Burning Out Before Success Hits

Are You Spending Too Much Time Looking After Everyone Else to Work on Your Business?

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photo by: SIphotography 

Taking great care of your team and your customers isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a smart way to go about building your business for the long haul. Service based businesses are all the rage and people love being paid attention to. Everyone likes feeling special. The problem comes when so much of your time is spent on this task that growth is impossible. How much of your available energy are you spending mothering your team and your customers?

This is something that is shifting in the world in a major way over the past 5 – 10 years. More and more business are being created and run by passionate women whose natural inclination includes nurturing and caring for others (in Chinese medicine, we call this the Earth archetype). And it’s working – women are running 36% of businesses in the US right now. In this article by Aja McClanahan, Oprah even states that her success is built on the idea that she is always serving her audience. (Oprah is an Earth archetype FOR SURE :)).

So when do you, as women entrepreneurs with an Earth Archetype run into trouble? When your boundaries break down and you put yourselves last, again. Your self care goes out the window, you end up comforting someone and bringing over a casserole instead of sending out invoices and payment reminders. You meet someone who you REALLLLY want to help, so you offer discounts before they even ask for them. You finally hire that VA to get some honestly needed help but then you don’t want to ‘bother’ her so you end up staying up late and finishing those emails yourself.

How can you balance this natural desire to nurture and serve with your drive to grow a business that can give you the financial freedom you deserve?

When you hire someone, let them be responsible for their role.

I’m gonna be blunt here: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU WANT THIS PERSON TO DO BEFORE YOU HIRE THEM. And then let them know you’ll be adjusting the list as necessary to meet changing needs. You know those charts on the wall with names and stickers next to them? You can only give out stickers if you know exactly what this person was supposed to do satisfactorily. Writing it down and having a list will make it easier for you to enforce.

No ‘gentlewoman’s agreements’ allowed.

You can shake hands all you want, but get that ish in writing. Just like the list above, you need to have things to be as clear as the clearest crystal to feel authority as an Earth person. Your natural concern for harmony among people and natural ability to create it is an amazing gift. And other people take advantage of it. Make up secret handshakes if you want, even send someone flowers and cupcakes as a thank you; but do it after you sign contracts.

Take 3 big steps backward and keep an eye on the big picture.

As a natural nurturer, it’s easy for you to get caught up in the details of the fact that your customer just lost her pet and forget about what you are aiming for in the long run. Your big picture scenario? It should be on your wall AT ALL TIMES. Call it a vision board if you want, you need the ability to consistently remind yourself of where you are going to help keep yourself (and your team and customers!) on track.

Get out into nature, especially in gardens or forests when possible.

Earth, in the Chinese system, is controlled by Wood. That doesn’t need to make sense to you today, but just know that if your Earth energy is flowing over and getting in your way, balancing it out with some flowers, a walk through a forest, or even looking at a picture of trees will help you remember to stand up tall, be a leader, and use your natural Earth tendencies for the benefit of YOU, your business, and your team (IN THAT ORDER ;)).

The most important thing to remember here is this: As an Earth person, your natural inclination to take care of others is your blessing. It’s not likely to change anytime soon so fighting it will just make you tired. It doesn’t need to change at all as long as you balance it out and recharge yourself by balancing out your other elements.

Your business will flourish when you allow the people that you work with to grow into their positions and fully encompass their jobs without you helicoptering over them. True mothering allows people to feel safe in growing into who they are. It leaves space for mistakes. It supports and nurtures and watches the fruits of it’s labor blossom.

If you’re in a one person business, your business IS your child. You’ve got to step back and view the big picture sometimes. Over control isn’t going to work here. You cannot prevent mistakes and falls. Understanding them as part of the growing process, just like you would with a child learning to walk, will give you the space you need between to allow your baby (business baby!) to flourish. 

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