BUSINESS OWNERS: GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Self-care, it’s a buzzword right now. But what does it mean in the context of business? How do you make sure that your own needs get met while also keeping up with all the work you have to do? It’s not easy, but I’m here to share how I’ve learned how to give myself grace and break some bad habits.
The pressure to perform is real.
Business owners, it’s time to give yourself some grace.
The pressure to perform is real, and it comes from all sides. You have to be perfect at your job, but you also need to be a great friend and spouse/partner (there are no excuses for not having these relationships thrive). You’re expected to have a flawless home life that balances career demands with family time (no one cares if you go on vacation or take care of pets). Oh yeah: don’t forget about your health!
It can feel like everyone is watching every move you make—and judging every decision you make—so that means there’s even more pressure on top of the constant self-monitoring we tend to do anyway as human beings. This is especially true when we’re trying something new or difficult—it makes us nervous!
We want success and we want it, like, yesterday.
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve had an idea for a business and you want it to be successful. We all do. And we want the success yesterday (or at least today).
It’s easy to get frustrated with ourselves over our progress, especially when our goals seem so far away. It’s also easy to beat ourselves up if we don’t achieve those goals as quickly as we thought we would—or if they don’t happen at all. If this sounds familiar, here are some things you can do to help yourself feel better about where your business is and what progress it has made:
Who are you trying to impress?
When you start a business, it can feel like the world is watching. But when you look closer, what really matters?
- Yourself: You are your own biggest fan and harshest critic. As long as you’re creating from a place of authenticity and self-love, who cares what everyone else thinks?
- The people who matter to you: Your family, friends and community are the ones who love and support your business because they know how special it is to you. In turn, these people deserve all the attention in the world!
- The people who matter to your business: Customers buy from businesses because of their values—not because of any hype or marketing tactics. When someone invests their hard-earned money with you (and stays), they’re supporting not only your work but also everything behind that work—including where it comes from (the earth) and how it got into their hands (you).
You don’t have to be a fire hose of productivity all the time.
You may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to work as hard as possible, every single minute of the day. There’s a difference between working hard and working smart.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed and distracted, I can usually trace it back to one of two things: either I am trying too hard, or I’m getting in my own way by making excuses for why I shouldn’t prioritize what matters most. There are definitely times when we all need to push ourselves in order to meet deadlines or make progress on projects, but it’s also important not to burn out or get so busy reacting that we forget about actually planning our days ahead of time (and thus leave ourselves without options).
One thing that helps me slow down is disconnecting from email so often; another is taking some time for myself each day where it’s just about me instead of always being available for everyone else.
Downtime is productive.
Downtime is a necessary part of life. It’s the time when you’re not actively working on your business, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be productive. In fact, downtime is a great way to recharge your batteries and get more done in the long run.
To make sure that this works for you, here are some ways to use downtime effectively:
- Do something fun. Take some time off from work and do something relaxing or fulfilling that doesn’t involve business at all—it could be anything from catching up on reading to spending an afternoon with friends at the movies or dinner out. This will give you a break from all things related to running your business and allow you to come back feeling refreshed and ready for action.* * Take breaks throughout the day. If possible, create scheduled breaks during which no work-related tasks are allowed (for example, 30 minutes after lunch). These small breaks can help prevent burnout later in the week.* * Find productive ways of spending down-time at home or in public places like airports or coffee shops (examples include: calling friends who aren’t entrepreneurs; brainstorming new ideas).
Create space to process your feelings.
It’s easy to let stress and feelings of overwhelm take over your life. You may find yourself feeling guilty about not being able to do everything, or you might feel like you’re a failure because your business isn’t where it needs to be yet. In order to process these feelings in a healthy way, it’s important for you as an entrepreneur and human being that you create space for yourself and allow yourself the time needed to process those feelings without interruption from others.
When working through stressful situations or emotions, it can be helpful to have a physical space where no distractions exist (no phones ringing, no texts coming in). This allows us as humans the opportunity to focus on our thoughts so that we can gain clarity on them and move forward with confidence knowing what our next steps should be based on what we’ve learned from our experiences thus far.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself and have some fun in the process of building your empire!
- Take time to enjoy what you have accomplished. Celebrating your success is important because it lets you appreciate the progress you’ve made. It also allows you to reflect on what’s come before and see how far you’ve come, which will help motivate and inspire you in the future.
- Take time for yourself and your loved ones, especially when things are getting busy! If it’s been a rough week at work, don’t forget about family time—it’s an important part of keeping up with yourself and staying balanced.
- Take time for yourself outside of work as well! Whether that means going out dancing, learning a new skill or taking up yoga (or any other activity), find something that brings joy into your life both now and in the future so that when times get tough again there will always be something else besides work on which to focus.”
We’re not saying it’s easy, but we are definitely saying it’s worth it. If you feel like you’re underperforming and stressed out, try some of these tips to give yourself the break you deserve. You’ll be amazed at how much better your work ethic will be when you don’t feel so overwhelmed by the pressure of being productive all the time—and maybe even happier when you remember to take care of yourself!