My life has been focused on serving others. As a former corporate leader, the daughter of two small business owners, the former wife of a small business owner, and a business owner myself; yes, you could say my life is and always has been about serving others.
Admittedly, living in the constant of serving others is just as taxing as it is rewarding. The work is soul-filling and self-satisfying. When intentional boundaries are lacking, self-care discipline is a foreign language and the frequency with which you level set on your priorities is virtually never; serving others to your fullest also equals the loss of humanism.
By definition, humanism is a philosophy or a way of thinking about the world. It is also a set of ethics or ideas about how people should live and act. It might look like I’m telling you how to live, act or think about the world.
Hold that thought; because it’s partly true and partly not true.
The Renaissance period is viewed as one of the most distinctive historical periods as one of renewal and reawakening in which humanism came to light. Renaissance Humanism was a movement in thought, literature, and art, typified by a revival in interest in the classical world and studies which focused not on religion but on what it is to be human.
Living in the environment of serving others 24/7 for more than 40 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the loss of humanism time and time again; as a business owner, a former spouse, a daughter, a mother, a colleague, an employee, and a leader and a coach.
Frankly, watching it is just as difficult as living in the loss of your own humanism.
Loss of humanism will show up in a number of ways. Mind chaos, emotional chaos, physical chaos, mental chaos. Any of those chaos’ may look like: making uninformed and quick business decisions (just to be done thinking about a problem or issue); taking unnecessary risks, not weighing all the risks, squirrel syndrome, strategy with no execution, unstructured days and calendar, begging employees to do their job, keeping shareholders out of your space, not being present and purposeful with your family, partner, and friends, divorce, loss of business partnerships, lack of personal space, reflection. and self-discipline.
Maybe what I’ve described above is a bit dramatic because you’re one of the brave few who chose to be more aware and intentional. I know you and see you too.
You have good chaos, you have business partnerships, clients, and overall incredible growth. You’re hyper aware about your business. You desire to be challenged in your business strategy, executive, overall thinking on what it would look like to work smarter, not harder. There is more to life than business; however, you also know you’ve done your fair share of smacking your head against the wall and learned your lesson All of these experiences push you to challenge yourself to work smarter and better in your business and life.
But, the same truth applies.
You are passionate, motivated, fuel by purpose, desire life-changing outcomes for your clients, and employees. You will go to almost any end to do what you believe is right.
Which means when you’re at home, the phone doesn’t stop ringing. your inbox unopened email is overflowing, and pop-ups from the seventeen other communication and social media apps overwhelm you.
Even though you choose to ignore it, the commotion is ready and waiting for you at the crack of dawn when you wake. All of THIS activity is where you get caught in the craze and quickly lose yourself.
So how do you act differently? How do you return to humanism? Or better yet, how do you stay in humanism?
Understanding it’s lonely at the top, you have very few people if any you can trust, and everything you do is scrutinized, let’s start with the basics.
Seek out a trusted advisor or a coach.
A trusted advisor is your right (or left) hand person. When days go well, decisions are on point and the buzz is good; your trusted advisor will be one to push you to new perspectives, new heights, ask hard questions to understand clearly what went well, what didn’t go well, and where you can learn for the future.
On days that are the worst, they serve a more important purpose; including holding space while you uncover the root cause of the problem, situation or disaster. Because within, the problem is always the solution. (Hint: when you’re at the top, everything starts with you.)
And the really good trusted advisors remind you that when you’re not your best in business; your family suffers. Bridging the gap between business and personal is essential as you’re only one person; whether you’re leading a business or leading meal time conversation.
Walk your talk.
If what you say and what you do, doesn’t align, your business suffers, your personal life suffers. Misalignment and suffering are costly and time-consuming. Said another way, dig out your pocketbook, misalignment and suffer is expensive.
How you do one thing is how you do everything and when you aren’t walking your talk, others follow, you create more chaos in your life. Returning to humanism will happen when you realign and reprioritize who you are and how you show up.
Create physical and emotional space between you and your business.
Assuming more positive intent, be your own business advocate. Create distance and allow for a fresh set of eyes, perspective, and thoughts. Break the pattern. Build a new mold. Breathe. Walk your talk.
Even if only for two business days, quarterly. Years ago I worked for a large corporation that required executives to take a 10 business day vacation annually. The reason, if embezzlement, fraud or money laundering activities were in play, the likelihood a breakdown would occur was significant.
Remember, what happens at the bottom, begins at the top. Be human. Stay human. And if you’re lost, know that your return to humanism awaits.
Stacy works with founders, entrepreneurs, executives and leaders of businesses under 100 employees from around the globe as the voice of reason to ask them the hard questions that save them 6 to 9 figures a year.
Need a Trusted Advisor? Book a Call! Let’s talk.