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Practice Renewal to Avoid Chronic Stress

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While there are literally hundreds of reasons why small businesses fail or under-achieve, most experts agree that among the primary causes are business owner burn-out, fatigue and/or health-related issues. Business ownership is seriously hard work and even modest success in business is often accompanied by long hours, personal sacrifice, and chronic stress. While most of my clients are very willing, in the short-term, to trade-off long hours and self-sacrifice for the rewards of business ownership, there is often a physical and emotional toll for which the symptoms of burn-out, fatigue and health issues are not always apparent, oftentimes, until it’s too late.

This begs the question that if hard work and self-sacrifice are prerequisite to small business success, how is it possible to achieve real success without creating victims of the consequences inherent to that success? Let’s start by examining some symptoms of business owner burn-out, fatigue and stress.

  • Are you struggling to retain good employees?  
  • Are your employees unwilling to do what it takes to get the job done?  
  • Are your clients or customers dissatisfied with the quality of your products or services?
  • Are your competitors’ businesses growing faster than yours?
  • Are you spending the vast majority of your time “fire-fighting”?
  • Are you struggling to stay above the “line of choice”?
  • Does your family seem distant or unwilling to approach you?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, as the leader of your business, be encouraged to incorporate the habits of personal renewal into your daily routine to help offset the physical and emotional toll on you and others.

Personal renewal starts with a positive vision of the future that represents a dream state for the business. Highly successful business owners don’t define their ambitions by the limits of their current skills and competencies. They create a sense of purpose that provides the hope, courage, energy, and ambition to achieve more which in turn helps you navigate the daily grind, especially during the most difficult of times.

Of equal importance to positive vision is the need for practicing mindfulness. It means living in a constant state of hope, reflection, and openness when attending to the needs of co-workers, friends and family. It means anticipating and acting on external forces that influence your business and remaining conscious of and committed to the needs of one’s self. To practice mindfulness is to strive to achieve a constant state of balance as a source of inspiration.

Daily prayer, reflection and meditation play a key role in personal renewal. Experts suggest that practicing these twice daily, in routine 20-minute rituals, is incredibly helpful at reducing stress and maintaining the positive outlook needed to effectively lead.  

Finally, good time management practices are essential to keep people focused on what really matters and to reduce stress. Particularly effective are time management strategies of avoiding distractions, saying “no” and designing your ideal day.

By practicing habits of personal renewal, business owners can avoid burn-out and fatigue, maintain resonance in their relationships, be more effective leaders, and bring greater focus and perspective to the things that are really critical to the success of their business.

Consult with your coach to get the guiding assistance needed to put these practices into place for the sake of your well-being and for the benefit of others.


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Brian is a business executive turned-entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience across many business functions. He holds a BS Degree in Chemical Engineering from Grove City College and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College, and certifications from Case Western Reserve University, ActionCOACH, and The DeBono Institute. He is active on non-profit boards, in the Northeast Ohio community, and is a frequent volunteer with various charities and institutes.