Women in the Business Arena™ EP110: Navigating School Holidays, Illness, or the Responsibilities that Take Us Away from Business - Part 1

“Our businesses don’t stop for life, and life does not stop for our businesses. It’s inevitable that you’re going to hit something... that takes a huge amount of your capacity that is not your business.” - Sonya Stattmann (4:43 - 5:00 )

How do we maintain momentum in our business when it is impossible to operate at 100%? 

Throughout life, it is inevitable that we will come up against circumstances that require us to dial back the energy and momentum of our business. Many of us our business owners and also mothers. When the summer months hit, and our children are running free for a few months, it can be difficult to manage the shift in day-to-day responsibilities while still operating a thriving business. Even if you don’t have to navigate the challenges of children and summer break, I feel confident to say that at some point there will be responsibilities that demand your time - ailing parents, health issues, health issues with family members, etc. The question isn’t whether or not there will be a time when we have to juggle much more than business. The question is, how do we maintain the momentum we have worked so hard to gain when we simply don’t have the capacity to operate at 100%? 

“Pulling back. Pausing. Slowing down. Unplugging. Taking time for ourselves. All of those things are actually scientifically proven to increase positive outcome in ourselves and in our business.” - Laura Shook Guzman  (10:47 - 11:08)

It’s ok to slow down.

Take a moment and reread the sentence above. Perhaps read it for a third time. 

Read it over and over until it sinks into your mind and your heart. 

As women, we are so often guilty of over delivering, over owning, going above and beyond. This makes us exceptional in what we do in our business and at home. However, this mindset and way of living is not sustainable as a business owner, mother, daughter, or partner. 

It’s time to get really honest with the capacity you have in your business. We can all be guilty of overestimating how much time we actually have to give. Sometimes we base our capacity on what we WANT, instead of what is actually realistic at the present. 

Often we face internalized messages that we have to look like we are handling it all flawlessly. Anything less can be met with feelings of guilt or fear. What will people think if I slow down in my business? How will this affect my business’ reputation? Or, what will people think if I’m working my business while my children are sitting in front of the television on a sunny summer morning? 

When we don’t address these messages directly, and try to keep it all together this is actually where everything falls apart. Unless we allow ourselves the space to slow down and shut down those messages - especially in the face of those responsibilities that demand extra energy and time in those seasons - we WILL face burnout. 

“As women, we so often are over-delivering. Most of us are over delivering, over owning, over doing what we’ve agreed to… to give everything we have. Then, it feels like we’re disappointing people when we come back to even the minimal agreement.” - Sonya Stattmann (27:16 - 27:45) 

How to communicate the decision to slow down with family and clients.

It may be difficult for family members to understand the need to ease off the gas with your business, especially if it is a major contribution to the household income. However, in the long run, when you take the steps to do what is best for your mental and emotional health, and are honest with what is realistic during this time, the pieces of your business WILL fall into place. 

Before sitting down with family and clients and explaining the way your life will be shifting, it’s important to take the time to gain clarity, and to make a plan. 

When you fully embrace the core value to slow down, it will be easier to explain this decision to others. People in our lives will sometimes push us to do more, be more, earn more. First decide what you need and want, and how you best function, THEN make those agreements. 

Clients are often more understanding than we think they will be. It isn’t necessary to give them all of the details. A basic explanation is sufficient. Give yourself permission to say what you need. You may not keep all of your clients, but that’s ok. When you lose a few clients you will gain some that are more aligned with your current capacity. 

Giving both family and clients a realistic picture of what they can expect will help to avoid disappointment in the long run. Instead of trying to hold it all together, at the risk of causing everything to fall apart, be honest. If we stretch what we are capable of, we trap others because they can’t make decisions according to truth.  Sadly, many of us learn these lessons AFTER burnout. We slow down because we have no other choice, and leave a wake of disappointment in our path.

A new normal.

When you are forced into minimal momentum, you may realize you never want to go back to full capacity. Operating at cruising energy may give you the freedom you’ve been looking for all along. 

As you develop self-awareness around your energy levels and your passions. When you learn the skills, you have the freedom to be more honest with your capacity. Many of us don’t function well when we’re tired. When we aren’t honest, this leads to more disappointment, because an expectation has been set that can’t be set. 

You may find that slowing down, and easing off the “hustle” mentality could actually give you the space you need to take your business to the next level. When are able to be fully present and honest with self and others, we have renewed energy and a clear mind to make wise and strategic decisions. 

“Often, people put everything in their business, or they drop their business. That is challenging for energy, consistency, momentum, and results... Consistency is key. Even if it’s minimal.” - Sonya Stattmann (24:07- 24:17) 

Start now. 

The unplanned moments that demand our attention are just that, unplanned. Rarely do we know the timing, except in the case of summer vacations for our children. Instead of waiting for these moments to arise, start thinking about them now. How will you adjust your business so that it remains running, but demands less of your energy? How will you continue to make self-care a priority, so that you have the capacity you need to be fully present with others? 

It’s entirely possible to run a business, while still taking care of family, spending the summer with your children, or managing all of those unexpected responsibilities that can affect your ability to give your all as an entrepreneur. We often overcomplicate what our business needs to run at a minimal level. In the next article, we’ll be talking more practically about how you can be prepared to operate a successful business with minimal momentum.   

How to get involved

  • Join the Women in the Business Arena Group on Facebook and continue the discussion!
  • Reach out to us - we’d love to hear more about where you’re at in life and business! Find out more here.

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