- Stress and exhaustion are not strangers to entrepreneurs, however, setting some boundaries and taking care of yourself can help you combat and even escape stress.
- As business owners, we often consider solving other's problem as our number one priority, while this is one of our tasks, it should never be at the cost of our rest.
- Take some time off, do things that you enjoy and refuel your energy for the new working day and new challenges.
Like most entrepreneurs, I had a compelling reason to start my business. I had a desire – a drive – to teach other people that there are other ways to live.
I spent over two decades as an employee, slogging away – battling to overcome being overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed to the max. That is until I experienced my own Armageddon and crashed to the floor, unable to get up again.
In the ensuing two years of the most excruciating, painful and confronting work it took for me to recover, I learned a thing or two about the way we live our lives, the things that pull us off track and the things that can support us on our journey forwards.
The more I learned, the more I realised that this knowledge is invaluable to everyone, and that understanding this knowledge is the key to being able to thrive in this modern-day world.
This knowledge underpins all of my day-to-day activities and is always the starting point of the work I do globally – whether I’m working with a large, medium or small organisation, or on one-on-one basis.
Every entrepreneur steps into the breach to create a solution to a problem that no one else is addressing. Without entrepreneurs, life would be static and pretty boring because nothing would change; everyone would be sitting around bemoaning all of their issues that no one would ever ‘fix’.
We’re all under pressure, we’re all connected 24/7 and we’re all constantly overwhelmed by the enormity of things we need to get done in a day. The things that scream the loudest are the things that get done, but we need to understand what happens when we let everything else take complete control of our time.
Here’s what you need to know about ignoring stress and exhaustion and pushing on through.
There are 2 simple things you can do to avoid burning out.
Make your own decisions
When I became an entrepreneur, I found myself working in a different industry – one I had had nothing to do with before. Despite having almost two decades of experience helping other people to grow and develop their businesses, I felt like I was starting from scratch and knew nothing because I hadn’t worked in that industry before.
I turned to everyone else for answers … and all of them told me about all the things I HAD to do for my business to be successful. Before I knew it, my business was structured in a way that didn’t support the life I wanted, or the things that were important to me. I was trapped in a life that didn’t support me in any of the ways I wanted or needed.
Because I spent so much time listening to the advice of others, I also spent a lot of time and money on things I didn’t like doing, and that didn’t align to who I am as a person.
Despite having learned all the things I’d learned – the hard way! – I was back on the track of doing everything to please everyone else and on the path to being stressed and exhausted.
It wasn’t until I stopped and started looking at how I felt about things – and I began prioritising the things that were important to me – that I was able to find the pathway for my business to support me in my everyday life.
You are the ONLY expert in YOUR life … so until you start prioritising the things that are important to you and making sure your business supports those things, you will have bought yourself a job that is masquerading as a business, and that runs your life.
Understand whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my journey back to recovery was to understand my personal energy – where it comes from, how it is renewed and the things that will help you to refuel every day.
Most people think that an introvert is someone who is really shy, and an extrovert is someone who is really outgoing. Actually, the introversion/extroversion spectrum measures the way in which you refuel your energy.
As defined by Wikipedia
Introversion is the state of being predominantly interested in one’s own mental self. Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective
Introverts generally prefer solitary activities but do not necessarily fear social encounters. They need solitary and usually inwardly-looking activities to refuell their energy stores.
Conversely, Wikipedia defines extroversion as
The state of primarily obtaining gratification from outside oneself. Extroverts tend to enjoy human interaction and tend to be enthusiastic, talkative, assertive and gregarious
Extroverts generally prefer and are energised by being around other people. They thrive on large gatherings and can be prone to boredom when they are by themselves.
Understanding where you sit on this scale then enables you to understand how your energy is refuelled. Once you know this, you know what activities you need to make a priority in your day. So, introverts tend to need solitary time every day so that they can refuell their tank, while extroverts need social interaction every day so that they can be refuelled.
- Make a list of the activities you love doing, the ones you automatically say ‘yes’ to when you’re offered the opportunity to participate in them. These activities will be things you walk away from feeling as though you’re full of energy and your soul has been fed.
- Create non-negotiable time in your diary where these activities can fit in. I find that having the same non-negotiable time every day works for me, while others love mixing it up. Where you schedule the non-negotiable time doesn’t matter – the only imperative for this time is that it is non-negotiable!
If you’ve been putting off making yourself a priority, you’re not alone. Most of us receive social conditioning that teaches us that everyone else comes first – and apparently, we’re selfish if we live otherwise. We need to remember that times have changed, and we must change with the times before we can thrive in our lives. Never forget that if we don’t look after ourselves first, we’ll have nothing left to give to anyone else.
Understanding where you sit on the introvert/extrovert spectrum and then making sure you refuel your energy appropriately EVERY day is the best way you can avoid burning yourself out. When your energy levels are high, your commitment to your passion is fully fueled and you can achieve so much more, and easily.