You wear a lot of hats. As a entrepreneur, you’re the marketing team, the admin staff, the book balancer, the CEO, the tech department, and the whatever-is-needed-next’er. You know how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Long days, late nights, full weekends. Sure, it’s a fast pace but you’re keeping up and that’s the point, right? That’s how you become successful, yes?
Well, no. That’s actually a recipe for burnout.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to DO WHAT YOU LOVE…for a living…and if you’re like me, you want to be doing what you love for a long time.
That’s why I’m positive that the way we have been defining SUCCESS is completely wrong. (Note: if you already know what I’m going to tell you, WAY TO GO! It took me a while to internalize this lesson.)
I needed to step back from pushing so hard, trying to make everything happen at once, juggling clients and motherhood and partnership was taking its toll on me. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was eating junk food and drinking way too much coffee. I wasn’t being kind to myself. Does this sound familiar?
Once I started implementing a few key ideas in my life, I had more energy for my loved ones and myself, my community became more engaged, and my business kept flourishing. Since it’s going so well, I thought I’d share the simple secret. Are you ready? Here it is:
Success is an anagram that starts with Self-Care.
S – Self-care
You come first. For many of us—including me—that’s a hard one to wrap our multitasking heads around. And that’s our first mistake. If we don’t carve out a self-care ritual, our energy stores become depleted and we are no longer able to take care of everyone else.
We owe it to the world to take care of ourselves.
A half hour every night where we don’t check email, don’t do the dishes or the laundry, don’t write lists of things we’ll do once we’re done this ‘self-care thing’ (I’m guilty of this). If you can’t manage half an hour, try 15 minutes. Every night. Make it a ritual with candles or music. Do something that nurtures you: sit or dance or do yoga or take a bath…just make sure you take a few minutes for yourself. Set a reminder to Let. Everything. Go.
This tiny act will change your life.
U – Understanding
This is another way of saying, be forgiving. You’re human and you’ve tasked yourself with one of the most difficult jobs out there. Entrepreneurs experience more anxiety, more worry, and more stress than people employed by others. We are more likely to experience depression, social anxiety, decreased motivation, and suicidal ideation. And yet we choose this path anyway.
A good friend refers to running a business as the SEA (Self-Employment Adventure). A sea has storms with mountainous ups and desperate downs just as it has days of shining calm waters. Navigating those waters can be brutal and they can be incredibly rewarding. A sense of self-compassion will act as a compass through any weather.
C – Community
We’re value-based businesses because we believe in generosity, in people over profit, and often in martyrdom (not that we would ever call ourselves that). You can’t do it all.
Let your community support you the way you want to support them. Brené Brown says, “until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart”. We all want to give and love and support but if we consider reciprocity as an important facet in our work then we must let our friends be friends; we must receive with the same openness as we give.
C – Creativity
“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.”
— Bruce Fairchild Barton
Be yourself. Dance. Paint. Play music. Get creative. When our creativity flows, so we open ourselves to the world. The joy that fills our bucket spills over into the lives of our people. By giving yourself permission to be creative, you give yourself permission to break the rules…and in business, that is a very good thing.
E – Excellence
Keep learning. Push your limits. Strive for more.
You want your business to grow. I want that for you too. This new definition of success isn’t a “sit back and wait” protocol. We must do the work and we must learn in order to grow. I encourage you to read and take courses so that you grow as a person and as a business.
Harriet Braiker was a clinical psychologist who authored, The Type E Woman: How to Overcome the Stress of Being Everything to Everybody. She writes, “striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” I agree; commit to excellence and leave perfectionism at the door.
S – Service
Give back. Don’t forget why you’re here.
Just as learning to receive is crucial to our wellbeing, so is giving to others.
Set systems in place so that you can focus on what you do best then as your cup fills, share your wealth. Whether you offer your services pro bono or volunteer at a local food centre, your kindness will not only feel good but it will benefit others, deepen your community, potential teach you new skills, and hone your existing ones.
Though this quote is falsely attributed to Winston Churchill, it’s significance is not lost despite its anonymity, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”
S – Savasana
Rest. Savasana is the most important pose in yoga. It’s the one that allows you to integrate the learning on a deep level. I’ve always loved it as a life metaphor as well. Every now and then, the best thing to do is to lie down and rest. Allow yourself that time and know that while you seem to be doing nothing, you’re actually accomplishing a whole lot. Look at you. Look at how much you’ve done. Allow yourself to breathe it in while you take care of you.
I’d love to hear what you have to say on this.
How are you re-defining success’ Will you make the commitment with me to incorporate self-care into your daily routine? How do you currently make self-care a priority?