11 Sep Self-Care and Entrepreneurship: How to Do Both
Self-Care and Entrepreneurship
I like you. I honestly do.
I have a lot to say about making your work the best it can be. I’ve worked with many of you, and I have oodles to say about your interface with creativity, brand, and the business of working toward something that lights your spirit on fire.
However, today I’ve watched too many of you suffer. I’m asked to reinforce something equally important in this business of getting paid to do work that gets you as excited about Monday morning as you are about Friday night.
Recently, when someone asks me to help them with their business, job search, or getting their marketing “in alignment” I hear, “well I need you to help me get aligned because I want my business to grow so that I’m making more money, I have more freedom, and I can take better care of myself.”
What if we look at the order of things? The “help me get focused and grow my business and make more money” is coming BEFORE the “take care of myself.”
See a pattern here?
This is all well and good. I can certainly relate to this feeling. I’ve been to this place as often as I’ve had a breakthrough idea in the shower (just about every morning). Yet, at some point, I had to start facing the cold hard fact that I can’t drink beer with gluten … and that there is no end to the cycle of putting priorities in front of taking care of myself.
For example, I’ve heard, “I’ll take better care of myself after I get paid.” “When my boss or partner (or both;-) comes back from vacation.” I’ve been known to squirm in my seat when I hear, “at the beginning of next year, I’ll carve out a plan to eat better.” Or, “my kids are out of school so it’s kind of a free-for-all around here,” I’ll make plans to exercise when they are back in school. Yep, I’ve done this, too.
Hey, I hear ya. I’ve done all this. Somehow though, yesterday turns into today and today becomes tomorrow in the blink of a comet emoji.
It’s my love and my job to “have your back.” So, I’m telling you now that taking care of your most vital resource needs to come first.
Let me say it this way. For the love of God, we need to start putting our own amazing being first.
Let me say it again, your most vital resource is YOU.
Nothing in the world of youness (new word) can happen without you.
Nothing gets paid, swept, accomplished, experienced, sung, enjoyed in your world unless you arrange for it or you do it. This means you have to be your healthiest and (I hope for you) your most joyous being to get to do these things.
Our western culture can be both an inspiring and an exhausting role model—setting new bars for what you “should” strive toward.
Dear Silicon Valley
I’m enamored with parts of your multiple personalities such as fast-tracking, disrupting, and pivoting. I’m somewhat modeled from you and well-schooled in your image. However, you’re also setting standards that aren’t healthy for humans. I aim to change that. With friends. And a sparkly magic wand…
Ahem, friends, we have to drive change.
The days of 60-hour workweeks that model that behavior as a way to create a vibrant company, well, my friend, that’s the old way.
There’s a new sheriff in town, a partner that works with your real life, not the pretend one.
I’ve seen too many people overworked, get chewed up by the system and pay for it in ways that aren’t ok. I’ve watched women and men get sick, speed up the aging process, and do unhealthy amounts of juggling to make business and family work. Partially because of the legacy, that’s the way it was always done. Also because, “darn it, I worked hard to get here, and I’m not going to help anyone else get where I had to work to achieve.” The “I did it” mentality, “so you have to do it for yourself, too.” That’s tired.
There are changes happening, however, in areas such as the world of professional consulting. I see women still struggling to meet the demands of a career and a family in an organization that says they believe in work-life balance, but the inside culture knows otherwise. Don’t throw yourself under a bus to try to make it work.
It’s not sustainable.
Just stop it. There is a better way.
If you’re online, you can do anything. You can build a business that will sustain and support your desire to do something all your own. You can grow this work at your own dizzying pace or whatever pace truly works for you. Since you have limitless role models making millions of gazoodles and seemingly endless amounts of cashola, you are not at a loss for finding a teacher, guide, or mentor. It’s finding the right one that’s tricky.
If you are not a striving entrepreneur, maybe you are climbing that ladder or working into that next role or promotion or just plain working your butt off to make it all work. You are taking care of a family and/or tending to limitless list of fixing a house or a yard or a life. You’re equally busy. I get it.
But wait a second.
What if you took a minute to slow down?
Did I hear you say, “I’ll lose my momentum?”
Okay, take a second to breathe. (Yes, even at work).
What if you took outwardly ridiculous moments to let your nervous system wind down?
I bet you’re actually more productive.
I’m not going crazy on you. I’m not insisting you stop your morning coffee. I’m not cutting you off of your occasional favorite treat, chocolate, or special muffiny thingy.
Here’s what I’m asking you all to do.
Just stay with me here.
1. Close Your Eyes. Take a Deep Breath.
2. Ask yourself how you feel. (Yes, it may feel uncomfortable.)
3. Do you sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? That doing all you feel you need to do in a single day is a lot? Too much?
4. Ask yourself if you feel completely healthy? Not the kind of just getting through this month. I want to know what your body tells your mind. Not the other way around.
OK now. Come on back to good ‘ol reality.
I promise. I’m not going to ask you to stop the occasional micro-beer flight. I’m not saying say no to the margarita on Taco Tuesday. What I’m saying is that I want you to feel your all-time best and start thinking about the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are truly healthy.
That health can come from the breathing room of getting someone to help with the kids or the chores or for god’s sake, the laundry.
You may not feel like it’s in your means with everything else going on in your life. However, I’m telling you now, love bug, this is the time to start taking care of yourself. Not 20 years from now after you’ve used all the energy to hyperdrive your existence and your light is burning far lower—where maybe you didn’t realize you needed to plan for your health like saving years ago for retirement.
It would just suck to wake up and realize, oh, yeah, I should have thought a little more about my body twenty years ago. I could have had more piece of mind and maybe I’d be more mobile now. I see you kicking yourself. But wait, you can’t do that so easily. Not without the pain of moving your body. Ok, dream over.
I don’t want that for you—World On Your Shoulders (that’s you). I don’t want that for me. Whether or not you identify with being highly sensitive, I ask you to join me on the journey of starting to do what it takes to care for yourself.
It’s your one beautiful life in this body. You get to tattoo it, love it, live it, but you must take good care of it. As my Aunt Catherine used to say, ‘If you don’t have your health, you don’t have noth’n.” It’s still true, eighty years later.
You need your body, mind, and spirit to work together so that you accomplish what you truly want in this life. You need it to go to those festivals, fly planes, speak in front of audiences, tend your garden, run your race, be a Mom or Dad or caregiver or friend. You need to be healthy for a long time and in doing so begin to understand what health means specifically for you. What’s healthy for me may not be what’s healthy for you.
You can’t explore, jump, and live the life you’ve always wanted if you are putting yourself second.
Women are often the most challenged with this.
I know because I’ve been there. In fact, the tug-of-war of getting it all done and keeping myself rested, healthy, inspired, and spiritually in check is a continual balancing act.
I love the words of Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty. “If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are a one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.”
This is straight up truth! In order to reap benefits of those actions, you need to move on those choices.
I know women running exhausting lives and many people building businesses while caring for babies, families, and parents. I salute men and women who are holding it all together in their household for a spouse diagnosed with cancer or going it alone from a recent divorce—all of this with no family nearby, with the weight of work, kids, and bills on their shoulders.
The thing is, if we don’t find a way to care for ourselves, the entire web we support will come crashing down.
It doesn’t have to be daily trips to the spa. It doesn’t have to be expensive lifestyle changes. Do one thing at a time. Take one tiny step like figuring out how to get some help on one significant item on your daily list.
Better yet, join me in my next post, “Rituals to Self-Care”. I’ll show you what’s possible in mind, body, and spirit. It will fuel you toward healthy.
So, I’m walking the plank with you. I’ve got your hand. We’re just not jumping in the ocean. We’re taking the better route to the nearest island in a boat.