I honestly hope this is a trick question and that your answer is: both! If you’re thinking, “Whatever is she talking about? I run a successful business, and I’m cooler than the other side of the pillow!” then kudos to you. You’ve got it figured out!
But for many of us, owning a business often feels like walking a tightrope, constantly shifting your attention back and forth, desperate to find that perfect balance and get through each day without plummeting to the ground.
Boy, do I get it. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people don’t.
I’ll tell you a quick story.
I was at the grocery store, and I ran into an old friend from high school. We greeted each other warmly, caught up on husbands, kids, etc., then we started talking about our jobs. I mentioned that I’m in business for myself and briefly described what I do, and she, a pharmacist, throws her head back and laughs. “Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to work for myself! It would be so nice to just sit in my pajamas all day and tinker on the computer! You’re so lucky!”
I’m sorry, what.
“It would be so nice to just sit in my pajamas all day and tinker on the computer!” (Yes, someone said that to me.)
Now… I kept my cool, and since this wasn’t someone I planned to see again, I decided to just let it go. I told her to take care, and I turned and left. Then I spent the rest of my shopping trip fuming.
As small business owners, we not only fully immerse ourselves in our work, often to the brink of insanity, but then we also have to face a world who, by-and-large, seems to think we’ve somehow taken the easy road in life.
Say it with me… HA!
Someday I’m going to write about all the things I’d love to say to those people – and all the things that would actually be appropriate – but for now, let’s just talk about how we’re taking care of our businesses and ourselves.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a real support system.”
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a real support system. Not just your family and friends, but people who actually understand what you do and how hard you work at it.
We all have those days where we’re pretty sure we can’t open one more email, can’t answer that same question again, and can’t possibly disguise the fatigue in our voice when we make that phone call. Sometimes just checking in with another business owner – or reading a blog post from one! – can help us catch a second wind and finish out our day like a champ.
“Go take a walk… right now.”
Another thing we stress a lot is taking breaks. Seriously. Stand up, stick your phone in a drawer (or in your back pocket if you can’t stand to be apart), and go take a walk… right now. We’ll wait.
Back already? How was it?
It’s truly amazing what a little fresh air can do for you. Taking a break gives you clarity by clearing your mind of stagnant thought processes, and with that clarity comes the ability to see tasks in a new light. Now you’re ready to solve a problem, tackle a to-do list, or simply pick back up wherever you left off, refreshed and ready to rock.
At the end of the day, a successful business is worth nothing if you’re killing yourself to achieve and/or maintain it. You should not trade your health and well-being for dollar bills, no matter how much you enjoy seeing them come in. And the best news is, YOU REALLY CAN HAVE BOTH.
You can nurture your health, both physical and mental, and nurture your business at the same time. But you have to 1) admit that you’re not currently doing this, 2) figure out where you’re going wrong, and then 3) ask for help getting there if you can’t do it on your own. Reach out to your support system, and for goodness sake, give yourself a break.
Have you figured out the formula to achieving business success while maintaining your sanity? We’d love to hear your story! Tell us about it in the comments section below.
I am a working mom with a degree in Business Administration. My career passions include hunting down pesky commas and exploring the dark underbelly of Microsoft Word. I live to edit and edit to live!
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