As a solo-entrepreneur I stand by the quote, “how you spend your energy is how you measure your success.” However, this was true even when I worked as a high-school teacher. No matter our profession, if we’re wasting energy, we’re limiting our productivity and potential.
Does this resonate for you?
When it comes to moving ahead in our business, career, life, there is one and only one asset that must be taken care of first—our energy.
Think about it. As a solo-entrepreneur you are everything to your company. You are the generator, the CEO, the CFO, the product producer, customer service, the sales and marketing team. The foundation to all of this is our energy. Where do we turn when this isn’t available?
Think it’s different if you work for a company, organization, school, or are a full-time parent? Of course not. You are the generator, the CEO, the CFO of your life. Right?
So how do we safeguard our most vital asset? Here are three keys.
Take Care of You—FIRST. This is necessary. Over and over I hear from people about how exhausted and frustrated they are and how they just don’t have the energy to create what they want. Then I hear about everything they are doing for everyone else.
Of course, we want to be able to give to others, but we must give to ourselves first; otherwise, we actually aren’t fully available to others, our clients, family, friends, you name it. You must take care of yourself. Take 5, 10, 15 minutes per day, an hour per weekend, 1 day per week, whatever can fit into your schedule. It must be a priority and it must be consistent.
Say No—With Grace. This can be very hard for many of us. One of my coaches once told me; “You have to say no sometimes in order to support the ‘greater yes’.” I find this so powerful. This means, in order to achieve our bigger goals, we sometimes have to say no to other people. This is more than ok. You are still loved. You are still a good person. You are still a good entrepreneur.
You are actually better because you can recognize what and who MOST needs your energy and when. You are constantly exercising this skill for the greater good because you say no with clarity, understanding, and free of guilt. This type of energy exchange benefits everyone involved and if not immediately then in the long run.
Release Annoyances. We all have little annoyances that we put up with: unhelpful people, malfunctioning equipment, miscommunications, etc. Annoyances are gigantic energy drains. Start an “annoyance list.” When something bothers you, add it to the list. Once it’s on the list, let it go. Know that you’ve released it to this list and no longer need to give it your energy.
Once a month glance at the list. Guaranteed you will be able to cross annoyances off the list. They will have disappeared. Try it. (Make sure you do the crossing off part—it’s very gratifying!) Let me know how it works for you.
One example of how I protect my energy: I block my time. I am very conscious of what I do with my time and how I use it. I used to be the type of person that if I had an hour free, I would fill it. When I first started my business, I would book clients back to back. I found that this caused two things 1) I was often late to meetings and other events, and 2) I was exhausted at the end of the week (this is when it would usually hit me).
Now, before I make an appointment, of any kind, I look at what else I’ve got going on that day, the day before, the day after, and I check to make sure that flow can be created. This way I am operating at my best and my clients, colleagues, friends and family benefit from my full focus, attention, and energy.
Life is too short to waste our energy. Protect your energy and you will see how your triumphs grow. Deplete it and you will see your accomplishments (and joy and well-being) disappear. The choice is yours. Chose to be good to you. I know you deserve it.