One of the things I was most fearful of when stepping into my own business was my mental illness. I thought about the days when my anxiety would make it nearly impossible to focus or the days when my depression would leave me bed-ridden. In my 9-5 jobs, that’s when I was forced to take sick time. I would take the day (or a few days) to realign and get back to work. Those businesses never really fell on my shoulders so it wasn’t as if the company I worked for would come to a stop without me. With my company, I’m literally it. If there isn’t me there isn’t a Find Your/self Boxes. That’s not bragging. That’s an unbelievable weight to carry.
I think this is a common concern for many entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs. When the fate of your business falls on your shoulders how do you step away? How do you take time for yourself without feeling like you’re neglecting your business? I don’t have all the answers and I’ve only been in business for one month (check in with me next year to see if this post has a sequel), but I’ve found myself drawing on aspects of my recovery to better run my business. The slow grind of healing with a mental illness has proven to be an effective trainer for the slow grind of building a business. Therapy has honed my skills of patience, reflection, and resilience, all valuable business skills. Meditation taught me that turning off is sometimes the best way to reset the mind and come back fresh to tackle a problem. Treatment helped me understand that not everything is black and white but often a shade of grey, which has opened my mind to creative problem-solving and flexible solutions. Every moment I spend engaging in my recovery is a moment I’m spending building the best version of myself. That best version of me is then able to give so much more to every person who chooses Find Your/self Boxes.
So I’m running my business like I run my recovery, not an all-out sprint, but rather a marathon. I’m pacing myself, staying strong in the face of adversity, and taking adequate time to replenish myself mentally and physically. I’ve learned that stepping away from my business to go for a 7-mile hike won’t cause my business to implode. It honestly had the opposite effect. I was more inspired and more amped up to get boxes out (and if you know me you know my baseline for amped is pretty high on an average day anyway).
I will continue to navigate being a business owner in the same fashion I navigate my mental illness, with compassion, curiosity, and dedication. And I’ve already submitted my time-off request to my boss so I can go for a hike tomorrow evening. It’s safe to say that request has been approved.
With love and an approved time-off request,