Remedies For Checking Out, Part III

By Chuck Violand

October 9, 2017

Growing a business is a lot like raising a first child. Despite all the advice people give us (some appreciated, some not), the classes we attend, and the books we read, we still make a lot of stuff up on the fly. But there are occasions when the challenges go beyond our skills as parents. In these times, we do ourselves a huge favor by seeking outside advice or professional council. The same is true with our businesses.

Am I in over my head? This happens frequently when a business grows quickly, outgrowing the owner’s skill set or talents. Whether it involves knowing how to identify and hire talented workers, interpreting the numbers on our financial statements, or effectively managing people who are smarter than we are, sometimes we’re at a loss as to what needs to be done or how to do it correctly.

When we find ourselves in this situation it’s easy to check out and hope things will get better on their own. A better idea is to reel in our egos, admit we’re overwhelmed, and ask for help from those with more experience.

Am I distracted? Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes we chase shiny new things, sometimes we over-expand, and sometimes we’re distracted by personal situations or events. Some of these distractions don’t have a business solution to them, and we must work them out on a personal level. And while we may not resolve our issues overnight, we can start working on them today.

For business-related distractions, I’d suggest doing a cost/benefit analysis of the distractors. We may discover that if we put the same effort into our current business as we do into these distractions, we’d grow a business that would force us to stay engaged.

Am I tired? Owning and running a business is exhilarating. The excitement of new challenges; the adrenalin rush that comes with growth; the emotional satisfaction of solving problems. These can keep us energized long into the night. At the same time, they can be exhausting—physically and mentally. Having to deal with problems that feel like they have no solutions, or issues that are outside our wheelhouse, has a way of wearing us down. Add these to always having to be “on” and it’s no wonder if we’re tired.

When we don’t schedule regular breaks, we’re setting ourselves up for a collapse. Running a business at 25 is very different from running one at 55. Our stamina isn’t what it once was. But sometimes we’re also not very good with giving ourselves permission to take a break. Neither the business world nor society in general reward people for giving ourselves time to recharge. This causes many of us to wear our long hours and exhaustion like badges of honor and feel guilty when we do take time off.

Get over it! Take a break—without your computer and without your phone. You might be shocked at how the world, and maybe even your business, carries on in your absence. Hopefully, you’ll find it refreshing. If your business isn’t at the point where it can operate without you, then this is something you need to work on.

Checking out of our businesses, and the unfortunate consequences doing so can cause them, is avoidable. Sometimes we just need to be more vigilant at recognizing the warning signs and then working deliberately to become reengaged.