Self Care for the CEO
My personal opinion is that a lot of “self-help” philosophy out there is mostly smoke and mirrors. However, there’s wisdom in taking care of yourself, and as we look back on our 8 years (so far) in business, I can see the importance of leaders taking the time to care for themselves and how it’s beneficial not only for them as individuals, but for the overall business, as well.
Understanding that businesses have seasons is important. In the “spring” of my business life, I felt compelled to stay up late, burn the candle at both ends, and do whatever it took to get business, and get a lot of it. Quick turnaround, discounts…I even drove around trying to find examples of “ugly” advertising that I could remedy.
You aren’t thinking of yourself, as an individual, you’re focused on the business and getting it off the ground.
Hustling, making money and connections…it’s natural to be driven to build success initially. When you’re engaged in a creative business, as I am, that adds another layer; creative thinking takes energy. It can be exhausting. It can be energizing when it’s done right, but it’s easy to get burned out that way.
It can be okay for the short term–for that “season”–but if you want continued success, you have to realize that the “Hustle Culture” is not something that’s sustainable long term.
You are your best asset in business. Your unique strengths and skill set. When you are your best self, you’re offering the optimal version of those strengths and skills, so taking good care of yourself is not only wise for you as an individual, it’s a sound business investment.
Eating well, exercising…those may not seem like business decisions, but they should be. My wife and I recently started CrossFit–it’s nearby, it’s something we can do together, and I consider it an integrated approach to building the best life overall, personally and in my business. But don’t get it twisted, I am no CrossFit Meathead.
It can go against the standard “wisdom” we’ve been inculcated with, to think of dialing back your schedule as a way to maintain business success, but engaging in a more natural flow of activity can enhance productivity. Creativity is a funny thing; sometimes you can sit down and pop out a design in a few hours, sometimes you sit in your office during business hours and just plug away. Honoring your body and your mind’s needs keeps both of them firing on all cylinders properly.
Sometimes it’s not possibly to break work up like that, but scheduling in brief walks, outside, or little movement breaks during a regular work day won’t derail you, and you may find that it makes the day go better, and amps up your results.
Owning a business is hard sometimes. Give yourself some grace…take a break from pressuring yourself about perceived mistakes or shortcomings. In addition to the physical aspect of self care, there’s a spiritual and mental aspect as well. You’re learning as you go, and not many people take on business ownership…it’s a high level pursuit.
For both physical and mental/spiritual self care, the payoff is a well-rested, happier you…and that can’t help but make your business better.