Whether it’s your side hustle or full-time job, you place a tremendous amount of your energy toward taking your company to new heights.
Without adequately taking care of yourself first, the energy that you put into your company will eventually have diminishing returns. Creativity, a calm demeanor, and the ability to think strategically aren’t achievable when you’re burnt out.
Maximize the time that you spend working on and in your business by being your best self. I sat down with the Art Director and co-founder of Goodwit, Alicia Li, to talk about entrepreneurial self-care. Here are the four tips that emerged from our conversation.
1. Partner with people who make your life better.
One of the most beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is that you can build the life that you want. The personal and the professional can blur for passionate business owners fueled by a mission to make a mark in the world. So much of your time is spent with who you choose to work with. So, choose wisely.
Whether you are hiring someone or entering a co-marketing partnership, seek out people who will bring out the goodness in you. If you are a purpose-driven entrepreneur, then like-minded business partners can help you remain in touch with your sense of purpose. Surround yourself with people who uplift you energetically.
Alicia’s company offers on-demand creative consultations. She has focused on attracting social impact startups and non-profits as clients. Her reason? “The people who work in this space make me happy. As a bonus, I sometimes get to hang out with adorable animals,” Alicia explains.
Choose who you spend your time with at work (and at play) wisely, Alicia advises. “The majority of our lives are spent around our colleagues. They have an outsized influence on our daily emotions. I select who I work with based on that principle,” Alicia adds.
2. When you can’t control a situation, keep your cool by creating.
Sometimes things don’t work out just as you had hoped or a business deal seems to be stalling. Ruminating is never advantageous in work or life. Focus on what you can create instead.
Whether you focus on something in your business or spend time with another creative pursuit, you can create a sense of control through the act of creating. Both a business plan and a painting manifest the empowering sensation that you created something from nothing.
“I am a Creative Director and designer. So, I find myself creating art for myself or brand designs for my clients when something else is outside my realm of control,” Alicia explains. “What can you create that provides you satisfaction when other variables aren’t in your control?”
3. Pay more attention to your habits than your immediate results.
Self-made success derives from perseverance. Stress is often manufactured in the mind and can inhibit a sense of grit. To persevere, you need to manage your stress and hone in on positivity.
If you want a particular outcome, focus on creating the habits that you’d need to make that come true. If you become too attached to seeing specific results, then you might become discouraged if they don’t happen right away.
“What habits are needed to bring you to where you want to be in your business? Find a way to love the process of adopting those habits and worry less about immediate results. This will result in less stress,” Alicia advises.
Alicia’s tips resonated with me since I recently started reading a lot of James Clear’s excellent work about habits. He is a very pragmatic and effective teacher of habit-forming techniques. Check out his blog, his book, Atomic Habits, or even his Twitter feed to dive more deeply into this topic.
4. Give yourself permission to step away for a few days.
Employees who work for other companies have to take time off. For many entrepreneurs, they started their business precisely because they felt so passionate about what they were creating. Walking away from work can, therefore, be extra challenging.
Entrepreneurs also have the pressure of leading the company and ensuring success. However, distance breeds clarity.
“Give yourself time each day to yourself. Take non-work-related vacations. Have friends and communities that have nothing to do with your business. Don’t create a bubble. You will be able to appreciate what you have created so much more if you give yourself space to walk back into it again,” says Alicia.
It’s hard to be a leader if you are feeling empty within. So, remember these tips: Distance breeds clarity. The people who you surround yourself with affect you more than you may even realize. The habits that you form have a compounding effect on the outcome of your life and business. And lastly, keep creating.