Entrepreneurship is the art of staying alive long enough to get lucky.
That’s always seemed true to me: a big part of being an entrepreneur is about managing the “low” days and getting cash flow to grow, but without ruining the business in the process. And while there are those crazy stories of entrepreneurs getting a big investment in a year (or going public quickly), it really is a long game for most of us, at least for those who survive. As we all know, most startups don’t make it.
In 2019, the failure rate of startups was about 90%. Terrible odds! It takes a lot of determination to get to that 10% of successful startups, but it also takes more than that.
A key part of survival is staying healthy physically and mentally while keeping our businesses alive long enough to get lucky. It’s about self-care, an underrated but very important part of our longevity strategy. Many of us (like me) tend to put our own needs last. We’re so focused on day-to-day business issues and opportunities that it’s easy to let yourself be fried. And let’s face it, many of us are self-proclaimed workaholics or type A personalities. Here are some strategies to avoid that and make sure you can hold on.
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1. Take some time off
Not just one night. Or “pretending” free time where you’re not working but still tied to your phone and computer. Take some time off to have a real break from the routine. Ideally, a week or more in an exotic place without wifi. Set the parameters so that they only bother you if there’s a serious problem. And it saves the technology. Everything can wait. But if you can’t go to Bali or Bora Bora, at least head to The Berkshires, Palm Springs or somewhere else so you can change scenery, relax and decompress.
2. Stay active
Don’t let your body start giving up on you prematurely. Stay active. Find time every day to get around, whether it’s doing yoga first thing in the morning, taking an afternoon walk, or cycling after dinner. Even daily stretching can make a big difference in how you feel and what your energy level is. I love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. Classes are not too long (half an hour) and you can try the 30-day programs. Plus, it’s free, so there’s really no excuse.
3. Go outside
Many studies have shown that nature can be a source of revitalization and energy, with quantifiable health benefits. Take the time to explore: take a walk, visit a beach, a garden or take care of your hives. Just go outside. You’ll be amazed at how much this can recharge, focus you, and help you not only your body, but your mind as well.
4. Treat your body well
I’m a big fan of weekly massages. You may like pedicures. Or maybe your body responds very well to acupuncture or flotation tanks. Anything that makes you happy and makes you feel good, do it regularly. Don’t look at it as an occasional “gift,” but as part of your schedule that deserves to have time for it. And while you’re at it, detoxify your beauty routine. Make sure your products (skin care, hair care, cosmetics, deodorant, oral care, etc.) are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. There are so many excellent, high-performing brands right now that you don’t really have to risk skin irritations, allergies, having your endocrine system altered, or worse.
5. Get a good night’s sleep
I know that’s easier said than done, especially as you get older and sleep becomes harder to achieve. But it’s so important. Ariana Huffington has even turned the dream into a media platform. Fortunately, for those of us who have a hard time sleeping, there are great aids available, from CBD supplements and gummies to pillow sprays and more. A big part of getting a good night’s sleep is sticking to a regular schedule, so while you may need to spend the whole night awake from time to time, it should be the exception.
6. Clear your mind
There are many articles on the power of mindfulness and meditation to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. There are also many tools to help you. Whether you like to keep an audio journal with Journify, the Calm app, or 10% Happier, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help clearing your mind. In fact, many of us need help; it’s hard to stop when you’re used to running at top speed all the time.
Therefore, when you begin to feel tired, exhausted or in a bad mood, act immediately to correct the course. Think about how you can modify your schedule and priorities to make self-care important. It will really help you maintain a healthy body and a positive attitude in the long run and ensure that you can deal with whatever comes your way, making sure you’re in the top 10% of the startups that survive.