How you spend your downtime says a lot about the health of your business.
What are your summer plans?
If I had to guess, I would say that 60% (or more) of the business owners I encounter, don’t get enough time away from the office.
Is this the case for you too?
On a coaching call with a client in my Elegant CEO: Scale and Leverage Program she was ecstatic to report that she recently took 5 days off to go camping with her kids, left her laptop at home and activated the ‘out of office’ email the first time in…maybe ever. Her team lead handled everything. No clients freaked out, and nothing fell apart. She was relieved and surprised about such a positive outcome. And now she has proven to herself that she does have the team and systems in place for her business to run without her – at least for a short period of time. The next goal is to take two weeks off, and then one month! We’ve got a bit more retooling to do with her team, systems and processes before she’s able to do that. But, she’ll get there, without question.
The cool thing about this story is that when we first started working together she said that one of the things that she really wanted to do, was to be able to take a real vacation, admitting that she hadn’t been off email for more than a weekend in over a decade!
Here are four reasons why you’re not taking time off and what to do about it:
1. You Are The Chief of Everything. Are you the only one that can do the bookkeeping or payroll? Are you the only one authorized to pay bills? Are you the chief firefighter and spend your days putting out employee or customer service fires? Whatever it is that is keeping you from taking time off, must be addressed.
Decision: Decide to stop being the Chief of Everything and start being the CEO.
Action Step: Over the course of the next week, write down every single thing that you do during your work day and then look at ways that you can begin to train others on your team to take over those tasks. Where can you delegate, automate or outsource?
2. You Are Holding on Too Tightly. Lots of small business owners worry that no one will be able to manage their company properly while they are away, and that fear leads to anxiety and stress. When you evolve from a Manager into a Leader, your role is less about being in control of everything yourself and more about empowering and holding your team accountable to managing their own domain with the organization.
Decision: Decide to let go of the reigns.
Action Step: Start slow and wean yourself off, by taking a half day off once a week, then when you are comfortable with that, try taking a week off… and then two. It won’t happen overnight, but as you see how competent your team is and how solid your systems are in your absence it will get easier. Being away from the business will also enable you to test out your systems and identify gaps or weak links that need improvement.
3. You Are Addicted To Stress. Did you know that stress releases the ‘feel good’ chemical: dopamine? And dopamine encourages repeat behaviors by activating the reward center in our brain and is at the heart of many addictive behaviors. So, when you force yourself to step away from the office and unwind it can be difficult at first to detox from the excitements of running your business. But there is a very real cost to running on all cylinders, and taking time off will make you a better (and healthier) leader.
Decision: Decide to be mindful (instead of reactive).
Action Step: Interrupt the stress release-response cycle by practicing detachment from the storyline or drama of the stressor. Instead, choose to respond instead of react. Rather than creating high emotional tension around a situation, give yourself permission to be cool, calm and collected.
4. You Are Using Your Business As An Excuse. Do you stay busy to avoid committing to something else? Do you use your business as an excuse to protect your time, your emotions or your energy? It’s easy to use work as an excuse, because you most likely really enjoy it and it is deeply tied into your identity.
Decision: Decide to speak your truth, without justification.
Action Step: Stop hiding behind your work and using ‘work’ as a false boundary. Use your words and say “No”, instead. (It is a complete sentence, after all.)
So, what are YOUR summer plans? Drop me a comment in the box below.
To your success,
p.s. Listen to the audio version of this blog on my podcast: Q Your Business Success.