Sleeping at WorkOne 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?