Whether you consider yourself a solopreneur, a partner, or a founder in charge of a growing team, running a business is H-A-R-D. It takes time, patience, intense work, the ability to be uncomfortable, consistency, and did I mention time?
Having taken the leap and focused all my efforts on my website, Becoming Who You Are, earlier this year, I’ve found myself in a constant struggle to balance what I feel I should be doing to support my business, and what I need to be doing to support myself. Along the way, I’ve learned that the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive: unless I find the time to do things that support myself, I’m not supporting my business.
This realization has led me to adopt a new way of working and a new way of measuring how things are going within my business. Hard metrics like income, subscribers, site traffic, social media reach, etc. are important. However, they are all influenced by a number of variables outside our control.
We can’t control what we can’t control. What we can control is how we show up each day.
How we show up each day depends on how we’re doing, mentally, emotionally and physically. In order to show up at our best, we might need a morning, an afternoon, a day, 10 days off. Sometimes that means that the super duper important if-I-don’t-get-this-done-today-the-world-will-collapse tasks can wait until tomorrow (because they’ll still be there then). Sometimes we’ll be able to plough through, and sometimes we’ll know when we’ve had enough – really had enough.
I’ve examined this balance in my own life a lot over the past six months and here are a few things I’ve noticed along the way:
You will always find someone who appears to do more, and that’s OK.
Whoever we are and whatever we’re doing, the chances are we can all point to several other people who work longer hours, make more money, have more professional connections, gets more sales, and so on.
These people are not what we need to measure ourselves against. The only true measure we can use to know whether we’re doing our best is ourselves. As long as we know that we’re showing up and doing our best, there’s not much more that we physically can do.
As Steve Furtick said, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the- scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” The answer to this is to be mindful of those moments when we’re falling into the comparison trap, stop, and ask ourselves one important question:
What does my best look like today?
Our best doesn’t look like working ourselves to the bone.
That’s called burnout, and it will kill your business. I’ve experienced times when I pile way too much onto my plate at once, thanks to the challenge monkey on my shoulder saying “Go oooon, don’t be a wimp, you can handle all of this – and more!”.
The challenge monkey has never helped my business. In fact, it’s made me feel more overwhelmed and demotivated.
A crucial part of taking care of ourselves and running a business at the same time involves knowing our limits, because we all have them.
For example, I know that I find cold-emailing really scary (OK, sometimes I just find any emailing a little scary). Some people love it, I avoid it for as long as possible. That means that when I’ve done four or five cold emails, I need to take a break and chill, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Asking myself to go from sending out five cold emails, to recording three videos back-to-back, then conducting a coaching session followed by two Skype interviews is not going to work. Perhaps you’re someone who thrives on that kind of intense interaction, but you will have other ‘discomfort zone’ activities that you need to be aware of.
Our best involves doing what we need to do in order to serve our clients and customers.
This is especially true for coaches, consultants and any businesses that involve one-to-one contact with clients, but the same principle stands for other types of businesses too.
Best serving our customers doesn’t mean churning out product after product or fitting in back-to-back client sessions. When we’re tired, drained, overwhelmed, overworked and distracted, we’re not going to offer good products or services. This will damage our businesses in the long-term.
We need to get enough sleep in order to show up for a session alert and inspired. We need to eat well in order to maintain our energy. We need to take time off in order to be able to return refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated. When we don’t do these things, our work becomes stale, lifeless and uninspiring – for us, and for our readers and clients.
You are your own manager.
Being our own boss is simultaneously a gift and a curse. How successful we are at managing ourselves hinges on how well we know ourselves.
Everyone has their own limits. There’s nothing good or bad about this, it just is. The sooner we can acknowledge our humanness and stop trying to mould ourself into someone else’s way of doing things, the better able we will be to take care of ourselves and our business.
Knowing our own individual strengths, knowing our challenges and listening to our emotional and physical signals is the only way we can measure what our ‘best’ means on any given day.
What do you need to listen to more?
|Hannah runs Becoming Who You Are, the guide to authentic living. She is passionate about helping people create the lives they want from the inside out using a rational approach to personal development. Download the free ebook The Five Most Common Blocks to Authentic Living and How to Overcome Them and find more resources for authentic living at www.becomingwhoyouare.net.|