… but you have to treat your body like you treat your dog.
Entrepreneurs often wonder what their main priorities should be as they build their business. The first thing that comes to mind (unsurprisingly) is making money. That’s a given of course – eating is good.
When we are launching a new business, or a new phase of business, creating revenue is absolutely a focus for any entrepreneur. However while we focus on making our business the success we envision, we don’t often stop to notice how our bodies and minds operate on the ebb and flow of energy… or balance.
We often forget that we can’t put out energy continually without replenishing it. Think about it – when you forget to eat, your body will slow down to conserve the energy it has left. And while it’s conserving energy, your brain is not radiating the brilliance you’d like everyone to see.
When you are completely sleep deprived, you won’t be able to sit down in front of a television without an enforced “couch” sleep (and while you’re sleeping, it doesn’t count as quality time with your family).
Single-minded focus is useful – but not sustainable. And we may not recognize the point at which we’re no longer efficient – where we are going through the motions and taking longer to produce results that really don’t cut it.
Worse, we can develop a pattern of imbalance that takes its toll on our bodies and minds if we ignore it over time. It took my surviving a catastrophic illness to start respecting balance – and I’m still not living a life of equilibrium as consistently as I’d like. But I have learned some core lessons along the way and I think they are worth sharing.
Treat your body like you treat your dog. Seriously. We treat our pets’ needs with much more respect than we do our own. To be clear, I’m not suggesting we need to spend our days illicitly sleeping on the good sofa. Although we say that our dogs have a great life with few demands – if we lived like that, I think most entrepreneurs would be bored – and broke.
But, would you ever dream of not feeding your dog? Dogs are not subtle about their mealtimes so it would be hard to miss the cue that they need to be fed. Yet we routinely skip meals, depriving ourselves of the energy source that we need to be effective. And for those of you who are wondering, coffee isn’t one of the official food groups.
You wouldn’t take your dog for an eight hour run without a rest, and yet there are days when we go flat out for hours and hours, ignoring the cues that tell us we need to slow down.
These are basic physical needs, but respecting your physical and mental limits is a priority for entrepreneurs to be effective in business. In my next post I’ll talk about other dimensions of balance that allow us to increase our performance, and our ability to go after new business. I have a theory that our businesses operate on this basis too – but that is for another day.