Many of you know that I went "dark" a few months back. I had a major life issue that affected my ability to work. This issue brought to light too many things that stressed me out as a business owner and a resource. When I first started out, I believed so much of the myths out there you know
"Hustle Hard" "Team No Sleep" "GSD No Matter What" "Work 16 hours - #hustle" ==It's bullshit. You need sleep. You need rest. Your body is not a machine, choose to ignore that and you'll hurt mentally, emotionally or physically.
Here are the 8 things I learned the hard way so you don't have to.
Believe Behavior. Your "real" partners and colleagues will stand by you. My true partners and colleagues were the first ones to lend a hand. Asking how they could serve, return favor, and help out. Many people who were constantly asking me for help, free work, or favors went dark. I realized that those "collaborate relationships" were one sided and I'm glad to be rid of them. It was interesting to see that even though I had delivered work prior to being ill, that people took that as an opportunity to not pay me. Getting to see that behavior really let me know who they were.
Knowing & Charging Your Worth. I no longer take projects that don't serve me or try to make everything work. I'm not for everyone, and even in the spirit of trying to help people - no one is ever grateful you dropped your rate. In fact, they demand just as much if not more than your higher ticket clients. When you can't work at full capacity, your time and effort has to be spent with your highest and best use.
Time Management is Bullshit. Focus on Life Integration. There is no such thing as time management. Focus on integrating life into your schedule. If you have kids and a spouse calendar everything and make time for breaks. In fact, schedule time even if only 10 minutes to daydream, scroll social or just check out. Your brain needs it - and you are not a robot.
Listen to your body. If you are tired all the time, you are not listening to your body. Take a moment to ask yourself: Am I thirsty? How long has it been since I stood up? When's the last time I talked to a human? Do I need to stretch? Is that headache not going away? Your body sends you signals- and you ignore them. Don't believes me? Ever feel like you are starving and eat way too much? Chances are your body told you and you just didn't listen.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Reset expectations, clearly and often. A lot of times when you are coming back from illness, you get bursts of energy and think they are for the long term and they aren't. Set reasonable expectations, adjust them accordingly. No one, I mean absolutely no one will be upset if you communicate early and often. This relieves undue stress and pressure. But, if you go dark- you'll piss people off. Communicate, even when you feel embarrassed. Apologize, if you have missed a deadline or not followed through on something. I have to thank Gregg Ward, for teaching me to not only have respect for myself but how to communicate effectively with my colleagues, friends and partners during this challenging time.
Be Transparent. I stopped trying to be the "ideal" person, and embraced my strengths and my weaknesses. This has allowed me to change my business models to fit me instead of the other way around. By being incredibly clear with my team, friends, and partners this allowed them to know exactly who I am.
Go outside. I do so many calls outside as I'm walking. I never did that before. I never prioritized my physical health unless I was going on a "diet". That's done. Walking and moving is part of my life forever and it won't change. There is something to be said about movement helping inspiration, ideation and the creative process. I'm in the process of the #75Hard challenge that is delightfully kicking my mind and body in the butt.
Stop allowing fear to dictate your decision making. I took some projects that fit my new guidelines but didn't serve me. As I unwound those decisions, I realized how fear based my decision making has been. I released those and things have been incredibly abundant ever since. Sometimes, it's the combination of life throwing you the curve ball and you catching it.
While this isn't an exhaustive list of the learnings I have had, I know there are many of you who are returning to work and have created new habits during the pandemic. Here's something to ponder.
What would you do differently if your life changed overnight?
Let's hope it doesn't happen.
But if you are reading this, and start making a list.
Just start now. Do It now.