The more I work with small business owners, the more it’s apparent to me how much we sacrifice. We sacrifice sleep, time with the family, hobbies and our overall wellbeing suffers.
Does this ring true for you?
What do you do to look after yourself? What does that even mean to you?
And if you do ‘look after yourself’ – why do you do it? So you can have more energy? So that you’ll live longer? Or so that you’ll be more productive, achieve more at work, keep customers happier and make more profit?
Do you even believe that more profit is possible as a result of ‘looking after yourself’? As a result of caring for your wellbeing?
More than that – what is wellbeing?
I’ve come across research by Maryland University that shows the eight elements of wellbeing to be:
Other reading I’ve done has looked at wellbeing in different ways – expanded and contracted and diverged from this. Overall it’s lead me to think about wellbeing in three areas:
I think every area can be squeezed into one of these three areas.
To me, good mental wellbeing is going to incorporate a whole host of complimentary areas:
Relationships, safety, service, meditation, giving, spirituality, play, creativity, joy, discipline, gratitude and self expression.
Physical wellbeing is going to be achieved at the cruz of adequate nutrition, movement, hydration, rest and self care. Here I use self care as a term to refer to external physical maintenance.
Generally what I see in small business owners is that mental and physical wellbeing are sacrificed in pursuit of professional wellbeing. But in truth, each area is intertwined, and I don;t believe we can achieve complete wellbeing in one area if the others are suffering.
My friends and colleagues in corporate careers often have different priorities. Their physical health, and their mental wellbeing outside of work are flourishing. But inside of work, their mental state and professional wellbeing are compromised.
I see professional wellbeing as quite broad. To me it encapsulates financial stability (or adequate financial compensation and the ability to live below your means), healthy relationships, great leadership and vocational fulfillment. Vocational fulfillment is achieved at the intersection of proficiency and passion. Doing work you love, work you’re good at, and that people will pay you for.
I also see professional wellbeing from the eyes of the business owner. In this case, it relates to the wellbeing of your actual business.
Here I’m talking about – does your business run WELL. To its full potential? Are the systems you have in place serving your company? Are your operations structured and optimised? Is your marketing on point? Do you have brilliant people? Is your cash flow steady? And are you putting profit first?
These are the things that keep small businesses, well … small, and their owners up at night.
By hearing the descriptions for each element, I’m sure you can understand already how intertwined and holistic they are. For example:
If you’re anxious about your cash flow, your mental state is far from at rest.
If you’re physical body is lacking energy, you’re unlikely to perform at your best intellectually at work.
If you’re experiencing conflict in your close relationships, you’re likely to be distracted at work.
This interlinked system works in reverse as well, with a positive loop.
If you move your body for 30 minutes, even 10 minutes, you generate more energy and positively impact your mental state.
If you finish a complex project at work, you feel more confident and again positively impact your mental state.
If you spend some time in meditation, you’re likely going to be more focussed and present at work.
If you’re feeling good in body and mind, you’re likely going to want that feeling to continue and continue to do the things that got you there.
The culmination of which all leads to self actualisation, or fulfilling one’s full potential.
It’s all too easy to let life’s day to day infiltrate our calendars. It’s harder to be intentional about looking after ourselves. Harder still, sometimes, to realise what a holistic vision of that actually looks like.
I encourage you to take the time.
Take the time to map out what wellbeing looks like for you. Physically. Mentally and Professionally.
I promise you it will be time well spent.