We entrepreneurs are a special breed.
We are dreamers, but also doers.
We see the big picture, yet buckle down for the day-to-day.
We take the highs and the lows as they come (most of the time), and keep coming back for more.
It takes a lot to build a business out of nothing; to put yourself out there day after day.
When the entrepreneurial spirit lives within you, there’s no denying it. There’s no way a 9-to-5 kind of life will suffice. We think outside the box -- heck, we LIVE outside the box.
But, with all those amazing qualities, there is a dark side that I’m sure you’ve noticed at some point. An ailment that can compromise entrepreneurial gumption and leave you feeling depleted, worn out and confused.
Something so sneaky yet so prevalent, we almost don’t recognize it’s there, ruling us from the shadows. Showing up day after day. Draining our energy and confusing our decisions.
In fact, we come to think of it as a “given”, perhaps something that may even be helping us, but it’s really getting in our way. Tripping us up.
This ailment is so pervasive, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever encountered an entrepreneur who wasn’t afflicted by it to some degree. (I know that it gets the best of me from time to time -- that’s why I felt like I needed to write this post!)
Maybe you have it too? Maybe you’re suffering from it right now...
I know I feel it. I know you do too.
It’s part and parcel for entrepreneurs (especially female-preneurs). It comes with the territory.
And it begins so innocently...in a subtle (almost good) way.
That nagging little bit of guilt drives us to work more, do more, be more. It pushes us to keep on keepin’ on. But, when the guilt takes up too much space in our lives, it can be devastating for ourselves and our businesses. And, it feels awful!
And no matter how much you love your business, your clients, your work, there are still days when the sh#t hits the fan. When the guilt (and everything else you’re dealing with) overwhelms you and leaves you feeling like...
Kristy Gardner While I LOVE my clients and my work, I never feel like I get away from work, and the lack of balance can make me want to curl up in a ball and hide in the back of my closet.
Kendra Nasiatka The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is working 24/7 and then feeling guilty when you take a break because you need one. You feel like you should just be going going going like the Energizer Bunny. The constant climb.
Hannah Poles Knowing where to start and when to stop is tough. It's very exciting (and also a little overwhelming) to be your own boss. I feel more pressure to work, work, work than I ever did in past jobs. I almost feel a little guilty when I take a break because, being a one woman show, everything falls on my shoulders and I want to be as successful as possible.
It can seem like we can’t win!
We feel like we’re not giving enough to our businesses, and in the same moment feel like we’re not giving enough to our families. We forgo self-care, meals and yoga class because we haven’t “earned it” or “should be working”. We feel like we should be further along in our businesses, have more figured out, be making more money, have a better website, have a bigger list, guilt, guilt, guilt.
We rush through our day trying to get our endless to-do list done, never taking a breath. We multi-task and consequently don’t show up fully anywhere. No good.
Perhaps, you feel like guilt is a motivator. And, maybe, in a bass-ackwards kind of way it is. But it motivates out of fear. It drives us with a whip and iron fist and feels, well, crappy.
Victoria Cunningham-Downey I feel this constant need to push myself when sometimes all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry.
Entrepreneurship is tough enough without beating yourself up on top of it!
True and lasting motivation comes from holding the vision you have for yourself and letting your purpose pull you.
I know you know the difference between feeling guilted into doing something versus feeling totally motivated and pulled to do something. How would you rather function? (I know what I prefer!)
Honestly, the thing that helps me the most is knowing I’m not alone in feeling this way.
So, let me say that to you…
You are NOT ALONE in feeling this way. (And here's the FB group to prove it!)
Whether I’m having a high-as-the-sky-everything’s-rosy kinda day or a down-in-the-dumps what-am-I-doing-with-my-life day, I know every other person who has ever set out with a vision to make something out of nothing has felt that way.
Any person who has ever achieved anything remarkable, noteworthy or great has experienced times when they felt like a failure and guilty for not doing more, being more.
And, once you recognize that guilt is not a necessary state of being and that we can choose to move through our days and conduct our business differently, the shift has already begun.
Ridding yourself of guilt isn’t a practice to master. It’s a practice to practice.
You’ll likely never be completely rid of those momentary pangs of guilt you feel when you check your emails on your phone as your kid tries to vy for your attention, or when you feel that you shouldn’t stop for lunch because you’ve got too much to do. But, notice it for what it is -- a choice. Plain and simple.
I promise, your life and business will not fall apart if “this” or “that” doesn’t get done right now. Don’t postpone your happiness by carrying around the weight of guilt on top of everything else you do.
I, personally, want to start living the good life NOW. Not in 5, 10 or 15 years when I’ve “made it”. (What does “made it” mean anyway?!)
I’d rather do good work from a place of integrity on my own timetable than guilt myself into missing important moments with my husband and daughter to get “there” faster.
Is guilt something you struggle with as a business owner? I'd love to hear about your experience and any good coping techniques you've developed in the comments below.
Here’s to going guilt-free!
P.S. A BIG thank you to all the brave ladies who gave me permission to use their words in this post. I appreciate and respect your candidness and honesty. Sending virtual hugs your way xo