Within one day, I was asked two questions that, on the surface, are very different.
The first question came from a woman who was working full time in a very large company. “How can I stay motivated day in and day out?”
The second question came from a woman business owner whose small business is three years old. “Do you think there’s any room for self-care, really, when we’re building these businesses? Or does it really take 90 hours per week to achieve what we’re trying to build?”
The answers are exactly the same because the process you take to get there is really similar.
When you first start a job, you are really excited about it. You work really hard to prove yourself, and you put in a ton of hours. Similarly, when you first start a business, you are really excited, and as many of us know, you have to do everything, so you work really hard, and you put in a ton of hours.
Fast forward a year and the employee has an “oh geez” moment. She’s still working hard. The work has gotten a little routine, but she has so many expectations, goals, and objectives that she has to meet … by the end of the month! The business owner wakes up and has a similar moment. She looks around and suddenly she’s responsible for payroll and employees and doing jobs she never really wanted to do.
“Should I quit?” they both asked me.
No. Quitting is not the answer. But something does have to change.
The next step is where they arrive at the same exact answer. In order to maintain your level of motivation, your enthusiasm for your job or your business, and in order not to burn out, you have got to put yourself back into the equation. You have got to start giving yourself some attention.
To the corporate employee who wants to know how to stay motivated, I would answer, “Step back and look at the big picture. Tie your tasks and projects to your goals.”
To the business owner who asks whether it really takes 90-hour work weeks to succeed, I would answer, “Maybe. It depends on the kind of business you’re building and what your goals are.”
Either way, if you’re working very long days, you still have to find a way to make a little time for yourself. You just do.
Case in point: The other day I attended a conference held by Vistage, where there are always more men than women. The speaker, a very well known business leader named Alan Mullaly, was talking about his tenure as CEO of Ford. Do you know what most of the questions centered on after his presentation? The audience of men wanted to know what he did for self-care in order to stay motivated on the job.
Self-care is not a “woman” thing. It is not an “entrepreneur” thing. Self-care is critical for all of us. While you will always have to turn it up when you first start anything, you will absolutely have to readjust and make time for yourself again. Otherwise, you will lose. You will lose your ambition, your motivation, and, frankly, your sense of purpose.
Frederique is passionate about helping women take their businesses to the next level of growth and success. As founder and CEO of Her Corner, she applies her entrepreneurial spirit & management consulting background and business operations expertise to give women the springboard they need to move forward.