There will be a lot written this week for National Work Life Week about what Employers can do to better support their Employees, often with a focus on the large-scale businesses.
But what about the Business Owners themselves?
In this blog I will cover the 5 most common problems I see with Business Owners.
- Why did you start your own business? Do you still have this goal in sight?
- Are you overworking?
- Do you have a work/life balance?
- Do you get called a control freak?
- Do you ignore the signs you are struggling?
Why did you start your own business? Do you still have this goal in sight?
It is important to stop and think about why you started in the first place. Was it to be able to make decisions that you felt more comfortable with? Was it so that you could have a better work life balance? Was it so that you could improve your financial position to have a better quality of life?
Whatever your reason, it is important to not lose sight of this.
Are you overworking?
Something I find myself saying time and time again -
Are you looking after yourself as well as you look after your employees?
Are you following the advice you would give to them?
An example - lunch breaks and annual leave. You will know what the legal minimum is to provide your employees, but do you allow this for yourself?
So often I hear stories of 12-hour days with no breaks and no real annual leave. Much as this might be necessary at the beginning of establishing a business, it is not maintainable year after year without a serious impact on your wellbeing.
I encourage clients to establish some limits for themselves
- to take a short break to eat away from the desk with no devices or work conversations with colleagues
- to book at least 20 days annual leave a year, plan it in ahead spread out throughout the year, ideally more than 20 days to balance out the extra responsibilities and pressures
- establish work hours, including days/times you will not do any work unless absolutely necessary
Do you have a work/life balance?
No matter how much you enjoy your work, no matter how passionate you are about what you do, it is not enough to make a happy life.
Unfortunately, lots of people only make time for these activities when they are feeling highly stressed, when they are suffering and realise they need to look after themselves. But its important to have these things in place as a regular part of life to maintain good emotional health and avoid burnout, even if you have to schedule them in to make sure they happen.
To make a life, you need lots of different elements in place. Work is just one of them.
Do you get called a control freak?
It is common for business owners to enjoy being in control in a work situation. It is important to be decisive as a business owner. However, like with many things, there is a line where something goes from being a strength, to working against us.
I have seen many business owners who struggle to deal with situations that are outside of their control, or situations with uncertainty. This can often result in overthinking, constantly running through scenarios, and never switching off. This in turn can lead to difficulty delegating, double and triple checking things, procrastination, excessive research etc.
The other challenge with liking being in control of everything is the typically high standards that accompany this. This can create stress and conflict when working with others who do not have the same standards as yourself.
Do you ignore the signs you are struggling?
There can be lots of signs and symptoms that indicate to us that we are not managing our wellbeing. This could be physical symptoms including poor sleep, difficulty concentrating, headaches, digestive problems, etc. It could be interpersonal issues at work or home. Maybe it is changes in our mood where our motivation has dropped, our anxiety is creeping up, our enjoyment has vanished.
There will always be signs though. Unfortunately, business owners, particularly alpha personality types often like to handle things themselves, and struggle more to reach out to others.
Yet all the issues covered in this blog are regularly tackled in therapy sessions. There can be a stigma associated in accessing therapy. There is a perception sometimes of it being fluffy, or all focused on talking about your past or your feelings. However not all therapists are like that. My sessions are very much focused on education and teaching common sense based and scientifically proven strategies. It might only need 4 to 6 sessions, it might only need a session every 3 months to keep you focused. You do not need to keep ignoring the signs. Think about how much better your business would be if you were in your peak emotional health state.