There was a time when I thought that if I poured my heart and soul into my business, that it would take off and produce everything I ever wanted in life: success, money, recognition, extra time… all of the bountiful things a great business yields for its owner.

Well, I was wrong.

What I discovered was that if I poured my heart and soul into my business, I would be left empty, heartless, soulless (and penniless).

Fortunately, I found this out before all of that came to be. So I thought I would share.

The Leap: More Heart, Less Head

“Sometimes you have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.” – Kobi Yamada.

For many of us, our businesses begin as a leap of faith: we dream, we hope, we plan, and led by our heart, we jump into being an entrepreneur.

As we build our wings, our hearts lead the way.  Many times, a new business seems like a foolish endeavor.  We’re giving up benefits, regular hours, a pension, and most of our sanity to do something that might not even work out!  What?!  But our hearts are bursting with passion for our business-to-be, and so we forge on, ignoring the naysayers and reveling in the pride that we are doing it.

The first time you see your sign in the window of your business, the first time you hand out a new, crisp business card with your brand on it, the launch of your website, the first referral through the doors, those are chest-busting moments of joy for your baby, your business.  The heart leads the charge.

A business borne of love and passion will always stand out.  If you’re really into what you’re doing, it echoes in your expression and voice.

The Long Haul: More Head, Less Heart

But there comes a time when the head needs to step in.  If you had told me this three years ago, I would have accused you of being one of the naysayers.

However, one thing I’ve learned the hard way is that not every aspect of your business is about your love for your business. No one really cares much about your love for it, to be honest. Passion gets you noticed, for sure, but passion without logic doesn’t stick.

If you’re all heart, everything that happens to you is personal.  Employee is late?  Feels like a slight against you.  Someone missed a deadline? It must mean they hate me!

Your head needs to realize that your team is just human. Their job is not their “baby” like your business is to you.  Your employees don’t think like you do. That’s why they’re employees. They (mostly) just want to do their job and go home.

You need to follow your heart when you’re picking your team or facing tough odds. That Harvard graduate with the killer resume may trump the Carleton grad in prestigious schooling, but who has more oomph? Use your heart, there.  Are you in a slow season right now?  Your heart will remind you why you got into this in the first place. In darker times, your love for your business can see you through.

On the other hand, your head will steer you through steely negotiations, icky customers, and budgeting.  Even though it can seem greedy or blasphemous to be constantly aware of our numbers (“But I don’t care about the money. I just want to do what I LOVE…”), it’s important to know where we stand financially, and whether or not our business is improving and profiting.  If we don’t put our heads into these facts about our businesses, we risk not only losing our business, but getting our hearts broken in the process.

In the end, it’s not about how much heart we put into our businesses.  Entrepreneurs have tons of heart. It’s a given.

In the end it’s about how much balance we can achieve between our heads and our hearts in business. 

Like Nelson Mandela said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Jen Wright is a Registered Massage Therapist and the owner of Whole Therapy, a unique and collaborative multi-disciplinary clinic in the west end of Ottawa.  To contact Jen, send her an email at jen.wholetherapy@gmail.com, or visit the clinic website at www.wholetherapyottawa.com