Do you ever find yourself looking for something to keep you inspired? You run to conferences and suck up the most popular books. You look for mentors and connections to keep your fire going? It is easy to get trapped in a cycle of constant input and output when you are running a business and your energy can become like a revolving door. Information goes in, and out to your clients. Money comes in, and out to bills. Today, I want to challenge you about what you are RETAINING. What are you keeping for yourself and for your business in terms of energy, ideas, and finances? Sustainable businesses are built on longevity.
Entrepreneurs have no other option (it seems) then to work hard. We will often spend 16 hour days in the launching of new products or service or to honour the immense responsibility that is payroll and overhead costs. We go on vacations and spend the whole time reading, planning, and answering emails. Hard work and these obsessive qualities are necessary in pioneering stages but there are things you can do to counteract burnout. When you’re in a season with your nose to the grind it is annoying to hear things about self-care and indulging yourself - but it’s annoying because it hits a nerve.
The number one reason businesses will fail is because of the owner.
Burnout is a major factor, as is lack of leadership skills, insufficient marketing, broken sales processes, and challenges with accounting. In my mind, these are all side effects of bottlenecking your business by forcing yourself to do too much. You are a human, you are fallible, and our flesh temples are weak.
When I talk to my clients about their stresses the biggest theme that comes up is the revolving door factor. We work our asses off for sales and need to invest in inventory. "We just got the bill from the accountant," "Goddamit, Jose quit and we have to hire and train someone new," It’s the same with energy. If you’re like most entrepreneurs I know, you could work 24 hours a day and still have a pile of work to finish. A coffee meeting can be a major stressor, let alone finishing that report that the bank asked for when you are strapped for your time. How come you don’t get to your emails every five minutes? Because you’re flipping busy - and that’s ok.
Here are my tips to keep your growth sustainable:
Keep some money in your account.
Easier said than done, I know. It is so important to cut unnecessary costs and make sure that you are able to keep your cash flowing. In saying this, I mean in your personal account as well. Living within our means is an all but forgotten artform. In my own life, it meant making sure I take regular paycheques from my growing business. This is hard to do when you have staff and expenses, but my work is important. When I take this money, it is important for me to be a good steward of what I do with my earnings and energetically, this stewardship will flow into the rest of your life. I can skip a daily Starbucks and use my Nespresso - saving Starbucks for meetings. I can paint my own damn toenails. Now, there is nothing wrong with self-care and indulgences, but make sure you’re not bleeding money. Keep some money in your account.
Keep some time for yourself.
How easy is it to fill every part of your day in 15-minute increments? I know it is common for me to book my day like that and squeeze in another meeting or phone call. As soon as the day ends and I pick up my boys my day becomes all about them: feeding them, making sure they don’t break their necks when they scale the stairwell, and giving love, affection, and correction. I get them to bed and fill up my evening with tasks so much so that I can’t sleep. Over the past four months, I’ve been practising letting emails wait, letting my evenings for myself and drawing a nice hot bath. I start my morning for myself too. My boys wake up at 6:30 so I get up at 5:30, light a fire, pour a coffee, and read, write, or just sit in silence. These moments have become critical for my mental health and stamina. Time is not going to fall into your lap so it is important that you MAKE time (not find it) and put yourself first. Indulge yourself, breathe, remember life is short, fragile and a gift. Don’t work it away. When in doubt, ask if anyone will die if this doesn’t get done right away? The answer is no. Let the dishes sit, let the task wait, and keep some time for yourself.
Keep energy to enjoy your victories.
Instead of taking time, I want you to think about it as keeping. It is yours, just like your money, and you choose how you will spend it. Will you keep up your consistent routine of exercising the cortisol out of your body? Will you keep moments to push your child on the swing? Keeping your brain happy has a lot to do with chemistry. When we are stressed our body fills with cortisol making us tired, grumpy, fat insomniacs. Too honest? Let’s be real. We want that out of our body and to enjoy some natural opioids: dopamine. How do we get to enjoy dopamine at work Celebrating your victories. Just like the juicy self-satisfaction, a child gets when they show you a sticker on their agenda - show off and get giddy about what you’ve done. Do a happy dance when you get a big ol’ cheque in your bank account, when you land a sale, or when you review a strong quarter. Relish in your victories big and small. You’ve earned them. Make little rituals like standing up and dancing around when you’ve done a good job. Put it on a sticky note. Text your partner. Crack open some sparkling water.
Take care of yourself today (and all days) by making sure you aren’t spending everything that comes in from money, time, and energy.
This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Lace up, and choose to keep some time, money, and energy for yourself.
I want to hear from you!
What are some ways that YOU keep your joy, money, and time?
What are some ways you can grow?
Tell me in the comments below.