Self-care is a phrase that gets tossed around much too often when we talk about an entrepreneur mindset. If one more person tells me I need to ‘fill my cup’ I may just throw the whole cup against the wall. As an entrepreneur we are often tasked with more than any one person should be able to take on. And that’s the truth of it. The role of running a business, building a legacy, creating an enterprise is not anything to be taken lightly. It requires more resources than many of us as employees have ever been asked to draw on. But those resources aren’t conjured from thin air. They have to be cultivated. This is why as entrepreneurs it’s important that we are compassionate to ourselves on an entirely new level.
I have been exploring this idea of Ruthless Compassion. It’s right in alignment with being radically candid and brutally honest.
It’s about telling the truth with intention and from a place of Love versus fear.
What if you got so invested in how you take care of yourself and how you honor yourself that it was no big deal? When I think of how I treat myself I find that I’m skimping on things that others would call necessities. As a business owner who’s also a mother I find it easy to put the needs of others before myself.
This shows up when a client asked me to change the time of my scheduled workshop or session. It also shows up when I stay up late and then can’t create space for my morning routine. In either case, the end result is that I’ve created scarcity where there should be abundance. Sometimes it is scarcity of time, sometimes it’s scarcity of energy, but really, I’m the reason that I find myself depleted. So what do we do about it?
When I think of it from an entrepreneur mindset, there are three things that can help us all get radically compassionate about how we treat ourselves.
1. Set The Pace
Firstly, remember that you set the pace. I don’t know how often I find myself buckling under the weight of the pressure of deadlines and my own to-do list. But who is it that put these things on my to-do list? Who set these deadlines? Oh right, that was me. So if I truly do own all of my time and I create and set the tone for what gets done then why is it that I’m suddenly buckling under pressure?
What if I considered myself an employee or team member. If someone worked under me in a traditional corporate environment, I would give that person a day off. Or I would have moved the deadline. I would say, “You know what, why don’t we move things around so that you have room to breathe?” I can approach this with intention, calm, ease and a degree of self-reflection. That would be radically compassionate.
If you started a business you likely did so for the same reasons I did: you got tired of someone else ‘owning’ your time. But remember, you always own your time and it’s in the choices you make that you either give or sign that power away. It’s time for you to change your entrepreneur mindset to return to being the Pacesetter. Everything goes as fast or as slow as you choose. So choose wisely. And be kind.
The second place to look for radical compassion in business ownership is in the realm of acknowledgement. I know this is one that I struggle with personally. It’s very easy to be waiting for someone else to see you as you’re doing your work, offering your service, creating new ways of contributing to the world. But if the only acknowledgement we received is from others then we’re constantly putting ourselves in the position of reacting to how others see us, versus generating how we wish to be seen. This is a key distinction. If our acknowledgment only comes from others then our entire life is dictated by others’ opinions of us. That hardly sounds empowering or a ‘like-a-boss’ way to run through life.
Instead, practice self-acknowledgement. One of the current practices that I am in fact struggling through is being able to look myself in the mirror on a daily basis and acknowledge who I’m being in the world. This is separate from the things that are on my to-do list. It does no good to acknowledge myself for ordering the groceries. and meeting with the client. and doing the operating budget. Because as soon as one of those things aren’t done I’ve lost my own respect in my own eyes.
Instead, I choose to find ways to acknowledge myself for how I’m showing up regardless of what gets crossed off today’s list. My current acknowledgement for today? “I serve with love, generosity and peace.” In this way I change my entrepreneur mindset so that my esteem for myself is self-generated and no longer reliant on the opinions of others. I am the source of my own visibility.
3. Honor Your Time
Finally, you have to honor your time. This is a difficult one because as entrepreneurs we’re willing to set up all types of tools for scheduling. Squeezing people in and booking appointments — it seems to be one of our key functions day-to-day. But we have to treat ourselves as the most important person on the calendar.
Block off time in your day for your morning ritual, or the daily habits that help you show up at your best. For me this means I really do need to get up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. and create space for meditation, grounding, and journaling exercises, and sunrise salutation yoga sequences or a high intensity interval training workout. These things are crucial and non-negotiable for me.
Other things that are non-negotiable are finishing work by 2 p.m. on Fridays, and eating lunch away from my computer each day. I put these appointments in my calendar and mark them as busy so that no one can schedule over them by accident.
You’re important. Treat yourself like it. And do it radically.
When others ask me for those time slots, I am empowered to say no. I’ve heard of strategies for doing this. Some people might name those appointments “meeting with the board” or “partnership meeting”. It’s a way to start seeing yourself, not only as important in your daily schedule, but also as a way to honor the position you hold as the chief operating and executive officer in your business.
How are you going to be radically compassionate with yourself this week? I’d love to hear some ideas of how you’re choosing to honor your time, acknowledge yourself and set the pace for how you work in your business this week.