Last week I had a big realization: I built a business around other people’s needs, I didn’t think to build a business around my own needs.
When I started this business, the motivation that fueled me was building a business that would give me flexibility in the case of other peoples’ emergencies. At the time a close family member had recently been diagnosed with a pretty big health issue that changed our lives forever. It was one that came with more hospital visits than we expected (or wanted) and meant that at the drop of a hat we may need to drive the four hours to be there if an emergency arose.
So yeah, a pretty real reason to create a business that held flexibility (aka; I could work from anywhere) was pretty important to me.
However, what I didnt’ take into account was this:
I built a business around other peoples needs, I didn’t build a business around flexibility that I might need if I got sick, burnt out, or needed to recover from xyz.
Now, eight years into this business and I’m realizing that there’s a few things I need to change.
About a month ago I switched birth control methods. I wanted a non-hormonal option so that I could further balance my hormones and begin cycle syncing for my productivity, workouts, etc. The girls who get it get it. The reasoning was great, the procedure was awful. Not only did I have to recover physically, I also had some recovery to do emotionally. And during that time I had a lot of realizations.
For one, I realized that I was completely burnt out and had no idea. Second, I realized I have been conditioned like most of us to believe that resting is obviously important for recovery but who has time for that when you’re running your own business?! It was incredibly difficult for me to allow myself to rest and recover. However, once I finally accepted that I could indeed rest and bad things wouldn’t happen as a result, things began to click.
I’m incredibly blessed to have a business partner (my husband, Lyndon) who is supportive of me as a person first, business owner second. We’ve worked together for over a year now and he has a pretty good idea of what we’re posting on socials, how to respond to client inquiries, the main operations that keep things running smoothly, etc. However, I had been holding on tight (like, my claws were dug in deep) to our socials. It wasn’t until I was recovering from my procedure (and then sick twice afterwards with a cold) that I realized I wanted to loosen my grip, to let go of the responsibility. Funny how sometimes we have to get to some of our lowest moments before we accept the change that will actually help us.
During those weeks of rest and recovery we took stock of where we were placing our focus and whether it was still in alignment with where we wanted to be.
Turns out, there were a few things that needed to change. My favorite change? Mornings are now my time to simply write. That’s it. I get to sit down and journal what’s on my mind and then I get to write newsletters, blog posts, podcast show notes, or…the book I’ve been working on for the past few years (its a process but we’ll get there).
Recognizing what was no longer serving us on the business side allowed us to pinpoint what would.
I’m still learning and figuring out how to build in what I need as a business owner so that I’m taking care of myself regularly. Its too easy to wait until we completely burn out before making the changes that will prevent burn out.
These days, there are a few things I do to keep myself running at a sustainable pace that feels good. It’s a lot slower and I’m very grateful for that.
I’ve realized that I’d rather live my life > live in my business.
Here’s a lil’ inside look at my updated daily practices in case you’d like to adopt any of them and see if they work for you, too. Disclaimer: this is what it generally looks like when we’re at home. If we’re traveling or have a photoshoot day, things look a little different (but that’s a blog post for a different day).
As I mentioned, my mornings now are a lot slower and that has been so good for my soul. I light a candle and meditate, then I sip on my coffee w/ collagen (after I’ve had breakfast, of course) and I journal out whatever is on my mind. This usually leads to a thought I want to share with you in some capacity, whether its via a blog post like this one, a podcast episode, or for the e-list. Right now I’m still getting myself used to writing consistently so I haven’t written any new chapters for my book yet, but we’re working up to it.
After I’ve finished writing, maybe I’ll go for a hot girl walk and listen to a podcast. Or, what’s more likely, I’ll start on lunch (today we’re going to have acorn squash with veggie meat mixed in pasta sauce placed in the middle – so good).
This is when Lyndon and I check in about whatever we need to check in about. We’ll share what’s on our to-do list and tweak it if needed. Sometimes we have strategy calls scheduled in the calendar (these are with our branding clients where we plan out their photoshoot together), other times we have chemistry calls with potential new clients. If we don’t have calls we’ll get in the zone with our to-do list for that day.
If I’m feeling up to it, I love to do a workout towards the end of the day right before dinner, but I’ll be honest that’s not most days lol.
I’ve begun to love cooking in the evenings because it’s a way for me to decompress from the workday and switch back into relaxation mode. Plus, it’s just super satisfying to eat a fresh home-cooked meal. The rest of the evening is filled with relaxing and often I like to read before bed with a hot cup of Magnesi-om from Moon Juice. Then, its sweet dreams.
Earlier this year we got into the habit of working on weekends instead of recharging. It took a minute, but eventually we made it to the point where now weekends are reserved for relaxing and resting. Often that looks like sleeping in, reading all day, taking walks in the sunshine, cooking, etc. On Sundays I love to do the laundry and get fresh groceries to reset for the week ahead, too.
As entrepreneurs it’s so easy to get into “hustle and grind” mode for a multitude of reasons. Your team may be composed of just you and that can create some added pressure to do #allthethings. As business owners, most of us don’t have the luxury of great health insurance or benefits that you may get from a corporate job. A lot of our identity tends to get wrapped up in our business. These are just a few reasons we give ourselves for not being able to rest and recover when needed (let alone consistently).
What I want to encourage you to do is to simply think of 2-3 small shifts you can make to prioritize rest. It will most likely feel uncomfortable at first, however stick with it. You’re the most valuable asset when it comes to your business. Not your clients or the work that you do – YOU.
If you’re not taking care of yourself, everything else stops.
So start now. Think of 2-3 small shifts you can make to prioritize rest and begin implementing them.
Learning what works is an ongoing process. We’ll continue to evolve in business just like we evolve as human beings. So check in with yourself to see what’s working and what’s no longer serving you. This can be incredibly helpful insight when creating a routine that feels good for you (and allows you to show up with more purpose, joy, and feel more fulfilled at the same time).
You’ve got this. I’m cheering for you.
It may feel unnatural to create more time for rest but stick with it – I promise it’s worth it.