As a solopreneur or small business owner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about your target market, your niche—whom you serve and how you serve them. But have you ever considered your stockholders? You don’t have to be a publicly traded company to have them!
In addition to you clients, your stockholders are yourself, your family, your friends, your employees, and your colleagues. While they may not all benefit from financial returns, they do all depend on you to run a successful business and all for different reasons: your clients rely on your goods and services; in addition to making a living, you might get enormous satisfaction from your work; your family depends on your income and on you being present for them; your friends enjoy your company; your employees benefit from your wisdom and mentorship; your colleagues appreciate your mutual support.
That’s a lot of pressure! How can you do and be all that? You’re probably familiar with the oxygen mask metaphor: you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
Entrepreneurs—especially solopreneurs—are generally a tough lot. Through rain, and sleet, and snow…. No wait, that’s the USPS. But it’s relevant.
There is always something for an entrepreneur to do: in most cases, we wear the hats of the entire C suite—CEO, COO, CFO—the sales and marketing department, the facilities maintenance department etc. You’ll find us skipping breakfast, eating lunch al desko, and putting in late nights. And most of the time, we’re deliriously happy: our work feeds our souls in a way that working for anyone else does not.
But what happens when we can’t stop working, when we keep telling ourselves, “Just 5 more minutes, just 1 more call, just 1 more email…?” Very often the things that fall by the wayside are good nutrition, sleep, regular physical activity, nurturing relationships, a fulfilling spiritual practice.
As an integrative nutrition health coach, I work with clients to find the healthiest way to show up in their lives, and most often, that begins with a hard look at how we are spending our time and energy.
A useful tool for measuring this, called “The Circle of Life” from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, can be found at https://is.gd/circleoflife <link to https://is.gd/circleoflife> I encourage you to give it a try.
All the spokes of the wheel represent what are called “primary foods:” aspects of our lives that nourish (or toxify) us just as much as “secondary food,” what we put in our mouths. This is not a complete list—for example, adding “sleep” would be good, in my opinion, and you might come up with some others as well.
Very often, we consider “self-care” to be luxuries such as visits to the spa, a massage, a mani-pedi. But can you see how regular physical activity, a meaningful spiritual practice, healthy relationships, plentiful sleep, etc. can be a form of nourishment and an act of self-care?
How do you show up at the table of life?
I often ask my clients how they show up at the table/in the kitchen—or whether they show up there at all—because it is most often a reflection of how they show up in their lives. Nine times out of ten, an entrepreneur who grabs a breakfast bar or gulps a protein shake, gets fast food for lunch, and opts for takeout for dinner has a junk food lifestyle as well as a junk food diet, and we all know where our junk food and fast food have gotten us as a nation in terms of obesity and ever-earlier manifesting chronic disease.
Your relationship with secondary food is intimately related to your primary food intake: if you pay any attention to health news, you know that exercise is related to weight; there are many studies that indicate stress and sleep patterns can affect your weight as well; food cooked from scratch at home tends to be more healthful than processed food; etc.
But have you ever considered that if your relationships—professional and/or personal—are strained, you are much more likely to empty that pint of Ben & Jerry’s because you are trying to replace the sweetness that is lacking in a primary food area with the sweetness found in the ice cream?
As entrepreneurs, we could fill every minute of every hour of every day with work and still feel that we’re never done. Our “career” primary food may be a 10 to the detriment of the rest of the categories and the deep dissatisfaction of our “stockholders.” And in truth, it’s highly likely that we are feeling the onset of poor physical and/or emotional health, we may be putting on some extra pounds that we can’t shed, our numbers at the physician’s office are looking a little less than ideal….
If you are feeling run down and think it’s time to change your diet, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your primary foods—your lifestyle choices—as well as your secondary foods—your dietary choices.
Integrative nutrition health coach, kitchen coach, and COO of a family of four: Liza brings her passion, knowledge, and experience to the table to help you reach your goals and achieve optimal health by discovering how best to show up in your life (and in your kitchen). She lives with her husband and 2 children in Ann Arbor, MI and is passionate about health and happiness, education and exercise, SOLE food and social justice. Her first book, Fl!p Your K!tchen: How to cook 21 meals a week from scratch (without spending your life in the kitchen), comes out October 31, 2016.