Most of us become entrepreneurs because we're good at what we do, and we want the flexibility to do it on our own terms. We want to put our personal stamp on something meaningful. It's exciting, it's hard work, it's fulfilling, and...it can be exhausting and stressful.
A recent Fast Company article, “How to prepare yourself for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship” talked about this confluence of opposites.
“The reality is that entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster–it’s either going to kill you or make you stronger. Most entrepreneurs out there are wrestling with this flux day in and day out. No doubt, the lifestyle can be exciting. The work can be incredibly fulfilling. But it can also be insanely stressful at times.”
In my experience as an entrepreneur, I've found that there are two things that keep me sane:
- Building and maintaining a community
- Making time to feed my soul
Building a community
Working on your own can get lonely. Especially when you're in development mode and spending long stretches of time not talking to another human being. It's important to make opportunities to share ideas, get feedback, and simply connect with others for community, support and, let's not forget, laughter.
A few years ago I put together an AdviseHERy Board. The initial goal was to create a small board of directors (there were three of us, and this has now grown to four) who would help each other build our businesses, talk through issues, give feedback and ask questions that would move us forward. Over the years it has developed into an incredible support system both professionally and personally.
Another thing I've done to build community is join a co-working space. It gets me out of my home office a few days a week, and I can walk there, which is another benefit. In our current sharing economy, co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Most even organize social and business-related events to help connect people.
Feeding your soul
The second thing that I think is really important for entrepreneurs - or for anyone really - is to take time (make time!) to feed your soul. Whatever that means for you.
We often get so busy trying to get that next gig or to keep up with all the responsibilities of business ownership that we forget to take time to rest and recharge. How often do you say, "I don't have time for a break," or, "I just need to get through this project, and I'll take a break"? Don't...put...it...off!
It doesn't have to be a two-week or even a one-week vacation (although I highly recommend them!) It can be a 30-minute walk three times a week. An hour a day reading something that has nothing to do with your work. A concert. The theater. Yoga. Whatever it is, factor it into your schedule and make time to do it. Feed...your...soul.
Oh. And don't forget laughter. You need at least one belly laugh a day!
Till next time,