For the second time this year I left my laptop at home, put my social media accounts off limits and switched off from work -barring a text message here and there- for over a week.
I know this doesn’t sound like much but to a business owner in their first few years, it is not very common. The temptation to ‘quickly check emails’ or ‘just have a glance at LinkedIn’ is rarely far away and hard to resist.
However hard it is to restrain ourselves from dipping into work at all times, it is an urge I feel we must fight.
We justify it in all kinds of ways but at the end of the day, fear is too often the reason for our incessant work check-ins.
Just as a worrisome mother keeps both eyes on her adventuring child to protect it from harm, we feel compelled to do the same for our businesses.
Questions such as: “what if a potential client messages me and I don’t respond?”, “what if one of my team cocks up?”, “what if one of my clients needs something urgently?” swill around in our brain, and understandably so.
However, in the same way the fearful mother stresses herself -and her child- into more harm than good, we do the same for ourselves and our businesses.
Fear is never a good foundation for decision making. Fear is driven by our need for certainty and the more certainty we need in our life the less growth and joy we can experience.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy mindset to foster. It has taken a while for me to get to the ‘relaxed’ state I now enjoy and a lot of work and thought has gone into it. Even now, it shows up every now and again.
Ultimately, my ability to relax away from work comes from trust in myself, my business, my brand, my clients and my suppliers.
Trust that the link to all of them is strong enough to not require constant focus and thought.
Trust that if, and let’s face it when, things go wrong, the world will not come to an end.
Trust that if a potential client is the right one, I will not lose their business if I don’t respond for a week.
Trust that if I do lose them as a potential client, I will find another.
Last year, a mentor asked me how much I trusted myself. My initial response was 8/10. But on deeper reflection, my actions suggested a much lower number.
I was making decisions everyday out of fear but dressing them up as drive and work ethic.
Ever since I have been conscious of this question and the impact it has.
The next time you feel compelled to dive into work when you’ve promised yourself time off, ask yourself what is driving your thought process? Is it fear? If so, is it justified or could you trust yourself and your business a little more?
How much out of 10 do you trust yourself and do your actions reflect this figure?