In all honesty, these words come out of my mouth at least once a day. Working with passionate, driven, and ambitious business owners they often head to me when they’ve run so fast they’re gasping for air. Almost (but not quite) at the end of their proverbial rope, ready to book a one-way ticket to Central America where they’ll never have to look at a P&L again.
They think they want to quit.
But what most of the need, is a bloody good rest.
I’m not talking about a 60-minute massage, or a walk on the beach – I’m talking a good solid chunk of time away from their business, where their mind and adrenal system can come back off high alert and closer to something that resembles that of ‘normal’ folk.
Entrepreneurship is a wild ride. We start businesses because we’re passionate and creative beings. And (contrary to what my parents think) us self-employed folk work bloody hard. Hard because we love the work, hard because we’re putting food on our table, hard because we’re keeping staff paid, and hard ….. because we’re shit scared that the empire we’re building could go bust at any given moment.
Yep, I said it. Most often we hustle form a place of fear. That fear that this whole shebang we’re creating could go up in a puff of smoke. Fear, that if we take our eyes off our inbox for longer than a 3-hour consecutive period there might not be a business when we return. It’s the truth, and I’m calling it. Because the first part of change is awareness, and if we know why we’re working ourselves into the ground we might actually have a shot at doing something about it.
So, just what do about it? As with all good things in business, it’s an internal and an external process. First, let’s dive deep into the internal.
Abundance is the natural way of being
If my psych degree taught me anything it’s that behaviour has two drivers. We either act to move away from fear, or we act to move towards love. Actually, I think it was Marianne Williamson that said that, so I’ll continue looking for the point of that degree… I digress. If we want our workload (and life) to look radically different, we need to hone in on what’s driving our behaviours. If you’re feeling relatively burnt out, you might just strike the self-awareness jackpot here if you realise you operate from a place of fear and scarcity.
The good news here is that we live in a wildly abundant world, where anything and everything is possible. It’s true. You want a big old mansion in Beverly Hills, you can have one. You want a slice of self-sustained paradise in the Byron hinterland – it’s all yours. Just get your mindset right and be prepared to do the work.
Start by questioning where this feeling of scarcity and not enough came from. Did you grow up in a house where there wasn’t much money, did your parent fight about money, was money made out to te the elusive thing that you could never have enough of? Tap into what you were taught about money either directly or indirectly, and question how well those beliefs are serving you now. It’s likely, your five-year-old self made some pretty strong conclusions that are driving your behaviour now. There’s no ‘passing go’ here without doing the work. Understanding and shifting your beliefs from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance is absolutely fundamental to opening yourself up to more flow, cash, and joy.
So stop, reassess, and set some new money beliefs. Here are a few to get you started:
Money is abundant
I am a magnet for money. Prosperity is drawn to me.
Money comes to me in expected and unexpected ways.
Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.
Money expands my life’s opportunities and experiences.
Money creates a positive impact in my life.
I am worthy of as much wealth as I desire.
Even the best businesses ebb and flow
The only thing certain about your business future is that it’s uncertain.
Say what? Yep, every single business I’ve ever worked with goes through cycles of an abundance of work flowing through the door, which turns into a stream. Then flood, then stream. Then flood, then stream. Sure there some things we can do to get this flowing more like a consist stream (hello consistent marketing), but small business by its very nature is an dynamic and changing beast. We ride the high times, and then catch our breath in the lulls.
January and April are notorious for lulls, so be prepared for these. Keeps yourself out of doomsday mentality, and dig your heels right in to avoid sliding into an existential crisis. Know that this is your time to tidy up your processes, revisit your strategy, and bring the team back into alignment.
The river will flow wild again. So don’t throw in the towel, take the opportunity to take stock, recoup and rest up before the river flows freely again.
You’ll fall in and out of love with your business
Like any long term relationship, you’ll cycle through body-tingling lust and deep love, right through to irritation, and even disinterest with your business. This can happen on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. It’s ok, it happens to all of us. When the good times are flowing you’ll feel invincible. Work all night, back it up in the morning, fire of proposals like there’s no tomorrow. You’ll be an unstoppable force.
Other times, you just might not be assed. Period.
There’s a tonne of things that can affect this, but typically it starts with you. If you’re feeling uninspired, ask yourself what you’re doing when you do feel inspired. Are you learning more, reading more, taking more nature walks, mixing up where you work from – honestly, the list is endless. Don’t wait to be inspired – be inspiring.
Take a break and get some perspective
Taking a holiday can be the best strategy for your business. That’s right, you sitting on a beach in Sardinia with Aperol Spritz in hand could just make or break your business. Let me explain…
Taking time away from the daily grind (*cough* emails), and clearing your mind of clutter will give you clarity on what’s important, and what’s not. With some fresh air in your lungs, sun on your skin, and dare I say Aperol flowing through your veins your passion will be revived allowing the other bits to fall away.
What’s more, giving your nervous system some downtime will allow for a whole-body rest, bringing you back into balance and therefore in closer alignment with your authentic self. That’s where the magic comes from. So you read it here first, and Italian holiday is a must for increased clarity in your business.
Stay in your lane
It’s easy to become overwhelmed, helpless and hopeless when you’re endlessly scrolling. The truth of social media is that you’re seeing everyone’s A-game. And if you’re sitting on the couch at 9.38 pm in your pj’s after a solid day of admin there’s a good chance you’ll be comparing your B-game to their said A-game. See what I’m saying here?
Staying in your own lane means focusing on you. Your sweet spot. Your passions. Your skills. Your experience, and the value that you bring into the world. I think we both agree that it’s unlikely that you’re going to hone any of that while mindlessly scrolling Instagram. So slow up on the scroll. Keep focused on what you’re great at, and carry on.
Be sure to switch off – completely
I’ve got a little rule I try and live by which is no screen time between 8pm and 8am. The mental break it creates is actually quite remarkable. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’d know by now that blue screens really muck with our sleep. In fact, research has found that exposure to blue light (like that found in our phones) delays the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. This disrupts our normal cycle of the brain beginning to release melatonin a couple of hours before bedtime, to ensure a restful nights kip.
If you’re looking for better balance the last bank you want to be robbing is your sleep bank. While we’re talking about phones, it’s probably a good time to strongly recommend deleting your email and Facebook apps too. Shock, horror, and …. breath. Feels better already doesn’t it?
To wrap up
While business can be all-consuming, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions, workload, energy and spiritual fulfilment, as passionate humans we have a tendency to allow it to become engulf our lives. The absolute essential foundation to running a sustainable business is perspective, and a swag of good habits to take a break, reset your system, and put boundaries around your workload. With this regular internal check-in in place, you’ll recharge your creative flow and find both clarity and creativity back on your side ready to take on the world.
Finally, for the record, the actual Banksy quote is: “If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit” but I know he wouldn’t mind me taking a bit of creative lib with it.
Looking for a Business Mentor? Check out my High-End Hustlers Mentoring program here
It’s an incredible combination of community, education, and mentoring to support creative folk like you.