Success for an entrepreneur means nothing without health and happiness. We forge our own paths because we want to do what we love.
There are times when everything runs like clockwork: Emails are incoming and outgoing smoothly and responded to in a timely fashion, and my phone calls feel fluid. I’m in the zone; I’m busy, but I’m happy. I’m a well-oiled machine. It’s all so exhilarating!
Then, there are those times when — on top of being busy — I feel like I’m going through the motions. When I get a moment of downtime, I don’t sit back and breathe; I complain. I know I’m not alone in this.
An insurance survey found that 44 percent of small business owners felt stress had damaged their health. That’s when it’s time to hit the reset button.
The ‘Hard Reset’
When I start to feel it crawling all over my skin, I know that it’s time to recharge and refocus. Here are three easy ways to help you do likewise:
Step back and turn off.
On top of being an entrepreneur, I’m also a motivational speaker and host. Like an actor or a comedian, I have to be “on” at all times. As much as I love it, this can be exhausting; sometimes, I find that I can’t take being around people and talking any longer.
Over the years, when I feel like this, I’ve learned that I just need to put down my computer and phone. I take time to catch up on all the TV shows I’ve recorded while out of town, spend time by myself, and avoid confrontational interaction. Being alone is often all it takes to refresh.
Pick up and take off.
Sadly, it’s not always possible to take time off completely as deadlines loom and projects need to be finished. Suddenly, I realize it’s been three months since I’ve had time to myself. To remedy this situation, I set my alarm for a couple of hours earlier and pack more work into each day.
If I really bear down and get things done quickly and efficiently, then I can finally have a day to myself to play golf or go driving. No matter how much we love our work, the repetitiveness can still drive us crazy. Doing something out of the norm can really help us unwind.
Delegate and Re-evaluate
If you’re shaking your head at my first two suggestions and muttering the word “impossible” under your breath, then it’s time to re-evaluate your company’s structure. I say this with the utmost respect because I’ve been there, and I know how hard it can be to do that.
I’ll be honest: I’m in that place right now. I need a “hard reset,” but I’m so busy that I don’t know when I’ll be able to take some time off. If there’s somebody you can delegate responsibilities to, that’s great; if there isn’t, then it’s time to think about hiring or outsourcing. If you’re still saying “impossible,” then perhaps it’s time to review your pricing and profit margins. You don’t want your business to profit at the expense of your health.
Stress can also sap your motivation. Even once you’ve recharged your batteries, you might find yourself at a loss. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities.
Recharge Your Motivation
Seminars and summits are worth their weight in gold when it comes to re-establishing motivation. There’s no better medicine for the lack of focus blues than getting yourself in a room with like-minded people. The key is to do your research. Find the most cost-effective and worthwhile events to attend. They will really help you remember why you love what you do.
If opportunities like this are limited in your industry, then it’s also great to grab coffee or lunch with a business-oriented friend. You can chat about new ideas and opportunities, as well as catch up on each others lives. Sometimes, just going back and forth and throwing out ideas will help you identify interesting opportunities within your own business.
This works with employees, too. Setting aside 20 minutes a day to help an employee reorganize can be a huge help. If it allows him to do more work in the short-term, then it allows you to give him more responsibility in the long term. This is what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. Not only has it helped streamline my schedule, but it’s also reminded me how much I enjoy running my business.
Motivation is the fuel that powers your entrepreneurial engine. Don’t let stress run it dry.
You want to run your business and help people achieve their goals; if you’re stuck in a rut, you can’t do any of those things. So when things get too hectic, become your own problem solver and figure out a course of action that will balance your personal time with your company time and allow you to do a hard reset.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Anthony Russo has been a self-employed business owner for more than five years, and his seven-figure agency, Identity Marketing, is recognized among the top companies in the field of experiential promotional marketing. Russo is also a professional speaker and an emcee for large national events. Connect with @IdentityMktg2 on Twitter.
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