When to prioritise yourself over your business
Those of you who know me or who have read my bio will know that my career background is rather more unusual and includes many years Serving in the Royal Navy. Marching, weapon training, uniforms and ‘phyz’ (the word used for physical training in the military) were my way of life for about 12 years. It taught me so much more though. Self-discipline, motivation, resilience, leadership, teamwork and tolerance, operating under enormous pressure and a strength of character, all of which would serve me well when it came to running my own business.
Over the last few years, I have observed many business owners coming under pressure from one thing or another – a challenging client, lack of sales, lack of cash, lack of ability with IT, self-confidence or perhaps all of the above. Challenges in business will hit us all at one time or another. They certainly have for me.
But it is how you react to them that is the difference between moving forwards or moving backwards or collapsing in a snotty heap.
Now I am not suggesting you all go out and undergo military training! For all it was beneficial, it had its flaws! But what I am telling you is that business is not merely about marketing, sales, products and services. It is more than that and I am sure my team would raise an eyebrow when I say this as it is not something I ever really preach or discuss, but business MUST be about you too.
Without you functioning at your optimum, there is no business. You will always struggle, always feel like you are failing, always be fighting for something and feeling that everything is just too hard. 99% of the time, it is because you haven’t factored YOU into the business equation.
‘YOU’ means your health both mentally and physically. And until you get control of these, you are always going to find business hard. Now some things may well be beyond your control, if you are suffering from an illness or injury perhaps or a bereavement. Absolutely life throws things at us, but if you have considered your health as a whole and have implemented ways to manage your health, know your triggers, know your body, know what makes you feel low, you can take steps to avoid it.
For me, it was a lack of exercise. I allowed my business to consume me and I would work all day at my desk barely standing up to go and eat let alone move or exercise. And having had exercise as such a huge part of my life to nothing, was a killer for me both physically and mentally. I began to feel sluggish, lacked energy, didn’t sleep well, and felt miserable to be quite honest.
In 2020, in the midst of the NSW lock down, I prioritised my physical health. Gyms were closed and social distancing was enforced, so I took on the challenge of running a solo 50km trail based ultra-marathon to raise funds for Be Centre. This year, still an avid runner, I plan on doing it all over again, but this time, with the local community along for the ride. You can be part of this community by participating and fundraising, or simply making a donation.
But my point is, it is important to know what is making you feel less than efficient and motivated. Is it that you don’t understand something and need to invest in some training? Is it that your relationships are unhealthy and you need to invest time in them? Is it that you are working weekends to stay ahead and miss out on family time? Do you need to empower your team with more responsibility? Set firmer boundaries around work hours? Set time aside for rest and relaxation?
Whatever it is you need to do to make yourself feel 100% and operate your business with 100% drive, then now is the time to make that happen.