I think I had a breakthrough today. …I think this might be normal.
I realized it when I went to the bank. The teller asked how I was doing, and I told her I was feeling tired. She responded with something like, “Well that makes sense – you’ve got a lot going on!” (she knows us). And right then, something clicked.
This post is written in honor of the lightbulb moment I had today when I realized that IT'S OK TO TAKE A BREAK! This is important, so please read.
When Nathan and I first started working on Natril Gear back in February, we were making lots of progress every day, I was juggling all my different projects and wearing all my different hats with ease, and we were optimistic about pretty much everything. That lasted for a little over two months, but since the end of April, I’ve been having a tough time motivating myself to be productive. I’m feeling worn out, and my list of daily accomplishments has shrunk so much I wonder how there's room left for any accomplishments at all some days! I stress about my lack of productivity, but my stress only adds to the difficulty…which makes me less productive…which makes me feel worse…you know the drill. It's a vicious cycle.
My down times have made me wonder if it’s a good idea for us to go into business and if I can really do this on my own with Nathan at work (note: he is helping a lot). I’ve wondered if it’s all going to be worth it, and what if it doesn't work out? I’ve wondered and wondered and wondered….
…and then I had a breakthrough today. I think this might be normal!
I realized it when I went to the bank. The teller asked how I was doing, and I told her I was feeling tired. She responded with something like, “Well that makes sense – you’ve got a lot going on!” (she knows us). And right then, something clicked. At first, I was surprised at what she said – why did being tired make sense to her and not me? – but then, it felt like she justified my tiredness for me and gave me permission to feel that way. And I suddenly realized, "Oh yeah, I DO have a lot going on!" And with her permission and my realization, I felt this sudden lift in my spirit, and I realized, “It’s ok. I’m not just being lazy. I’m actually worn out. I'm worn out, and it's ok!”
And then all sorts of things started making sense. It made sense why Nathan and I have been grumpy with each other, it made sense why I've been avoiding the phone, it made sense why I was having so many “wonderings” about Natril Gear… Let me tell you, there were LOTS of light bulbs turning on in my head!
Perhaps you could say we did it to ourselves, BUT I have a different message for you: To all new small business owners, it’s OK to take some down time! You’re not a bad business person if you can’t remain uber-productive into infinity; you’re just human and you need a break…and that’s GOOD NEWS!
I remember some good advice Nathan and I got before we started our cross-country bike trip that is perfect for this very post. A seasoned biker told us that in the beginning of our trip, we’ll be full of positive energy and able to ride further and further every day, but in a few weeks, we’ll start to notice that we can’t ride as many miles in a day as we used to, and we’ll start to get irritable and grouchy. He said this change in behavior will be a sign that our bodies are rebelling against the demands we’re forcing on them. He said this is NORMAL, and when we see these signs, we should stop and take a break for a few days (he said that while we’re on our break, we shouldn’t ride or even LOOK at our bikes!). After the break, we’ll be able to ride all the rest of the way across the country with no more major issues. Short story: he was right.
I am finding the same lesson to be true now while Nathan and I are starting Natril Gear. When we started, we had a lot of positive energy and were accomplishing more and more each day, but now our brains are crammed full of new information, and our bodies are rebelling against the increase in stress, time and emotional activity we're forcing on them. At first, I didn't know why things changed, but now, when I think about it, I can see it so clearly. WE NEED A BREAK, and IT’S OK!
I've made some "tired business owner" signs so you can tell when you or a new business owner you know needs a break. 🙂
So, all you tired small business owners – rejoice! You're tired, and it's ok! Go out for ice cream, get away to a bed-and-breakfast for the weekend, rent a bunch of movies and veg out. When you sense any of the "tired business owner" signs, do yourself a favor, and DON’T do anything related to your business for a few days. Don’t wait until your stress and tiredness lands you in bed with the flu. No one wants to “relax and get away from it all” that way. Plan right now to help yourself by stepping back for a bit. This will be incredibly beneficial to the overall well-being of yourself AND your business. Really, it’s a win win.
My light bulb came from the bank teller – hopefully yours comes from this blog. Now go relax!