Professional athletes have them. College athletes have them. Hell, even some high school kids have them.
Allow me to clarify a bit first before you call in sick for the next four months. Athletes use the offseason and bye-weeks for healing, recovery and recharging. This isn’t just physical; it’s emotional, mental and spiritual healing as well. While most entrepreneurs aren’t pushing their bodies to physical breaking points, they certainly do push their creative, emotion and spiritual limits daily. The toll of taxing those faculties relentlessly without a rest can be catastrophic. How do you recharge? Better question: Do you ever take the time to recharge? Athletes that try to push through end up with tendonitis, bursitis, muscle pulls and frequent illness.
Entrepreneurs that give it all to the team end up with the business equivalent—depression, fatigue and burn out. Businesses led by a burned out leader take serious hits in productivity, innovation, follow up and eventually customer satisfaction. The entrepreneur themselves may experience even more symptoms of overworking, such as loss of creativity, loss of concentration, chemical dependency, fatigue, weight-gain, depression, loss of libido, divorce or even death. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s time to call a time out and call some new plays. Allow me to step in as your coach for a second and help you re-write your game plan. While it may be hard to shut off the smart phone or take a day away from the desk, the benefits outweigh the costs. Don’t believe me? Here are a few reasons to re-consider:
You May Not Finish the Game
The stress of running a business can be overwhelming and some people have a better tolerance for it than others. Best case scenario, you spend countless nights lying in bed awake wondering what the hell is happening. You feel alone and are desparately hoping an exit strategy presents itself. The reality is that the exit strategy for an increasing number of CEOs and self-employed is permanent. Many are ending their own lives over the stress of “the game”. If they had only taken time for themselves earlier, it may not have gotten that far. Being able to step away for a weekend, a week or even a month can lend perspective to the bigger picture. Do you even remember what the big picture was supposed to be?
Your Team Needs You In Top Shape
This is a simple idea. What good are you to your company, your team, your family and yourself if you have lost your edge? You started your company likely due to a unique talent or idea that, despite your best efforts to control, came bursting forth. But, once you’ve stepped foot in the ring, it’s go time or you get knocked out. Running your business requires all of your attention and effort to be used efficiently and with success. If you are sick, depressed, angry, anxious or up to your eyeballs in negative thinking, how can you possibly succeed?
It’s a Long Season
Unlike most athletes in a sport, you are likely in your business for the long haul. That is unless you are Elon Musk (founder of PayPal) or Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim (the trio that founded YouTube) and you hit it big and sell your company for billions. That’s not reality for most business owners. In fact, the opposite is generally true. The average small business takes 5 years to turn a profit and if you are “the guy” like most docs and trainers are, your time invested in the day-to-day of the business seems never-ending. Most small business failure happens because their quarterback couldn’t pull it together when the game was on the line. Taking a time out could be just what you need to regroup and go for the score.
You Cannot Afford a Losing Season
If you are like most small business owners that start from the ground up, you likely leveraged your home, cars, credit cards and first-born to get the necessary capital. The emotion of getting a business started is pretty damn invigorating. That is until the reality of the work involved making the business ‘go’ sets in. The reality is that running a business isn’t sexy and you can never take your foot off of the gas. Likely, it sucks. It’s not fun and you likely won’t realize the financial gains from it for a LONG time. So you better have a plan for some much needed rest and relaxation to endure it. After all, vacations are cheaper than failed businesses.
So to recap what we’ve covered (without the iconic chalk board with X’s and O’s of course):
Why Should I Have an Offseason: (1) To Avoid Burn-Out and (gulp) Death, (2) People Rely on You to be Successful, (3) It’s a Long Journey to the Top and last, but certainly not least—(4) You Can’t Afford NOT TO.
This guest post was written by Dr. Todd Riddle, DC, RKT, CSCS, CCSP.