Some business owners are too generous with their time and energy. Many give too much. They care too much. Their overwhelming generosity costs them too much time, energy, space and money.
They put themselves last. Their physical, emotional, mental or spiritual health suffers and burn out is the result.
I’ve been in the business of owning businesses since 1983. I was also a single parent for 18 of those years. I discovered the hard way that over-care for others can jeopardise my self-care. It was exhausting. A severe lack of energy affected my health. It diminished my optimistic outlook. Not only was the quality of my life and those around me reduced, but my business suffered too. It was a bizarre, catch-22 predicament. It meant there were times when I was unable to care for me and my family and my business. There was much to balance.
Self-honour was my solution. Self honour is a vital key to a satisfying work life balance for me. The positive effects flow onto my family and my business.
I have to come first.
It may seem selfish but let me tell you why I feel it’s good for solo and micro business owners with family or not. I find it useful to think of it this way: everyone has four bodies. Each body has needs of it’s own. I have a physical body, an emotional body, a mental body and a spiritual body. Creative development feeds my emotional, mental and spiritual body. Creative development fills the needs of my other three bodies, so it allows me the time I need to take care of my physical body. Focusing on my creative development means that:
- I learn something new everyday.
- I spend time with me.
- I have fun everyday.
- I get non-stop inspiration downloaded to my mental inbox everyday.
- I am prolific and highly productive.
- Creative blocks are so rare that I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to suffer in this way.
Creative development is good for me, which means it’s good for my business, and it’s good for my family.
I am responsible for the care of my four bodies before I can offer adequate care to others.
Creative development is one small act that can have a huge impact on how well I live the business of life and how well I live a life of business.
It takes my four bodies to care for everybody and everything important to me. Rather than coming a very poor second, third or fourth place, by honouring myself, I put myself into first place. If I want to be ready, willing and able to balance my business and family life, then I have to create a win/win situation. I want to be able to go the distance in business. I want to live a long and healthy life.
First place is the best place to be if I want to care for others in my business, my family and the rest of my life.
Some people avoid caring for others, not because they don’t care, but because they care too much. They may not know their own limits, or they know them too well. It’s a challenge to establish and maintain personal boundaries around giving, taking and sharing.
Appropriate self-care comes from learning how to balance my needs and those of others. Over-care for those I love may mean under care for me. Self-honour means that I win.
When I win, everyone I love wins too. And so does my business.