Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

Work-Life Balance, Performance

Recent Posts

As entrepreneurs lucky enough to find the time, we measure stuff in our business.

We measure website visits, conversion rates, open rates, profit and loss…and for those fortunate few who have cracked the code, we measure lifetime customer value. All of these metrics help to create a healthier, more productive business.

There is one critical key performance indicator, or KPI, that’s often overlooked. It’s the KPI that influences performance, focus, concentration, and level of stress.

It’s the health and well being KPI.

A Check Up From the Neck Up

I consider myself to be relatively healthy. I make nutritious food choices – 75% of the time. I keep active to counteract hours of sitting – 60% of the time. Even so, my health, and accompanying energy, could benefit from a tune-up.

As every entrepreneur knows, there is a compounding impact that accompanies a less-than-optimal state of well-being. A waning state of healthiness contributes to an inability to concentrate, poor decision making, and it places a massive amount of stress and strain on all systems.

It makes running a business more challenging.

You Can’t Grow What You Don’t Know

You understand the elements that effect your business metrics. In general, you do XYZ and your KPI reflects the attention it receives. As a result, the business grows.

It’s the same with health and well-being. For sustainable energy, clear thinking, laser-like focus, resilience, and undying optimism to be the norm in our business, we need to recognize the influencers of health and well-being.

Healthy Entrepreneurs Create Healthy Businesses

Search Google for “health and well-being for entrepreneurs” and you’ll get 28,500,000 results in .77 seconds. Egad! (I don’t know about you, but my stress level just went up.)

How does health and well-being affect performance? Here are a few of the staggering numbers generated by recent studies:

  • Unhealthy eating reduces productivity by 66%
  • Infrequent exercise diminishes productivity by 50%
  • Smoking increases the risk of losing productivity by 28%
  • Insufficient sleep hinders the ability to perform tasks

Yikes! In the time it takes to woof down a sugary doughnut, imagine the health of your business stemming from a healthier you.

Start Your Engines

Starting is the hardest part. The body abhors change and fights to keep its old habits.

As you start your day with a nutrition-laden smoothie, be aware your body might want to take a Dunkin’ Donuts detour on your way to a client meeting.

Accountability – and tracking your health and well-being KPI – makes it easier to get started and keep going.

There’s an App for That

Of course there is!

Optimism Health Apps, a mood-charting app, tracks elements that influence your health and well-being. From sleep to diet to stress, Optimism App helps you focus on “stay well strategies” while avoiding the “triggers” of unproductivity and stress. And it works…

In less than 5 minutes a day, the behaviors that are harmful to you will be replaced with choices that change the course of your health and well-being, and that of your business.

When you know it, you can grow it.

Healthy entrepreneur = healthy business.

A conversation with a dear friend reminded me that April is Stress Awareness Month. Initially, I chuckled at the thought. Small business owners seldom need a reminder of the ongoing stress associated with business. As my internal laughter subsided, the magnitude of a month designated to make us aware of the degree of stress we experience—and steps to reduce it—isn’t all bad.

Stress: A Small Business Owner’s Constant Companion

Technology, intended to make our lives easier, is overwhelming. Cash flow, or the lack of, influences performance. Workload, even during times of positive growth, can be crushing.

It goes with the territory.

Stress is a chemical reaction that occurs when we feel threatened. It’s the “fight or flight” imbedded in our DNA that served our ancestors well in more challenging times.

A little stress is good. It serves as a catalyst for tackling projects and meeting timelines. But, too much…and we’re caught in a vicious cycle of diminishing returns.

Stress symptoms are as varied as the causes. They range from subtle to striking. Stress shows up as agitation, moodiness, overwhelm, avoidance, and procrastination. Or, it can be more pronounced as fatigue, headache, forgetfulness, insomnia, and heart palpitations.

What’s really frightening is that stress at work could take up to 33 years of your life.

No matter the manifestation, it’s important to raise awareness to recognize the expressions of stress common to you.

Stress Reduction: An Inside Job

Reduce-stress-small-businessFrankly, I wish I could purchase “stress reduction” with Amazon Prime or outsource it using Upwork. However, reducing stress—its causes and symptoms—is really an internal operation.

Although Google is flush with stress reduction techniques, small business owners remain frazzled. We’ve yet to challenge the core solution to stress. And, until we do so, other stress management techniques are like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.

To achieve sustainable stress reduction:

  1. Practice mindfulness.
    Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. It’s paying attention on purpose, suspending all judgment of good or bad, right or wrong. It’s objective, neutral thinking that eliminates the emotional reactions that contribute to stress.
  2. Create a reserve.
    Supplement whatever triggers stress with more than is necessary. For instance, if cash flow is producing tension, design (and achieve) a plan to generate more cash than is needed. When you have more to accomplish than time in a day, a strategy that results in more time than to-dos eases the release of stress hormones into your blood stream.

Yes, it is true—we’ve met the enemy and it is us.

Isn’t it time to stop letting stress dictate your business strategy? Take back control, kick stress to the curb and redirect your energy into accelerating your business growth.

Open your mind and experience the “ah” of sustainable stress reduction with a strategic coaching demo.

work life balance

Have you ever experienced that “ah-ha” moment that made you realize that your life really HAD changed?

As a strategic coach, I’ll be the first to admit that years ago, my life was horribly out of balance.  It was one dimensional.  It consisted primarily of my business.  I worked – ate – and slept my occupation.  A medical diagnosis was the catalyst I needed to make some long-overdue changes.

work life balanceI won’t tell you that the inner work required was easy.  I had to take myself kicking and screaming to the depths of change that would have the greatest impact on how I was going to live my life.

The journey, at times, has seemed horribly slow with seemingly few signs of actual change – until that fortunate morning when I realized that the indicator of my accomplishing an improved work/life balance was humorously reflected in my shoe wardrobe.

Imelda Marcos I am not. However, I have noticed that my shoe apparel seems to reflect how far I’ve come in my travels.  Years ago, I essentially owned one type of shoe – the 2″ pump.  Curiously, my foot garb has expanded to reflect my many developing interests in my pursuit for balance.

It now consists of walking sneakers, cushy running shoes, red rubber yard clogs, sleek biking shoes, dusty hiking boots, comfy house slippers, professional loafers, casual clogs, and, oh yes, the 2″ pump. In addition to owning such a variety of footwear – they’re actually getting used!

So, there you have it.  My declaration is complete.

How do you define balance for yourself? What indicators do you use to measure how you’re doing with equilibrium in your life?  Is it time to evaluate your footwear? Don’t let a crisis be the vehicle that takes you shoe shopping!

In a day and age where fast and furious seems to mean bigger and better, its easy for ambitious, gifted small business entrepreneurs to push themselves to the point of diminishing returns. In fact, I recall Judge Ziglar (Zig Ziglar’s brother) stating that if you work 40 hours a week, you’ll be in the top 10% of your colleagues; if you work 50 hours each week, you’ll be in the top 2%; if you work 60 hours per week, you’ll join the top 1%; and, if you work 70 hours a week, you’re a F-O-O-L!  Although I totally agree with his premise, it’s taken me years to fully understand the ramifications of overworking.

The truth is most small business entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in their work, they seldom notice the signs of overwork – or they deny what they’re experiecing – as if sweeping it under the rug somehow makes it go away.

Here are ten signs that you just might be an overworked small business entrepreneur:

1. Inability to focus. You have 5 projects on your desk, 7 windows open on your computer, and what were you working on?

2. Easily distracted. Anything flashing across your screen takes you running in that direction.

3. Irritability. Clients you really enjoy are getting under your skin.

4. Bad attitude. You don’t want to go to work – and you’re the owner!

5. Overeating or eating unhealthy foods. You’re really just trying to achieve some comfort from the stress and overwhelm.

6. Forgetfulness. There was something more I was going to say about this but I’ve forgotten…..

7. Avoidance. Big (and small) projects with luming deadlines are pushed off to the very last possible moment.

8. Fatigue. Even after a good nights rest or a long weekend away from your office, you’re feeling like a nap under your desk would really feel good.

9. Increased caffeine consumption. No matter your drug of choice (coffee, soda, chocolate, sugar), you seem to be consuming more and more in an attempt to achieve a needed buzz.

10. Lack of motivation. This is not you! You love your work. You love your clients. You’re excited – most times – about your future but lately you’ve been day dreaming about working at Starbucks.

Do any of these sound familiar? If you answered “yes” to even one of these, perhaps you need to push yourself away from your desk and go for a long walk. The world won’t come to an end. Your clients won’t all leave you. Your revenue won’t experience a devastating drop. In fact, you’ll return with a renewed sense of purpose ready to take on the toughest task.

Now go! Get out of here!

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog