Entrepreneurs have big dreams, unending projects requiring their attention, and limited resources in the startup phase. Late nights and bottomless mugs of coffee are par for the course. Choosing between a client meeting and the treadmill doesn’t even seem like a choice. A stress-relieving massage seems like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.
But here are 5 reasons you need to stop what you’re doing and schedule that massage right now:
1. There is no “someday.”
We all know the retiree who doesn’t enjoy his golden years because he feels too guilty to slow down and enjoy the fruits of his labor. The patterns you set now dictate your behavior for a lifetime. Your ability to take care of yourself doesn’t depend on your finances or your schedule. It depends on your priorities. If you are constantly saying, “I can’t wait till my business reaches X point so I can finally afford/have time to take care of myself,” you are in for a rude awakening. If you are not comfortable giving yourself the care you need now, you are unlikely to embrace healthy self-care later on, regardless of how successful you become.
2. You’re not fooling anyone.
Your health and stress level is readily apparent to your employees, partners, and clients. You may think that being the ultimate self-sacrificer is setting a good example for the people working with you, but as the leader you are just setting an example of unhealthy self-denial. Expect mutinous grumblings when everyone burns out trying to follow your lead.
Clients, too, are put off by an appearance of stress. Would you rather hire a consultant who was calm and serene with a healthy glow, or the stress case vibrating with anxiety and with dark circles under her eyes? Whom do you automatically assume has her act together?
3. If I can do it, so can you.
Every time you do something that is positive in spite of its difficulty, you become better at cutting through other people’s excuses of why they just can’t deliver or implement. You laser in on clients and employees that are going to be the easiest to work with and bring you the most value. How someone relates to their own body and mental health is a good indicator of how generally capable they are, and this translates into better client outcomes and a sustainable business that withstands the stresses of growth.
4. Cortisol kills your intelligence.
Cortisol is a stress hormone associated with obesity, decreased organ function, and decreased cognitive function. That’s right! Being stressed out actually makes you dumber. A landmark study on the power of massage therapy showed that participants’ cortisol levels decreased by a whopping 30% in a single 60 minute session. It’s time to put down the coffee and go hit the massage table. Your creative edge depends on it.
5. Taking care of yourself is part of being a grownup.
How many of us started our own companies in part because we couldn’t stand the icky feeling of perma-adolescence that came with the managerial scoldings, pointless meetings, and wasted potential of our 9-5s? Today when I think of how my business has created a massively powerful force of good in my community, I feel like an adult. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the people I have looked up to my whole life.
Cultures which embrace traditional rites of passage universally include self-care as a matter of course. The members of your community depend on you to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Being a workaholic martyr doesn’t figure big into traditional pictures of adulthood. If you want to play with the big kids, if you want the benefits of adulthood and empowerment that come with self-employment, you need to take charge of your own grownup health.
Standing firm in your commitment to self-nurture is not easy. Sometimes it is positively flying in the face of what everyone else thinks you should be doing in that moment. Carving out time and money for a massage can be a challenging decision to make when you are faced with invoices and deadlines.
The good news is that as an entrepreneur, you’re all about bucking trends and changing the world for the better, right? I thought so. You got this nailed. Now go schedule your massage.
Lily Starling, CMT, is a marketing mentor and creator of FillYourMassagePractice.com. She empowers health professionals to embrace their expertise, overcome their negative feelings about charging high rates for their service, and fill their practice with ideal clients. She teaches simple, low-cost, and cutting edge marketing systems that stay within the comfort zone of heart-centered and sensitive healers. Lily started Downtown Davis Massage in 2011 with 5 clients on the books, and a year later has over 500. You can find tools, tips, and free resources at her website: FillYourMassagePractice.com. or Email Lily at: Lily@FillYourMassagePractice.com
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