Don't lose yourself to your business
It can be so easy when building a business to give it your all. Literally. Burn out is real, and even if you manage to dodge thatcyou may find yourself a few years down the line with a successful business, but a sense that you as a person have gotten lost along the way.
Maybe you've seen less of your friends and family as you 'business-built', but hopefully they understand and are still there for you. You might have neglected to form new relationships or maintain hobbies, and need to take some time to get this back on track. And you might have ignored your physical and mental wellbeing and suddenly find yourself in a bit of a hole that you need to dig yourself out of.
I did all of these things when creating my first business, and tried so hard to be more mindful second time around. The truth is that building up a business does take up a lot of time and energy, but with determination, we can choose not to race toward success. Slower growth is often better as you’re less likely to lose sight of your original goals. It’s also more sustainable, allowing you to figure out how your new business operates, and fits into your like.
Excitement in the early days of growing a new business can make it especially difficult to pace ourselves. And when you love your work, it’s easy to overdo it. But over the years, I have come to learn that I am so much happier in the long run when I don't feel like I have lost myself to my work.
WORK / LIFE BALANCE, AND "NON-NEGOTIABLES"
One of the biggest challenges in not losing yourself to your business is figuring out the right work / life / health balance for yourself. This requires a huge amount of self-compassion; hard work and productivity is important but it’s all too easy to come down hard on ourselves when we don't tick off every 'to do'. In the early days, most things take longer than we expect, and it is important to give ourselves the space to figure things out, make mistakes, and adapt as we learn.
Here are two techniques that can help us to strike and maintain a work / life balance, while looking after ourselves:
Build in time for when things don't go to plan, or life takes over. You set your schedule, and if you’re trying to do something you really value and want to pursue long term, it doesn’t matter if the early growth is slow and steady. So build in 'white space' and avoid over-scheduling to create an environment in which you can succeed much more easily than fail.
Decide what your weekly / monthly non-negotiable are, and prioritise those, especially in busier periods. As well as work-related items, these could include family-time, exercise or other (paid!) work.
Most of all, try to have fun! You’re the boss when it comes to your business, so never forget that you are in control.