Robert Herjavec, best known as the “nice guy” on Shark Tank, says his unlikely success comes at a steep price: his free time and basically all of it.
The dapper, sapphire-eyed serial investor is a master juggler. He has to be. The self-made millionaire clocks 12 plus-hour days on set, all while heading up a major Canadian Internet security firm and coaching the dozens of startups he invests in.
Herjavec’s jam-packed schedule doesn’t leave much time for wrangling that delicate unicorn called work-life balance. He doesn’t think it exists anyway. “Work-life balance is one of the biggest misconceptions people have,” he told Entrepreneur.com. “It’s not reality.”
These days, Herjavec -- who fled the former Yugoslavia and emigrated to Canada at the age of 8 -- says he’s working 24 hours a day and he’s probably not exaggerating. “I’m laser-like focused and driven and you just gotta keep going. You have to figure out what’s important to you, realize that everything has a price and make sacrifices.”
And those sacrifices can be huge. Even though he’s an always-on business leader and mentor, Herjavec also likes to identify himself as a father and family man. That means that no matter how hectic things are at his businesses, he will always sacrifice that time for his three kids. He did, literally, for three years straight when he traded a full-time communications industry executive position for stay-home dad duties when they were young.
“I may not have what people call a balanced life,” Herjavec wrote in his book The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding (HarperCollins , 2013), “meaning I’m not home for dinner every night at the same time. But my kids know I’m always there for them, and whatever else I may be doing, they are my first priority. The things I have achieved in my life are only of full value to me when I can share them later with my family.”
Even when he spends time with his family, Herjavec is always on, never fully unplugging from work or his smartphone. “I run one of the biggest cybersecurity firms in the world, so I want to know if there’s something bad going on and I want to know right now,” he says. “If I don’t have access to that, I get fidgety. I’m always on.”
You can watch Herjavec in action on Shark Tank during the Season Six premiere this Friday, Sept. 26 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT on your local ABC station.