Ep. 004: The “Hustle” Hype: How My Commitment to My Business Landed Me in the E.R.
As entrepreneurs, we’re taught to hustle, hustle, hustle, and grind, grind, grind, but it’s so important that we balance that message with messages of self-care, taking time for yourself, and making your health and happiness a priority.
When I got my first client as a virtual assistant, I was soooo excited and so ready for the next one. So I kept bringing in more and more clients, afraid that if I didn’t take on every client that came to me that my business would fail, that more clients wouldn’t come along, that I would disappoint people.
That’s how I found myself with more clients than I could handle, working until midnight some nights, working on weekends. I didn’t have time to spend with my family because I had soooo much to keep up with.
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THE BREAKING POINT
Ladies, it got to be wayyyyy too much for me. One morning, I was sitting at my computer, on a video call with a team member, and I felt the left side of my go numb. Then my heart started racing, seriously I felt like I was having a heart attack. Then, my vision started to get spotty. I thought I was dying, for real. I told my project manager that my daughter’s school was calling...I didn’t want to freak her out...then I called my husband and he took me to the E.R. They ran a bunch of tests that all came back negative and then the doctor asked me “Have you ever had an anxiety attack?”
At that moment, I realized that it had all finally caught up to me. The months of quote unquote hustle and grind. I had not been taking care of myself and I was paying the price with my health.
I came back home and slept all afternoon. When I woke up, it was very clear to me what I needed to do. I made a list of clients that, for whatever reason, just weren’t a good fit for me anymore. Some weren’t life coaches and didn’t fit into the niche I was building, some had been disrespectful of my time, giving short deadlines and demanding too much. And then I emailed them and gave them 3 weeks notice, saying that I was making changes to my business and would no longer be able to provide them with services.
As soon as I sent those emails, I felt an enormous weight lift off of my shoulders. I realized that my fear of letting other people down and the pressure that I’d put on myself to succeed had stood in the way of me taking care of myself.
RECONNECTING WITH OUR PURPOSE AS ENTREPRENEURS
Here’s the thing we can’t forget as business owners: we started on the path of entrepreneurship for the freedom it brings, for the joy, for the creation. Not one of us started this path because we wanted to work 24/7, be slaves to our desk, or be overwhelmed by our to-do lists.
Since the day I wound up in the E.R., I have made self-care my number one priority. Seriously. Number one. Before my kids, before my husband, before my clients. Because guess what? I can’t take care of any of them if I am not taken care of first. I can’t be a fun, happy mom to my kids if I’m stressed and unhealthy. I can’t be a loving wife to my husband if I’m buried in anxiety. And I can’t serve my clients if I am in a constant state of overwhelm.
SELF-CARE FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
And self-care is simple to me. It’s not necessarily days at the spa or luxurious bubble baths. I’m not spending hours at the hair salon or getting weekly massages. No, for me, it’s simple daily practices. I make sure that I drink enough water. I make sure that I eat healthy, nutritious meals that give me energy to do my work. I move my body often by taking walks or practicing yoga. And sometimes, I sit by myself with a glass of good wine and I watch really bad reality tv shows. (Any Real Housewives fans out there? New York is my favorite.)
Here’s my challenge to you today: I want you to choose a way you can care for yourself in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. Here’s how that looks for me: in the morning, I like to wake up before the kids and do a 15 minute gratitude meditation and a 15 minute yoga flow. This sets me up for the entire day. In the afternoon, I am diligent about drinking lots of water, since I’m usually dehydrated from coffee in the morning. And at night, I unplug from everything and spend quiet time with my husband. These small things make me feel cared for and give me the energy to take care of everyone that I need to take care of (and some days that can feel like a LOT of people.)
HUSTLE AND GRIND?
Another thing I want you to keep in mind is your mindset about your business and the way that you talk about your business. Rather than focusing on the hustle and the grind and the hard work, focus on the freedom, the satisfaction, and the joy than comes from owning your own business. Sure, we have to work hard as entrepreneurs, but we shouldn’t wear stress and exhaustion as badges of honor.
And guess what? You’re not alone! I guarantee that any of the struggles that you’re facing in your business right now...we’ve ALL gone through. That’s why I believe it’s so important to find a community of people that really understand. If you’re looking for YOUR community, come join me in my new Facebook group, The Support Squad Hangout. It’s a totally safe space where you can vent and ask for advice. I’ll see you there! Until next time, boss babe!