As entrepreneurs, we all have one thing in common; our passion for our companies. There was a motivation behind why we chose this lifestyle and started our businesses. The motivation was to have a social impact, to make people’s lives easier or to make them laugh. That motivation was important to us.
Sometimes our drive and passion take us into long periods of solitude. Friends and family might find these periods unacceptable and most health professionals advise against it. By solitude, I don’t mean spending time alone in a dark room meditating but rather spending time with a small group of people in front of computers, whiteboards and meeting rooms. What many don’t see or understand is the enjoyment we get from our long periods of being “away”. I’d like to argue that many of these “away” moments are euphoric and fulfilling, so much so that we might choose to miss a trip or two because we LOVE spending time on building this thing that we have in our heads. We know that there will be enough time later to go "away" like everyone else.
As the CEO of a company that focuses on mental health, people often ask me about the side effects of working too hard or not getting enough time off. I need to make this disclaimer that what I am talking about here is in no way promoting the notion of working until we burn out. It’s extremely important to take time off, re-energize, and practice self care but doing it at a time that works for YOU! And spending those few hours that you have (that you’re not sleeping) doing something that makes you happy. Something we often hear (and I personally swear by) is the importance of physical activity. Going for a run or to the gym at midnight, 5am or an odd time that fits our calendars is another element of our lives that many don’t understand. But make no mistake, we need to workout and to produce endorphins to be able to maintain the lifestyle we live. Exercise is self care, and is necessary for many of us.
I think becoming an entrepreneur is not as hard as some might think, but staying an entrepreneur with passion and drive is not for everyone. It’s not a label of courage or wisdom by any means, it’s about one’s personality. We have to spend the time to discover who we are. It takes courage and perception to really know one’s values before jumping ship and starting a company. But when you’ve decided to build a business you need to do all it takes, without burning out, and this could mean being selfish.
Selfish through self care:
- Going to the gym to balance your stress or anxiety (every day if you have to)
- Spending your hours/days off catching up on Netflix
- Reducing your circle of friends to people who you really enjoy spending time with
- Having meaningful conversations with a few instead of casual chit chat with a crowd (because honestly, we get enough of that at work)
- Cooking healthy meals for yourself because eating out can start to take a toll on your body
- Missing a few networking events because you have an important birthday or family gathering to go to (trust me, same crowd different part of town in a couple of weeks )
So the next time a friend or family member calls you selfish or says you don’t care, tell them this: “I do care, but I need to take care of myself so that I have the strength to build things that will touch the lives of millions of people, including you!”
A Selfish Entrepreneur