How many times have you heard you shouldn't mix business with pleasure? While going on a date with your boss may not always be such a good idea, the notion that work should be devoid of pleasure is getting a little old. We spend around a third of our lives working (and a sizable chunk of the rest of it recovering from work-related stress). So, striking a balance between our personal and professional lives seems not only smart but essential for long term health and happiness.
The incidents of work-related stress and the effect it can have on our health (including depression, anxiety and even heart disease) are alarming. In fact, workplace stress costs up to $190 billion in U.S. healthcare bills every year. The extra hours spent at the office and addictions to our smartphones are detrimental to our health. It also often means that our personal passions get sidelined as well.
Keep up this pace and before we know it, our lives will be over and that personal project we always wanted to complete will be gathering dust on a shelf. I had a conversation about exactly this with Dan Sevigny of Spooky Digital the other day. Dan refuses to believe that work and personal passions have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, he and his team incorporated their desire to empower people through self defense with their digital marketing business.
Mixing personal passions with business
He says: “There's a term we coined at Spooky Digital called 'Entrepreneurial Activism.' This is the idea that every entrepreneur should find a way to express their personal values in the world, while also supporting their business.
Look at it this way...
You can spend half your time campaigning for a cause you care about, while you spend the other half of your time growing your business… but you end up being half as effective on both fronts! You only have so much time and energy in a day. By combining those efforts, you can actually get more done with less work. That's exactly what we did when we came up with the idea for WOMEN'S FIGHTS.”
By combining a cause they felt strongly about with their core business activity, Dan and his teammates have been able to effectively make a difference. When asked about the reasons for starting a self defense program, Dan highlights its importance in personal empowerment, especially for women. “You never know what you'll face out there in the world when you leave your house in the morning. Anything can happen. Knowing how to defend yourself could mean the difference between staying calm and panicking in a dangerous situation (which could ultimately be the difference between life and death).”
Achieving real, measurable results
Through the WOMEN'S FIGHTS program, the Spooky Digital team help martial artists and studio owners connect with their communities. They provide free marketing and PR support that studios need to increase their visibility, get more media attention, and reach a wider audience, while at the same time providing a sense of empowerment to those who need it most.
Working on his personal passions and his business at the same time has been really effective so far. At Brooklyn based Class One Mixed Martial Arts, they were able to increase paid trials of their service by 650 percent!
Fortune 500 firms spend over $15 Billion every year on corporate social responsibility. But all companies should get behind a cause, no matter how large or small they are. Dan confirms: “Every business should support a cause. It increases the impact you can have on something that's important to you, and is incredibly fulfilling.”
He’s proud of the advances that he’s making in personal empowerment, especially for women. “The sense of personal empowerment you'll feel when you know how to defend yourself will have a positive impact on every aspect of your life.” From public speaking to getting out of a bad relationship; learning how to defend themselves has given his students increased confidence in themselves and their abilities.
Yet Dan doesn’t just see helping people achieve personal empowerment as the end goal. People who feel empowered and strong will stand up for what’s right. The program doesn’t end with the women on the course, but creates a whole ripple effect of more and more people going out into the world to do good.
“We need good people in the world. Your time could come at any moment! When you're empowered, you'll be ready to accept the opportunity and rise to the occasion.” Amen.