In honor of National Day of Encouragement:
Are you working to live or living to work? This is the question that plagued me as a business owner for the past several years. I had this dream that was so vivid in my mind that I could actually feel it with my own two hands and see it in my mind. Then, one by one, issue after issue arose and I found myself transitioning from feelings of gratification from helping others and putting out fires to bitter and wounded when people needed my help and feeling overextended. Over time I found myself in damage control mode and far away from preventative maintenance. What was the cause, upon reflection, I discovered more than one. Clear expectations were vivid in my mind but I was failing to convey those expectations to others. Another nail in the cross for me were boundaries. Imagine the word no works pretty well. Much better than too many yeses. The final straw that really sealed my rat race fate was accountability. Not just accountability for others but accountability for myself.
So I took a trip to Alaska for 10 days. Slept for the first two and a half - Got angry, with myself, and with others - Took just about as much personal time as I could muster and attended my own personal pity party - Then, after massage two of three and several rocky nights of sleep, simplicity hit me.
I needed help.
I reached out to colleagues and pulled my resources. What I do organically for others, I began to start doing for myself. As I sit on my bed in my cabin, somewhere off the coast of Oregon heading back to San Francisco, I am writing this to anyone who might have felt in any small way alone in this ladder we are all climbing. There are solutions and help is out there.
My plan of action:
Life Coach – Yup I don’t have all the answers and life is tough sometimes. For all the positive reminders I dish out with all the energy I have. I realize, I also need some crumbs my way. I emailed and messaged a woman I trust and who has already done her homework on me. This seemed much more cost effective and due to the first two sessions of bringing the coach up to speed. She already had my numbers.
HR Department – I needed someone to hold me accountable to ensure I was effective and consistent with others. I set the tone, therefore if I am overworked and stressed, my staff is as well. In order for them to be consistent, I need to be as well. Also, there is less room for misunderstanding when transparency is every corner for all
Not Personal - Know when to hold and know when to fold. Most of the past year I spent taking actions from crew personally. Wrong scope I was looking through. They were simply looking through their own and I was unable to share the bigger picture with them. Time to clarify the lines between work and play
Take Time – I won’t win any medals proving to my inner child that I can survive off coffee and jujufruits working 80 hour weeks. It is not healthy. Time to schedule time off consistently and delegate what is overflowing from my plate.
Do Your Best – I went back and re-read my own companies core values. Time to go back to the basics and remember why I am doing what I am doing and what my end game is. I love to help people. Although I have not stopped, I can be better, more efficient, and much smarter in the way I support those in business.
So there you have it. I created several spreadsheets, set meetings, and napped. I also got to see some amazing parts of nature and let me tell you, we are all very small when you are standing next to a glacier in Alaska. If you can relate with any of the things I mentioned in this rant, I implore you to take a step back in order to move forward. We are not alone.