Why Taking Care of Yourself Is An Absolute Priority
Do you know any brilliant entrepreneurs, who have so much to offer to the world, basically killing themselves for the sake of their businesses?
Are you one of them?
I did a burn-out in 2014 - and I was not an entrepreneur back then - but I have learned to take care of myself since.
Let me ask you: As an entrepreneur, how can you take care of your family, your people, and your business if you do not take care of yourself first?
The reality is you CAN be a high performer without pushing yourself into the red zone all the time.
I get it, being an entrepreneur is hard work; it demands sacrifice. You always think about it, you constantly work on it, you want to go fast, you want to be more efficient, and as a result, you rarely take any days off.
But how long can you sustain such a pace?
When you are exhausted, chances are you quickly lose focus, you make more mistakes, and you are cranky and not fun to be around.
When you burn the candle at both hands, you cannot properly support your team and clients.
They will see it.
They may hate you for it.
And you may even lose their trust.
One of my podcast guests once told me he had reached a point in his entrepreneurship journey where he was so drained that he was ready to give his company away for free.
… for free!
His remark stuck with me.
How damaged mentally and physically must he have been to be ready to let go of the fruit of all his money, time, and efforts - his “baby” - to the first passer-by?
It took him 2 years to recover from his burn-out.
What did he learn?
The power of taking care of himself.
Your body and mind can take a certain volume of stress before you eventually collapse.
A frequent consequence of never stopping is burnout! Like me.
The worst-case scenario? I let you imagine it.
I can hear your excuses: I cannot stop, there is way too much work; the market requires fast turn-around; I'm the only one who can do that; one last thing and I will take a break; etc...
You can fool yourself, but you cannot fool me.
What are the consequences one year from now if nothing changes? How are you going to feel if you cannot depend on anyone, you are still doing everything yourself and you are sleep deprived?
Have you ever considered what the risk for your business that you burn out is, or that you cannot take time off if you get sick or a family member gets sick?
Do you want to reach the point my podcast guest reached?
Let me ask you again: As an entrepreneur, how can you take care of your family, your people, and your business if you do not take care of yourself first?
I know how important your business is, but your health (both physical and mental) is more important and it should come first, because being exhausted or on the edge of burnout is not going to help you think, be efficient, and build your company and take care of others.
Being an entrepreneur is like being a professional athlete
Imagine a professional athlete preparing for the race of his or her life. I am sure you are thinking about that athlete being very disciplined, with regular training sessions, daily stretching, and massage sessions, following a special food diet, doing some mindfulness exercises, and sleeping 8 to 9h per day.
Well, as an entrepreneur you should copy what that professional athlete does because entrepreneurship is the race of your life.
You know the best professional athletes are not invincible. They reach their levels not only because they train hard and develop their skills, but also because there is one thing they do very well: they dedicate specific time to both mental and physical recovery.
So, copy them and spend time recovering.
Unfortunately, that is something a lot of people put on a second basis. I mean: If you exercise, do you ever stretch or mobilize? How much time do you sleep per night? Do you meditate? What do you do to calm the storm of thoughts in your brain?
Take care of your mental well-being because ultimately that is where all your decisions come from, that is where your happiness comes from, and that is where your physical wellbeing comes from.
Your mind is a muscle. And like any muscle, rest allows it to rebuild and grow.
Learn how to take care of yourself, and make it a priority over everything else.
For instance, listen to yourself and your own needs.
Allow yourself breaks throughout the day: I know it is tough because your company is your sweat and money, but you must find ways to acknowledge maybe that moment in the day is not the time when you are at your peak, maybe you are pushing yourself to achieve something and it is just not working. So why not close the computer, get outside for a walk for instance, and then come back fresh?
In addition, watch out for your diet, exercise a little, and make sure you sleep enough.
Trust the process
Changes will not happen overnight, but if you are disciplined about it and trust the process, they will.
Again, being an entrepreneur is an elite profession.
You must spend time recovering to stay at the top.
Your body and mind need it.
Your business and your people need it.
Your family needs it.
You owe it to yourself, your family, your people, and your business to be healthy
This article is an extract from my special podcast series The Entrepreneur Alphabet. Listen to the episodes on your favorite podcast channel or watch them on YouTube.