What Not To Do To Avoid Burnout When Starting Up Your Business
Setting up a new business takes a lot of focus, attention, creativity and immense problem-solving skills. In other words, the body and mind need to be in peak state to keep going and giving, even when times are tough. But here is the thing; you cannot pour from and empty jug so if the energy wells in the body are not being regularly replenished, the body cannot continue to give.
Being continually stressed, in fight or flight mode, exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is not what is going to work. It is so easy to slide into exhaustion and near burnout if it is not kept in check. Ignoring all other areas of your life will not cut it either. We all need more than work in our lives to grow and develop as humans, a neuroscientific fact which should not be ignored. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business be.
What not to do
- Do not work 12-hour days 7 days per week
- Do not isolate yourself in a bubble where you no longer make time to connect with other humans. As humans we are wired for connections. Our wellbeing feeds from our ability to connect with others, in a meaningful way.
- Do not ignore all your health and wellness habits.
- Do not binge eat on processed foods because you ‘no longer have time’ to shop for or cook fresh non-processed foods. What feeds the body, also feeds the mind. Binge drinking or eating the wrong types of food will contribute to a neurochemical imbalance in the brain and body which only serves to fuel already rising stress levels.
Learning from my failures
My continual urge to turn up my inner critic, telling myself that I wasn’t working hard enough, or long enough hours eventually prompted me to seek some help from a coach. When I looked at my life from a distance, it had become one dimensional. With the help of my coach, I worked on establishing what my life priorities were. This took a lot of time and effort but once I saw it written out in front of me, the fog began to lift.
My health and wellbeing and my relationships with my family were my top life priorities and yes building a business was a priority but not at the expense of everything else especially with four young children in the house. I gave myself structured working time, family time, exercise and meditation time and refocussed on healthy eating which had been a huge priority for me in the past.
What I found was, I got twice as much done in half the time. I began to enjoy life more and more than that, I began to attract the right type of clients. I was much more relaxed and so was everyone else around me.
Let me tell you exactly what happened to me when I was trying to get my business up and running from scratch.
I was so excited at the prospect of having my business up and running. There was so much to do, so much to learn. I was pumping with energy. I wanted to devote all my time and energy into it. I had a good strong pair of blinkers on me. I saw nothing else except my business. I got up early in the morning before my kids woke up to get working on it. I worked while they were in school. I crammed everything else (housework, dinner, homework) into a couple of hours when they returned from school and then I was back working again until I was almost blind from the screen. My life was becoming very one dimensional. I was saying no to friends, no to the great exercise routine which I used to have, no to cooking healthy food from scratch, no to all of the things that I knew I needed in my life and still my business wasn’t thriving.
Thankfully as mindset and wellbeing are key areas which I work on with clients, I was beginning to see that I had stopped walking my own talk. I was completely ignoring my own advice. It wasn’t intentional but little by little it was happening. It is so much easier to drop a good habit than to drop a bad one. My early morning walks went first. My Pilates class was next. Meeting up with friends was next, and spending QUALITY time with my family was the last straw. You see I did spend time with them, but I was miles away focussed on my business and not listening to what was going on, saturating my mind with internal dialogue that certainly wasn’t helping me. Slowly I was becoming mentally and physically exhausted.
Setting up and running a business is a marathon not a sprint. It is part of your life and not your whole life. It is your choice to decide how big a part that is, but by ignoring all other aspects of your life, in particular your health and wellbeing and the relationships in your life you are comprising a huge amount.
Stand back and ask yourself what success looks like to you. Broaden your view and look at your whole life. What are your life priorities? Of course, you want a successful business, but ask yourself what else you need in your life. Keep your health and wellness front and centre because if you ignore the body, the body will eventually start screaming a little louder at you.