Whether you’re in the early stages of creating a business or have been in business for a decade, it’s a good idea to revisit the basics and make sure you have a strong personal foundation for your business to thrive upon. It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are if you don’t stay in good shape, mentally, emotionally and physically eventually, you’re out of business.
Statistics tell us that most small businesses fail in the first 5 years due to lack of capital. While this is true, in my experience the other reason businesses fail is from owner burnout!
Owning your own business can be an enormous source of satisfaction and freedom. Running a business however, is also one of the most stressful and at times overwhelming undertakings there is. As you well know, it takes an enormous amount of your time, energy and resources every day. Many business owners start out filled with energy and excitement and soon come to realize the enormous investment and commitment they’ve gotten themselves into.
Chances are you’ve heard this before, that’s good. As we know from the marketing field it takes at least 7-9 exposures to a targeted message for it to sink in. Whether this is the first time or the twentieth time you’ve heard this message this time I’d like to invite you to take one action for yourself – TODAY – that will begin to refill the well.
Make an investment. Not an investment in a training program, or a new software package – an investment in you – you who are your businesses greatest asset.
Here are 4 suggestions to get you started on the path to taking care of your number one asset – you. Pick one area to work on at a time. Maybe work on one each week. How might feel by the end of the month if you practiced each of these suggestions? Take a moment to imagine that.
Practice the mantra, I am number one. This runs contrary to what you were taught. It’s the toughest part of your programming to overcome. But, you have to learn to take care of yourself first. Remember the message you get from the airlines if oxygen is needed. You must put the mask on YOURSELF before assisting others.
I’m not suggesting becoming selfish; I’m suggesting you explore the difference between selfish and self care. Self care is product of psychological health. Do you eat well, do you exercise regularly, and do you take vacations? How well do you manage your time? Do you know the critical distinctions all business owners should know? Working in your business versus working on your business and most importantly -you are NOT your business.
Regularly nurture your inspiration and your dreams. It’s SO easy to get lost in the day to day details of life and business. We march through the day with our head down, leaning into what has to be done. When was the last time you looked up, scanned the horizon and marveled at something beautiful? Answer the following questions: Why did you start your business? What lights you up about what you do? What dreams are as of yet unfulfilled?
How do you nurture the essence of your inspiration? You might take a coffee break in a special café and journal. Maybe find a special place in nature to spend 15 minutes a day. Turn off the radio during your commute and just listen to the silence. Consider spending regular time doing this. This is the kind of activity that refills the well quickly and gives you energy to go on.
Where does your precious energy go? Energy drains are often the biggest cause of stress and overwhelm. They are the things you tolerate every day that if you eliminated would free up time. The good news is many of them can be quick and easy fixes. There are two levels of energy drains, nuisance drains and lifestyle drains. Nuisance drains are things like: the squeaky door that bothers you or not having office equipment working well. Do you shutter every time you open your file drawer and can’t find what you’re looking for? Are your finances in order? These are things you can actually do something about to remedy. Call the accountant. Oil the door. Make a list of 10 nuisance drains and take care of them this week.
Lifestyle drains are harder to fix, they are things like toxic relationships and psychological hindrances that get in your way. The first step however, is articulating them and making a plan to handle them.
By getting the things off your plate that don’t belong there you will make time for the things you do want there. Or maybe you’d simply like more time?
Improve your support system. Let’s face it we all need support and sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. Here it is straight – Often the difference between getting successful results and not, depends on how well supported you are. A circle of support can mean a lot of different things. It can be your partner, your best friend, a mentor or coach, or your family. Meaningful support can be any or all of these people, the more support you have the better.
Think about creating your own personal advisory team. Many business owners convene an advisory team on a regular basis to help solve business problems or brainstorm new ideas. You might have to include the promise of chocolate to inspire attendance, but in my experience, most people are honored by a genuine request for help.
Regardless of how and when you access support, make sure you distinguish between true support and energy draining support. If you find yourself surrounded with the latter, go back and reread the previous point. It’s critical that your supporters are there for YOUR agenda, not their own.
It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!