Self-Care for the Entrepreneur
When I think about my life as a child, I think about how children often answer someone when asked, “Want do you want to be when you grow up?” I think about all the usual answers children say such as a doctor, a teacher or even a police officer. I too probably answered with a more than typical response when questioned as a child about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now as an adult who has spent over 20 years in law enforcement as a police officer, I fully recognize that I have never given up my strong desire to be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur with a vision of starting a not-for-profit organization, my creative energies and thoughtful ideas can turn into a thriving business that helps build the lives of individuals and communities. This strong desire to lead and make a positive impact does not, however, come without great risk and reward.
The rewards of being an entrepreneur are great. According to Cardon (2015), rewards of being an entrepreneur include control and flexibility. As your own “boss” you can set your work schedule. This can be great as you work to create a home and life work balance. And because you are in control as an entrepreneur, you also get to develop your very own job description. You also experience a feeling of freedom when you are an entrepreneur. In many cases, entrepreneurs are doing what they love, setting their schedules and using their strengths to advance the company’s bottom line. This creates an environment where the entrepreneur is free to be their very best.
Ross (2016) proposed that there are some risks to being your boss. A few examples of risk include long hours and feelings of isolation or loneliness. As an entrepreneur, the job must get done, and the entrepreneur is usually the person responsible. This can bring about long days, hours and even weeks as the entrepreneur works toward meeting goals and deadlines. Because the entrepreneur usually does not have a team to delegate tasks to, he or she can also begin to feel alone and isolated. Then there is the financial burden. Being an entrepreneur often means giving up the security of a regular paycheck. This risk can present many additional personal and professional challenges for a person responsible for leading their own business.
When we examine both the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur, it may not come as a surprise that all too often entrepreneurs can begin to experience feelings of stress and burnout. When this happens, not only can the business suffer, the physical and emotional well-being of the entrepreneur is threatened. As a result, it is important to not only practice skills that advance his or her business but to also create habits that contribute to their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Here are three tips I have gathered from articles written by Ross (2016) and Cardon and Patel (2015):
Make time for Rest. A good night’s sleep is important for all of us. However, as an entrepreneur who often is responsible for tasks handled by teams in larger organizations, it is important that you have the energy that good rest can offer. Don’t allow this to be neglected. Make time for the rest you need. If not, you and your body will “feel the pain.”
Don’t Go It Alone. Sure, you are an entrepreneur, but that does not mean you don’t need a network. Meeting others in and out of your business can provide you with opportunities to network, learn new ideas and market your business. As a bonus, the experience can give you more energy – energy needed to run an effective business.
Eric D. Poyner is the CEO and Co-founder of a small non-profit that deals with the service professionals social and emotional health. Eric has been a police officer for 19-years and is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Eric Detron Poyner.
Take a Hike or at Least a Walk. It is so easy to get stuck at your desk, on your computer or the phone. Give your body and mind a rest by taking the time to get up and get out. If only for a few minutes. The air, sunshine (yes even when it’s raining, the sun is out) and change of environment can help make your day better.
Your business needs you. Put yourself on the top of the to-do-list and make your well-being a priority.
Cardon, M. S., & Patel, P. C. (2015). Is Stress Worth it? Stress‐Related Health and Wealth Trade‐Offs for Entrepreneurs. Applied Psychology, 64(2), 379-420.
Ross, J. (2016). Don’t stop believin’: The journey to entrepreneurial burnout and back again. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 17507).