As a business owner, you may feel like there's a real weight on your shoulders, you're carrying it all, you're responsible for making it happen.
Got to bring the clients in, pay yourself, pay your team, get your vision together, take the steps that you need to get there...
And all that responsibility has weight. Sure there's upsides to running your own business, of course, but that weight can feel like a lot.
And some days, you just feel tired. Exhausted, even.
It's okay to read a book, watch Netflix garden, go for a walk, play with your kids. Whatever it is, that fills you back up. That's not slacking off. It doesn't mean that your business is a failure. It doesn't mean that you're being unproductive. I see it as tanking yourself up.
We have to fill ourselves back up in order to keep going in order to take the next step tomorrow. And in my experience, pouring back into ourselves is always, always worth it, especially as business owners.
Because, in my experience, the actions we take from that really exhausted, tired place: they aren't as effective. And they definitely aren't as fun as when we are genuinely motivated and lit up and excited to do the work.
We can really lose sight of this so easily in this society that we're we're living in, where hustle culture and productivity are seen as the way, like you're a good person if you work your ass off. There is just sooooo much conditioning around productivity, hustle and worth.
But I believe we can do great work AND take care of ourselves. It's unsustainable to do it any other way.
Work is a HUGE part of our lives. It's how we spend half our waking hours 5 days a week (roughly). I believe we all deserve to do work we care about, work that satisfies us, work that makes us feel successful. Work where we make a real contribution. And to do it in such a way that doesn't involve compromising our mental, physical or emotional health. That isn't a constant source of chronic stress. That doesn't lead to burnout. Work shouldn't suck the life out of us. Figuring out HOW to work and lead in a way that fills people up versus depletes them has to be the way forward. Otherwise we are just burning through finite fuel where we could be running on renewable energy.
Recently I've been working on developing respoire, my corporate breathwork business. (Respoire comes from the French words respire = breathe and espoir = hope.) And the heart of what I want to do by bringing breathwork into the corporate space is to care for the whole human at work. Because the burnout epidemic and the levels of stress at work are only rising, and they're completely unsustainable. We are burning through people resources in the current climate of stress and burnout, and I want to work with the companies that realise that that is unsustainable--and believer there has to be a better way: caring for your people, rather than trying to wring every last ounce of productivity out of them at the expense of their mental health and their stress levels.
And this is the same conversation. We're not robots as business owners, we can't expect ourselves to show up every single day in the same way. And while there's something to be said for consistency and keeping your word to yourself. We tend way too far to the side of sacrificing ourselves and not listening to our bodies, and not allowing ourselves to rest, than we do to the other side, despite all the shouty self help out there that barks, "You need to be more disciplined!"
Because we didn't get into business for ourselves because we don't want to do the thing--we have a thing we want to create! No one's forcing us, we don't need more discipline.
We need more care for our bodies, we need more regulation in our nervous systems, we need more permission to rest and find what works for us.
So that we can show up, excited to work, motivated to work, lit up to work, satisfied, successful -- all of the brilliant things that can come when we're working in our energy, as opposed to borrowing energy from the future and burning out or trying to force ourselves to do it.
Human beings are human, not robots. We simply cannot work at our best if we are burnt out or suffering from chronic stress. It's not an either/or: sustainable productivity and performance comes from human beings who FEEL GOOD.
All athletes know they have to balance the stress of training and racing with adequate rest & recovery. Those who perform at the highest levels are not able to carry peak fitness throughout the entire year without suffering injury or mental burnout.
Just because most of us perform primarily with our brains rather than bodies doesn't make this any less true!
Proper rest and recovery leads to resilience, productivity and performance.
There is no sustainable productivity without taking care of ourselves.
(Which is one of the reasons I'm such a fan of breathwork! Breathwork is a super easy--scientifically supported- way to care for ourselves, give ourselves dedicated space to rest and recover, in a super efficient way with no fancy equipment.)
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