As if building a multimillion-dollar company wasn’t hard enough, entrepreneurs have to take extra care of their physical and mental well-being. Work-life balance teeters on work-life catastrophe.
Colleen Qvist and Leander Jay know the pressures well. Qvist is a life coach, business coach, facilitator and speaker with more than six years as head of her consulting firm. Jay is a social media and digital marketer who heads the Company 21 brand-management agency.
Well-being for an entrepreneur is having a good grasp of mind and body. The health of the business is a big influence on personal affairs. The challenge is not to obsess on the business side at the sacrifice of a personal life.
“It’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual flow,” Qvist said. “What are you feeding your body, mind, heart, and soul?
“We act on emotion,” she said. “It is important to identify the emotion. What are you feeling? Can you put it in words? Then ask what thought is creating those emotions? Can you change the thought to give different emotions, to give different action?”
Comfort zones have their desired effect – if you can get into one.
“Not being in a routine is a really bad habit,” Jay said. “There also is self-doubt and inconsistency. Remember, we make our own money. We don’t have time to chill — not to say that I’ve mastered giving it up. It’s a cycle of improvement.”
Procrastination is a nasty, destructive habit. It can be replaced with better habits such as goal setting to have an active destination to shoot for.
“Bad habits have to be replaced with new habits,” Qvist said, recalling toxic practices she has abandoned:
- Wanting to understand every step instead of going with the flow.
- Focusing on fear, not purpose.
- Thinking failure is the end of the world.
- Thinking I had to be strong 24-7, not vulnerable.
“Please let the emotion out,” Qvist said. “That’s why coaches are there: To listen. To guide. To hold. To believe in you. Self-awareness of the heaviness can prevent the slide into depression.
“Go into the emotion,” she said. “Do not label emotion good or bad. What thought caused the emotion? Can you change the thought? Whatever you do, do not squash, avoid or ignore the emotion.”
Social media poses an extra challenge with well-being management taking place out in the open for all to see.
“I bring me — authentic me who holds space for people and believes in potential,” Qvist said. “I am the same brand on every platform. Love for each other belongs in the workplace.”
Jay takes extra care to separate his online actions from others in the industry.
“Curate your feed, but also don’t be problematic,” he said. “Chances are, you won’t get dragged if you’re not problematic. The biggest challenge for me on social media is not comparing my journey to other entrepreneurs.”
While you can be too optimistic and hurt, it is not a good idea to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised by average outcomes. Having and exercising a good perspective keeps you mentally healthy.
“I’m only a few weeks into my well-being journey, but the biggest impact on my hustle has been constantly doubting myself, my expertise and sadly my agency,” Jay said. “That’s a massive knock, but I know I’m not alone. I won’t give up and close shop.
“I started with a rebrand,” he said. “I decided to take myself seriously. No ‘business account’ and ‘personal’ account. Just me growing my brand everywhere. That was the first step.”
Even at this stage, Jay can look ahead to see how to reach his goal.
“You don’t need a project first,” he said. “In fact, you just need a consistent online presence. Tweet your knowledge. Be marketable. This is how I find and commission influencers. Also, upskill, upskill, upskill and brag about it.”
The most successful outcome won’t be achieved alone. Qvist calls it “abundant collaboration.”
“I have always loved the analogy of when you pour water into the dam, you lift all the boats,” she said. “Build the industry.”
Talking with people — whether online or in person — gives you support, letting you know you’re not alone. There are people there for emotional and other aid when you need them.
“Breathe to your baby toes,” Qvist said. “Meditate. Try Insight Timer on your phone. Hang out with friends who have your back.
“Step out of and away from work,” she said. “Go refuel. Invest in you professionally and personally with a coach. Laugh. This too shall pass. Embrace learning and growth.”