Getting a business up running can sometimes feel like trying to push a boulder up and over the summit of a mountain.
You’re pushing this thing forward; this epic and beautiful dream of yours and creating momentum.
Of course, once you create momentum, you have to keep momentum, right?
But here’s the thing, friends and fellow boulder pushers… sometimes when we keep pushing and pushing on without a break in there somewhere- we run out of steam.
You know that feeling, right?
Your work becomes a chore, people become a bother and quitting seems like a totally viable option. (Side note: Quitting before the magic happens is never a viable option.)
So how do we find balance in the push and the rest?
We watch for signs and we catch ourselves before it’s too late.
Here are 4 of the signs that I’ve found are my “Danger” signals :
1. You look at your calendar...
and you are NOT inspired.
We build these businesses because we love the gifts we are able to offer the world through them; including our own personal expansion. So when I start to look at my calendar and see my speaking engagements, my coaching calls and my upcoming travel as “have to’s” instead of “get to’s”, this is a big giant red flag.
I feel called to do the work I do. I have intentionally created a life that allows me to express this calling in meaningful work, and so when I am not inspired by the opportunity to do that work,
when my schedule is dictating my life, and I am not - I know it’s time to take a step back to reevaluate.
2. You hide.
No, not in the fun “Close your eyes and count to 10” kind of way. More like the, you don’t return phone calls, you stop reaching out to people, you don’t put out new content, you don’t feel inspired to write, you kind of just want to curl up in the fetal position and make yourself less visible- kind of way.
Let’s be real here, folks, we can’t be all things to all people all of the time.
Sometimes when we just give and give without taking any time to refuel our own souls back up, we push the world away in an effort to protect what little energy we have left.
Be vigilant for the times when you begin to feel like doing this; this is a sure sign you’re about to flush your cell phone down a toilet, board up your windows and doors, and binge watch Fixer Upper while eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s (can I get a hand for the comfort factor of a good ol’ Ben & Jerry’s recharge?)
But imagine if it didn’t have to go that far?
3. You’re easily distracted.
I notice when I am hanging out on the fringe, I find myself scrolling when I didn’t even mean to open my Instagram app. What would normally take me 1 hour to do, now takes 4. More mistakes slip through, thoughts get scattered and hours upon hours seem to slip by with little to show for them.
This takes a toll on my family, as well. When my husband is trying to engage with me in meaningful conversation, I find myself checking out or “disappearing” and I have to mentally will myself back to the present moment. Or when my daughter wants to play dress up, and I can hardly bring myself to get up off the couch to participate in her joy.
What are normally parts of my life that bring me the most fulfillment- now feel like a struggle.
For me, being present and focused on whatever is in the moment at hand is so integrally important in who I show up as as a woman, a wife, a mother and a business owner- that when I catch myself doing this, I KNOW it’s time for a reboot.
4. Things that are normally important to you, become not so important to you.
I always talk about the “core values” of our brands. Things that your business and your brand are built upon and that are present in all of the work you do. What I’ve learned in time, working with hundreds of women entrepreneurs, is that our core values in our brand are almost always our core values in our lives.
Things like soul connection, love, kindness, self care, playfulness… and we take actions on a daily basis that are in the truest alignment with each of these things.
So when I find myself disconnecting, having a short temper, eating foods that don’t make me feel good, not exercising and taking myself way too seriously, rest assured I am days, if not hours, away from a burnout.
So what are your signs? Do any of these ring true for you?
Listen, I know we have to work hard.
I know we have to grind sometimes and get through some pushes that may in fact seem unbearable while doing them- but that is no place to operate from all the time.
I invite you to reverse engineer your own burnout.
Figure out what usually happens right before you find yourself in the fetal position on the floor, write it down...and pay attention to your patterns.
When you see it begin to happen, take a day off. Turn your cell phone off, pop a movie in and snuggle with your littles (or your fur babies, or partners, or heck, even your favorite stuffed animal.)
Spend a “work free” weekend away, go for a walk out in nature (I recommend walking in nature every day as a way to avoid burnout!)
Whatever it is that recharges your batteries, make space for it on your calendar and in your life.
While I know this may create some initial panic for my workaholic brothers and sisters, I promise you - a few days off from working around the clock will not stop the boulder from moving up the mountain;
You collapsing and letting it roll back over you, however, will.