One of my primary philosophies is that it makes no sense to separate the person from the professional – it’s an artificial distinction and doesn’t work.
Solo or small business owners ARE their businesses, so anything that is going on in their lives can affect their productivity, and subsequently their businesses.
The silent partner in your business is your body. I urge you to treat yourself well and prioritize self-care above pretty much everything. You can fix any (OK, most) problems in your business if you are healthy and well rested. If you are exhausted, sick, or worse…it gets a lot more difficult.
I have been coaching small business owners and professionals in career transition full time for four years. Here are some things that I see them do:
spread themselves too thin
work too many hours
forget to eat because they are too busy
eat junk because it is fast
not block out time to recharge
not schedule time to exercise
not prioritize sleep
get overwhelmed and stressed
Now I fully realize that there are times that you have to push yourself – and that is usually OK for a short period. However, if you are running full-on all the time, at some point your “silent partner” will speak up loudly and you will get a cold, which will make you rest – or possibly get something worse. I call these times “hard stops.” They are not fun.
When a hard stop happens, you will first be furious, and then at some point you will just submit. There will be nothing you can do except rest, nourish yourself, and recharge.
Your silent partner just became the majority shareholder. And they are having it their way.
I feel that it is my job as a coach to try to intercede with clients so these hard stops don’t happen. The signs are very obvious to an outsider, but may not be at all obvious to the professional living (thriving!) on adrenaline. We have all seen people who we know are going to crash. Don’t be that person.
If you recognize yourself in some of the bullets above, I urge you to step back and get hands-on with your to-do list and your calendar. Prioritize and keep the must-do activities and postpone what can be moved. Block out time on your calendar for rest, food, exercise – or whatever it is that you need. Your calendar is your best friend in times like this.
So what would you add? Are there other warning signs? How do you make sure your silent partner stays silent?
Catherine Morgan is the editor of Business Unplugged ™, an engaging speaker, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in business or career transition. Catherine is the author of the eBook Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility. An experienced independent consultant and former employee of three of the former Big Five consulting firms, Catherine combines strategy development with accountability coaching. Her productivity tips and career transition advice have been featured on WGN AM 720 and WIND AM 560 The Answer in Chicago, and on WCHE AM 1520 in the Philadelphia area. Catherine speaks frequently on topics related to productivity, career transition, small business, and entrepreneurship. She doesn’t take herself seriously, but takes her subject matter very seriously.
@lauriemazz@PointA_PointB@Ali_DaviesLaurie, I can totally relate to what you are saying. Same happening to me when I was working in the Corporate world many years ago. It was the turning point to that triggered me really taking a step back and asking what I wanted from my life, career etc. As a result, I eventually left the corporate world to set up my own business so I could live and work on my own terms, putting my health and wellbeing top of the agenda. I prioritise that these days in my own business.
@PointA_PointB@Ali_Davies Having been in a very high stress, high pressure profession for years, I saw this in myself until I crashed big time. Up until the big crash, I was so afraid that I might miss something or not get something done or whatever. It was fear. I had to learn how to prioritize in a totally different way and put myself at the top of my priority list. Such a good article, Catherine. Thanks!!