The frost was crunching under my feet and I could see my breath. I’m just back from a run over the hills. It was a fresh morning and it would have been easy to stay in bed for another hour. I’m tired and I have a million things to do: not just one “to do” list, but about three, reflecting the different projects that I’m juggling at the moment. So why did I choose to run?
I can feel myself getting stressed. My trigger to noticing this is when I find myself starting three things at once. I’ll start making some tea, check my emails and read the free newspaper that has come through my door. Before I know it, the tea hasn’t been made, I’m distracted on the Internet and I haven’t worked out if there was anything of interest in the paper. Nothing’s been finished, no progress made and I’m feeling too busy to know where to start. The best antidote to stress is exercise: it is all part of managing the stress response which exists to help us escape from danger. Now I’m not advocating running away from our stressors, but by resetting physiologically we can get a better view on the important tasks.
I dream big when I run. My mind wanders and once the everyday chatter has faded away, the big ideas come: the things that are at the heart of who I am, what I want to represent and how best to share it. This helps me to reset my priorities to get back to the core values of me and my business – how can I lighten my life? Keep it fun, but not too frivolous, and how can I help other people achieve this too?
Being the best you can for other people starts with being the best you can for you. Think of the advice that you would give to your best friend, or your clients and make sure you apply that to yourself. If I were advising someone in my situation I’d say – take a break, get out into nature, take some exercise, eat well and recharge your batteries. Sound familiar? But applying it to ourselves is the hardest job of all because there’s just so much to do. And that’s why it’s so important. You really can’t afford not to.
And now I find myself back at my desk with a priority list of three things to do, a fresh focus and free of distractions. This leaves me free to then respond to everything else. I work for myself, and I know the pressures of building a business and feeling as if you need to be on it all the time. But reflect on that, the reasons you started and your choices to be able to run things your way. Make yourself the boss you always wanted to have: one that puts their employees first.