“Invest as much time in yourself as you do in your business.”
Self maintenance is hard thing to keep in mind for those of us with an entrepreneurial spirit. We're inspired by the unknown and motivated by possibility. Never satisfied with what is or was, "What could be" is a standard motivator in our lexicon. We measure our self-worth by the success of our businesses.
I've been there. I get it. I’ve rescheduled (or, just skipped) doctor’s appointments for meetings with clients. I’ve put anniversary celebrations on the back burner. I've missed more than my fair share of family events for speaking engagements. But then, it happened: I saw friends in the industry get married, start families, then disintegrate into divorce. I witnessed colleagues struggle with addiction or depression under the weight of their work (or, lack thereof). All because they never took the time to focus on themselves and their relationships. I soon realized that in order for me to live the happy life I wanted and to be the best in my profession, I needed to take a confident stand for myself. I had to place priority on me to ensure the best, most supportive and productive relationships and stellar outcomes for my team, my colleagues and ultimately my clients.
Including "Me" in my time.
I started with the easy stuff. Instead of falling for that oh-so tempting drive-thru devil after long days, I packed healthy snacks in my car to hold me over. I took control of the age-old vendor meal by eating a large, healthy meal at the start of my day and bringing along a healthy, quick bite or two for later in the evening. Likewise, I made it a point to book and hold myself accountable for those personal appointments that fall to the side when work obligations beckon. Dentist appointments and massages became firm commitments. Changed perspective made a trip to the hair stylist a personal treat instead of a tedious time-suck. I consciously made time for the care of my body and my spirit. I focused on the good it would create for me, my relationships and my business.
Putting emphasis on "Us."
We're all guilty of checking out when a big event weekend (or season!) hits. You can get sucked in to a calendar filled with networking events and venue openings just as easily. Our personal relationships wind up suffering. We're physically there but mentally and emotionally, we're chin-deep in checklist updates, follow-up calls and client interventions.
When I made the confident decision to pursue balance over bottom line, I looked beyond the self in self maintenance, from the 'me time' to the 'us time'. How many nights per week did I really needed to be available for work events? My amazing husband and I scheduled date nights, even if only for a simple evening dinner at home and binge-worthy television. He also made me realize that if we didn’t block vacations or time off well in advance, something work-related would fill my calendar in a heartbeat. So, I limited the number of speaking events I would do each year. We blocked off entire weeks reserved for our “have passport, will travel” opportunities, trips where we surprised ourselves with last minute deals to fun, adventurous destinations. These were and are some of the best memories of our lives.
Sharing (the load) is caring.
I learned to delegate to my team and push them out of the proverbial 'nest'. Event attendance was encouraged so they could represent their company. I gave them opportunities to lead the charge with clients I thought they'd be a good match with. None of this happened overnight - I shadowed them and asked for client feedback. Ultimately, each and every one rose to the occasion and took the ownership they were given. It gave us pride in our collective work and enabled me to break free more often to ensure I was balanced in my own life.
Learning and loving.
I made sure that education was part of my self maintenance through it all. Taking stock of myself and my business, I targeted areas I wanted to improve on. I signed up for webinars and enrolled in online classes to help improve my business life. Some helped me be a better mentor. Others helped me streamline the way I did things to make my processes more efficient.
And lastly but certainly not least, I was confident in loving myself enough to recognize when it was time to time to walk away. It wasn't easy letting go of my wedding planning business. It never is when you've invested so much of yourself into any one thing. The time to follow our dream to slow life down in some place warm and take more time for us, however, was right. If and when you come to this point yourself, find your confidence in the great work you leave behind and in the delight of what's to come.
At the end of the day, your business will not succeed without y-o-u in your fullest self. To achieve this, you must make time for self maintenance. You need to feed your spirit, care for yourself and give of yourself to your loved ones. Your greatest work comes when you're at your best, most productive and creative, inspiring everyone around you.