When I Realized I Had it Backwards

I remember it clearly (I sound like Sophia Petrillo from Golden Girls, “Picture it: Sicily, 1922…”) – the exact moment I finally broke down. I was sitting on my bed with my toddler and baby when it hit me all at once – our family was living in survival mode.

Not long after starting my first business, we grappled with the Great Recession, and lost almost everything we’d built as newlyweds. Not long after, our older son had emergency surgery for a brain tumor at age two (happy and healthy now!), and I miscarried before having my second son.

We were deep in debt and had loads of medical bills. I was constantly thinking about work, agonizing over perceived shortcomings, and worrying about revenue – at night, I would have dreams about work! Even when I could grab a few minutes alone, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I was pushing myself to the brink and doing the most – working late into the night, bringing our boys to the office, and running myself down. The stress had gotten the best of me, and I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease. I’d neglected myself for so long that my body was fighting back.

Back to that day sitting on my bed – as I got our boys ready for the day, I was struck with a profound sense of overwhelm, something that I was normally good at suppressing. I wasn’t feeling effective as a business owner or competent as a mother. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks – all we’d been through in a short time. We were distracted by carrying on, marching through it all. Of course I was overwhelmed! I’d had it backwards – I’d been living to serve my business, rather than building a business that existed to serve me.

Work-Life Harmony

That moment launched a spiritual journey of faith, healing, therapy, self-love, accountability, and ending a pattern of generational dysfunction. I share this part of my life because many of us experience seasons of struggle, compounded by neglecting ourselves. This is especially common for high-achievers. We’re great at ignoring our own needs to meet others’ needs.

We live in a fast-paced society that worships ambition, busy-ness, and success. It forces high-achievers to straddle the line between their personal and professional roles. This often means a no-win choice for entrepreneurs – will I focus today on my business or my roles as a parent, partner, child, friend, or caregiver? There’s only so much time, energy, and emotion to go around – who gets it and who gets the short end of the stick?

The weight of societal expectations, personal commitments, and the innate drive to create a lasting legacy often push our clients into burnout. And the thought of achieving “balance” becomes one more mountain to scale – one more challenge they can’t say no to. It introduces more pressure to give everyone everything they need every day, and it’s completely unrealistic.

This is why we emphasize the concept of “work-life harmony” or making all the pieces work together. Sometimes, balancing personal and professional lives happens on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis. Sit with your kiddos and catch up on work while they do homework. Listen to an audio book during your commute or use the time to have meaningful conversations with family. Schedule an “active meeting” with an employee – take a walk instead of sitting in your office or try isometrics at your desk. Speaking of employees, set the example for self-care and avoiding burnout. You’ll create a positive company culture, increase productivity, and decrease stress and turnover.

The solutions are endless, and building a business that serves your needs is a conscious shift in perspective. You can’t achieve balance or giving everyone equal time and attention. But you can foster work-life harmony that honors your wellness. Harmony, unlike balance, isn’t about equal distribution but about synergy and making all the parts work together.

You are your greatest business asset. The boulder isn’t moving up the hill by itself. You can’t make progress or enjoy what you build if you if you feel fried, don’t sleep, eat garbage, sit at your desk all day, and let your support system fall away.

That’s why we do what we do – our programs are designed to support you. Set down the load for a short time. Share the concerns, be reassured of the realities, get clarity on what you want and what you’re creating, and get help with creating a plan to get there. The world needs you and your work. To serve at the highest level, it’s time to make yourself a priority.

Learn more about our programs now or shoot me an email at admin@alwaysthisgood.com.

 

XO, Jenn