My bags were packed, condo was booked and everything regarding my business was in order. The only thing left to do was head to the beach for a week of relaxation and fun. My goal for the week was to be an entrepreneur “unplugged”, something that never seemed to really happen before.
I can admit, it’s been mainly my fault that this struggle was so real to me. I wanted to enjoy the time with my family, and the thought of swapping my office to lay by the pool and soak in the sun for an afternoon was something I anticipated for quite some time.
So why have I never done this? There are a few reasons:
- Early on, I had learned that when a we expect people to be there when we need them and if they aren’t we get frustrated. i first noticed this when a client would want to meet with me, if I said I had another appointment during said time, it was perfectly ok. If I said, “My son has a game during that time, but I have this ___open”, the response was quite different. The tone was that I didn’t find their business as important, which was not the case at all! I would end up feeling guilty and missing part of my sons game to meet with them in order to prove that I valued them and their business.
- You should never stop the hustle. If I thought about taking time off to do nothing, it just felt like I was being lazy and not hustling enough. Aren’t we told somewhere along the way that we need to work hard, hustle, never stop, be busy, do things, etc. So if it all stops for a moment, what does that mean? That we aren’t working hard, we aren’t making our business a priority?
- My clients need access to me 24/7 and I need to always be ready to take their calls, questions, etc. (this goes for potential clients as well). What would happen if a client needed me and I was out of town? Would they get frustrated and go somewhere else? Would they think I don’t care about their business. With technology we are all accessible day and night and need to be there for our customers!
Have you ever had any of those guilty feelings creep into your head as well while trying to unplug?
If so, here’s what I came to realize after too many years:
- I became an entrepreneur for several reasons. One being that I wanted freedom. Freedom from a job. Freedom to do what I love. Freedom to grow. Freedom to create the life that I wanted. That freedom includes being able to spend time with my family and friends and to have moments when I can unplug and be in the moment. My business is certainly very important to me and something that I don’t take for granted, however my family is also very important to me and I choose not to take the moments with them for granted either. If my son has a game, I now say that I’m not available at that time and give an alternate time, works perfectly..
- I’ve learned that I get to be selective with who I do business with. It has to be a good fit both ways. Now that I understand this, the relationship that I have with my clients looks different now.
- It’s not about the hustle. Ok….maybe in the first couple years, the hours will be longer because there’s a lot to accomplish. But if you are hustling without the ability to unplug from time to time, then maybe the structure of your business and the processes that you are putting in place need to be evaluated. When the hustle is running your life then you’re at the same place as you were when you had a job. Give yourself permission to stop, take in everything you’ve accomplished, and enjoy life for a moment.
- You’re clients do not need you 24/7. If you are a solopreneur, then you may be saying right now that I don’t understand and that you are always on call. I don’t know your profession as well as you and you’re right! I don’t know your profession but I’ve learned business strategy and structure. If you are building a business, then you need to put processes in place so that you can enjoy being unplugged for a period of time. If your business is running you, then you (once again) have a job. It’s amazing to realize that clients understand time away and things can run smoothly without you if you prepare properly for it.
- Unplugging in healthy and needed! Taking a break and just enjoying life is mentally and emotionally healthy. You come back feeling refreshed and recharge. I think taking time to unplug is crucial for your business because it allows your brain to reboot. Unplugging doesn’t necessarily mean going away on vacation, sometimes it’s just going for a walk, daydreaming, turning off the technology and being in the present.
I’ve noticed trends of believing that busyness and that “workaholic” mindset is a necessity if you want to be successful. People are always bragging about late nights and lack of down time. I hope this trend fades and entrepreneurs realize that having a business is not about how busy you appear but about the processes you put in place and the mindset to think like a CEO and not an employee. I hope that people realize the value of unplugging helps our brains reboot, it helps our relationships,and it increases our productivity.
Take out your calendar and mark off some time to unplug…make it an hour a day, a full day or maybe even a week for starters! If you don’t think you can afford that time, then determine what you need to do in your business to become a CEO and not an employee.