You may love or hate the term “self-care” so use whatever term you like but the key is to take care of yourself. You know this is important but it’s also really easy to let slip because we are busy and often fill our days with so many things. But as an entrepreneur, it’s critical that you care for yourself because if you’re reaching for goals in your business, this is the only way you’ll reach them. If you reach burnout, so will your business and we don’t want that.
This is something that was apparent to me and I knew I had to incorporate it into my membership, Thrive. We have seasons of business in Thrive and one is called “Need a break”. It’s all about maintenance mode and how we need this from time to time in business. While you might not be in a place where you need a full break from business or marketing, it’s important to remember to care for yourself all the time so that you don’t reach a state of burnout. Thrive isn’t open right now but if you want to know when the doors open again, go to amandamckinney.com/thrive and get on the waitlist.
Now let’s talk about why and how to take care of yourself as an entrepreneur.
*Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on the topic of Care. Part 1 is caring for the tradition of yoga in your marketing.
Why taking care of yourself is so important as an entrepreneur
You know that taking care of yourself is critical all around but I want to share why I think this plays into business too. When you’re an entrepreneur and especially a solo-entrepreneur or maybe even have a few contractors working with you, it’s a lot. Your mind is always thinking about the business and so it’s hard to shut it off. But think about when you work for someone else and how they, if you have a good boss, will encourage you to take time off and recharge. Trust me, they do this because it benefits the company overall. When you take time for yourself (whatever you call it), you will be more productive and focused.
As an entrepreneur you NEED productivity and focus!
If you have goals you want to achieve, you need both of these things and taking care of yourself is how you can actually do this. Because no one benefits when we reach burnout. No one.
>> This article from Forbes shares how self care increases productivity and cognitive ability. It’s a great read!
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #154. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Yoga teachers are set up for success more than other entrepreneurs
I tell people this all the time when I’m talking about who I work with. Yoga teachers have all the tools that entrepreneurs need and they don’t even know it! It’s really cool when I share this with people I’m working with and the lightbulb goes off. Here’s what I want you to think about…
Imagine you’re working with your student who is running themselves down in so many areas of life - work, personal stuff, etc. They come to your class and are always saying “I’m so stressed, I’m so tired, I’m not sleeping well and I can’t seem to focus”. What would you say to them?
I really want you to think about that and say it out loud if you can right now…
Here’s what I think you’d say (something like this anyway): “You’re doing the best you can with what you have. You’ve got a lot going on in your life and you’re doing the best you can. Please give yourself grace in this busy and stressful season of your life.” And then I think you would go on to ask them something like this “what are some ways that you find relaxation?” Then you would take that information and reflect it back to them and encourage them to make time for this activities, whatever they are and for as much time as they can fit in. Even if it’s just 2 minutes a day, you would encourage them to do it.
Well…this is what I want you to do for you! Have this conversation with yourself and then follow through with the steps you’d encourage your students to take. You have everything you need in your toolbox right now, you just have to access those tools. I know it’s tough to do but it’s possible!
What taking care of yourself as an entrepreneur can look like
But remember, it only matters what works for you! These are just some ideas:
Slow mornings – many of the Thrivers mention this as they talk about their week and saying “I like to start my mornings slowly”
Car time – if you’ve got kids or other reasons that put you in the car many times a day this can seem like you’re a taxi driver with no time. I suggest using this “windshield time” to your advantage. Listen to podcasts that are simply for fun and enjoyment. Put on some throwback tunes that make you recall fun times with friends and enjoy. Call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s easy to think “I need to be learning” but it’s just as valuable to enjoy life, if not more important!
Hobby – it’s easy to think “growing my business” is a hobby. I definitely think this! But the truth is, we need other things in life to give our brains a break. Even if you don’t think of yourself as “creative” I’d suggest finding something creative that interests you. It could be some form of art, music or dance or it could be something like painting your nails or gardening or learning a new language. The opportunities are endless but I recommend picking something that you can have fun with, no profit margin attached.
Scheduled self care time – this might sound silly but for those of you like me who won’t do something fun for yourself unless it’s on the calendar, this is for you. Put it on the calendar! Schedule a quarterly massage, or hike, or trip, or boxing class. It doesn’t matter what it looks like for you, it only matters that you schedule it.
Find joy in everyday things – this is a tip for when things are really busy in your life and there’s just no time for you, or it at least seems that way. The truth is, there is time but the other truth is, you’re prioritizing other things and sometimes that’s needed. For these seasons, find joy in the things you have to do. For me this is cooking. I really don’t like doing anything with food - making the decision of what to eat, prepping the food, making the food, none of it makes me excited. But what I do love to do is listen to podcasts and audio books. So for me, when I go to the grocery store, I’ve got my earbuds in and I’m enjoying a podcast or book. When I’m prepping and cooking, I’m listening to a podcast or audio book and most likely sipping a delicious glass of wine as well. I’ve found ways to insert joy into the things I have to do but don’t love to do. It really helps.
Routines — you may love these or hate these but routines really help you squeeze in some you time on a regular basis. For me this looks like my daily movement. I’ve created a habit that I wake up and then move my body in some way for no less than 10 minutes every day. No one else is involved in this except for the person who’s telling me what to do in my earbuds. But otherwise, it’s me, moving my body. That’s one day I take care of myself every day. And guess what, there are days when that movement is legs up the wall to childs pose to savasana. It’s what I need on that day. The other routine I have is a nightly shower. I gotta clean my body and I’m also alone in this moment so sometimes that shower takes a little longer than normal if I need a few extra minutes to process something. And I have the best ideas in there too! It’s proof that creative ideas come to us when we aren’t forcing them to happen. I never get in the shower and think “I’m going to name this product” but dang it if I’ve named a lot of things after a long hot shower.
The key is to find ways that you can fill your cup on a daily basis and most of the time it’s the little things that do this. It’s stopping to smell a flower or take in its beauty. It’s dipping your toe in the water. It’s taking a long breath in and a long breath out. It’s planning a day off where you can truly disconnect from technology. It’s talking to a friend you haven’t caught up with. It’s reading. It’s walking. Whatever it is for you, that’s great!
The importance of saying “no” as an entrepreneur
I’ll probably have an entire podcast episode dedicated to this topic one day but I couldn’t help but to talk about it in this episode. But first, one thing that’s really important for me to note is that I’m terrible at this but doing my best to get better and better every day. I’m a work in progress with this one so if this is hard for you too, join the club my friend.
Saying no is really hard for a lot of people but thankfully not for everyone. I admire those of you who don’t struggle with this and I love when you share this. Every time I hear “oh, saying no is easy for me” I’m encouraged because it makes me think it’s possible for me to get there. So please be proud of this!
But for all the rest of us that super-struggle with this, let’s commit to doing better one “no” at a time.
For me it’s a people-pleasing thing or it’s from a place of genuine excitement. I want to say yes to a lot of things. I want to say yes when a yoga teacher asks me to help them. I want to say yes to partner with a friend on an idea that comes up. I want to say yes to hang out with people on the weekends. BUT…here’s the kicker that gets me every time I remember it.
"Every “yes” means you’re saying “no” to something else. So you have to know the trade off before answering." - Amanda McKinney
For example, if I say “yes” to hanging out on the weekend it means I’m saying “no” to doing the laundry on that day which means I have to do it another day. Which means I will have to say no to something else in order to do the laundry for the week.
Or if I say “yes” to that partnership opportunity I will have to say “no” to something I wanted to do in my business but won’t have time anymore.
So which is more important?
It depends on many things but the key is to know that there’s a trade off that will happen. Every yes means theres a no to something else. As long as you know the trade off and it’s worth it, then the yes is great!
How can we say "no" gracefully?
This is my people-pleaser part that comes out hard core when it comes to saying no. Or in my words, “no thank you”. I’ve found that “no” is often followed with “I’m sorry” or started with “unfortunately”. Over the last several years I’ve caught myself and done my best to work on this. For example I’m write in an email “unfortunately I need to say no to this opportunity….” but then before I send the email I will remove the word “unfortunately”. Because the truth is while I want to say “yes” it’s not unfortunate that I have another priority or that I’m putting my sanity before something else. It’s not unfortunate that I have a vacation scheduled. It’s simply happening. So unless something is truly unfortunate, I’ve learned to remove that word.
As for I’m sorry, well this is one I will probably work on my whole life but I recently saw a tip from Mel Robbins and I can’t wait to share it with you. She said that instead of saying “I’m sorry” in these types of situations, say “Thank you”. For example “Thank you for patience” instead of apologizing for being late when it was nothing you could have avoided. Of course if it’s your fault, apologize sincerely. Or “thank you for understanding” when you say no to something.
The key is to do two things:
Know that when you say “yes” to something, you’re ultimately saying “no” to something else and that’s likely at the expense of your own priority.
Say “no” gracefully in a way that feels right for you and it won’t be a bad thing anymore, it will be a good thing and people will respect you for it.
Your next step
Identify how you can take care of yourself on a weekly and daily basis. And if you’ve got something you like to do but can’t do it very often, get it on the calendar for at least quarterly so you’re sure to do it.
Until next time give yourself permission to take care of yourself and grace along the way. I’ll talk to you soon.
“You may love or hate the term “self-care” so use whatever term you like but the key is to take care of yourself."
- Amanda McKinney
Taking care of yourself is an essential part of being an entrepreneur and it's something I truly believe in.
This is exactly why everyone in Thrive (my membership) says this: "Amanda teaches us to do better work, not more work". It's important to know that the quantity of work doesn't indicate the quality of your work. If you're looking for more support in this area of your business, I'd love to have you as a member in Thrive. Click below to learn more or get on the waitlist!