Feed the Biz

Article by:
James Stevens, EO Sydney
James Stevens
EO Sydney

James Stevens of EO Sydney is Founder and Director of Roses Only, a leading florist in Australia. James is currently Chapter President of EO Sydney and has served in the past as the chapter’s Communications Chair. He has been a member of EO for nearly eight years.

I don’t know about you, but I have been a living, breathing, human sacrifice.

I worked six or seven days a week for 16 years. Monday through Saturday, those days began at 3:45am when I awoke, knowing that I had to be at the flower markets by 5:00am, and didn’t end until at least 7:00pm. And, since the biz doesn’t sleep on Sundays, I always put in a mandatory two to five hours then as well.

I only knew of a proper breakfast on holidays — which averaged two weeks a year, minus the time spent on my mobile during those "breaks" — and lunches were few and far between. Unfortunately, that meant late dinners, hardly any exercise, very little sleep and an invariably bad diet, all leading to a liver issue that wasn’t treated until 1994 when my level of health consciousness started to grow.

I can’t help but feel that my marriage might have been healthier if I had more time at home, and I know that I have missed some significant milestones in my little boy’s life. Fortunately, I have been around a lot since he started school and have definitely seen a lot more of my daughter, who is four years younger.

That’s only since joining EO.

Unlike most Aussies, drinks and more drinks on Friday nights were out of the question. I was exhausted after a 16-hour day. And, even if I had enough energy on Friday night, I always knew that I’d have to be up again on Saturday morning, so the thought of letting go was a non-event.

On Saturdays, I would perpetually get home from work at 7:30pm, shower and crash. The funny thing was that I would roll over at midnight and look at my clock in a panic, thinking, "Oh no, I have missed out on [some outing that was organized by friends]," get dressed and get going in the hope that it was still on.

Over time, as I became more in touch with myself and closer to achieving my dreams, I realized that it was all me: It was my hunger, my passion that drove the biz to consume more and more, because it was my dream. And, as I strove to live my dream, I became the sacrifice, along with my family and friends.

Was it worth it? Yes, it was. It was the only way I gained experience in business and life. And it was the only way that I found this amazing group of peers whom I trust and respect implicitly. Without my dream, I would not have my business. Without my business, I would not have EO. And without EO, I might still be working six days a week. EO showed me how to nurture the biz rather than sacrificing myself to it, and that is truly a lifesaver.

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