Imagine serving the people you’re called to serve, spending time with family, taking vacation and traveling, mentoring new members of your profession, and running a successful business.
Without burning out.
It sounds both fantastical and doable. Right? There are folks who talk about this like it’s super easy if you just have the right tools in place. (There’s some truth there, but when you’re reading about it online or in a book, it’s undoubtedly overly simplified because, face it, they’re selling you something.) There is also the exhaustion and hard work and self-doubt that you (and pretty much all the entrepreneurs you know) face.
What’s the real truth? Is it simple or is it hard work?
I think it’s both. Being a business owner is hard. Especially when you’ve got a bigger mission. A larger vision for how you can support the people you serve. An ambition to grow and make a bigger impact than a solo practice can provide. A message that’s burning within you, that you must share with the world at large.
Especially when you’re obsessed with making the world a better place.
You know who you are. You’ve had success. You’ve grown a successful practice and know you should be grateful.
But you’re exhausted and unfulfilled.
Your bigger dreams keep calling to you and pulling you away from peaceful complacency.
Your passion for life and the world keep flaring up and spurring you on toward this mission that won’t rest easy in your heart.
You are a visionary and a leader. Maybe those words don’t sit quite right for you… yet… but I’m not going to let you continue to deny it. You have a bigger purpose that you need to grow into. In order to do that, you have to fully embrace your own personal brand of leadership. Step into it and evolve – so you can make a bigger impact. Truly fulfill your purpose.
In your hopeful, private moments – you can see it. Maybe it’s confidently striding on the stage with your message tidily explained to the whole world in a TED talk. Maybe it’s your team of clinicians effectively serving the needs of your community – within a nurturing, productive environment where everyone is stepping up, generating the income they desire, and feeling that their work (and their team) is meaningful and important to them.
You don’t lack vision. Big, exciting, innovative vision. That’s not what you’re missing.
It’s the practical steps to get there. It’s fully inhabiting your leadership. It’s claiming your vision and powerfully and purposefully making the right moves to bring your dream into reality.
So how do you do that? What are the steps that you need to take?
Well, as you might suspect, they’re simple, but not easy.
This requires for you to move from doing to becoming. This is about being a leader, not just managing the tasks at hand.
Be the boss.
You are the boss whether you have a team or not. Take control of your work. You choose what you do and you create the work environment. Do not relinquish control of this to anyone else. Any time you blame someone else or blame the lack of time or whatever – you are abdicating your role as a leader. Stop it. Step back from the daily grind and think your visionary thoughts. Make sure you’re clear on what you’re doing and WHY. Be in control of how you bring your vision to light. Take charge and stop making excuses.
Stop being a martyr.
If you’re called to help others, most likely you’ve done some self-sacrificing at some point. Not only is it seen as humble and noble in many of the helping professions (phooey!!), it can also tap into the belief that many helpers have – that they are only valuable if they are giving or doing for others. I call this Sacrificial Helping, but, in truth, when you wear this sacrifice as a badge of honor, you’ve slipped fully into martyrdom. This is selfish, plain and simple. It is not noble to sacrifice so much that you lose yourself and become a raging jerk. It is not altruistic to limit your ability to help because you’ve humbled yourself into the poor house, the hospital… or even the grave. Take care of yourself. Ask for what you need. Set limits on your help. You have to if you’re going to get your big vision up and running. You’re too important to squander yourself on others’ small crises. You can only jump on one grenade – choose wisely.
Say “no” a lot.
A needed corollary to number 2 – make sure that you ruthlessly manage your time and energy. Say “no” to anything that doesn’t align with your vision. Know your “why” and make sure everything you do fits. That doesn’t mean you say yes to all of the things you could do, only that you only do things that are going to push your vision forward. Stop getting distracted by shiny objects or other people’s crises of the day. Stay focused and moving forward on your dreams. Protect yourself from anything that would hinder your forward momentum.
Set up your business so it can run without you.
Now, for many of us, our businesses can’t truly run without us because we need to do some, if not all, of the services provided. That being said – you must make sure that everything else (administrative tasks, marketing, etc.) are able to run without you having to take direct action in the moment. That can be automation and planning. It can also be hiring team members and giving them procedures and protocols to implement, even when you’re not available for direct supervision. The more your business can run without you, the more time you have for breaks, vacation, and, even more importantly, innovation, creativity, and doing what you do best. Get the structure in place, so the practicalities are taken care of and you can stay focused on your passion and vision.
Ask for the help you need.
Some of these may be no brainers for you. I’m already doing them, Katie, and I’m still exhausted. I’m still facing burnout… AND.. I’m still moving too slowly toward what I feel I’m really capable of. (Or at least what I hope I’m capable of…)
If that’s the case, it’s important that we talk. Because you’re missing something. There’s something else that you can do to get on a better path. We all have blind spots. This isn’t a judgment. It’s what many of us help our clients with. Ask for the help that you’d so willingly offer to the people you serve. You deserve as much support.
Schedule time to talk with me and we’ll start figuring this out. When you’re ready to make a bigger impact, it’s time to evolve. Let’s do this.