Last week, Heather Lloyd-Martin wrote an inspirational post about finding the fun in your business. It was a much-needed reminder that owning a business can be overwhelming … if you let it. However, you also have the power to find the fun in your day-to-day activities – even when your to-do list is bursting at the seams.
After reading Heather’s post, I thought about my own business and how the year was progressing. The year started with such promise. I made SMART goals, implemented routines to keep me on track, and increased my client base.
Then I got sick. It was nothing serious, just a nasty winter cold/sinus infection. Although this was not a serious illness, it was enough to keep me from working for about a week. (It’s difficult to write and edit when it hurts to just pick up your head.)
As a full-time staff of one, unexpectedly missing a week of work can really cause a backup.
In addition to falling behind in my work, a project took an unexpected turn from enjoyable to troublesome. It took up more time than it should have and I missed my opportunity to nip the situation in the bud. The combination of trying to catch up and dealing with a less-than-ideal client caused a few problems. I found that I:
- Was overwhelmed and frustrated.
- Lost my passion and motivation.
- Stopped utilizing the beneficial systems I had put in place at the beginning of the year.
The dysfunction spread to the rest of my life. My exercise routine became virtually non-existent and my eating habits deteriorated. This just made me feel more lethargic and apathetic. It was a vicious cycle.
It took me several weeks to even realize there was a problem, let alone figure out how to fix it.
Having Fun Isn’t the Problem
Freedom is one of the reasons I love owning my own business.
If I want to take a trip, I can. If I want to go for a run in the middle of the day, I can. If I want to check Facebook every hour, I can. If I want to sleep in and work late, I can.
I can do all of those things because I create my own schedule. The work still has to get done, but when and how it gets done is at my discretion. Normally, this concept works well for me. However…
When I am in a downward spiral of sorts, I focus on the fun perks and almost forget about the work. Don’t get me wrong, it still gets done, but I push it off and build it up in my head so much that it becomes this horrible, looming menace.
Where’s the fun in that?
Enjoying What You Do
The reality is: I focused so much on the “fun” that I turned work into a monster. I wanted to hide from projects because they seemed so horrendous. But you know what? They weren’t bad at all.
In fact, 10 years ago I would have killed to get paid to write. Unlike many people, I actually enjoy writing and editing. It used to be an escape for me. But somehow, somewhere along the way, I lost my perspective. The writing and editing became something I had to do and not something that I wanted to do.
I needed to wake up and realize that I truly do love my job.
The Power of And
The trick is simple (and it’s no trick at all). I just have to stop looking at it as I am either writing for enjoyment or writing for a client. I can do both at the same time!
Ever since I read the book Built to Last – long before restaurant and car commercials highlighted the concept – I have embraced “the genius of the and.”
I love the idea of balance: Yin and Yang.
You can have the best of both worlds. You just have to shift your focus and allow yourself to embrace the power of and.
Thankfully, I can see it again … and I am looking forward to serving clients and enjoying what I do!