Whether you work entirely solo, sometimes employ consultants or specialists, have one part-time assistant or head up a small team, what would it take for you to see yourself as the most precious resource that your business has?
What would need to happen before you could put your own needs first?
It's a question worth mulling over, since, if you're running a microbusiness, you definitely should be your own most important employee.
Most of my clients would definitely treat an employee better than they treat themselves: insisting that they take decent amounts of leave throughout the year and don't routinely work long hours; investing in training; making sure they feel supported; arranging 'thank you's after a big push; listening to their concerns, etc. etc.
How much of this do you do for yourself in your own business? Do you prioritise your health and your needs for rest, rejuvenation and connection, or do you power on, thinking that there'll be time for all that later, when you've just launched this new service, or got the new website up and running, or when you're earning X amount more than you are now?
If you're reading this and thinking, 'well yes, that's all very well, but I REALLY don't have the time!' all I can say is that every client I've worked with on this issue has been able to make huge changes (with help!) to how they manage their time, energy and focus to be able to put their own needs first - and in fact, there's a virtuous circle that can be activated, whereby the fact that you're putting your own needs first actually allows you to focus better and have more energy and thus get more of the important stuff done - and crucially helps you to discern what the important stuff actually is.
Speaking for myself, I needed not one, not two, but three big wake up calls before I started putting my own needs first (you can find out more here - spoiler alert, these alarm bells included hospitalisation and a car crash...) - but nothing else has ever made more difference to my business. I now consider my daily nap as one of my highest work priorities (and solemnly add it to my bullet journal daily to do list - taking great pleasure in crossing out the little box for it later) and see breaks for meditation and short walks by the sea as key to getting everything important done each day - not least because, if I don't take breaks, I lose sight of what 'important' actually is, and get sucked into a vortex of small reactive tasks that don't move my business forward at all.
In fact, I just decided to walk my talk and take a break from writing this blog post to wander down to the sea with my husband for a ten minute 'reset'.
So, here's to naps, breaks for chocolate, baths in the middle of the working day, 10 minute trips to the park/beach/garden bench, lunchtime picnics and so on, on the micro scale. But that's only the start: on the macro scale there are all sorts of other changes you could be making - booking in holiday time for yourself at the beginning of each year and sticking to it; paying yourself better (and making whatever business changes are needed to let that happen); investing in support for yourself and your business, really stepping into the shoes of the CEO of your business, working out what's actually bringing the most profit in your business and doing more of that and less of everything else, letting go of all the 'shoulds' and focusing on what really lights you up...
One of the best places to start putting yourself first is by allocating your time differently, and by seeing that you need to support yourself better to bring your best energy and focus to your work. If you think you could use some help in those areas, you might like to find out more about my intensive coaching programme, Do Less: Achieve More.