - time.
That said, as Good To Great showed us, Great Things can also be achieved by people who maintain a healthy balance. It is vital to remember the law of diminishing returns - yes you could work 80 or 120 hours a week instead of 60... but the extra hours are rarely as productive as the first 40-60. So sometimes the best thing you can do for your productivity is take a go on a date with your wife, play with your daughter, socialize with friends, get yourself a new video game...
And in the end, if you screw up your family and/or your health, you have nothing anyway. So finding the balance may be tricky, but it is the challenge we have set before us.
Hey, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it :).