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Edition 384 – Hitting The Wall

I recently spoke at a boutique, one day conference for business leaders in the health industry. It’s always good to stand up in front of a bunch of small and family business owners and talk to them about building a better business for themselves and in the process, building a better life.

These professionals are incredibly hard working. Long hours, coupled with demanding patients and aggressive corporate players can, at times, create a pressure cooker type of environment inside these businesses. It’s just the way it is, from time to time.

As I’m at the front of the room, in front of 30 people, I tell them straight that:

“Too many of you have too few holidays. Too many of you don’t take time out of your business on a daily or weekly basis. Too many of you value your worth by how full your appointment diary is.”

At this point, some people in the room, nodded their heads. Others turned to the person next to them with that look of “see, I’ve been telling you this”. Others stared blankly into the distance.

I mean this because, too often, I’ve not only seen it, I’ve lived it. We run on a tank full of nervous energy until one day, the tank has been run completely dry.

Not a week after making this presentation, I received an email from one of the attendees asking to put back one of our scheduled meetings. In less than 100 words:

  1. A planned short break was originally pushed back to accommodate some business meetings.
  2. One of the two owners of the business caught themselves falling asleep at the wheel of their car on the drive home from work.
  3. One of them did actually fall asleep attending a sporting event for one of their children.
  4. A minor medical procedure for one member of the family, has not recovered as it should have done and will now lead to some extra time out to seek recuperation.

The email concluded with:

“So, we are taking your advice and getting some time out”

Back in 2011, whilst travelling back from visiting clients on the mid North Coast in a lightning 1100km round trip over two days, I fell asleep at the wheel, with the cruise control on 110 kmh. It was only the vibration of the pavement markers as my car ventured from the lane of traffic, into the break down lane, that woke me up. I was heading for oblivion, at full tilt. When I pulled the car over at the next roadside rest area, which thankfully, was only 5 minutes further down the road, I parked up, turned everything off and slept for 30 minutes.

For some of you, there’s a huge sense of guilt about slowing things down. It’s almost like every day must be a laundry list of things ticked off and achievements made. Yet, in that high speed journey, most of you fail to pick up on the little things. You’re too busy with completing the task, that you miss something obvious that could make whatever it is you’ve just completed, better, faster, more profitable. Or maybe, just more enjoyable.

There is no race about business. If there is, it’s all in your head, with self imposed deadlines and unrealistic targets. Like the old saying goes, “stop and smell the roses”. It’ll make you better at business. However, more than anything, I’m convinced it will make you a better person – a happier person – a person who is actually there for your family which, to me, is what it’s all about at the end of the day.

This Week’s Tip

“Build your business to support your life – not the other way around.”