In Part 1 of this article, I shared my story of slowing creeping into the life of a “workaholic” and what a disaster that was for me personally (little family and quiet time) and professionally (I was so exhausted I had to take many months away from my business.) What brought me out of this completely unbalanced way of living was learning how to implement a strong personal foundation.
What is a personal foundation? It is, “a structured basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life*.” I wanted to be an excellent business owner and live an exceptional life. The thought of getting there in a planned fashion was very appealing and I was willing to do the work to get there. There were, however, a couple of mindsets that I needed to change if it was going to work for me.
The first exercise was wrapping my head around the idea that my personal life was my foundation. Unfortunately, I had made my business my foundation and my personal life was supporting it. What I learned was that when you make your business the foundation for your life, you are navigating on pretty thin ground. Many things can happen that can easily and quickly change your business environment. The best approach, is to make your personal life the foundation and setting up your business to support it. For me, this meant learning some extreme time management skills so I was not working all the time and could enjoy my personal life, again.
The next mindset I set out to adjust had to do with my “attractiveness factor.” I will write more on “attractiveness” next month. But for now, and for me, it was getting back to the basics of what brought good, positive things to me instead of me having to go out and find them. For example, the passion that moved me forward to become a business coach was to help other business owners grow their business. But somewhere along the way, the goal became earning money. Now, wanting to earn money is not a bad goal at all. However, I learned that the best goal was to really focus on helping people and the money would come. To accomplish this, I let go of how many clients I had and how much I was billing each month. Instead, I began working toward attracting high-quality, coachable clients and turning away potential clients who were not a good fit for me.
Finally, I had to take better care of myself. You may be thinking that I started eating healthier, exercising more, etc. While those things are very good, taking better care of myself went deeper. I had to learn how to say, “no.” This was very difficult for me – a person who wants to help others. But I had to dig deep and ask myself, “If I say yes to every request for help or assistance, am I doing it for the sake of helping or because I wanted to please people.” Well, you guessed it, the real reason I was doing too much was because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. That was a dangerous mindset and I had to learn to stop and evaluate every request that came my way to make sure I was doing something for the right reasons. While this can still be a challenge for me, I have found it easier to be honest with people about my availability and I am definitely happier and healthier because of it.
What about you? What does your personal foundation look like? Is your business the foundation of your life or does your business support the life you want to live? Are you so focused on earning money that you can’t remember why you began your business in the first place? And are you taking care of yourself by placing healthy boundaries around you and not taking on more than you can easily handle within your set work hours?
If you are struggling with any of the above areas, take some time, today, to do something about it. Identify the challenge, reflect on how you got there, and then make a shift in your mindset to get back to those things (enjoying your life independent of your business, taking better care of yourself and your time, etc.) that were your goals in the beginning. Now you are on your way to developing your own strong personal foundation!
*Coach University – CU 500 – Personal Foundation