I came across an article recently on Entrepreneurial Fatigue. I’d never heard the term before, but it is as familiar to me as my last name. It is the result of wearing too many hats, having too much to do, and not getting nearly enough sleep. Any entrepreneur can tell you that it takes a whole lot of work to run a successful business. Add on a full-time job, a time-consuming but profitable freelance editing side hustle, a certificate program, and the promotional demands of being a published author, and it’s easy to see why I’m only averaging five hours of sleep a night.
It’s a Catch-22 — when you’re really good at something, your skills are in demand. And as any hard-working, female, head of the household will tell you, irrespective of capacity, when something needs to be done, you roll up your sleeves and do it. Even though you are exhausted, spent, and depleted. Even though you don’t want to. Even though your labor often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
My closest friends frequently tell me I’m doing too much, and that I need to throttle back. They advise me to delegate out, or let my business partners pick up some of the slack. I wish those were realistic options, but the reality is – the company can’t yet afford to outsource critical functions, and of the three partners, I’m the one with the most diverse skill set. Not to mention how ridiculous it is to pay someone xxx amount of dollars to do something I could have done 8 times better for half the price. So where does this leave me? Signing off on substandard work done by others, or barreling toward burnout.
It shouldn’t surprise you that my Superwoman self more often than not chooses the path that leads to burnout.
The past six months have been incredibly challenging for me personally and professionally. More times than I can count, I’ve wanted to quit the company, because I’m too tired to enjoy any of it anymore. Most days, I feel like I’m wandering around in a hyper-productive daze, a woman truly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I’ve seen my precious free time and ‘me’ time vanish, my personal relationship suffer, and a host of health problems as a result of the frantic pace I keep. I ask myself often if it’s ‘worth it.’ I honestly don’t know.
So where does that leave me? The counsel I’ve sought in recent weeks (friends, family, my massage therapist, lol) all echo the same sentiment… You need to slow down… You need a break… And for the first time since starting this publishing adventure, I’m ready to listen. I’m ready to starting saying “No” to other people, and “Yes” to myself. On a regular basis. And I pray that once I bring my life back into balance, I’ll have the energy hustle even harder than before.