It’s the end of the day and you are drained and exhausted, but you have only done 5 out of the 8 tasks you set for yourself, and it’s confusing why you are so tired. You look back at the day and you think: “I shouldn’t be this tired.” Every entrepreneur has this feeling, both the feeling of not having done enough, and feeling tired even though they did not do everything they set out to do on that day.
The reality is that the things that make us tired are hardly register are time consuming or emotionally draining. They are the things that happen in between our tasks, that interrupt our tasks, they are what stays in our mind all day, taking up a far greater than the things we do to do.
Every morning we wake up knowing that the success of the day is entirely on our shoulders. We feel guilty if it wasn’t early enough, we feel like we have lost most of the day if we wake up at 8AM (which happens). We feel like we have to be the best version of ourselves daily, that if we do not push for the best we will be leading ourselves to failure. We make promises we intend to keep, because who knows what that “Yes, sure I will” will lead to, what change it can create, how much better things might be. But these promises weigh on us, only because they keep piling up – and when you are starting they are often for free. Our word is our bond, our reputation and our livelihood. We deliver. But that mind space our promises occupy weights on every entrepreneur.
This works two ways: 1) keep our business in order and 2) keep our teams in order. Both are time consuming, even if you are a solopreneur and you rely on an external team.
The first is what should be the most time consuming, after all admin is the worst possible thing to do for any entrepreneur, it might not be fun, but it doesn’t take the most mindspace. Because we sit down and we just do it. We might postpone it till the very last minute, but when we sit down it’s never that bad.
Managing our teams, teaching employees, creating a company culture – building the kind of place you want to work in depends on the people you go to work with. As a leader that falls upon you. You have to share your values, share your vision for your business, and at the beginning when everything is all over the place it is very difficult to keep your team on the same page and pushing forward meaningfully at a unit.
We all want to be happy at work and at home, and the time and commitment it takes to build a business and have a happy home life, or date at all, can become overwhelming. We want to give everything of ourselves, to our customers, to our community and to our loved ones – but not everyone understands the journey of an entrepreneur or the support we all need to keep focused and work better. A bad morning with your partner can potentially upset the entire day. If they are stressed you keep them in your mind and you worry. There is nothing wrong with any of this, it is what is required of you if you want a partner in your life, but the impact it can have on an entrepreneur is significant.
Nothing stays the same, not for long. For most employees change happens over time and it is regulated within an organization. For an entrepreneur, on the front lines, change happens almost daily. Whether it is a supplier, a mentor, a needed customer, or trends – we have to remain agile and be able to roll with the punches and keep afloat. The ways in which change happens in the life of an entrepreneur is immediate and how we respond to it can make or break our business in the first year. The stress of knowing that you cannot count on anything remaining the same is what keeps most of us awake at night.
To be an entrepreneur is to sell. We get stuck in our mission, our ideas, our value – but if we cannot sell, none of it matters. For most starting entrepreneurs that means that you are on your own, or with a small team, and the best person to sell is you – because you care the most, you understand the need for it the best, you risked it all for your idea – you are the best to sell it. Not only is sales a draining process half the time (unless you are a born salesperson, and they are rare) but it is very time consuming. Most mentors will tell you that if you are not selling 90% of the time you are wasting your time. The time it takes to fit everything else into that 10% and find new clients or strategic partners for your business is one of the main drains for the everyday entrepreneur.
But we push through it. We take on the stress of our lives happily, we do not think about the stress, we feel it, but we do not stop because of it. We are the brave few who can withstand the pressure, the anxiety, the change. We are the bigger picture, and we stick to it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get tired. And that’s okay.
The antidote is switching off. Take a break. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body and surround yourself with people who can relate to you. The most important lesson to learn is: when it’s work time it’s work time, and when it’s not, it’s just not.