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Business Owner’s Check Up: Is Stress Limiting Your Entrepreneurial Potential?

As you start the New Year and a new decade, it’s a good time to give your business success skills a quick check up. Do you have what it takes to get you where you want to go?

As you review your tools and strategies, I’d like to suggest an area that many savvy business women overlook—and this error of omission costs them big. One of the most crucial skills for any thriving solopreneur or professional is the ability to take excellent care of herself. After all, aren’t you the most important asset your business possesses?  I know what you may be thinking. Many of us entrepreneurs have so much on our plates that it’s impossible to get to it all, and often, self care or “me-time” is one of the first things to go. It’s not essential. It may feel self indulgent or you think it’s rather a luxury. You tell yourself you can get to it later.

Not true.

Here’s what THRIVING business owners know (and many of us learned it the hard way). The way you care for yourself counts and it counts big. You can’t show up powerfully in your business or your life unless you are showing up powerfully for yourself. Taking care of YOU is not a luxury, it’s an essential part of a successful business plan.  Successful business owners spend time and energy on themselves. They prioritize their health. They manage their stress. They take time off—real time off. They play and sleep and make efforts to eat well. And it has an impact—not just on how they feel, but on how they work in their businesses.

The cost of not making and taking time for yourself:
Self care isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes, carving out the space, time, and energy you need is really quite an art, but learning to do so is well worth the investment. When we don’t take good care of ourselves:

• We have less energy
• We are more distracted and less focused
• Our stress level is higher
• Sleep can be impaired
• We may feel deprived, irritable, more easily   frustrated, or impatient
• We are less creative
• Our health isn’t as good
• We tend to turn to “vices” to fill in the gaps that we aren’t filling with good stuff. Stress eating, smoking, drinking too much, wasting time surfing the internet—these are a few things that tend to show up big, waste more time and energy, distract us, and immerse us in a vicious cycle of decreased productivity and reduced happiness.

We’re simply not at our best.

When we aren’t at our best, neither is our business.

How can we possibly play our best game under these circumstances? The answer, of course, is that we can’t.  When we are stressed, overwhelmed, or not getting what we need, we tend to feel like we are playing catch up. It’s the feeling of running along behind your life and your business instead of the one of sitting securely in the driver’s seat. We tend to feel deprived—short on time, short on energy, even short on options. That is NOT the place from which one plays powerfully and big.

Stressed-out entrepreneurs risk thinking too small and making decisions from a place of limitation. Overwhelm is not an expansive place.

When we are not taking good care of ourselves, we don’t feel at our best. We don’t shine. Guess what—people notice.

When we are stressed or overwhelmed or feeling less than 100 percent, we tend to be reactive, not proactive. This can drastically affect the choices we make in our business.

Finally, when we don’t feel we can “take the time,” it’s next to impossible to stop, take a calm step back, and get the perspective or “big picture” view that is so vital to creating a thriving business (and life).

What’s a busy business owner to do?

If you recognize yourself, you are not alone. Falling off the self care wagon is one of the most common pitfalls for high-achieving, smart professional women. Knowing that this is a problem for you is the first powerful course-correcting move. It’s the only way that you can start to value and work on prioritizing the self care you really need.