One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as an entrepreneur is leading a business when I’m running on empty. People have a glamorous idea of what it’s like to ditch your 9 to 5 and launch out on your own. They picture you sleeping in, taking long lunches, playing afternoon tennis, and being off every Friday. But the reality is this is work. And it’s hard. And emotionally draining.
All of this doesn’t take into account your own personal life journey.
I’ve been in the middle of a challenging season for quite a while. It’s deeply personal and completely draining. It keeps me awake at night as I bounce between being hopeful to angry. I’ve let it go and like a boomerang it’s come back and planted itself firmly in front of me time and time again. It’s cost me relationships because of some gross misunderstanding / misinformation and yet it’s somehow helped me grow into a better leader with a much higher emotional intelligence.
Still, it’s draining. And when you lead a company you need all the stamina and energy you can get.
So what do you do when you don’t feel like doing anything? How do you lead a business when you are running on empty?
You take a bite.
It’s such a cliché phrase to hear How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time., but in this case it’s so necessary. Fight through the emotional strain and drain by doing one thing at a time. Complete one task and check it off your list.
I find it difficult to be creative when I’m mentally drained, but the more I’ve forced myself to keep attacking the work one piece at a time, the more I’ve built up the stamina to push through and accomplish the task. In fact, during busy seasons I find my normal productive work times during the day are getting even more productive because I’m able to keep the ball rolling so much. There’s power in the incremental.
I encourage you to keep working on tackling your own tasks one bite at a time when you are running on empty. Don’t stop. Never give up. Do whatever it takes to keep growing your emotional intelligence, mental stability, and step outdoors to have fun once in a while. Your clients depend on you. Your future clients depend on you. And your business depends on you.