But what of you, the business owner responsible for the plethora of activities involved in running a healthy business? How healthy are you?
The idea for this month’s Word Carnival topic came about because of the health issues of one of our much loved members. It got us thinking about how we treat or maltreat ourselves as we live a life absorbed in the business of doing business.
The chair is out to kill us
In May this year, the opening line in an article in the Los Angeles Times read, “The chair is out to kill us”, as proclaimed by James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. One way to get attention, Dr Levine.
But evidently, those of us who earn a living in front a computer screen sit way too much to be healthy. Most of us in Western countries now sit more than half our waking hours and the sitting position he went on to explain, “exerts forces on our body it wasn’t built to accommodate”. Sitting apparently puts the ‘sit’ in obesity and increases our risks of diabetes and heart disease.
In the same article, Anup Kanodia, a physician at Ohio State University cited an Australian study that compared sitting and smoking. While every cigarette cuts 11 minutes from your life, every hour sitting cuts 22 minutes.
That’s a lot of life we are losing every single day in pursuit of running a healthy business. Disclaimer: For those of us who run computer driven businesses.
What we need is more running, but not of our business!
The chances are too that while we’re sitting our way to an early grave, we’re compounding the issue with way too much stress and not enough play.
Good ideas are boundless for reducing the impact of a sedentary life while running a profitable business. But many of us are way too busy to apply only the most cursory approach to either.
My body lives on promises
I promise I will drink more water, walk more often, remember to get up every hour and stretch, take the time out to eat a slowly, ingested lunch. It is a forgiving body and it deserves more.
My business too lives on promises. I promise I will prioritise one of twenty seemingly important business building requirements every day. I rarely do. Or if I do, it still leaves 19 unattended to and another one will quickly fill the vacuum.
Still my business seems forgiving and moves forward despite this.
A different answer?
Maybe the answer is not about seeking to live a longer life or run a wealthier business but how to find joy in both. And in so doing achieve better runs on the board for both.
Here in no particular order are thoughts on how to increase the joy quotient in living a healthy life and running a healthy business for you and for me!
1. Address stress.
Unremitting stress is undoubtedly a killer. It doesn’t just trammel with well being. It obliterates it. Drains it from your life and those that love you. You can’t be joyful and stressed at the same time.
If it means acting on that impossible decision to reduce stress, then do it. Seriously. Once it is made and acted on, the relief is palpable and a reconnection with joy makes anything seem possible.
Time and place creates a space to play. If you go to play a sport, party, eat out, dance, exercise or relax it is usually in a specific place for a defined time.
When we give ourselves permission to do this on a regular basis, we detach from the other stuff in our lives and en’joy’ doing something that brings us satisfaction or creativity or both.
Carve out a small time in your day where you go somewhere with the sole intention of playing. You will be astounded at how creative you are. I wrote my book, Clans. Supercharge Your Business, by getting up at 6am and playing for two hours every day for 60 days. They were some of the most joyful hours of my life.
3. Define your purpose.
It’s on every business owner’s lips today. But that doesn’t mean you’ve done it or can’t improve on it.
When you go through a process that helps you articulate why you do what you do for whom and for what outcome in one clear statement, it acts as a filter, makes sense of everything you do, plays to your strengths, invigorates your effort and reduces stress.
In short, Purpose changes everything and is an enhancer of joy, especially when you experience doors opening for you as a result.
4. Deal with money.
This is a hard one for many small business owners. We are hounded by our responsibility for bringing in sufficient cash to pay our way and pave our future.
Some of you may still be caught in the time for cash vortex and are yet to maximise your considerable talent, expertise and experience to multiply your income.
Please, get a coach or do a business course that will help you realise what that value is in terms of an offer you can really leverage beyond your hourly rate. I would be delighted to help.
It’s a joyful experience to bring to fruition an offer which as the culmination of your purpose will serve both you and others.
5. Choose who you work for.
Waking up at night sweating the misery of someone not paying, or being compliant, or sabotaging what you are trying to do will neither make you well or money. It’s not the easiest decision, but once made it changes your life: work only with people you like and who value what you offer.
Working with the wrong people reduces energy, performance and your spirit. When you work with your ideal client, someone who is enrolled from the beginning in what you are doing together, it’s truly a joyful experience.
6. Be mindful
About your body. How much water have you drunk today? How much sugar have you consumed? Have you stretched, walked, eaten? When did you last get out of the chair that’s trying to kill you?
What part of your body is telling you something you’re not bothering to listen to? Please don’t ignore the messages. If you are getting them it is because something is not right.
Being aware of your health at least enough to be in control will bring you a sense of quiet ease rather than one of dis-ease.
Be mindful too about your business. What can you do to better serve your people? What have you learned that you can pass on? Who can you introduce to whom who would benefit from the introduction? Keep your antenna tuned. Its joyful to learn, share and give unreservedly. It comes back, we know that.
7. Reduce your expectations (just a tad)
Business owners are too often averse to doing less. Our default position is to ask too much of ourselves. We’re in the ‘on’ position 24/7 and that pushes us beyond acceptable limits for our wellbeing.
If you’re waking up working, there’s no time in your world to simply revel in the joy of the new day.
Draw up a list of only three things you know will make a difference to your business in the next three months. Not five or seven, just THREE.
Break each of them down into manageable steps. At the beginning of each week, look at your spare time and slot in only what you can manage in that week without working crazy hours and over the weekend.
Now you can get on with doing your business knowing you have the time to work on your business.
Paring back to what is manageable is a reward beyond repairing your health. It’ll force you to look at what tasks you should outsource, how to be more efficient, how not to waste time on stuff that doesn’t contribute to an improved business and lifestyle.
It’s not about downsizing your attempts to build abundant wealth, but a call to use your considerable talent to examine ways to do it so that it doesn’t impact on your health. And that will bring you joy.
What do you think – can you let go a little, take care of yourself a little more and relish joy as and when you find it? I’d love to hear your ideas.