Jason Garner, former CEO of Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, was at the pinnacle of his career, hanging out with rock stars and earning a sizeable paycheck when he suddenly found himself burnt out and unhappy with his life. In his new book And I Breathed … My Journey from a Life of Matter to a Life that Matters, he addresses how he went from burned out to balanced.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Garner says satisfaction is an entrepreneurial paradox, as entrepreneurs engage in a constant struggle between what’s good for the health of the business and what’s good for their personal life. “I started out in business with an idea that I wanted to achieve some sort of personal fulfilment and what I really set up is this never-ending chasing my tail looking for love,” says Garner.
Although society tells us that satisfaction comes from the acquisition of material things, Garner says, we all have basic human needs including the need to feel loved, valued, appreciated and safe.
“When we associate those needs and values with external accomplishments, we find ourselves in a place of feeling unfulfilled and unloved and under a tremendous amount of pressure to continue to produce external things because we’re chasing this sense of internal fulfilment that we rarely find from external accomplishments,” he says, adding that entrepreneurs who spend too much time focusing on the goals of their company without thinking about the goals for their personal life will often end up like Garner, feeling unfulfilled in both areas of their life.
Appling Business Values to Yourself
Garner says the values that entrepreneurs exhibit in the business world can be used to achieve balance in their personal lives. Entrepreneurs are often celebrated for being flexible and open to new ideas in business, but often in their personal lives they’re myopic, stiff and inflexible. Garner says he now uses yoga to bring the flexibility he had in his business life into his personal life.
“It’s opening a space in our bodies so we can create flow. It’s the same thing we would do in our business. If we looked at our business and there was a bottleneck, we would clear the bottleneck and that’s what we have to do in our bodies,” says Garner.
“We can learn to nurture ourselves the way we nurture our business by looking at our own emotional needs,” says Garner. Nurturing our bodies, Garner says, is another business value. “Our body is a community or a workforce of trillions of cells,” says Garner. “At work, we know that if we treat our workforce as objects, if there’s no nurturing, no caring, we have a workforce that will rebel against us.” Treating your body in the same positive way as you treat your workforce means feeding your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Here’s some more advice, specifically for entrepreneurs, to prevent burnout:
1. Take an inventory of your daily life.
Make a list of your daily practices. If you’re feeling burnout, Garner says, you’ll likely find that your daily practice includes nothing for anything but the business.
2. Ask what you would like to your life to feel like.
As in any good business plan, you need to know the end goal of the business. Garner says in order to prevent burnout you also need to ask what the goal for your life is, what you would like to build.
3. Build a daily practice.
Build things into your life that create balance, such as stretching, meditation or a nutrition regime to take care of your body in the way that you take care of your business.