Updated: Sep 4
When you're over 50 years old, it's not always fun being reminded of your age. Yet, the reminders are everywhere. They show up whether you're prepared for them or not.
They show up unannounced.
They show up when you need to be 25 ... But you're not. 😉
Last week I got placed in Time Out.
I caught a bug that took me down for most of the week.
It got me thinking about business-building and self-care.
I was reminded of an occasion when I had deprived myself of sleep in order to meet a deadline on a big project.
At the time, it felt great. I was working on the launch of a website which involved a lot of technical as well as creative work.
I'm not a techie, but I loved mastering the technical aspects as much as the creative process. In a project like that—a labor of love—time has a way of putting on wings.
There's always something to adjust or tweak.
Whether I chose to admit it consciously, or not, before long I felt like I was back in college.
I could stay up all night. I could live off coffee and adrenaline. I could do it night-over-night; back-to-back—and handle the rest of my daily responsibilities.
Except that I couldn't.
The truth is that I graduated college more than 30 years ago.
Running my engine like a sophomore led to a noisy crash. In short, life put me in Time Out—where I spent more than a week.
At the start of my big project, I was like ...
I was a beast.
I finished my project on a Sunday night—right on time for the Monday launch. I laid my head down and slept.
Then I slept some more.
Then I couldn't stop.
Halfway through the week I told myself to cut it out—that I couldn't be this tired. I had other projects to finish. It wasn't helpful to fall asleep staring at my laptop.
My body wouldn't listen. It refused to focus.
By the end of the week, I was still like ...
What's my takeaway?
Some of you know this. I'm a lay-preacher. So, in true pastor-lingo, let me give you the four R's:
Rest. This one's easy. You've got to get the right amount of rest in your routine. Your business requires you to be productive, but in a healthy way.
What good is success if you can't enjoy it?
I don't live a lifestyle of constant output like I shared in this example. That's by choice. I have so much going on, that I could easily drift in that direction.
It would take nothing to simply ignore my body and plunge headlong into the next project—correction, it could take my health.
It's not worth it.
If you don’t intentionally plan and take your rest, your body will put you to sleep.
Reset. If you're a goal-driven person, unplanned weeks off are more than an inconvenience—if you let them be.
The lost time and missed deadlines can send you into a self-defeating mental vortex. Add that to a weakened physical state and you have the recipe for a meltdown.
I gave myself permission long ago to reorder my priorities when needed.
I do it often. It helps me to keep my expectations in check, and my feet on the ground.
I am no less driven or ambitious about the big things that I want to make happen in my life and the lives of others. I'm just easier about it. I give myself room to breathe.
Reengage. Hard work can be isolating. In my case, I work with a partner, so we lean on each other during the climb and during the crash.
We used the unplanned downtime to reengage with each other. For example, on a couple evenings when we were too spent to do anything, we indulged in some dark, organic chocolate and listened to an audio book.
Another night, we ordered some of our favorite food and watched a stupid movie. We also did some brain-dead stuff like cleaning up around the house—whatever it took to recharge.
This much I've learned: It's better to take yourself out of the game, than to be taken out by it. I used to drive my wife crazy with this word. Maybe it makes you a little annoyed too.
Here's the fourth R-word ... Relax.
Since launching this newsletter, I’ve been riding a big ball of steam. I love the momentum that forward progress brings.
But I must also be aware of my limitations.
Getting sick reminded me how important it is to balance and re-balance until you find your sweet spot.
It also reminded me that the best part of life is not getting things done.
The best part of life is taking the time to enjoy life itself.
I think that's it for now. Honestly, I'm a little sleepy.
No, really ...
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I'll see you in your inbox next Monday!