Life as an entrepreneur rarely means you can expect life to slow down, bring you an iced tea and tell you to sit back and relax. Self care can be something that gets put on the back burner. Have you been putting off a vacation until fundraising is over? Or maybe until you’ve hired a new CTO? Maybe you’re trying to work only 60 hours to squeeze in a little more sleep?
While catching up with a long time client, she expressed to me her sincere exhaustion. She was tired and she was feeling horribly guilty about it. Luckily, I was able to catch her and gently remind her that her time and energy are a limited resource. Have you been to yoga recently? She shook her head and began to rattle off reasons on why, I once again interjected: it’s time to start loving yourself like you love your business.
1. Remember that you are Awesome!
Practice the art of letting compliments sink in. Not that you need your ego stroked but you do need energy, you need to feel supported and you need to feel acknowledged. Let the compliment sink in as truth. Envision it as a crowd of supporters cheering you during a long race when your body and mind is tired. You can summon up a sprint or two with people cheering you on.
2. Change for the Positive
Even if criticism can be labeled as constructive it is typically negative when we do it to ourselves. Stop the criticism. If your last round of funding was a bit of a flop, that isn’t a reflection on you. Maybe it’s time to pivot the business, seek outside help or find a better thought partner and investor. If you find yourself sinking into a hole of negative thoughts it most likely is because you need to recharge.
3. Rest and Relax
R&R isn’t just for vacations or something to be scheduled out 6 months in advance. Plus, to be the best leader you can be you need your creative batteries fully charged. Don’t drain yourself to the point of not being able to be nimble. Tomorrow you might win the lotto of traction and find yourself with a whole new set of startup problems. Skip the solitary life for workouts and book a variation of yoga classes, join a Meetup group or, if you are in Seattle, walk with the Geeks on a Trail.
4. Acknowledge Your Tribe
What feels better than getting a gift? Getting genuine positive acknowledgement! The pillars of your business are not going to be found in degree framed on your wall, nor will you find strength and stability in the investor money sitting in the bank. Your business’ real strength comes from its supportive tribe like the strangers who become friends because your idea helped them. The friends plant seeds by sharing your business with others. The people who through sunshine or stormy weather stick by you, celebrate you and hold your idea to the light to let it shine. Dedicate an hour a week to acknowledging your tribe. One easy way would be to introduce your fans through Twitter; great way to make use of #FollowFriday.
5. Make Self Love a Habit
The best path to start running down in one of self love. Zooming out from the little details of who did what, when and how will begin to get fuzzy. It’s time to make a habit of taking care of yourself. Self love is a skill that you can learn through dedication and practice. I can guarantee it will be the best investment of your life.