A common phrase that I like to say is: “Is this real life?!”
I’ve always wanted to live BIG and do extraordinary things. I was never the type to stay still. I wanted to do everything! If an opportunity came up that required my time, no problem! I’ll just work longer, sleep less! No big deal!
In high school I was an all A’s student, president of my student union, star of the school play, guest writer for our city’s newspaper, worked two part time jobs at a restaurant and at a retail store, and I was always out with friends. My mom used to encourage me to slow down, stick to one thing, don’t burn out!
Earlier in 2016, I was working a 9-5, I had several clients and was building my own business, and was also a part time dental hygienist. I had just gotten married, we were renovating our home, and to add to the mix, I was also taking care of my 88 year old grandfather who lived with us.
But when I found myself on the floor, crying, exhausted, and delirious… I knew I was at my breaking point. I had taken on too much. It’s like that phrase when you take too much at the buffet: “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”… there was just way too much on my plate to handle.
I was always working at this high frequency that even if I had downtime, my heart was racing and I had to talk myself out of panicking because I was so used to working from “react mode” that I thought I was forgetting something, there was something I had to do, or that there was a client 911 looming.
Something Had To Give
My husband begged me: “something has got to give”. And I knew it. I needed to heal.
I decided that the first step (after admitting my workaholism) was to be more intentional. “I’ll meditate! Journal! I’ll exercise!” But just as an addict would, when given a hit of adrenaline from my drug of choice (work), all my “good intentions” slipped through the cracks.
It became very clear to me how much I was sacrificing. I would easily forget things. I had so much brain fog. I could say something and one minute later, forget the entire conversation. My mind was used to moving so quickly, that I couldn’t always keep up with my own thoughts. I hated how I was living and I didn’t even like myself.
Scheduling My Day
I decided to start scheduling my day differently, by prioritizing ME. I decided to start living by the 8-8-8 rule.
It’s simply this:
8 hours for work
8 hours for me
8 hours for sleep.
It just made sense! I could really have 8 hours for myself!
It requires intentionality in scheduling my day, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t always work, but it’s the cornerstone of my routine. It encourages me to actually have a routine.
I can’t scale my business if I am constantly in reaction mode.
I can’t come up with creative ideas if I am burnt out.
I can’t be efficient if I am drowning in my workload.
Asking For Help
One of the biggest things that allowed my business to grow and my life to improve was when I finally asked for help. I thought that being successful meant that I had to do it all on my own. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
No successful entrepreneur has done it all on their own.
They have support, systems, and teams, so that they can focus on their zone of genius.
And even if you are still figuring out what your zone of genius is, I can tell you that you won’t find it in reaction mode.
New Way of Doing Things
There were a few things I started doing differently as I healed and shifted my priorities:
I stopped checking my phone first thing in the morning. I didn’t allow myself to see the notifications and react to them immediately after waking up and disrupting the course of my day. I also stopped working out of my inbox so that I wasn’t distracted by every new email and request. I focused on the tasks I had planned, because I knew to focus on the revenue-generating tasks, and that if I only worked from reaction, I’d only be spinning my wheels and not moving forward.
I created a morning routine. Wake up, drink water, eat a nourishing breakfast, read, exercise, shower, and settle in to my work space gradually, only when I’m at the point where I feel excited and ready to get started!
I created a schedule for my day the night before so that I prioritized what is on my task list and that my day would be clearly laid out for me. Without this, I often worked at a high frequency in reaction mode, or would putter around my to-do list, never getting enough done because I wasn’t clear on what was necessary.
I hired a team. Slowly, one by one, I started to bring people on board to help me so that I could work on the business, and less in the business. I knew that if I committed myself to the 8-8-8 rule and gave myself weekends off like a normal person, that I only had 40 hours a week to work. And if I wanted to make more of an impact and scale my business to a bigger degree, then I knew the limitations of what I could accomplish alone. I hired people that are better than I am at certain tasks, and people that were believers, who also wanted to make an impact and be a part of the team to do so.
Lastly, I decided to become clear on my vision, and then commit myself to that vision. Commitment has become my strongest value. I am committed to being committed – which means I take my promises very seriously. I consider very carefully what I agree to in any situation, whether it is personal or business. I don’t say yes unless I mean it. Michael Phelps became my spirit animal for this.
Michael Phelps: an Olympic gold medalist.
He practiced and trained so hard to reach the achievements that he did. He woke up early and got to the pool every single day. Do you think there were days that he didn’t want to get out of a warm comfortable bed and into a cold pool, and push himself mentally and physically? Of course there were those days. But commitment doesn’t care how you feel. So in the mornings when it was time to get up and start my routine, I reminded myself “Michael Phelps is already up”.
You can’t outsource your health. You can’t hire people to exercise for you. You can’t hire people to eat your vegetables.
When it comes to scaling a business and prioritizing self care, it is always a work in progress. One that I am committed to.
Guest post by Marley Baird. You can learn more about her HERE
Marley Baird spends her days creatively rockin’ the social media world. She is the person her friends and coworkers come to when they have questions about pop culture, celebrity news, social media, and tech support. She considers this notoriety a great achievement. If she isn’t immersed in her laptop, Facebook, or Instagram, she can probably be found in a quiet corner laughing to herself while video editing, or spending all her free time with her family. Marley’s goal is to make all of her clients feel like a celebrity in their industry with the help of her creative work.