As entrepreneurs we wear many hats; some days it’s purely our thinking caps, others a banker’s bill or a sales fedora. The transitions in mindset that follow the wardrobe changes are not always the smoothest. Let’s face it, constantly switching gears and maintaining our brand is downright exhausting, but it’s the exhilaration of accomplishment that feeds our fires to keep burning from both ends. The good news, you may feel short bursts of success here and there but the bad news is that operating at full speed ahead is not sustainable for either your personal or professional life.
Overworked and Getting Sick
I know this firsthand; I’m talking about the times I have worked myself sick – completely ignoring the physical signs my body was trying to wave in front of my face to slow down and take care of myself. A few years back, while working in Boston I was so clicked into the client work that I completely ignored some pretty massive migraines, which lo and behold, were caused by dangerously elevated blood pressure levels. I was near a stroke and still drowning out the pounding in my head until I landed in the ER where they told me my lifestyle had to change. Deep down I knew the culprit was my overly-avid work ethic.
Let’s face it, running your own business, at every stage, consumes A LOT of our time, but it’s when things get so out of balance that we start sacrificing our physical and mental health, our relationships, and even passions outside of work that we need to step back and rebalance. For me, being able to prioritize my sister and her family after they suffered a massive house fire wasn’t something I can honestly say I would have committed to in the past. My brain had been trained to stay focused on, and only on, producing for my business but after some very real-life wake-up calls, I knew I needed to spread my life out a bit into some different buckets. These buckets consist of a certain number of hours I need to be able to take for myself, a healthy work schedule, and time to share with friends and family.
But how does a person start, run, and manage their own businesses without putting everything in the business bucket and, consequently, burn themselves out?
In coming to understand my own fundamental needs as a business owner I created a universal Entrepreneurial Hierarchy of Needs. Yes, a spin-off from Maslow and Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy, but something we innovators can connect with in returning to some sense of balance in life as an entrepreneur. I am so excited to share the Entrepreneurs’ Hierarchy of Needs with you in a new blog and online series that will be released over the coming months – of course starting with the foundational layers that support healthful business growth. As you learn about what it is you really need to support you as a business owner, you will gain the tools to reprioritize tasks, evaluate time spent, and come up with a game plan that not only supports you and your business but the exponential growth you have been working TOO hard to get.
In the meantime, stay calm and carry on – balance is on the way!