When your business is struggling, your bank account looks dry as a desert and your self-confidence has flatlined, it’s natural to keep hustling. When things aren’t going as planned, the easy answer is:
“We have to work harder”.
So, you work more hours and give up more of yourself. You stop training, eating well, spending time with family and having fun. You’re permanently attached to your phone just in case someone finally wants to buy from you.
Maybe your story isn’t quite the same, because that’s mine.
And I hustled the fuck outta everything over the last 6 months of my online fitness business. Then in June, after putting all I had into a launch, I came out the other side broke, exhausted and defeated. So much so, I closed my fitness business soon after. The main reason, I simply couldn’t handle the emotional roller coaster of another failed launch.
You see, I got no – read ZERO – new clients, despite having launched my service to an engaged email list of over 350 people and a free challenge group of 70 with a 50% engagement rate.
For months I’ve been scratching my head, wondering what went wrong. How could I be in such a great position, and still have nothing but chirping crickets in my inbox come launch deadline?
Reading Martin Norbury’s book, ‘I don’t work Fridays’, I stumbled upon the answer…
In the early chapters, Norbury describes his success as a ballroom dancer in his teenage years. More importantly, he explains how that success enabled him to succeed in many other areas of his life – finding friends after moving to a new school, talking to girls and even school work to an extent.
But what does ballroom dancing have to do with your startup?
Norbury theorises that confidence is transferrable. He says:
“I simply took an area of my life where I was a success and inserted that into a new situation” – Martin Norbury
“The key is to find [the confidence you gain from winning in one area of your life] and learn how to use it in multiple scenarios” – Martin Norbury
The problem for most startup founders.
If your response to failure is always to work harder, there comes a time where you have to start giving up what matters to you. If you’re hustling 12, 14, 16+ hours a day, there’s simply not enough hours left to prioritise your health, relationships and fun.
Running my online fitness business, I fell into the ‘work harder’ loop.
I stopped going to the gym consistently because I had work to do.
I stopped paying to get my hair cut and coloured because I wasn’t earning enough, and I didn’t feel like I deserved it.
I stopped going out with my partner on weekends because, again, I didn’t have the cash flow.
I stopped cooking because I was so busy thinking about how to solve problems in my business, I forgot to get the meat out for dinner, or I was too exhausted to plan a dinner menu.
And guess what happened?
In time, I felt a significant reduction in my health and fitness. I was always lethargic and consistently ate foods I’m intolerant to, making myself feel even worse. I didn’t spend money on clothes that made me feel good or haircuts that made me feel confident. I stopped cooking for family and friends.
I stopped filling my bucket of confidence.
Instead, I sat at home, working my guts out day in day out. Every time I chose to work instead of prioritising my health or wellbeing, I drilled a hole in my confidence bucket. Every time I didn’t get a haircut or buy a piece of clothing I loved because I told myself I didn’t deserve it, I drilled a hole in my confidence bucket.
After years of drilling holes in my confidence bucket and not bothering to notice, let alone plug them up, I was lucky to have a spoonful left in the bottom of the bucket when I needed it…
Like when I launched a new service in June.
The moral of the story.
If you’re working so hard you never do anything that makes you feel good; you set yourself up to fail. Every negative experience reinforces your feelings of failure, and the endless cycle pushes you to the brink of burnout.
As a startup founder, you have a responsibility to fill your own confidence bucket because nobody else will do it for you. To do that, you have to identify the things in your life that fill your bucket.
It’s this simple:
- Write a list of things that make you feel confident;
- Do those things consistently!
Because your startup needs your confidence. Without it, your startup will fail.
Want to build a successful business, without sacrificing your
relationships, health, fitness, sleep & fun?
I wrote ‘The 10 commandments of a Healthy Entrepreneur’ as my guiding principles to ensure I never become an unhealthy entrepreneur again. I’d like to share them with you, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Originally published at www.tarafitness.com.au