In today’s episode, Anna looks at the wellbeing of entrepreneurs and how taking care of your own mental and physical wellbeing will serve you, your employees and clients, and your friends and family.
It’s a complete fallacy to believe that pushing yourself to the limit is going to get you the results that you’re after. In fact, taking care of yourself, and of your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual health, is absolutely critical for a number of reasons. Even from a pure business results- and profits-focused angle, taking care of yourself is going to give you more clarity, you’re going to be more productive, and you’re going to be able to make a bigger impact as a result. If you’re a CEO and people manager, then you’re also acting as a role model and setting the tone for your organisation and so it’s your responsibility to send the right message to your employees. On the other hand, if you’re a solopreneur or a ‘company of one’ then you *are* your business, in which case your health is absolutely paramount to the success of your business.
Beyond the focus on results, however: why on earth did you start this business in the first place, if not to have more freedom and flexibility, to enjoy your work, to find it fulfilling – without jeopardising your health and relationships in the process?
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
Wellbeing Strategy PDF – Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy
The wellbeing of entrepreneurs
Hello, hello there welcome back. I hope you’re well, especially because that is what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about taking care of yourself, taking care of you. Self-care, hashtag self-care that very important trending hashtag on Instagram, and why you taking care of you is taking care of your business. Now we’ve been looking over the last few weeks at work-life integration. How to make your business work for you around your life and so on. We talked about why I think there’s no such thing as work-life balance. You don’t have to work this artificial construct of nine to five. Last week, why working harder definitely is not the answer. We talked about that cliche, I guess, working smarter rather than harder. Again, I want to continue on this to look at why it’s not just a question of not working harder, but why actually in a positive sense, affirmatively, we need to take care of ourselves, and that is again taking care of business. Why is that the case?
Hopefully I don’t need to persuade you, but I’m going to perhaps state the obvious nonetheless, because I think it’s important for us all, me included, myself included to remind ourselves of this. Both theoretically from a mindset perspective, but also then to take specific actions. It’s something we need to remind ourselves from time to time, again and again, it’s not just a one-off. First of all from a business perspective, as I said, it is important from the perspective of success, profit, results. Whether you are a CEO of a large company, a managing director, whatever, or you are a solopreneur, a freelancer, a company of one. It is absolutely vital to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your business. As the CEO, as a manager, director you’re there giving directions, strategy you manage your employees of course, so that’s an obvious reason why you need to be well. But more than that, you’re a role model for employees. You’re setting the tone.
If you’re there every evening late in the night doing your emails, and if you’re stressed and angry at people and so on, that’s the tone that you’re setting for the culture of the entire organisation.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s a good thing. So if you’re paying lip service to the fact that your employees should be working from home sometimes and should be taking care of their mental health, should be taking care of their wellbeing and work-life balance and all these catchy phrases we all use in the corporate world, then you need to make sure that you’re seen to be doing that. You can’t be then seen to be sending emails at the weekends, and staying late in the office on Friday night and so on. You’re a role model for employees. Just as an aside, I remember and apologies for stating this example, but I’m sure my parents aren’t listening, so it should be okay.
My mum has told me in fact of a case where my dad, as CEO of a company many years if not decades ago, was unwell. He had this really important international conference he had to lead the business. Of course, he travelled internationally, I think, and apologies if I’m bastardising the story as well, but the point remains. Travelled, got there had an incredibly high fever, ended up being ill for many weeks. Missed not just that meeting, but weeks of important work and meetings and so on, and of course the company survived. Now, of course, that was an important meeting, of course it was important that he was there. But in sacrificing his health thinking he’s so important for this one meeting, unfortunately that then compromised and created an even worse effect. It’s an important point to make that we need to catch I guess a stitch in time saves nine, as we say in English. Love those idiomatic expressions. Catching a little bit of physical poor health or mental stress is going to really save you in the long-term.
If you’re a CEO for a big company, first of all, they’re relying on you from the work perspective and that’s obvious. But secondly, again, you are a role model for employees. You’re setting the tone.
More likely if you’re listening to this, you’re probably a solopreneur or a freelancer, a company of one or a small business owner, in which case you are your business. Of course, and you don’t need me to tell you this, you are so important to your business. If you’re just starting out, perhaps you only have one type of service. You’re trading your time for money and you are your business. You’re the one delivering the service, whatever that is. Design or copy or coaching, you are the entirety of the business model. Of course, if you’re not well, if you like my dad then have to take a month or more off, that is a massive problem for your business. So again, purely from the profit-driven productivity and financial success perspective, it’s absolutely critical that you take care of yourself.
Even if you only care about money and profit, which let’s face it many companies do, then you need to take care of yourself number one. Now, number two it’s not just of course about business, and we’re talking work-life integration here, so we’re also talking about the impact this may have on your family, on your personal life. We’re not just talking about taking care of your business here, but actually taking care of your other people and things and activities that matter in your life. There’s this expression which I’m sure I’ve used before, but coming from flight hostesses, stewardesses, not stewardesses that’s sexist, flight stewards. It’s been so long since I was on a plane thanks to COVID, I can’t remember what it’s called. The people who work on planes say to you, put your oxygen mask on first before you help others with theirs.
The idea is that if you are lying there dead with no oxygen, you’re not going to be able to help your children or your partner or other people who need you. Not a very nice example. I’m saying it a bit sort of tongue in cheek. But you see the really important point there. If your family is relying on you as your employees are maybe in a bigger company, then yes you might think you’re so important in that ecosystem I guess that you can’t possibly take a break. But remember again, the example, if you don’t take a break now, if you don’t take care of yourself, ask for help, go to the doctor even maybe now, then or slow down, just think of the impact if you really get unwell physically or mentally, and you have to not take care of your family for weeks or months. You have to think that it’s better to take little steps here and there to take care of yourself in order to make this sustainable.
Then finally, we’ve talked about business, we’ve talked about family and hobbies and so on, for you for your own sake for goodness’ sake. This is the whole point of designing a business, escaping the nine to five. You want to be enjoying your life, enjoying your business. That’s what it’s all about. Hey, so why on earth would we be pushing ourselves to the point of burnout? Yes, again, I talked last week about this myth I think that we love our business so much it doesn’t matter if we work all the time. Again, remember even from a productivity and financials perspective, that’s not the case. Because if we are working all the time, and I’ll talk about this in a moment, we’ll make mistakes. We’re going to feel unwell and potentially we could really have to take a long break later. But again, for your sake, you want to be taking care of yourself so that you have time for your family, friends, activities, so that you can enjoy life, so you’re enjoying your business.
Hopefully that’s given you a few different reasons why it’s so important to take care of yourself, and in so doing taking care of your business and the important people in your life and also your own satisfaction really, your own life purpose. So, what happens if you don’t take care of yourself? Well, best case scenario, you have a lousy time working on your business. You’re stressed all the time. You’re constantly running to catch up. You have that busyness syndrome. That’s the best case. You’re just that kind of person who’s frazzled all the time. “I’ve got so much I can’t do that!” You have to say no to things, and you’re just running around like a maniac. I think that’s the best case scenario. Then there are different levels. As I said, you might make mistakes because you’re not in a good place. If you haven’t been sleeping, you might actually make some costly mistakes in your business, which can lose your clients, can lose you money and that’s not great either. Or can cause tensions with employees, colleagues, whatever.
You might have physical symptoms. I’ve talked often about migraines, maybe back pain from sitting hunched over the desk too much at your computer all the time, cramps in your hands. Maybe you get problems there. It’s not to be taken lightly. Some people get stomach issues when they’re stressed. There are physical manifestations of stress, so that could be the next level. There are also emotional symptoms to stress. You might get angry at your colleagues and clients, God forbid. You might get angry at family members that might impact, and your relationship with your partner might suffer. Ultimately again, you might actually burn out, so you’ll be forced to take time off. From a scale of okay, you’re just not enjoying yourself so much and you’re stressed and frazzled all the time, right up to, hey, you have a complete breakdown and you have to take a break and that can have serious consequences.
You may lose your business, you may lose your relationship, I don’t know so let’s take the extreme. Then of course remember why on earth are you in this business at all. Again, if you don’t take care of this, why bother? Why go through all this rigmarole of designing a business that’s going to work for you? Okay, so enough with the cynicism enough with the negativity, let’s talk about how you can take care of yourself. I often talk about, and you may have heard me talk about physical, mental, emotional, spiritual wellbeing. I designed this wellbeing strategy a few years ago, in which I talked about body, head, heart, mind, spirit. If that’s something that sounds interesting to you and I’ll talk about it in a moment, do let me know. You can get me at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not something I publicise anymore, so I’m not pushing it as a lead magnet, but I’d be happy to send it over to you. It’s just a simple PDF, as many of my resources are. It takes you through those five levels. Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The base I have the body. That’s the basic level of nutrition and drinking lots of water, getting exercise, being strong and healthy, getting enough sleep. That’s absolutely critical. That’s the basic. That’s probably what we think about when we think of taking care of ourselves. I need to go to the gym more, need to eat a bit less and so on. That’s body. Then we’ve got head, which is the mental wellbeing. That’s for me around taking regular breaks, getting fresh air, being out in nature, working on your mindset, having someone to speak to. Maybe managing stress levels with things like meditation, yoga, regular breaks, exercise, whatever. That’s really the mental health and wellbeing, the head.
Then we have heart, because again there’s an emotional dimension here. That’s around your relationships with colleagues and peers and your boss, and hopefully if you’re your own boss with people who you work with, and again, family and friends and so on. It’s about joyfully experiencing life. It’s about loving yourself as well, maybe belonging in the community. That’s really heart and relationships. Then there’s mind, which is a higher level than just head. It’s not just mental, but that’s around creativity and learning. Having the right mentors and coaches to challenge you and support you. Reading, also reading novels, so reading what is it? Fiction rather than nonfiction. I’m bad at that, I tend to read lots of business books. But just reading for the enjoyment as well, to inspire you. Journaling, maybe that’s something that I have a few clients who like to do and building your confidence.
Then finally soul, which is a little bit difficult to put my finger on, but that’s something extra. That’s something around the meaning, your bigger purpose, fulfilment.
That higher echelon of self-actualization as Maslow would have called it. Body, head, heart mind, soul. But it’s just to demonstrate to you that there’s a lot more to be done than just the corporate company approach of giving you a training around eating more peanut butter and taking walks now and then. It’s not just about going to the gym a bit and eating better. It’s around your mental wellbeing as well, around again your relationships, emotional support, higher levels of learning, creativity, mindset, purpose as well. That’s also important for taking care of you. A little episode on an important point, taking care of you is taking care of your business. Remember that it’s the case, whether you’re part of a massive company and lots of people are looking to you, or it’s just you.
Maybe it seems like especially when it’s just you, in fact you are your business. Taking care of you is literally taking care of your business. Maybe you don’t have the health insurance and benefits and so on. You certainly don’t have the replacements and someone who can take over your business if you aren’t able to continue. So important to take care of yourself for the sake of the business, but also for the sake of your family, your loved ones, people and activities again that you enjoy. Finally, for your own sake as well. This is the whole point for me of designing this business, of designing this work-life integration that works for you, is to make sure that you’re in control of your own time.
You have that autonomy, the freedom, the flexibility, and again, you’re taking care of yourself so that you can make a massive impact with your business, with your clients, and also have a good time in the business, and have time and energy leftover alongside that for all the other things you want to do in your life. I hope in case you needed convincing I hope I’ve convinced you. I hope this has given you something to think about. Again, if you have any thoughts on this or questions, or if you want to grab that wellbeing strategy PDF, then you can get me as ever at email@example.com. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week. Take care. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business– Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5– After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator– This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate