The simple truth is, you can’t be a successful entrepreneur when you don’t feel in control of your own life.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for business owners and professionals is to not try to be Superman or Superwoman. As a seasoned entrepreneur, wife, and mother, there have been times where I have gotten caught up in the myth that I have to “do it all.”
The quest to be Superwoman brought me to an unsatisfying place where I found myself exhausted, distracted, and overwhelmed. I kept packing the load heavier and heavier, forgetting myself in the desire to be everything to everyone.
This very subject drew me to write the bookThe Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind. In it, I describe how I discovered that the way I was living was unsustainable and how to take back control. You can “have it all” but it means making the right choices along the way, and not sacrificing your sanity in the process!
Here are a couple of steps to get you started on the path to true success:
1. Take Time to Stop
In my earlier years as an entrepreneur I was full of vision for my business and spent significant time dreaming and planning for the things my company would grow to do and be. Then as the business grew, it seemed that my work day got more and more compacted as there were more clients, more employees, more company issues that took time and energy. I was so busy working in my business, it seemed there was never time to stop.
One of the top strengths I bring to my work is vision and strategy. I learned that the only way to be successful in using that strength was to set aside regular time for it. You cannot create a vision or decide where you’d like your company to be heading while in the midst of the day-to-day fires. I added the discipline of regular planning time.
Schedule this “think time” to identify what is working well, and what is not. Only by taking the time to stop can you create the space to think clearly and make a plan for positive change.
2. Take Time for Self-Care
Why do so many of us feel guilty about taking time for ourselves? We are not bringing our best to anyone or anything if we are running on empty.
A strong work ethic is an admirable thing. I recall my parents showing my siblings and I a good example of working hard and teaching us to do the same – a principle I now teach my own children. The problem comes when work becomes all-consuming and supersedes everything else in your life.
Instead of comparing with others to see who is the busiest, break this habit and commit to take time for proper self-care. Think about the things that restore your energy and schedule time for it. Have coffee with a good friend, go on a long hike in the fresh air, cuddle up with the book that has been waiting. For us to perform at optimum level, we must take regular time for self-care and understand it is not a selfish activity.