While sitting bleary-eyed in front of my computer – totally committed to ‘building my business’ – I was receiving text after text from my mom friends busting my chops as to why I wasn’t out trick-or-treating with my young sons and husband. As each text would chirp in, I literally felt a physical response in my gut. I was feeling all kinds of guilt, I have to say – They caught me… They were right. I was completely stuck, and NOWHERE NEAR the illusion of balance – that I could do it all. I couldn’t.
One of the BIGGEST topics I spend time on with my mompreneur coaching clients is the best way for them to juggle all the priorities of being a Mompreneur. Whether you are in the pre-contemplation stages, early or developing stages of your business, mompreneurs above all other entrepreneurs tend to truly believe in the illusion of “BALANCE” – and KILL themselves to strive for it.
Balance or life-balance is an illusion.
Yep, I said it: Balance is an illusion.
When I’m balanced as in, totally focused on my balance -, looking down at my Drishti (focal point) – and balanced, concentrated fully engaged… all is well. But notice one thing… although I’m making zillions of tiny little muscular responses to keep me right there, I’m NOT moving forward… Heck – I’m not even LOOKING forward…. interesting to think about.
Mompreneurs juggle a huge amount of tasks daily, weekly, monthly. Some do it with more ease than others – but how? Vacation? Time? Independent wealth?
And therein lies the rub of motherhood and owning your own business: Sometimes it can easily feel like you have no choice. There is no day off, breaks or vacation UNLESS YOU MAKE TIME TO DO IT.
So – DO IT. Be intentional. Be rigorous. Be a stand. Be ruthless with your own health and well-being.
Put Your Oxygen On First
If you are burning the candle at both ends, bleary-eyed due to sleep deprivation, and feeling frumpy and not vital, how will you be healthy enough to support yourself? your family? your business? your clients? This is the absolute golden key that will differentiate mompreneurs who are successful, and those who burn out. Taking care of yourself – extremely well means: Taking breaks, eating well, staying healthy, having fun, and spending time rejuvenating. The longer I’ve run my business, the more strongly I’ve felt about this particular piece. If you do not do this, you will fail.
There is a reason that every single time you get on an aircraft, they do the safety drill – and tell you to put your oxygen on first! Eat well, create routines for exercise, sleep, maintenance tasks, stay on top of your physical needs and take physical and mental breaks. Putting wellness deposits in your account will help you in the long run when you do have the occasional bumps that life and business throw your way. If you think you can’t afford the time to make deposits, try working around the time it takes to recover if you fail in these areas.
Mend Your Mindset
Frankly, the first time I’ve heard of “Mindest”, I didn’t know what it was. Well, after a quick search, I realize that it’s a word that has grown from the 1930’s – combining Mind and Set to form “habits of mind formed by previous experience,” 1934, from mind (n.) + set (v.). Mindset is an attitude, disposition or belief system. Often we are unaware of our mindset. Most of our mindsets are made up of our stories we’ve hung onto for years about things that have happened. Mindset is 100% imagination, and 100% alterable when you figure out what yours is. How is it possible to mend your mindset? Well, recognizing that mindset is in charge of how you feel is the first step. The second is to push back into the “story” of the meaning you’ve created from your past experience. Uncoupling that story and dividing the pieces is a matter of sorting it out. Need some help? I have some GREAT exercises to help. Contact me!
Anyone who knows me longer than a minute knows that I’ve been given the gift of being the Fun Vortex. I find it incredibly wonderful and highly human to make fun a priority. Unbridled, fully expressed, eyes wide open – FUN! Fun with friends, fun with a spouse, fun with kids, fun with colleagues. It’s an essential element to vitality. Have you ever considered how often you have fun? How about how often you make fun happen? Are you AT CAUSE for the fun in your life? Or are you a fun-vampire – always looking for someone else to fill up your fun bucket. If so – consider it’s you. Having more fun is a recipe for success no matter how you look at it.
Get Out There
Especially if you’re a born extrovert like me after a few hours behind my computer – I need to get out, touch base and be WITH people! They fill me up. Sometimes, I even take my laptop and go to public places to work -just to spin off the energy of other people. I can keep to myself, but it’s really helpful to step away from the computer and get out there in a big way. You never know who you’ll meet!
Drop The “Practically Perfect” Racket
When I participated in the landmark forum many years ago, I learned about the concept called a ‘racket’ = a constant way of being for you + a constant complaint about it. Otherwise known as a martyr-story. The idea that there is even a definition of perfect anything – is kind of an anti-universal truth – or rather a universal lie! I’m going to share a secret here: You’re not perfect. Neither am I. Neither is she. Or that guy over there. Or that PTA President. Or OPRAH… Drop it – Let it go – breathe in, and out – make space for what is realistic in your life – and stop holding yourself up to some hypothetical mirage of perfection.
Saying yes to everything stems from a mindset of feeling deep down inside that you have to say yes to gain acceptance. You don’t. Saying no to everything that is non-essential cuts your internal clutter and allows you to focus on the most important things. Being a mompreneur is being crystal clear about where you are adding the most value at any given time. Get clearer by saying NO to anything that “feels” wrong to you.
One question… would you ever consider opening a pizza shop without some employees to help you? How about a convenience store? What about a grocery store? One thing that is classic for mompreneurs is the wishful thinking that they can handle it all – effortlessly – without help. Well, I’m here to break that assumption for you. It’s really simple. You can’t. You can’t do it all. You can’t even do it all – poorly. Because you know why? You will suffer – at the expense of all the other things I’ve already listed… You need help to run your business and to do everything that is NON-ESSENTIAL work. Take some time to figure out the activities in your life and your business that are essential for your success and well-being. DO THOSE.. and DO ONLY THOSE. I’m not saying that you should stop gardening or cooking or things you love – Do what you love, and what is essential. Get help with the rest.
Be In The Moment
Take some of the in-the-moment-opportunities that present themselves daily with your children and remember why it was you signed up for this crazy life in the first place. Try to be flexible and don’t just stick to your ever-important to-do list and avoid play. Be in the moment, at the moment, at the moment… now.
Perspective is another way of saying – seeing the big picture. DO whatever you need to gain perspective – and DO it regularly. Whether it’s reading, exercising, being outside in nature, doing crafts with your kids (or scrapping with your friends), gardening, cooking or calling your mom, getting perspective is the best way I know to stay in an open and abundant mindset. Celebrate, Breathe, Relax, Hike, Run, Ride, Climb, Garden… Enjoy – and stay present to what is right before your eyes.
If you’re wondering if you have mompreneur burnout, ask yourself if you are experiencing any of these classic symptoms:
- sharply reduced personal accomplishment and many repetitions of: “I used to be/do/have…”
- social-surfing (spending extraordinary time on social media as a form of entertainment)
- lost sense of meaning in what you’re doing
- feeling powerless or hopeless often
- chronic physical pain
- illness (or chronic illness)
- sarcasm, negativity or cynicism about your situation and the suggestion that things could be better
If you’re experiencing (or have experienced) the symptoms above, you may just be in mompreneur burnout. If so, Step away from your computer – RIGHT NOW… Stretch, breathe, take a break, go outside and get away. Think about what you need most RIGHT NOW… especially if something really indulgent pops into your head (like – I need a nap, a massage or a pedicure… or a vacation…??? ) BOOK IT! DO IT! – Come back and see where you are.
If you are experiencing mompreneur burnout or have successfully overcome it, let me know in the comment section below. If you know another mompreneur business owner extraordinaire who is experiencing burnout, please share this message with her!