Why Taking a Break is Super Important for Your Business
I normally talk about industry related stuff, and if that is what you're looking for just please go to my blog and see the 70+ other posts I have about social media updates. I want to switch gears here and talk about something that I really don't see many other business owners talking about and that's mental health. A lot of people, especially Americans, don't realize how your mental health can affect everything you do, including your business. For this week's post, I want to talk about my own experience with mental health and how it directly correlated with my business and my day job.
Like many South Asian Americans, the pressure was put on me at a very young age to become the best person I can be at everything. Achieving perfection at everything I did was a huge goal of mine and I became crippled with anxiety when I didn't get an A or didn't do a dance move with perfection (I was in dance from 5-13). Depression came when I was in my teens and didn't stop until I reached my mid twenties. I still battle with it on a daily basis, but it's gotten a lot better now.
How Did This Affect My Business?
Like I explained earlier, it didn't affect JUST my business, it affected pretty much every single aspect of my entire life. My constant need to be perfect in everything hindered my performance in everything I did. If a customer or client yelled at me on the phone because they weren't happy, I blamed myself. If some guy didn't call me back after a date, it was my fault. If I forgot to get eggs from the grocery store, I told myself I was stupid for forgetting. This is how I treated myself. This led to me not feeling like I was good enough for my own business. Which is crazy right?! I spent hours and hours getting the right emails out, nitpicking each detail, perfecting each lead I got. I always thought it was a good thing I was spending so much time on my business. Until I started seeing my own family members pointing out how obsessed I've become.
Why Taking a Break is Necessary
I always thought burnout and obsession with your business was a good thing. Crazy. I realized I needed to take a step back and look at the big picture I was creating. In order to do that, I needed to take a break, a vacation if you will. I am currently on vacation right now; visiting Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and visiting family in Bangalore, India. On this trip I am realizing why it's so important for me to take a break from researching and pitching prospects to writing Instagram posts. I completely forgot what made me fall in love with social media in the first place, it's connecting with people about things that you love to do. This break made me realize how much I missed sleep, how little I was paying attention to everything else around me, and how much happier I could be if I took breaks more often.
It's Okay to Fail
My dad showed me this article that was shared in one of his WhatsApp groups he's in, and it said something along the lines of why it's important to teach your kids to succeed but it's also important to teach them to handle failure. I know this is something that's not always taught within the South Asian community, because "failure isn't an option" BS, but not teaching how to handle failure is one of the worst things I think you can do to your child. I never knew how to handle failure, and that's why perfectionism is such a bad habit of mine cause without perfectionism I thought "Well what else do I have? I am nothing without striving to be the best". This is such a bad thought process for a business owner to have because as we all know, failure comes with success.
Learning to let go of old thinking, learning the process of self-love, learning how to deal with a loss (in business and in life) has been a long and bumpy road for me. I know I am not the only person that's been down this road before, which is why I wanted to share my story. My business is a big part of me, but it's not the only part of me, and figuring out my identity outside of my work has been a huge challenge believe it or not. I do have other hobbies and other things I like to do, but I haven't found the time to enjoy them.
What I've Learned
This trip has taught me that I really need to start enjoying the finer things in life. What's the point in planting flowers, if you are not going to enjoy the smell? I am still young, and I know I still have a lot of life left in me, but I want to enjoy my time right now while I still can. Believe it or not, while I am still kinda working on my business, I have come up with more plans and ideas of what I want to do with it. All of this while i am working WAY less, than I normally do, and still getting prospects messaging me on LinkedIn, Facebook and of course email.
What Can You Do?
If you aren't taking vacations, I suggest you do so if you have the money and time. Even if you don't have the time, make the time and save up for a vacation. Plan multiple ones throughout the year and they don't have to be big vacations. Do it for you, do it for your mental health. Take it from someone who's been on the other side of this, don't wait until you're crying your eyeballs out because you forgot to take the trash out the night before and your house is a mess because you spent all night working on your business. Take your break now.