Hustling toward success does not have to mean leaving ourselves emotionally bereft yet this is exactly how many “highly successful” business owners drive themselves to the top.
We know these people … the ones who avoid emotion and personal challenges with “I just threw myself into my work.” You may not have even thought much about it. Perhaps you thought, “Well that’s a healthy way to stay busy and cope instead of wallowing in it.” Or, “At least they accomplished things during this difficult time.” Or, more than likely, you didn’t even notice it or have a feeling about it at all because it is all too common.
There are lies we tell ourselves (about ourselves and others) to excuse excessive behaviors in business that enable unhealthy practices. In fact, we do this daily! We actively co-sign self-abusive behavior all in the name of productivity and business.
Many entrepreneurs pride themselves on keeping business and their personal life separate. Is this truly even possible? What if what we think we know about the emotions connected to our business is not true at all? To think that we drop our baggage at the door when we start a business is reckless. To jump into business without knowing what motivates us and without an emotional sustainability plan leads to burnout, depression, and worse!
We deserve better. We can start by examining the thoughts we have and the statements we make about people striving, hustling, and achieving high levels of activity in their businesses … because many of them are lies.
Here are just a few of the lies we tell ourselves about people going to excess in their business … perhaps you even see yourself if “I’m” can be substituted for “they’re.”
“They’re a workaholic.” … when they may be trapped in a cycle of self-abuse through work due to childhood trauma and adversity.
“They’re a Type A Driven Person.” … when they may have been the target of ongoing criticism while growing up and never feel they do enough or are enough.
“They love a challenge.” … when they are re-creating a pattern of approval-seeking due to previous neglect.
Many of us have heard, said, and thought these statements at one time or another. They are common themes in the business world — corporate and entrepreneurial. We recognize them. We know them well. And yet, we neglect to take a deeper look … to more fully explore their meaning and their impact and the damage they bring.
In my business I see clients abusing themselves with what appear to be highly driven and success-gaining behaviors. They strive; hustle; they bust their asses; they work themselves silly; and yet, no matter what, they don’t get relief. Do you know why? Because the solution is not to do more work or strive for more success. That only creates a vicious cycle that spirals. The solution is to engage in activities and in quiet contemplation to focus on feeling loved, and worthy, getting actual satisfaction from what you’ve created, and not needing outside approval to validate YOU.
I find it so frustrating, and even sad, to see people putting business strategies ahead of emotional needs while they get nowhere. If anything, it’s a fast track to discouragement, distress, and burnout.
Does any of this ring true for you? Are you seeing yourself in any of these behaviors? Would you like to learn a different way to do things differently?
I hope so! It is my honor to help entrepreneurs to find a more peaceful, enriching path to business success and emotional sustainability. Here are some perspectives for you to explore:
- When you started your business, what did you want to get more of or to feel more of?
- What are some deeper needs beneath the surface that you may be trying to satisfy?
- If you answer “more money” and “more freedom” I invite you to look deeper. What else might be behind those two?
- What have you said to yourself about what will happen, what you will get, or what you will prove if your business is successful?
- The times when you worked that 1 more hour, got 1 more sale, and hit your first milestones, did you experience relief? Did you feel accomplished? Or did you feel driven to achieve more?
When we take a deeper look at why we start a business, we get to the root of why we are so quick to co-sign extreme behaviors as a measure of success and motivation. It is only then that we can learn a better way.
The healthiest and happiest business owners I know, have a solid business plan, are not trying to prove anything to anyone, and have taken the time to develop an emotional sustainability plan as an important part of their business design.
Are you ready to design a plan of your own? An important aspect of designing this plan is to recognize how trauma may be impacting your business. You can do that by downloading my Trauma & Entrepreneurship Assessment here.