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Take Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Business
I have been working with two clients lately who have been struggling with very similar issues. They are issues that I have been challenged with myself and are not unique to them or me, as I’ve heard of similar struggles from other clients, colleagues, and friends.
Both of these clients are at an important pivot point in each of their businesses. Many changes are happening and it requires them to be fully present and able to focus, concentrate on the big picture, and make important strategic decisions. At the same time they are contending with big personal life changes and transitions and also struggling with health challenges.
They are excited about the changes that they need and want to make in their business. They are ready to tackle the big challenges and move their business to a place where it will better support them, their families, and their long-term goals. They have the motivation. They have the desire. What they don’t have is the emotional, physical, and spiritual “oomph” to move forward the way they want and need to in their business. And, it’s not from a place of lacking on their part. They have reached their threshold and are noticing that what they are doing isn’t working for them, their business, their health, their family, etc.
What I’ve worked with them on is finding the right balance of what they are able to give to their business at the moment, while honoring their human-ness and where they find themselves on their life path at this time. Often times we push and push. In fact, as entrepreneurs and leaders we hear many tales of those who pushed through the hard times, fought against the odds, and that it was all worth it because of what was at the finish line.
I don’t want to discount those stories; they can be motivational and they have their place. And, kudos to those who were able to do that. What I want to talk about are those of us (the large majority) who can’t or don’t want to force ourselves to push through. Perhaps you’re like me and these two clients who are done with forcing it.
What do you do when your business needs you? When your family depends on your business to pay the bills? When there are opportunities in front of you that you need to take advantage of now or they may be gone later? What do you do when you have to show up and move forward in your business but you are mentally or physically unable to do so?
Embracing Ease and Power
I don’t have the answer you want to hear. I don’t have the magic pill that will help you push through. I do believe that I have ideas that can help you move through these hard times more quickly and get back to the work you want and need to do. What I’m going to tell you is probably not a surprise; you’ve likely heard it elsewhere or you’ve heard something similar, but you’re like me and my clients who need to be reminded and led back into a place of both ease and power.
That’s what this kind of situation requires: ease and power. And, they both come from within you. But, before we can embrace that ease and power we may need to answer some hard questions.
It’s not a reality that we like but there are going to be times in our lives when we are not able to take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us in our business. Whether it is because of a health challenge, losing a friend, being depleted from giving too much of yourself for so long, or deciding to prioritize your child’s soccer game over a business meeting. The more you fight it the more disappointment you are setting yourself up for. And, the longer it will take you to move through what is happening.
What we often forget is that in order to move through something we have to be with that thing. (Tweet this!)
I know this well. I’ve tried countless times to do it another way; trying to go around or under or pretend something away. It always catches up with me/us. Whether that thing is disappointment, illness, grief, crushing debt, or a cheating partner. Each of these will impact us and it’s up to us to recognize and honor that and what our process is for moving through these hard times.
Questions to Help You Face Reality
For both of my clients I asked them questions to help them with facing the reality of their current situation. The questions below are similar to the questions I asked them, as well as other questions that may be relevant for your own unique situation:
What is the opportunity that is in front of you in your business that is important?
What is the worst case scenario if you cannot take advantage of this current business opportunity that is in front of you?
How likely is that worst case scenario? What would that worst case scenario mean for you? Your business? Your family?
Is it actually true that this opportunity is now or never?
Is there a way that you can pause this opportunity for a short time while you get your feet under you?
It may be that the answers to all of the above questions are ones you don’t like. It may be that this opportunity is now or never. I just want to make sure you have given yourself the space to ask these questions, and if possible talk through them with someone you trust, as we can often think something is now or never when it actually is not.
Questions to Help Decide How to Move Forward
After you have your answers to the above questions you may have found that yes, you will miss out on something important for your business if you can’t go all in right now. Or, you may have realized that you can slow things down, ask for a pause, or prolong for a short while to catch your breath.
No matter how you answer the questions above you are still going to come to this next step: deciding what you are going to do about it. If you’ve decided you are just going to suck it up, push down the other things that are happening in your life, and soldier on another day, by all means, stop reading here and get going if you are truly able to do that. But, you started reading this because you noticed that this way of operating hasn’t been working for you.
This is where ease and power come in. They come in when you make the decision to honor where you are and do something different. This is where another set of questions can be helpful:
What is causing your suffering at this moment?
Is there anything you can do to change it?
What would you tell a friend to do in this same situation?
Do you have ideas about what would help you to move through this situation?
Can you think of times in the past where you have felt a similar way or been in a similar situation? What did you do then? Was it helpful? Why or why not?
There may be other questions that would also fit your specific scenario, but I hope the ones above are a good starting point for you and that you will ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to yourself and if possible a trusted friend or partner.
The Best Way Is Through
After answering these sets of questions and giving yourself space for self reflection you may feel that you are opening up into a more powerful place within yourself. You have more understanding about where you are at and what may be possible moving forward. Now is when you take action. It is up to you to decide what you will do.
My sincere hope is that you recognize that your best way is through this. And, in order to get through this you will have to take care of you first. That means that you have to acknowledge and honor the challenges that are before you in your personal life, whether it is an illness, grief, financial trouble, losing someone, or something else. After you have acknowledged its importance and place in your life at this time, you can then move with more ease into getting yourself through this and taking your self care seriously, which will allow you to sooner be able to show up the way you want to in your business.
I know that slowing down, asking yourself the questions above, and reflecting on your answers is probably not the solution you wanted to hear. And it’s not necessarily going to be easy. But, it is worth it. After all, the most important resource/asset in your business is you, and if you don’t prioritize yourself you will never be able to show up for your business the way you want to. You owe it to your business and yourself to take care of yourself in the best way you know how.
What does that look like for you? Perhaps you’ve made your “needs list” and this is the perfect opportunity to use it and show yourself the love you deserve.