Avoiding Burnout as an Entrepreneur
As creative entrepreneurs, it is so important for us to stay inspired. We see a lot of the glamorous parts of entrepreneurship- the Pinterest-worthy home offices with faux fur rugs tossed around the white leather chairs in the spotless homes… the women who are making their keto dinners for the week every Sunday while producing a podcast and doing Facebook lives.
Hell, we ARE these women. And the minute we mark something off our to-do list, there’s the next thing that steals our attention away from everything. And we go. And we go. And we go. Because that’s what we do, right? We get things done.
Butttt then, then comes the not-so-glamorous burnout.
You know what I’m talking about. The burnout that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, the burnout that leaves us telling our mom we will call them next week, because we are just that exhausted. The burnout that leaves us canceling plans that are important to us. The burnout that makes our mental health absolutely spiral. The burnout that brings out the guilt- the guilt for not doing enough, the guilt of not being a good enough wife, mom, business woman.
The good news? Taking a proactive approach to life and your business can keep you on track to avoid burnout. And I promise you, that nap you’re thinking about right now- it will end up working more towards your business than holding out to do more work will. Trust me.
Here are the steps I take (and most that I’ve learned from amazing girl bosses) to avoid burnout.
+ Celebrate the wins.
I put this one first intentionally- this is so important. We are doing incredible things everyday- working full-time jobs, taking care of our homes, keeping up with the bills, making dinner, cleaning our houses, doing ALL the things, along with growing a business.
One of the first things I did when I went into business was hire a coach. She stressed the importance of celebrating every single win, because as these go-getter, amazing women, we are constantly in GO mode. In “do more,” mode. In “I have to get this done right freaking now,” mode. And doing one task and going on to another without focusing on the wins (and I’m talking the big AND the small wins) leads to us forgetting our “why.” It makes us ask ourselves if what we’re doing is even worth it.
But, when you find yourself celebrating the small wins, you find yourself wanting to achieve more! It’s like marking something off a to-do list, you know that rush you feel immediately after? Let yourself feel that rush for longer than the typical three seconds. When I get a new client, I literally stand up and dance. Then I go do something for myself-- sometimes that is taking a bath. Sometimes that is going to dinner. Sometimes that is going to bed. Sometimes that is booking the weekend trip I’ve been thinking about. Regardless of what it is, I always celebrate.
Here are some things to focus on celebrating:
When someone signs up for your email list (or hell, even starting your email list)
Getting a new client
Getting an amazing review (tip: print these out and hang them around you or keep them in a Google doc, that way, whenever you feel down, you can remember how much your clients love you, and how much the universe NEEDS you!)
Reaching any goal- big or small (and when you take the time to celebrate instead of automatically setting a bigger goal, I promise, you will find yourself reaching more goals than you ever expected!)
Be proud of yourself. You are doing amazing.
+ Figure out what recharges you.
When most people talk about this- they use the word “disconnect.” And don’t get me wrong, disconnecting can be incredibly beneficial and an amazing way to recharge, but not for everyone. You know how people identify with either being introverted or extroverted? They use those words, not to determine how “shy” they are, or how “anti-social,” they are, but to describe where they get their energy from.
After a long work week, do you feel more energized when you go out with your friends? Or, do you feel more energized after spending an evening alone with minimal contact to others?
“Introverts require some alone space to clear their mind whereas extroverts generate energy by spending time with people. Alone time allows introverts to disconnect from the world and reset their focus and this is absolutely crucial for their survival. Introverts recharge from within because this is how they get their signal that they are in full control of themselves. Spending time with people constantly would drain them. Thus, they embrace solitude because it allows them to concentrate better and avoid distractions. Extroverts, on the other hand, feel fully fulfilled and content being surrounded by people. Social environments with larger crowds stimulate extroverts their share of energy.” -Learning Mind
So, figure out what you identify with most, and go get your energy that way. Isolating yourself completely may not help you avoid burnout if you’re an extrovert, and vice versa if you are an introvert. It is so important to understand this.
+ Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Two of my favorite quotes ever happen to be by Jenna Kutcher. One is “busy is not a badge of honor,” and the other is “done is better than perfect.” I find myself reminding myself of both of these things on a daily basis.
Most of us are perfectionists. It’s the truth. We always have been, and we always will be. Especially when we are over-coming this insane self-doubt we have and trying to figure out how to do all of the things. We are working hard to make our dreams come true and every little thing has to be perfect.
Except it doesn’t.
Let go of the idea of perfect and marry the idea of momentum. Perseverance and momentum is what distinguishes those who are successful from those who are not. Don’t waste your precious time and energy trying to perfect something. Accept the idea of good enough. Understand that when you wake up every single morning, you have a limited amount of energy, and you have to determine where that energy goes. Figure out what is important, what needs more time, and what you can do to just get by (and fix later!)
Forgiving yourself and accepting things that are not-so-perfect will save you so much time, energy, and let you focus on other things that are really important (like making yourself and your business money, duh.)
+ Focus on how far you’ve come.
We take ourselves for granted, a lot.
Look back at yourself six months ago, a year ago, six years ago.
Look at the difference you’ve already made for yourself. Hold that pride close. Put it in a little bottle and get it out at times where you start to feel burnout and when you begin to question yourself. It is energizing. It is an unexplainable feeling to actually focus on the fact that you took your dream, in circumstances that weren’t perfect, and you worked towards it anyway.
A lot of this goes back to gratitude, too. I use the Five Minute Journal daily and it makes me literally sit down and realize my wins of the day and what I accomplished. And even that, I flip back every few weeks and see the amazing things I’ve done and the progress I’ve made and how far I’ve come in just that short amount of time. When you realize what you’ve already done and how far you’ve already made it, it makes it incredibly hard to not believe that you will go further. And further.
And, when you see where you are now, objectively, from a perspective of pride and not criticism, you will realize: you are way too damn far in this to quit.
At the end of the day, these things all go back to the big picture of self-care. So, above all things you schedule in your calendar, make that a priority.
Now, go take that nap.
Want even more self-care tips?