Being an entrepreneur is exciting, fast-paced, and stressful. It’s often a David against Goliath battle. It feels as if there are insurmountable challenges around every corner and is an adrenalin rush for sure. Days are long, nights often sleepless, and worry is a constant companion.
I admire those brave or foolish enough to strap in and let it ride. But, I want to offer a cautionary tale. Sacrifices are made and one of the most frequent is to not allocate the time to take care of yourself.
It is hard to justify the time for activities that appear to be selfish. Activities such as a morning run, a date night with a spouse, a lunchtime walk, even a weekend away, or heaven forbid a real vacation.
Strange, as an executive, I made time for all those things and more. As an entrepreneur, one whose job it is to support the efforts of other entrepreneurs, I couldn’t be bothered. All that felt superfluous. I needed every hour I had to build my business, to serve my clients.
Do you know what? That was wrong thinking, and it has come back to bite me. I spent my Sunday afternoon having an MRI of my lower lumbar spine. I haven’t been taking care of myself. My weight has increased, my flexibility has decreased. I am now walking with a limp. I told myself, I’d come back to my self-care ritual when the time was right. It’s been over 4-years. There is no excuse. Business is good but, I keep telling myself the same story, that I need every hour.
Every year, I help lead a retreat for emerging leaders in my community. We take 25 people to a quiet hideaway on the beach in Northern California. Spending a weekend being introspective, working on skills that build better leaders. That retreat took place this past weekend.
The capstone of the weekend was a guided meditation on the beach prior to boarding the bus returning to our busy lives and in my case, an afternoon MRI. After the meditation, we discussed the experience. Comments were made about how nice it felt to stop and get off the merry-go-round of life for a few minutes. Others talked about how shocked they were by the busyness of their minds. All were thankful for the experience.
The bus ride home was two hours long. I spent much of it feeling foolish. I had a decade's long meditation practice. Sitting every day without fail. But, I need every hour to build my business and serve my clients, I don’t have time to meditate every day, or exercise, or eat right. What a load of crap.
There is likely not a time in my life where my meditation practice is more needed. My lack of routine exercise and my mindless eating has left me heavy and battling back and leg pain.
I said that I was offering this as a cautionary tale. One aimed at encouraging you, the reader, not to allow your own self-care to be placed on the back burner. But, as I write this, I also feel it serves as a personal pledge. A pledge to prioritize my own self-care. To not create excuses for failing to make the needed time. Hold me accountable, check in with me, and whatever you do, make the needed time for yourself.