Finance Work What do you have to sacrifice for success?
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What do you have to sacrifice for success?

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CEOs and entrepreneurs are often splashed across websites, magazines and newspaper in all the glory of their success.

What is spoken about less, is what they did or sacrificed to reach their goals.

The ‘four burners’ theory alleges that life is made up of four different burners – health, work, family and friends – and that to be successful you have to turn off one burner. To by truly successful, you have to turn off two.

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The New Daily speaks to several Australian CEOs to find out if this is true, and reveal what they have given up for successful careers.

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MyBudget founder Tammy May

Tammy May, CEO and founder of MyBudget

Tammy May, founder and CEO of MyBudget, as well as a mother of three, started the business from her kitchen table when she was just 22 years old.

Today, MyBudget has more than 16,000 customers.

Ms May says that starting her own business meant her twenties were different to her friends.

“In the early days of MyBudget, particularly for the first couple of years, I didn’t draw a salary,” Ms May says.

“That was tough, especially as I was still in my early twenties and my friends and peers were going out shopping for clothing and shoes and partying and eating out, just generally having a great time.

“Having and running your own business also means that you sacrifice those long holidays that others enjoy.”

Ms May says she doesn’t believe in the four burner theory, insisting that the better balance you have in life, the better person you are. She also says her family are her number one priority.

“I might spend a lot of time at work, but for those really important things for my family and friends, I’m always there,” she says.

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Atmail CEO Zach Johnson

Atmail CEO Zach Johnson

Messaging service Atmail CEO, American-born Zach Johnson, has worked in leadership positions in international business for the past 15 years.

The former US Army serviceman says the death of his son a few years ago keeps the stress of his role in perspective.

“At the time that happened, I was the CEO of another company in Los Angeles,” Mr Johnson says.

When something like that occurs in your life, the stress of business just seems minuscule.”

While Mr Johnson tries to set a good example for his staff by exercising, and keeping in a good headspace, he says his health has suffered because of his work.

“The time I put on a bit of weight, I was living in LA, I was commuting, I was dealing with our family tragedy, sitting in a car for up to four hours a day and then sitting at a desk with a stressful job,” he says.

“Not being able to focus on your physical fitness and not putting sufficient focus on diet and eating habits, that burner was definitely turned way, way down.”

He now uses exercise as a release from the stresses of his role.

“Here at Atmail we have a gym nearby, and today I just went for a quick 20 minutes. That’s enough to release and feel like you’ve accomplished something and get back to work and be ready to deal with whatever lies ahead.”

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DesignCrowd founder Alec Lynch

DesignCrowd CEO and founder Alec Lynch

DesignCrowd founder Alec Lynch wishes that he had more time for travelling and spending time with friends.

Mr Lynch started the crowd-sourced graphic design website with just $10,000 in savings. It is now expanding globally after a $3 million capital injection.

“I definitely prioritise the business and health burners. My life outside of this doesn’t get as much attention as I would like,” Mr Lynch says.

“In particular, I find that I have periods where I just work, see my immediate family and do fitness and just don’t have the time for holidays or hanging out with friends.”

Mr Lynch says he tries to make fitness a priority, exercising most days.

“I try to exercise regularly. A typical week for me would be five jogs, one gym, one cross-fit and one game of touch football,” Mr Lynch says.

“So, most days I am doing some sort of exercise.”

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