The owner of a business can often be tied too closely to it. Their personal life becomes secondary to their business. Personal relationships get damaged or, even worse, severed. Their children grow up and the owner misses their childhood. One or more bad clients can take the company down, leaving the owner holding the bag and personally devastated.

How to avoid being a prisoner to your company?

Tim Cross of Merrick Construction told me about his recent trip to Spain. One of the things Tim did was to run with the bulls in the streets of Pamplona. As you probably know, white pants and shirt with a red scarf and sash are the uniform when running.

Being smart Tim and his friend were walking the streets of Pamplona the day before the run when they came upon an English-speaking tour guide describing the event to a group. Tim and his friend joined the tour and got some important advice: When preparing to run with the bulls tie your scarf and sash with a slip knot. Why? To avoid being dragged a bull if its horn happens to latch onto either of those items and drag you along the street.

Tim and his friend followed the advice. All went well!

What does a slip knot look like when running your company?

  • Set limits on the hours per day and days per week you will work.
  • Set limits on clients’ ability to reach you and your employees by text, etc., so you all can rest and consequently do better work for your client.
  • Schedule personal activities, such as your children’s activities and time with your spouse, first and then schedule work activities around those.
  • In your company do, as much as possible, what you like and want to do and hire others to do what you don’t want to do.
  • Have a rich and active life outside your company.

Taking steps like these will make it less likely you will be dragged through the muck by your business.

The advice Tim got came to me several years after starting our company. I had to untie the knot I had originally tied to connect me to the business and tie a slip knot instead. Thankfully, it worked!