In 2012 I joined the Entrepreneur's Circle which led to two years of 18 hour days and seven day weeks, a huge improvement to my business and income… and a seizure.
The aim had always been to develop the business so I could spend more time training and competing my beautiful Irish Sport Horse. In the end, I got so engrossed and (excuse the pun) 'blinkered' by work that I lost all interest in the reason for doing it in the first place. So I sold up on horses. Lock, stock and smokin' barrel.
What I hadn't realised was that my obsessive drive to grow the business was having a huge impact on my health. I'd successfully taken the business from being a sole trader to a team of 8, tripled my income and reached a point where I was 'managing' rather than 'doing' the business. It's were we all want to be, right?
But then I crashed...
I had what turned out to be two small, and rather terrifying, seizures, which after various tests, were diagnosed as being a direct result of continued lack of sleep!
I couldn't believe what was happening? I'd always been able to function pretty normally after an all-nighter (whether it involved a computer or a dance floor) but now I couldn't cope?
I mean, what business owner hasn't burned the candle at both ends?
Thankfully that's long in the past, I've learned my lesson, look after my health and I'm fighting fit. But I've been shocked by the number of business friends who've recounted a similar story, showing just how many people have suffered some sort of health crisis caused by their passion for their business.
According to a study by insurance provider Simply Business, of the 2,000 business owners surveyed, almost 50% regularly cancel social plans at least once a week, 25% take less than 10 days’ annual leave and a quarter have fallen ill due to stress and overwork.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind says the effects are likely to go much further than just physical illness. Business owners need to keep a close eye on their wellbeing.
“Having a good work-life balance, including regularly having time off, is key to staying mentally healthy,” Mamo says. “Taking proper breaks allows staff to return refreshed and revived, and small business owners are no exception."
“Every business owner wants to ensure their business is a success and this can mean putting in the extra hours from time to time. But consistently working long hours and managing an excessive workload can take their toll on our physical and mental health"
The moral of this story? Well, in the words of Stephen Covey in his famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - You must invest in the goose that lays the golden egg. In this case, YOU are the goose.
So how about you? Are you bowling along nicely, or do you feel over-committed, over-worked and over-whelmed? Watch out for next week's blog on how to spot the classic signs that prove you need a break from your business.
About the Author:
Claire White has developed a wholly unique service, devoted to providing Business Advice, Implementation Skills & Accountability Services to forward-thinking Independent Professionals wanting to develop their business and take control of their time. Contact Claire on +44 (0)345 056 8544, email email@example.com or visit www.clairewhite.co.uk.
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