If you’re like me when you hear the words “self-care” you may think self indulgence. I debated even writing about this because it seemed too fluffy. I try to keep my blogs and newsletters to actions business owners can take to think big and grow bigger. Then I had a revelation. I was watching Hamilton projected on the large screen we got to watch TV on our porch (also an indulgence) during the warm summer nights. The song “The Schuyler Sisters” came on and Angelica Schuyler says “You’re looking for a revolution; I’m looking for a revelation.” And I had one.
I should back up though.
Virtual Presentation Self-Care
I am taking a class with JuliAnn Stitick called the Speak Your Brand workshop for business owners to rock their virtual presentations. I agonized over it because I felt like it was probably going to go over stuff I “already knew”. At the same time, I had heard great things about JuliAnn and had the good fortune to meet her during a consultative session so I sensed there would be something different about this workshop. What I realized almost immediately after the course started was that I may know some of these techniques but I wasn’t aware of the way it affected my presentations.
I feel pretty confident presenting. I know my stuff. But that doesn’t mean what I know was connecting with my audience. For some reason, I felt a responsibility NOT to hire someone. After I bought the course and started to feel a little guilty. Why can’t I just figure out it out myself?
Well it turns out that I don’t know everything. I couldn’t just figure out what I needed in my presentations because I only experience my presentations from my perspective. More than that, I wasn’t taking the time to really focus on what worked in presentations and what didn’t. Now I have another business owner, actually a group of business owners, on my side working to bring out my strengths and push me out of my comfort zone. I can move from the content part of my presentations to the connecting (and converting) part.
Remote Work Self-Care
Since March when we all locked down for COVID-19 I’ve been at home with my family. I always work from home, but not with my husband also co-working and our 3 and 5 year old needing near constant entertainment. I’ve written before about my family’s lake house. When 4 weeks stretched to 8 stretched to 12 to indefinitely, we started talking about coming up here but I felt like we needed to be in our professional (or semi-professional) spaces to get work done. Would my clients think I was on vacation if I was working from a vacation place?
I had no idea what my clients would think about me taking my calls from somewhere else. So, I did something wild and just talked to them. I told them this is what I was doing. We’re not meeting in person anyway. They not only didn’t mind but thought it was a great idea. Thinking back, I don’t know what I was worried about (and why we didn’t come up here sooner). The kids are getting fresh air and outside time and we’re getting just as much work done as before, if not more. Importantly, we look forward to the work time and shutting it off so our heads are in the right place.
You’re probably starting to get the hint but in a call with a group of business owners I have been talking to every month, one of the women who had COVID19, got very sick, and recovered all while running her business reminded us of the most important thing. She reminded us to put the airbag on ourselves first – to take care of ourselves.
After the first week of lock down – which was a whirl of anxiety, stressful work calls, confused kids, and women-owned wine – I realized that I was going to need a routine to keep me on track mentally and physically. I started working out every day at the same time and leaving a little space in there to meditate.
As someone who is running a business with two young kids doing everything at home, that meditation time seemed like the height of self-indulgence. I knew that 1) nearly every successful business owner that I consider a role model makes time to meditate and experiences great rewards and 2) that my family would consistently say during that last little bit of alone time, “Hey, you said you were exercising!” accusingly.
So I told my kids I’m exercising my mind. It’s taken a little practice to actually believe it. If there was ever a time I needed to approach life with a mix of lightness and coolness it’s now. And they may not realize it but they’re benefitting from me taking a few deep breaths every day.
Back to my clients and potential clients. I think they’re a lot like me. They’re caregivers – for kids, parents, siblings, and employees – and as a result, they put themselves last. Like me they prioritize other people, other needs because they’re important. And they do it because any investment in themselves seems like an indulgence. Just like me they can be stuck, overwhelmed, pulled in different directions but still feel like they need to figure it out themselves.
This insight into my hang ups was so useful in thinking about what I can offer people and what they need from me, perhaps it’s helpful for you, too.
Right now when Business Unusual becomes business AS usual, people feel a tendency to double down on work. Throughout the Business Unusual series I do, people tell me about how their clients are cutting marketing, and pulling back. But you have to make sure your clients have something to come back to when this is over.
What if instead of thinking about taking care of yourself as self-indulgent, you thought about it as strategic, rejuvenating, an investment, a revenue generating endeavor. Take a class. Go work from a space that energizes you. Take some time for yourself. Together let’s find a silver lining from doing business in unusual times.