We’ve all watched that scene in the movies. A blonde bombshell turns to a man at a bar, asks for a light and with a Marilyn-esque voice says something like, “Tell me, sir, are you in town for business or pleasure?” Without fail, the answer is one or the other. No one ever turns to the woman and says, “Business? Pleasure? Same damn thing.” We live in a culture that separates strongly our professional and personal lives, and reminds us constantly that we’re dipping our toe in dangerous, shark infested water.
Today, I’m taking a vastly different position on the notion of business or pleasure. I contend that not only should you not choose one or the other, but in fact, the most successful people are those who learn to seamlessly blend business and pleasure, personal and professional, and use both sides to their advantage.
5 Reasons You Must Mix Business with Pleasure
- Business is all about friends. You might call them colleagues or connections on one side of the spectrum and BFFs on the other, but the fact of the matter is, being great in business is about being a good friend and having a lot of friends. You can’t put those friends in a tiny compartmentalized version of what you believe is business and what you believe is pleasure. To be successful, you really just have to be honest, be friendly, and make good relationships.
- People need to know you to trust you. Think about the people you trust, both personally and professionally. Do you know about their families? Could you tell me the names of their spouses, their children, etc.? It’s likely you could. Letting people mix themselves into your personal life means allowing people to get to know you on numerous levels, and allowing people to get to know you means they are able to trust you – something necessary in business.
- Robots don’t sell…anything. Think of the best sales person you’ve ever met. Why are they so good at their job? It’s not because they know their product better than anyone else, and it’s not because they memorized the sales script first. It’s because they’re human. They’re more than willing to take you out for drinks, they send Christmas cards, they call instead of email. They’re personable! They’re not robots. If you want to remain a “don’t talk to me about my personal life” employee, you’re eventually going to be seen as a robots, and robots don’t sell anything – products or themselves.
- Blending = Balance. If no one in your professional life knows anything about your personal life, chances are they’ll assume you don’t have one. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself asked to pull those long nights and weekends hours because Susie over there has kids to take care of or Danny has plans this weekend. When you allow yourself to talk about priorities outside of the office, you inevitably set yourself up for a more balanced professional life.
- Pursue the well balanced version of your personality. Changing at 5pm to become a totally different person and changing back at 8am the next morning has to be exhausting. People who separate business and pleasure often have different sets of clothing, different makeup, different friends, different hobbies. Exhausting! By blending business and pleasure, you might find that your clothes blend from day to night (check out Baaba’s post about mixing business and pleasure in your wardrobe), and more might blend as well. You may find you become more balanced in the process.