The Secret to Achieving Balance in Business and in LifeApr 15, 2022
As solo entrepreneurs, there’s nobody else in our businesses to keep us accountable. Not only does that make it easier to forget tasks and miss deadlines, but it also makes it easier to overwork ourselves, hustle 24/7, and burn out very quickly. I’ve been in business for over a decade, and I sometimes still struggle with overworking, jam-packing my to-do list, and not giving myself a break.
Lately, I’ve been committed to breaking this cycle, and today I want to share with you what I’ve learned so you can achieve balance too.
The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma
Do you feel like you sometimes have a seemingly never-ending to-do list? I know so many ambitious entrepreneurs (myself included) who are always trying to do one more thing before the day ends – answering one more email, checking off one more task, working on one more project. It can feel like accomplishing this one extra thing gives us a head start on the next day. And if you’ve ever felt like you’ve fallen behind, you know that getting ahead for the next day is a REALLY good feeling.
I used to struggle with feeling like if I didn’t cross everything off my to-do list, then I had failed (which, by the way, is completely untrue). It would bring up feelings of anxiety about falling behind, and feelings of “not enoughness” for not accomplishing everything I planned to.
But the real problem wasn’t that I was leaving items on my to-do list. The problem was actually that I was putting too much on my to-do list, so it was constantly growing and impossible to keep up with. I was always letting just one more thing creep in, and as a result, my happiness plummeted and my anxiety skyrocketed because I couldn’t keep up, and I was completely neglecting the things that make me happy.
Nevertheless, I would try.
I would push my own boundaries in an effort to be more productive, and I’d even go so far as to put my personal needs on the back burner. I’d skip lunch, miss my morning meditations, and work through the time I had scheduled to workout, be with friends, or go on a walk with my husband.
And the worst part is, I know I’m not alone in this.
Burnout and Entrepreneurship
I’ve always struggled with overworking myself in the name of productivity. While it’s always been a challenge in my life, there are definitely points that have been worse (or better) than others – but this is a lesson I’ve consistently had to learn.
A few years ago, I worked myself to the point of burnout (and beyond) so badly that I actually became physically sick from it. I was able to work through that in time, only to be thrown right back into the deep end when COVID hit and the world shut down – then everything went downhill.
I don’t know about you, but being burnt out and anxious is NOT why I went into business for myself.
Personalities That Breed Burnout
If you’ve been around The Daring Fempreneur for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention Brand Archetypes. Now you might be thinking, “what does that have to do with balance and burnout?” I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this, and I wanted to share my insights with you.
My main archetypes are the Hero, Ruler, and Explorer – and while we each have parts of all archetypes within us, these are three that manifest in my life most visibly. What I’ve realized is that the Hero archetype, with all its positive characteristics, also manifests itself in negative ways (as they all do).
One of the negative manifestations of the Hero archetype is this constant cycle of overworking, hustling 24/7, and never giving yourself a break. As I’ve noticed this as a pattern throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that it’s directly linked to my Hero characteristics.
While working hard and taking few breaks definitely served me at one point in my business, the truth is that it just isn’t the right fit anymore, and it’s not sustainable – it reached a point where it’s started to manifest as burnout. So now, it’s time to release that part of myself and more fully embrace my other two archetypes – Explorer and Ruler.
Just because the Hero archetype was one of my defining personalities at one point, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. As we grow and evolve as people, and as entrepreneurs, our archetypes and the parts of ourselves we show to the world will change and flow. It’s important to recognize those changes so we can gain insight into destructive patterns in our lives and make changes to live more closely aligned with the person we want to become.
Curious to discover your own brand archetype? Take my free quiz here.
How to Overcome Burnout and Actually Achieve Balance
This year, I've made a commitment to myself to be better TO myself. I've been prioritizing the things that are most important to me, like my health, relationships and happiness and I've stopped trying to squeeze in just one more thing before I close my computer for the day.
One thing that’s really allowed me to align my mindset and actions and live more in accordance with the things I value is the Monk Manual (affiliate link). Using this as the foundation of my daily journaling practice allows me to set foundations and priorities for each day, and helps me take action to stay aligned with the things that I value. It’s helped me put into perspective whether the life I’m living is really in accordance with my values and beliefs, and helps me show up as the person I want to be.
Starting a daily journaling practice has helped me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined, and if you’re struggling with feelings of “not enoughness” and burnout, then I would highly recommend you start one too. As a Virgo and a highly organized person in general, being able to plan and track my days has helped me stay on the right path – and it makes it so I personally feel a lot better, but also so my work feels more fulfilling and enjoyable too.
The thing is, as an entrepreneur, there will ALWAYS be one more thing we could cross off our list. But if we really want to be more productive ... if we really want to build a business that feeds our souls ... if we really want to impact more lives and make more money ... then we MUST put our own health and happiness first.
If you’ve been feeling this way too, then I encourage you to take a moment of reflection right here and check in with yourself – is the life you’re currently living in alignment with the person you want to be, the business owner you want to be? If not, it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to make a change.
Are you looking for a space where you can share openly and vulnerably about what you’re going through in your entrepreneurship journey and feel supported in community? If so, I’d love to invite you to join us in the Impact Tribe! Twice each month we get together over Zoom for coaching and community, and I’m being completely honest when I say that I’ve never seen a group of women as supportive, kind, and encouraging as the Impact Tribe. You can learn more and join us at the link below today.