Running a business is consuming. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Pretty much every minute of every day in some way is related to that business. Sales, costs, hiring, firing, safety, regulations, expansion, equipment, banks, cash flow…and so on.
And yet, the number one business driver requiring renewal, ongoing maintenance, investment, and periodic shut down often gets neglected. Any guesses what that business driver is? Yes, that business driver is you.
When you consider industry “rules of thumb” for maintenance –
- 2-4% of the value of the replacement value of a building
- 2-5% replacement asset value for equipment
What is the “rule of thumb” that you set aside for investment in you?
Investment in yourself can take many forms:
- Learning events – conferences, webinars, podcasts – both on the hard skills of running your business, e.g., agricultural production, and the soft skills e.g., leadership.
- Vacation – true time for decompression – from as small as a 12-hour tech detox, to that bucket list vacation that rewards you and your family for the intensity of building and running a business.
- Hiring a coach or mentor – perhaps a physical trainer to help you keep some exercise in your schedule, a thought partner to help you think out loud about critical business issues, or a spiritual guide to help ensure your livelihood continues to anchor in your values and holistic priorities.
- Meditation and mindfulness – know what time works best for you and commit to it. That could be the first 15 minutes of your day, reflecting as you wake on the thoughts your brain organized overnight, or that little snippet of time you grab at your desk distraction-free, staring out the window just being present in the moment.
Sounds…excellent and appropriate – right? So why is that this is such a challenge for most business owners?
While I may not agree with every aspect of the book “Tyranny of the Urgent” by Charles E. Hummel there is one quote that stands out for me: “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” The 20/80 rule (the Pareto principle) is a great point for reflection in this context, that 20% of your efforts yields 80% of your results.
The urgency of production, the urgency of customers, the urgency of business management – all incredibly important aspects of running a successful business. And yet, if not balanced with the importance of health, family, even time for strategic thinking – can result in business decline.
Sometimes investment in yourself, also requires you to invest in your people. While effective delegation can free up your precious time, it takes trust, space for development of your people, and a wee bit of acceptance that things might be done differently than you would tackle them. And that’s okay. Imagine the message it conveys when you do delegate: “I trust you. I want you to grow your talents and responsibilities with this organization. I am open to the new ideas and approaches that someone else might bring.” All incredibly empowering and motivating messages for your team.
We live in a time when we’re lucky to have a world of resources at our fingertips. Despite that, there remains a huge stigma against the need to ask for help, particularly in cases of mental health and wellness for founders and entrepreneurs. “Help” can range from an article that hits home, listening to podcasts, through to a commitment with speaking with professionals. And just like equipment maintenance, taking time to check the belts, check for leaks, and just pause to listen carefully to the engine can save hours of crisis time down the road.
Here are some resources, you might find helpful.
- Janice Marturano, former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at General Mills on Mindfulness:
- Neuroscience concepts:
- The Pomodoro technique : https://www.focusboosterapp.com/blog/the-science-behind-the-pomodoro-technique/
- Mental Health
- Michael Landsberg, Canadian sports broadcaster: “Sick Not Weak: The Moose in Me, the Moose in You”
- Margaret Trudeau: “Changing My Mind”
- And of course…there’s an app for that! Examples: Headspace, Calm, Moodfit, Better Me and MindShift, Focus Keeper, Pomo Focus.
- Your company benefits plan also might have some great resources, be sure to check that out!
Fifteen minutes for reflection, today, is a start. It’s investment in balance, in what matters, in you. Good luck and enjoy the journey!
Contributors: Mark Olson, Dave Quist, Norm Dreger, Bruce Halliday, Colleen Winston, Dr. Jacob Tan