Just under a year ago I emailed my email subscribers to say that I had hit a wall in terms of my mental health. I emailed to explain how I couldn’t get myself out of the dark space and was going to be limiting the business to give myself some breathing space. Not what you read in the business books and programs. It is all about profit and growth and you could be certified crazy to deliberately pause your business for a year. To actively limit sales and turn people away. Perhaps I am to be certified crazy however honestly.. it was the best thing I did and is, for me, one of the over riding benefits of being my own boss. Being the master of my own destiny. I didn’t close my business as I continued to be there for the incredible business owners I support but I stopped promoting it and put a cap on how many people I would work with over that year.
You see growing business, when you are small, should not be just about growth for the sake of growth. Let me let you into a secret I actually made MORE profit during the past year of shrinking but again that is not the point. What if having a business was about living a life which you love where you experience true freedom. Freedom from the system which tries to control us and keep us small.
A year on from my decision I am writing this as I am forever grateful for what has fallen out the other side of this year of no pressure. Being a parent is so tough and tests us in all directions and I think sometimes we just need to give ourselves the most important gift of all. Time and space. I know this seems impossible to do, and for some it truly is, so feel incredibly grateful that I was able to do this. It is only because I left corporate all those years ago that I was able to press pause guilt(ish) free and give myself time to rediscover who I truly am, what I truly want while soaking up that precious last year or having a pre-schooler at home. When I say precious.. you and I both know that it was sprinkled with tantrums and melt downs most days but all in all I feel I have really made the most of that year… I would have never had a chance to get those moments back if I had continued head down in my business. These memories pass us by and when they are gone they are lost forever… hence why keepsakes are more important to me now more than ever and why I have come back more passionate than ever about the business opportunity I created.
And this is what I wanted to write about here. Sometimes we feel that we have to keep on keeping on. That we are a failure if we quit at something, that we are weak if we walk away and that we are useless if we can’t cope.
This is not true. Not one part of it.
What is true is that you are human. That you need space to think. You need time to work things out and you are not designed to be ‘on the go’ mentally from morning until night. Life is not some big competition to see what you can achieve in spite of anything else. Life is about realising your natural gifts (it may not be what you think!) and leaving the world in a better place to how you found it. Sharing kindness and truly appreciating the depths that life has to offer us. Not just earning more to buy more stuff than you have no time to enjoy! The stuff we acquire does nothing for our mental health but the release of pressure, giving your self what you need and honouring who you truly are does.
When in business it becomes even harder to give us that gift as we have bills and people relying on us. Often the buck stops with us and if we stop then the world around us does. But as I said earlier. After I took the brave decisions to pause any forms of growth that I actually made more profit than any year over the past 16 years. This isn’t to say that I will not grow again as I love the strategy, the growth and the excitement of seeing your creative efforts turn into something bigger than you BUT I have also learnt that you don’t have to sacrifice your mental health in order to get there. Even more than that you don’t have to sacrifice your health in any form to get there.
We only have one life. We only have one shot at making a lifetime of memories. One small window to be with our kids while they need us and we end up resenting them for taking us away from our work.
Let’s just remember what is important. You and your loved ones. Everything else can wait. Everything else is surface stuff. If you are feeling unsettled in your mind then please find a way to give yourself what you need. Don’t ignore the signs for too long. There is no shame .. infact it is just a sign that you are human which is the most incredible species on the planet <3