By Elise Champe
Being a mom, wife and an ambitious entrepreneur requires balance. I should mention I also need a lot of sleep after a bad reaction to surgery in 1997. We all have a story!
I have found a few super helpful strategies and paradigm shifts along the way that make the balancing act not feel precarious, but fulfilling and chill instead. Being a stress bucket is not my thing. Incredible results are more satisfying if you feel good on the journey to achieving them. Pressure and the negative self-talk approach have never worked very well for me.
Tip #1. Follow the breadcrumbs of your desire.
The experience of time shifts. You are working hard, but you are in a state of flow. You watch the clock only to make sure you don’t spend too much time on your engrossing project. It seems hard to find your passion. Or is it? Even if it seems impossible, turning your favorite hobby into your work is what I call living in your flow. This is a recipe for success and for entrepreneurship. If you are working at a job that is boring to you, time will slow down and this is a recipe for more work that is boring to you. If you feel lost, your heart knows the answer. Quiet your mind and ask your heart. My passion for helping others and creating resulted in designing eco apparel and baby products. I had to give myself psychological space to find my way, follow the breadcrumbs of interest, without knowing the exact end result. I had no idea this would solidify into product design and entrepreneurship.
Tip #2. Get up an hour or two earlier than you normally would.
When you follow your passion, you are excited to hit the ground—even if it’s still dark out. Are you excited to get out of bed in the morning? If you aren’t excited to get out of bed, you’re not living in your flow. The world is quiet and it’s easier to hear your heart’s answers and you get things done. There are no interruptions. I get more done in 2 hours mixing a fresh mind with night time quiet and inspiration than I do the rest of the day. Like writing this article. Who has time to write an article in the middle of the day when there are a gazillion must-dos clamoring for your attention? Get it done while everyone is sleeping. Yes, I do nap during the day and you may need a 30 minute snooze too, but you will rest easy knowing you got so much done. You will also need to go to bed earlier, but because you are in your flow (tip #1) you won’t need to waste time blowing off steam watching TV. You have more enticing and important things to do!
Tip #3. It’s okay if the house is messy or someone else cleans it up for you (this includes kids.)
I had two babies in two years and being present for them was my priority for several years. Now they are both in school. The house is still going to be messy plenty of the time. For people like me, who love the zen of zero clutter, this can be a learning experience. This galvanizes me to list what end-results I am after; to not get lost in the mess of details but to direct my energies efficiently. For 30 minutes I can focus on my future vision for my business in the next quarter or I can make the kitchen look like nobody cooks there. I choose vision! It’s easy to forget too that if kids can operate a computer, they can operate a dishwasher.
Tip #4. Being an entrepreneur is scary.
When stressed we breathe fast and shallow, making it harder to focus. Breathing is fundamental, but often when we try to breathe deeply we realize that focus is required. We can use breathing techniques to consciously calm our physical state in the presence of oxygen. I find it annoying when someone simply says to breathe deeply—and very helpful to use a Pranayama breathing technique such as Kapalabhati.
It’s a series of breathing exercises that lead your brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals that have a natural calming effect. It’s much more enjoyable to function from that state than to operate from a place of fear. We can think better when our cells are oxygenated. It wakes us up. We feel alive.
Working while in a state of inspiration, finding deeply quiet time to work, being okay with imperfection and using a breathing technique are all wonderful ways to make you feel more successful and more productive.