The #1 Reason Entrepreneur Dads Burn Out

We’ve been taught that it takes, at minimum, 50+ hours of work each week to successfully start or grow a business.

This belief (what I call the “myth of hours”) sets up entrepreneur dads for failure and burnout.

For if business success truly does depend on you working that minimum 50+ hours, then every request your wife makes for you to grab milk on the way home, or work less hours, or take Friday afternoons off is a direct assault on your business… robbing it of the hours it MUST have to succeed.

And so your heart slowly fills with resentment, anger, and despair… driven crazy by the fact that the two things you love most—family and work—are not only “incompatible” with each other… but that serving one apparently destroys the other.

I know this because I was locked in this model as well, until a series of events forced me to question this “myth of hours” and come out the other side with a completely different paradigm of work and family life.

What I discovered is that success at business does NOT depend on some minimum amount of hours worked, but on embracing what I’ve come to call “edge work.” Once I made this paradigm shift, I was able to grow our health business from nothing to an 8-figure Inc. 5000 company in under 5 years, all while having plenty of time for my personal and family life.

Here are the three steps that free you from the “myth of hours” and remove the source of burnout from your life, giving you back your essential fire:

Step 1: Find your edge

No doubt you’re familiar with the idea of working within your “zone of genius”… of finding the form of work that best harnesses your unique talents and experiences for optimal impact and income.

That is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough.

The key is to not only work within your zone of genius, but to force yourself to produce work that is at the far “edge” of that role.

The safe, secure center or “best practices” of a craft is where forgettable work happens. To create game-changing results, you must go to the uncharted “edge” of your craft and do the pioneering work that terrifies you.

For example, let’s say you’ve done accounting all your life and realize that your unique zone of genius is actually advertising, so you make the switch and start doing advertising work.

The next critical step is to determine what your personal edge is within that role… to determine what extreme form of advertising your personality uniquely prepares you for.

Maybe you have a knack for integrating provocative images into your ads, or coming up with eye-grabbing headlines, or in placing ads in extremely unexpected and therefore productive places.

THAT is edge work… where exponential results are possible.

Step 2: Do edge work in 5 minute micro-commitments

The next step is to do this edge work on a regular, ongoing basis.

This is best done in “micro-commitments” of just 5 minutes per day.

There are two reasons for this specific time-frame:

1. Pacing. Edge work is an electrifying and exhausting activity, especially when you aren’t used to it. Tackling it in five minute increments is the perfect way to ease into this kind of work without frying your circuits.

2. Results outside of time. Edge work is capable of creating massive results in a short amount of time, so “long hours” are unnecessary. Your success is determined not by how many hours you work, but by how close to the edge you are able and wiling to go.

As your edge work begins to bear fruit, you can gradually start allocating more and more time to this game-changing activity.

Step 3: Optimize your life for edge

Non-edge work does not require much of you. You can eat poorly, sleep little, live an uninspired, self-deprived life, and still muddle through.

Not so with edge work.

Edge work is as exhausting and depleting as it is transformative, in the same way that extreme athletic events deeply exhaust and deplete elite athletes.

If you do edge work without optimizing your life and environment to support that intense activity… you will not be able to sustain it.

You’ve been treating yourself like a workhorse: fed cheap hay, kept out in the rain.

Once you make the leap to edge work, that will no longer suffice. You must start treating yourself like a thoroughbred racehorse: you must feed yourself the choicest foods, get copious amounts of sleep, and fill your calendar chock full of inspiring retreats, getaways, and adventures.

You must feed your mind, body, and soul the rarefied air that edge work requires.

So, there you have it: the three step framework that breaks the “myth of hours” from your life and generates income outside of time.

Now go find your edge and get cranking!

Bryan Ward is the founder of Third Way Man and author of the LIT Black Paper

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