I made a last minute decision a couple of weeks ago to go on a 3 day business retreat in Edinburgh. I hadn’t been on a retreat as a guest for a while, and when I’m running my own retreats I always wish I had a retreat to go on myself!
(My retreat program is run mainly in the US now so going regularly is a bit tricky)
And I was SO glad I went because I had breakthrough after breakthrough – I came home a different person! There’s something about being in a room with brilliant and like-minded business owners that propels you far faster than trying to work things out on your own.
When do you fill up your petrol?
A random conversation got us onto when we filled our petrol tanks up. Three of us all admitted that we only filled up when we absolutely had to, when we were running on fumes – because filling up before would be such a waste of time and frankly we had better things to do!
We quickly realised that we were all prone to being stressed and lived somewhat on the edge all the time. Usually trying to cram too much in and over-deliver in every area of our lives, especially in our businesses.
It’s how I run my life
When I got home it hit me how the petrol tank filling was an analogy for SO many things I do, things that all put extra stress on me.
For example, I wait until I’ve run out of contact lenses and solution before I get new ones. And any other scenario around this you can imagine, prescriptions, groceries etc. Except client work – I’m anal about being ahead on everything to do with the business (but at a high personal cost?)
You have to earn holidays, right?
But the biggest breakthrough came when I realised that I will only ever book a holiday when I thought I had earned it – when I was burnt out and thought I “deserved” it.
In other words, only when I was on “empty” myself, would I consider stopping to fill up the tank. (It didn’t take too long to figure out I got that trait from my parents!)
And it didn’t stop there – I realised I run every DAY like that – run my tank to empty by the evening. It hadn’t occurred to me to keep the tank topped up so I could go further.
So I booked a really lovely holiday at the weekend – even though I wrestled with the idea, as I didn’t feel I “needed” it yet. It’s booked, we’re going and I’m even looking forward to it!
How this affects our businesses
This isn’t just a random story about my petrol tank, but a serious look at how many of us run our businesses, and our personal energy and health.
So often the business takes front seat, takes all our energy and leaves us with nothing left.
And it all points to a scarcity mentality. Having thought a lot about this over the last two weeks, I can see signs of this in many of the businesses I’ve worked with.
Businesses that are run on empty; where cash and profit are always scarce and high stress and pressure is a way of life.
It’s a type of thinking that keeps us small, keeps us in reaction, and leaves us without the financial or mental resources to really be successful long term.
I’m trying to do thing differently now
So on Sunday with a quarter tank left (loads!) I made myself go and fill up for the week. And it felt pretty good actually, smug even. And I’m making myself stop work each day before I hit empty (even though I know I could get loads more done before I hit the wall) Going to the gym or for a swim every day is keeping my energy much higher already.
I just wished I’d realised this years ago!