Christoff Oosthuysen reviews Winning Without Losing – 66 strategies for succeeding in business while living a happy and balanced life by Martin Bjergegaard and Jordan Milne. Published by Profile Books (2013).
Driven by the desire for success, many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of working harder and harder. They are so focused on achieving the good results they aim for in their businesses that they forget about creating a fulfilling life for themselves.
In many ways, they allow their business to overwhelm the rest of their lives.
Winning Without Losing is an easy-to-use guide for entrepreneurs and employees who have realised that balance in life is more likely to deliver success. Indeed, it’s not about working harder or packing in the hours.
In following the advice by Bjergegaard and Milne, you’ll learn how highly successful entrepreneurs “won the race to the top without losing the battle for balance”.
The book is based on interviews with 25 successful business people from around the world who have, according to the authors, found ways to “have it all”. These entrepreneurs have not only built hugely successful businesses, but have also maintained an approach that allowed them to create happiness in other areas of their lives.
They start the book with a straightforward list of myths around hard work and sacrifice as necessary ingredients for success. And they are correct in their observations. For instance, it’s a myth that the harder you work, the more money you’ll make and, similarly, that sacrifice will lead to success.
These notions are based on having to lose something from the rest of your life so that you can succeed in business.
So, what will allow a balance where you can keep “winning without losing”?
The authors studied the approaches of these successful business people and summarised them into 66 easy-to-understand tips.
This approach of explaining what works through straightforward and concise advice sets the book apart. It is really easy to read… even during those odd moments between other commitments.
Most tips are three or four pages long, so you can quickly get into a topic, where you get practical advice on what you could do in your situation.
But it is not only the organisation of the book into 66 short “strategies” that makes it worth reading, it is also the practical nature of the tips, based on practices that are proven to work. Take the tip Make a “today” list. Many entrepreneurs find that because they have the freedom to determine their day and do not have a boss to tell them to go home, they often work much longer hours than they should.
There is always something more to do, so they tend to do it, even when the day is already over.
This tip on making a “Today list” comes from IT entrepreneur Steve Robbins, who says: “Decide in the morning what you will consider a full day’s work today. When you have done that, you can stop thinking of work.”
In following this tip, you’ll find that you are not tempted to keep asking what more needs to be done, but that you find it possible to ask what must still be done today only.
In doing so, you free time for the other key aspects. You may want to put this book on your reading list if you do not want to be in the position of founder of Walmart,
Sam Walton, who is quoted in the book’s introduction.
On his deathbed, Walton said “I blew it” when he realised that he had lived a life of huge business success but barely knew his children and grandchildren.As shown by these 25 entrepreneurs, it is possible to have business success while maintaining a balanced life.