Is Your Online Business the Golf Ball or Pebble?

I’m on this social media site called Tumblr and I came across a post that made me think. It’s kind of on topic with the life balancing I’ve been doing lately.

tumblr_mc2fhkfwgw1qa9c27o1_1280A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

 – Source

It got me thinking… running my online business isn’t a traditional job by any means. I don’t think about it the same way I thought about my old jobs. I love working online. I’m passionate about it. It’s something I enjoy and it makes me happy.

So, is it the golf ball or the pebble? And which should it be?

This isn’t one of those posts where I have an answer because the answer will be different for each of us. For me, I think that some parts of my job such as blogging are the golf ball while others are the pebbles. I don’t feel happy or fulfilled if I’m not working on certain parts of my business.

During the recent time I wasn’t working I started to feel kind of lost and depressed. Once I got back and worked on the parts of my business I’m most passionate about I felt myself being filled with more energy. It’m just happier with my days and with myself in general. That’s because for me things like blogging are an important part of my happiness.

So, how about you?  Not everyone will see working online as a golf ball, and that’s okay. For some it IS just a job – a job that’s better than other options they were presented with. For others they simply wouldn’t be happy in any other field.

Let me know in the comments – is your online business a golf ball or a pebble?

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  1. I suppose it should be the pebble, but it’s definitely tricky when you have your own online business because it’s effectively like a baby – you love and nuture it and watch it grow with pride. So I think I’m going to say it’s the golf ball 🙂

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper
    Louise recently posted..Christmas Countdown: Stir-up Sunday!My Profile

    • There are definitely parts of my business I’d call pebbles. There are those parts I’d rather just outsource or only do because they need to get done. As a whole, my business is an important part of who I am and I think that’s okay. Some people are passionate about fishing, golfing, or other hobbies. The only difference is that my business is both my hobby AND how I make money.

  2. I like the metaphor here. I like what you said about prioritizing what matters the most. It’s almost like the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. This is very similar to that. Focus on what makes you happy and don’t dwell on the negative things in life. Great post!
    Nate Leung recently posted..Why You Need to Be Open to Change in BusinessMy Profile

  3. Great story! I often ask myself this same question. I feel my online business and blog is more than a mere pebble, however, I understand that in terms of golf balls, balance is needed to find time to prioritize. If my blog and business are golf balls, my family and friends are even greater.

    • I think that big thing that decides whether something is a golf ball or a pebble is rather it’s something you need to do to meet an end or it’s something you gain fulfillment and happiness from.

  4. i would prefer my business to start as a pebble that grows to a big mountain 🙂
    Amar Naik recently posted..Mother became a Teacher : Have you raised the bar anytime in life?My Profile

  5. Definitely golf ball. I am so happy when doing it and when I am not doing it, I think about all the ideas I have for it. But I must be honest, any job I ever had I enjoyed very much or I would not have done them. Yet, they were pebbles compared to this! I feel it is because there really was no creativity involved, but then again, maybe I am a different person now. Who knows …

    Great post!
    Rochelle Gordon recently posted..Train Your Mind To Train Your BrainMy Profile

  6. My business is a MUST, so that makes it a golf ball. As long as my business doesn’t interfere with spending time with my partner, it has room on the “must” list.

    However, if there ever comes a time when the partner needs my full attention, there’s no question that the business will become a pebble. Unless, of course, I can find a suitable VA to run it while I’m absent. 🙂
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..Video Sunday – Episode #37My Profile

  7. I’d like it to be one of my golf balls. I love the connections and being able to help people. There are aspects within the golf ball that are pebbles and can definitely be outsourced in time!
    Tamsin recently posted..Success Summary 24 November 2013My Profile

  8. Hi, Amanda …

    I think I had that same prof in university, because I’ve heard this story before. I’ve had four completely different careers in my life (so far), and each one has challenged me to balance the golf balls, the pebbles, the sand … and, of course, the beer! And now that I’ve moved into being an entrepreneur, the balancing begins once again.

    For me, the golf balls are always going to be my top priority. I don’t feel driven to build any kind of an empire – I’m not in that stage of life anymore. But that doesn’t mean the pebbles are inconsequential. I still intend to gather some – and maybe lots. But the sand … I’m not very worried about the sand. There always seems to be sand, and there probably always will be – so I just try to take it as it comes.

    And as for the beer … well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. 😉

    Thanks for reminding me about this story – I love metaphors and parables … it’s always so easy to see yourself within them.

    Lily-Ann MacDonald recently posted..When Love Slams The Door On YouMy Profile

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