The Biggest Problem That Entrepreneurs Face (And How To Fix It)
Finding that inner balance is key.
In 2011, I embarked on a journey that incorporated fitness into my everyday life. Admittedly, I went full-throttle. I started running marathons, half-marathons, and doing lots of CrossFit. I was in the best shape of my life. Every morning without fail, I was in the gym lifting weights or outside running 3 and 4 miles. Sometimes my evenings included a second workout. It came to the point where I couldn’t get my day started without a gym session.
Over two years ago, I left practicing law, entered entrepreneurship, and never looked back. My 12-hour work days as a lawyer were now replaced by 14 and 15-hour work days that involved non-stop brainstorming, client contact, writing, networking, and more writing. Without even realizing it, I depleted my spare time (and my inner balance).
Instead of waking up in the early mornings and heading to the gym, I woke up, walked 20 feet and plopped myself in my desk chair to begin responding to client emails, project inquiries, and client work. Sure, I thought about going to the gym every morning when I woke up, but my mind was too focused on the client work I had to undertake that day. Before I knew it, my early mornings turned into late evenings. As much as I thought about going to the gym, I had to focus on my clients because I no longer had the security of a paycheck. So, every opportunity I had to grow my business, I jumped at. As a result, my workouts diminished to 2 or 3 a week, from the 6 to 7 days a week I was previously accustomed to. Even with making healthy eating choices, my health obstacles seemed to surface more.
Yet, my business skyrocketed. Each week, I had a new publication or feature, and the clients were pouring in left and right. I grew my business faster than I imagined. After my workday ended, I would find myself lying in bed, responding to emails, setting up tweets for the week ahead, finding a new picture on Instagram that inspired me, or even typing notes to myself with new goals I had. While I am not a TV person, I found myself unable to shut my brain off and just relax.
A few weeks ago, I sat in my therapist’s office and said, “I’ve hit the point in my business where I’ve worn thin. I am doing so well, and achieving so much, but I’m finally feeling the sensation that I am doing too little for myself.”
You see, I’ve always been a “yes” person to others, but I have realized I need to start saying “yes” to myself. Just as the way nothing would come in between me and those early morning workouts, I needed to incorporate that shift into my life again.
Before creating new balance in my life, I turned to the advice of a few experts in the health and mindfulness departments.
I spoke with Rachel Sapoznik, President & CEO of Sapoznik Insurance, who is a corporate health and wellness expert. Rachel advised me, “Juggling is a misnomer because it means you are off balance. Instead, you want structure and organization.” She also reminded me, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” As a single business owner, I am often the queen of taking on more than I can chew (and swallow).
I also conferred with Shelly Tygielski, Certified Mindfulness Coach and President of YURU Meditation. Like myself, Shelly spent a long time in the corporate world as an executive before making the move into entrepreneurship. Shelly advises that “high-achieving [professionals] have an inability to be kind to themselves and put themselves first.” Shelly’s recipe for achieving balance is to begin with inner balance through the “practices of mindfulness” which “provides people with a greater ability to deal more effectively with stressful situations and gives them the ability to remain productive despite having an agitated state of mind.”
I have since rejoined my CrossFit gym, began setting aside a limited number of projects a week for client work, and started blocking out time for exercise that I used to utilize for consultations. I stopped working so much on the weekends, and started incorporating more “me” time. I even went to the beach last weekend, and just relaxed on a lounge chair in the sand.
The result: I’m feeling more energized and revitalized. I’m still working hard, but I am focusing on that “sweet spot” of work and life balance.