9-Step Strategy Guide for Small Business Owners to Find Balance in Real Life
Note: This post was originally published on my business website – spiritedwolfmedia.com.
Let’s get real, real quick.
Brace yourself because I am going to just rip this band-aid off.
I don’t know if you are ready for this dose of reality.
I warned you.
Unless you are my 9yr old who can stay awake 60hrs straight without her night nights – you are not, in fact, the Energizer Bunny.
My friend, I know you wish you were because I also wish I was.
Nope. You and I are the Wish.com version of the Energizer Bunny.
The Exhausted Hare.
Because dammit, we are our business and our business is us.
We eat, breathe, dream – about our businesses.
But we also have nightmares about our businesses that make us procrastinate our bedtimes.
Because if we falter as a business owner, everything would be at risk.
Everything we have dreamed of. Everything we have desired for – could disappear.
Yep. Definitely zero pressure.
You and I – my friend – put our hearts and souls into our businesses because we know what we have, what we do, what we sell – will change lives.
Even if it is just one person.
So at the end of the day, we leave nothing on the table. We push ourselves harder, faster, longer than our non-business owner friends because this is what we have been called to do.
At the end of the day, we are emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally – drained.
But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hats and Spoons
Now, I know you aren’t an Energizer Bunny like my 9yr old.
But I bet you wear so many different hats on a given day – that my 9yr old could wear a different one of them for each mile of the marathon her body twitches when she DOES sleep.
(She has literally kept me on my toes since the first kick I could feel in my womb, but that’s a different story for my other blog)
No judgments here. I also wear so many hats that I sometimes blackout, not realizing how many times I am saying “yes!” or “I can do that!”
With or without the exclamation point.
Curious question here, but how many resolutions did you make? Is 2022 going to be your year? How many new hats are you looking to add to your collection?
2022 is going to be my year.
And I really hope you achieve everything you put your mind and energies to.
I really do.
But, I also really hope you get to enjoy every moment of everything you accomplish this year. And beyond.
Unfortunately, all those hats we wear can become enjoyment killers, fun busters, happiness vampires.
Whatever your hats are labeled – parent, business owner, pet owner, car collector, you get the point – whatever your hats are labeled – they use up all your spoons throughout the day.
And since you are not like our dear friend E.B. or my 9yr old – you do not have unlimited spoons.
As your spoons, forks, or knives get put in the Used bin, that’s it.
But until you recharge, rest, plug in your Exhausted Hare – that’s it.
And as small business owners – we tend to use our utensils at Wile E Coyote speed.
What if I told you, you could have it all?
No, it’s true. Cross my fingers, hope to die.
Wait… cross my heart…
After you read this next part, close your eyes and visualize what this reality would mean to you.
Waking up before your alarm clock, you notice something is different. Something feels different. You raise your arms, arching your back to get the biggest stretch possible.
As you get out of bed and go about your morning routine – you notice your feet don’t feel like they are walking through molasses. For once, your heart isn’t beating irrationally out of control.
Looking at your must-do list for the day ahead of you, you suddenly realize that not a single task today is something you don’t want to do.
For the first time – in only the stars know how long – you are ready to tackle your day.
With an extra pep in your step, you release your shoulders, loosen your jaw, because finally, all the tasks that brought you to tears – are no longer causing you nightmares.
You are finally sleeping through the night, and spending your days worrying more about where you want to go on vacation than the amount of money in your account.
You are finally able to look a year, 5 years, 10 years into the future without questioning if you will even be in business still.
Because you finally figured out the secret and you are ready to embrace it fully to reap all the benefits.
Okay, you can open your eyes.
The secret isn’t so secret.
But to reap all the benefits – the secret does require something from you. 9 somethings actually.
9 steps (because my 9yr old inspired this post) to finding balance.
When we are anxious, scared, worried – our hearts beat faster, our minds race, and our decisions become clouded. Breathing brings us back to the center, helps clear the fog, and causes us to pause just enough to make the next best decision.
2. Adjust, Adapt, Accomplish
The only thing constant in life is death. And as an SBO – the only thing constant is change. Change in ingredients, change in sales venues, change in social media trends. Being able to adjust and adapt doesn’t happen overnight. It comes through practice. But every time you breathe through the change, adjusting will become second nature.
3. Let it Go
When you hold on to the stress, the overwhelm, the fear, the imposter syndrome – there is very little space left for the joy, the happiness, the peace. To find balance – you must find the good in the bad. And sometimes – that means you need to let it go.
When you are an SBO – there are some things you just can’t control. Like taxes, clients that don’t pay, whether that delays your shipments. And sometimes – those things can drive us straight up the wall causing us to want to rip our hair out, or at the very least – cause us to grow a new gray hair or two. But when you acknowledge the things that are out of your control – you eliminate the power that stress can cause.
5. No! is a safe word
And it is a very valid word that you can use whenever you are asked to do something that doesn’t bring you happiness or might add stress. There is nothing negative about saying no. Saying no reclaims your energies and spoons you can spend on something that does move you forward, towards your dreams.
6. Check your calendar
Whether you use a handwritten planner or a digital one – check it. Check it the night before. Check it in the morning. Check it periodically throughout the day. Check it whenever works for you. But check it. Because there is nothing like missing a client meeting, overbooking yourself, or being late for a deadline to throw you off balance.
Invest in yourself. Period. Invest in your happiness, your future, your self-care. Invest in helping yourself become your best self. Invest in learning new skills. Invest in self-care. Invest in things that help you see the light in the dark. Because finding balance – is all about investing time in learning about ourselves. As an SBO – what you learn about yourself is valuable information that could potentially transform your business.
8. Njoy the present moment.
Not the past, not the future, but the present moment. How you react to the present moment, the present situation, the present feeling – is the only thing you have control over.
P.S. I know enjoy starts with an E, but I adjusted.
9. Give yourself space and time to feel the feels
Finding balance is not something that happens when you flip the switch. Finding balance is something that will take time, patience, and a lot of hard work. But it is so worth it. There will be times when you react – knowing you could have handled the situation better. Be prepared for those moments and give yourself the space to acknowledge those feelings. But don’t get stuck there. Let it go. Breathe. Take note of what triggered your reaction, and then file it away, remember that the next minute is a new minute, the next 24 hours – is a fresh 24hrs.
As SBOs – we tend to put our mental health on the backburner, the last thing on the to-do list.
Listen, being a business owner is stressful. Usually self-induced stressful. But still stressful. And usually heavy on the nightmare side of stress.
It doesn’t have to be.
We have the power to change lives. This means we have the power to decide IF something is worth stressing over.
We have the passion to keep fighting for what we know is the right thing to do. Which means we have the strength to flip a negative to a positive.
Because only we know how to wear all of our hats AND pick up the stupid pen we just dropped without a single hat faltering.
We just have to find balance.
If you need help finding balance or offloading some of your business stress – let’s connect.
I would love to see how I can help you switch some negatives around so you can fully enjoy every moment of everything you accomplish.
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,