I read this post by Ben Casnocha yesterday and found it interesting. He is reviewing a book, which I haven't read, and eventually gets to talking about being consumed with start-up or business success. Read the full post here. Ben argues that this is one of the drawbacks with the start-up life and admits that he doesn't know whether or not it is necessary to success in that area.
Most ambitious companies -- certainly start-ups -- require of their employees single-mindedness. They demand all-consuming focus, and to "give thought to the critical personal and political issues that affect one's emotional present" is seen a distraction. Some of the successful business executives I've met are absolutely immersed in their professional micro-universe. The politics of the world, their personal relationships, their personal philosophies: who cares? Whether they realize they're wearing blinders, I don't know. Whether blinders are necessary to achieve massive professional success, I also don't know.
I would take it a step further and say that this is a drawback to the pursuit of anything in life. When you want something and pursue it you risk becoming consumed by it. I did this with hockey for the majority of my life. I don't regret my personal pursuit of excellence in hockey, and I attribute much of my success to that desire and passion.
People struggle with being consumed by something they love and desire when they aren't honest with themselves about what they truly want out of life and/or by having a narrowed scope of a small portion of their overall life journey. You must know what you want out of life, and just because you want the one thing that is consuming you doesn't mean that there aren't other things in you life you wish to pursue and enjoy as well. So you want business success. What happens when you achieve it? What is the end state? One of my personal mantra's is "always content, never satisfied." This is my personal reminder to always enjoy where you are at and what you are doing, but to always be wanting and driving for more. To always want a better life for myself. I remind myself of this to put into perspective the things I enjoy in life as well; family, friends, experiences, learning, achievement, etc. You can see how focusing on meeting that sales quota for example can drown out those other things. Be honest with yourself and keep the totality of how you want your life to play out in mind.