If you’re getting out of bed in the morning to take on the day but lack passion, determination, and drive, then I suggest you rethink what you do. I love the phrase, “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life”. Not everybody gets it but when you truly love your work, you know it’s true. I’m not saying that you must love everything about your job or business; sometimes there are tasks that need to be done and although we may despise them, we need to suck it up and get them done. At the end of the day, if your work doesn’t float your boat, for the most part, you need to rethink what you do. Life is way too short!
I am certain that at first glance entrepreneurs appear confident, assertive, optimistic, and self-motivated and these are all true. It is virtually impossible to be an entrepreneur without these traits. Many people may see a successful entrepreneur and become envious or believe it is easy to achieve success or, even worse, think perhaps the person is lucky.
What most people don’t see is the doubt, concern, stress, anxiety, and fear that come with the pursuit of a successful enterprise. Taking risks on a daily basis along with the responsibilities of running a business is never taken lightly. Ultimately, as human beings, we worry about how our decision will impact the lives of our employees and their families. We stress about finances and how to limit the risk to us and our lenders. We fret about all the detail; our reputation, how our clients feel, will the economy change, and a million other things daily.
A significant concern for many entrepreneurs now is the thought of retirement. This entails having a succession plan or selling their business at the end of their working careers. We see lots of entrepreneurs that are part of my generation now looking at what to do next with their business and this can be an extremely stressful process. Personally, I thought about what would be my finish line; what is my ultimate goal for the business and me personally? Then I realized that I did not have a finish line. All I knew was that I have a few talents that allow me to create a stable, profitable, and reputable company and I have no finish line or retirement plan in mind. Like most entrepreneurs, I have spent my career on a path of learning and growing in engineering, construction, and business. I have asked myself, why would I retire from something I truly love and have gotten halfway good at doing? It doesn’t mean a person couldn’t slow down but for most entrepreneurs, myself included, there always seems to be something more to do and another opportunity that excites and drives us to continue. The business opportunities are endless if your eyes and ears are open. An entrepreneur’s mind is always going or as I like to say, “the hamster doesn’t get off the wheel much”. This can be dangerous as we all feel that we will be able to continue forever, but in reality, we cannot. Because succession planning can be a very stressful process, I believe this is the reason we put it off as long as we can.
With all that being said, it is critical to discuss mental and physical health. It is easy to neglect both, when you are fixated on achieving a certain goal and entrepreneurs are always looking forward to the next project. Stress and anxiety can be deadly; it’s not all a mind game, these emotions can attack you physically and severely hinder your abilities. For some, they are a ticking time bomb that can end a life. We all think we are managing well until we are not and by then it can be too little, too late to correct without taking a step back.
It tends to be a constant battle: with so much to do, I can’t take a break – versus – with so much to do, I should take care of my mental and physical health as best I can to ensure I’m here in the long run and staying productive. Starting the habit of personal downtime, recreation, and exercise at a young age and incorporating it into your daily routine is to ensure you can continue to be your best for a very long time. This is something we hear all the time and, I will be perfectly honest, I am not great at any of these, but I am working on them! Just 10 minutes daily of meditation, reading, counseling, or mentorship is powerful enough to lower our stress and anxiety. Then add on only 10 minutes of exercise daily, which could be a walk or lifting a few light weights, which can often recharge your body and help you keep a sharp mind. Preventative maintenance is key so whatever works for you, just keep it simple and consistent!
Thank you for reading my thoughts! I hope you found some small nugget that can help you be your best.
by Dan Monk