by Heather K. Terry | Featured Contributor
What have you done today for yourself? Not your business, but yourself.
When I was an actor, most of the other actors I knew only talked about work. There appeared to be nothing else going on in the lives of these people.
Now that I own a company, I see that same trait in entrepreneurs. That same all-consuming obsession with work.
But the truth is, if you want to find success as an entrepreneur, and as a human being, you need to pay attention to your life.
Self-care is essential
Self-care is one of the most overlooked elements of success, and it is absolutely non-negotiable. You need to get no less than 7 hours of sleep every night. You need adequate nutrition, exercise, and plenty of water. And you also need to fulfill your interests outside of your business. Do you even remember what those interests are?
You are an intelligent person. You know it’s important to take care of yourself, yet you very well may have found yourself stuck in that business bubble—losing sight of the person you once were, and, as a result, becoming a very dull, sad, one-dimensional individual.
When I started Nibmor, I lost myself for a while. I dove into my business headfirst, thinking of nothing but work. I would work for 16 hours a day, trying to perfect a chocolate recipe. My boyfriend at the time brought it to my attention that I was working every waking minute and that this schedule could not go on.
He was right. I was headed for burnout central, and my all-consuming focus on work was not healthy for me or my relationships. Since then, I’ve made a point of taking care of Heather before Nibmor. For instance, I schedule my day in measurable chunks of time. I’ll do yoga from 6am-7am, work on social media from 7am-10am, talk to my business partner from 11am-noon. This way, everything has a hard stop. And taking care of me is like any other business commitment. “Me time” is simply an appointment with myself, and it gets scheduled in just like everything else.
I make a point of doing what I have to do in order to feel fulfilled because at the end of the day, we make chocolate—we do not solve world hunger.
When you get run down, you get sick.
Stress, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise . . . they all weaken our immune system. When you let yourself get run down and stressed out, I promise you, you will get sick. Take care of yourself or your body will force you to.
Personally, I’d rather rest every day and enjoy that downtime than spend it sick in bed. You are of no service to your business when you are unwell.
Watch out for your relationships
Worse than damaging your health, when we’re in burnout mode, we tend to push boundaries and neglect our relationships. We tell ourselves that our loved ones will understand, that our children will understand. We lead ourselves to believe that we will be forgiven for neglecting those we love for the sake of business, but guess what? That is untrue.
The only unconditional love that exists is the love a parent has for his or her child. When my husband and I said our marriage vows, we entered into a contract. If I don’t hold up my end of the bargain by making our relationship a priority, I put our marriage in jeopardy. Our love is conditional. If I neglect my daughter, guess what? She doesn’t have to grow up loving me.
Loved ones will not always understand your absence in their lives. Your marriage could end. Your children could grow to resent you. Your friends could abandon you.
And without your friends and your family, what in the world are you even doing any of this for? Is it really worth it?
If you feel like you’re letting your business take over your life, it’s time to seriously work on getting a grip on reality because this is not a sustainable lifestyle. This starts by taking inventory of your life.
Take inventory of your life.
What is your reality right now and what has to be done today to make your life more balanced?
Maybe you need to have sex with your spouse. Or go to the movies with your friends.
Maybe you have to call your mother or dance around the living room with your child.
Make time with yourself and your family a non-negotiable part of your day.
Put some scope around what you are doing. Yes, running your business is important, but you can’t serve anyone if you run yourself into the ground.
Take care of yourself in a holistic sense: spiritually, physically, and interpersonally. Your business, yourself, and your relationships will all flourish as a result.
Celebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. She is co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable. www.heatherkterry.com