Entrepreneurship is always met with challenges, but I’ve found that none are as difficult for business owners to live up to and balance as the personal priorities we set for ourselves, and the priorities we choose to keep. It truly takes commitment and grit to stand up and stand firm, keeping what we value in focus as we make decisions.
Personal priorities may look different to you than they do to me, so while we’re exploring this topic, we must also always remember everyone is doing the best they can making decisions that are right for them. Don’t be hurt or resentful if someone sets a boundary or chooses something you wouldn’t.
What have you learned?
In my years as an entrepreneur I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know that I love what I do and who I work with. I’ve learned that it is important to me to build strong, meaningful relationships with people who have high standards. I value having a good reputation and being respected. I’ve also come to realize I’m a responsibilitarian and while that can be an important asset and strength, it can also be a bit of a curse when I allow my cup to run on empty after giving and giving.
So, let’s start there… what have you learned about yourself as a business owner? What are your personality traits? What are your values (i.e. what do you value)?
As you begin discovering yours, it may help to look over a few of mine…
Choosing how my schedule operates – we all have a choice where we invest our time. With only a limited number of hours in each day and days in each year, let alone only so many years we have to live this life, show me how you spend your time and I’ll tell you what is valuable to you.
For me, business ownership affords the ability to choose when to work, when to rest, when to play, and when to focus on a project or activity that matters at that moment. Because one of my values is investing in people, having a flexible-ish schedule allows me to invest in others when the need arises as well.
Choosing who I work with and for – as an employee we don’t really have a choice about who our customers, co-workers, or bosses are. Yes, we choose where we work and we should be interviewing the company when they are interviewing us. But nothing is as fulfilling and reassuring in business as knowing you choose who you serve and who your team mates are.
Another of my values is abundance and I believe there is enough business for everyone. This provides confidence in knowing that when our team is not a good fit to serve another small business, someone else is. No amount of frustration, game playing, power struggles, or disrespect is worth devaluing your expertise. Choose wisely.
Being protective of your time is ok. Afterall, as I mentioned above, you only get so many hours, days and years, right? We cannot continue working, working, working, with no relief. Grinding and trying to build your empire is all good and fine, unless your priorities aren’t in alignment and you’re not resting.
Stopping work at the end of a day – It’s ok to put down your projects, conversations, inbox, text strings, and professional responsibilities each day to not only let your brain rest, but to connect with others. Turning off work isn’t easy for entrepreneurs, I know, but it will help give your brain the time to recharge without burning out, and spending time with others helps refill your cup.
Stopping to play – It’s ok and so important to remember how to play, to have fun, and to enjoy laughter and imagination. Did you know laughter not only releases endorphins, but boosts your immune system, relaxes your body, and even burns calories? Whether it’s with a child or a friend, take a few minutes to go fill your heart with joy.
Stopping to relax and get away/vacation/reset – It’s ok to breathe and take in a few hours of rest, or even a few days. Resetting your “go” button can actually save your life by reducing your blood pressure, refueling your energy, and providing strength and new motivation to continue work that lies ahead.
No matter how many times we’ve heard it, we are guaranteed to hear flight attendants say it on every flight we take – “In case of an emergency put your own oxygen mask on first, THEN help others.” You cannot help anyone if you are not first stable because you cannot draw from an empty tank.
Taking self-care time is the only way we will have the reserve to give our time or expertise to others, so make it habit to refill your cup every time you have spent a few days working long hours. And if you haven’t taken a vacation in a while, book. one. now.
Begin exercising your boundaries to focus on your priorities.
Knowing your limit and saying ‘no’ can often be hard when we are responsible for revenue, client projects, teams, and more. But even when we know we need to wear all the hats, we can’t effectively wear them all at the same time.
Learning the art of saying no can mean the difference between overwhelming stress and living with your priorities in balance. The key is to always be kind using a graceful approach with effective communication skills that are professional.
Ultimately, you are responsible for the life you live and the choices you make. It is up to you to decide when to evaluate your priorities and realign them, if need be. You will need strength and courage to stand up for them at times, but I encourage you not to let everyone else’s expectations derail what you know is right for you. Be strong, entrepreneur. You are gifted with the ability to make your life.
Here’s to living by your priorities,
Additional Reading: Each of the eleven topics below are also priorities I value in my life and business and they may be of inspiration and motivation for you. May you be equipped to execute high quality business standards, stay motivated, and be inspired in everything you do!
2019 Articles from Jamie:
- How To Self-Start When Motivation Is Low [January]
- 4 Team Building Areas Solopreneurs Need to Understand [February]
- Small Business Communication: What Every Entrepreneur Should Keep in Mind When Communicating [March]
- Always Remember Your Why, Entrepreneur [April]
- 40 Self-Care Ideas To Keep You Balanced [May]
- The Impact of Branding (it's not just about a logo) [June]
- The Customer Experience: What Good Customer Service Really Looks Like [July]
- Small Business Organization: Where Should An Entrepreneur Start? [August]
- Business Planning Happens in Various Ways [September]
- Having High Standards in Business Starts With People [October]
- Are You a Giver? 6 Ways to Up Your Generosity Game [November]
- How Personal Priorities Impact Your Entrepreneurial Life [December]