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Sanity for Over-achieving Entrepreneurs: 3 Easy Steps

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 21/03/2016 Jamie Cornell
TODO LIST © moodboard via Getty Images TODO LIST

Due to some personal and professional travel last week, I was lucky to have some time for myself. Not just alone time. Alone down time. That whole "down time" concept was something that I have been cheating myself of since venturing into the new business phase of my life.
Unfortunately, I had turned into one of those people that put WAY too much pressure on themselves, and was setting professional expectations much too high.
Oh, you too? Yes. I'm sure you do it, too.
It's fascinating to me how we usually set ourselves up for failure more than anyone else ever will. I can always be a star performer at school or work when someone else is defining the expectations.
But what about at home or in my own work? I'm the one setting most of the standards for how I raise my kids, how clean the house is, and what accomplishments I make on this new business front. If that is the case, then why do I always feel like I'm falling short?
Because I SUCK at being my own boss. I consider myself a pretty good leader for others, but I had a stark realization this week that I need to take a few lessons in how to be more realistic and less critical on myself at work.
If beating yourself up and setting outlandish expectations can be a problem for you (I'm talking to you overachievers and entrepreneurs out there), there is hope. There are a lot of things we can do, and I did one of them last night. I journaled about how it was all on ME to make the change I wanted to see.
I made two lists that put my last few months in perspective for me:

  • My Actions That Have Helped Me
  • My Actions That Have Hurt Me

I put them side by side to compare. I then started writing about what I could do to start doing more of the things that are good for me, and less of the things that were bad for me.
For me, I realized that by having unrealistic and undefined expectations for this new business, I had basically set myself up to create new, unattainable expectations each day in my head. That would then lead me to spiral into an obsessive vortex of working during every free minute I had. I was starting to feel I had to justify the enjoyable things in life: time with kids, exercise, sleep, laughter with friends.
That was not how I wanted to live my life.
I had started a new business venture to give me more freedom for my kids schedules and me, yet I was creating the opposite scenario. BAD MOVE, mom.
So how will I break this pattern?
  • Post "My Actions That Are Good For Me" list next to my desk. Poster size. At this point, I need a slap in the face.
  • Set realistic, challenging, and beneficial goals for the business, my life, and as a mom for the remainder of 2016.
  • Break those goals down into monthly tasks or milestones, and put them in my calendar.
  • Break those monthly accomplishments down into weekly tasks so that I ONLY expect a certain amount of work from myself each week. I need to be realistic in what is attainable in 24 hours of work.
  • Write it all down. Hold myself to those expectations, and refer to it regularly.
  • Celebrate or reward myself when I've met any of those goals or tasks. Recognizing accomplishments only fuels our fire to do more. And we all need fuel, dammit.

You can do this, too. You can be your own boss:
  1. Set expectations you would set for someone else
  2. Reward yourself the way you would reward an employee, and
  3. Give yourself time off to recharge.

You deserve it, and you will be more successful if you give yourself a break.

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