This past weekend, as I sat on the beach in beautiful Naples, FL, I was so grateful for an afternoon of solitude, quiet, sunshine and catching up on my reading. Thinking about it, however, I realized that that’s pretty much my reality every day, both by design and default. At this point in my life – I’m just a smidgen over 50 – I have chosen to not be on 24/7, and have created and built my recent companies around that consciousness.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being around other people and consider myself to be social by nature, but it’s become increasingly challenging for me to be on around the clock. I’m not sure if it’s the aging process or just a natural part of personal/professional evolution.
Either way, this preference is a far cry from the days when my daughter and I were in retail and owned a clothing consignment store. Every day we looked forward to meeting new people, seeing familiar faces, helping people find the “exact” item they were looking for, and never knowing who (or what) was going to walk through the door on a particular day. It was an exciting and invigorating time, as it is now, but in a different way.
Working with the public, as we did, required we remain as healthy, flexible and friendly as we possibly could and avoid letting any of our personal issues carry over onto how we dealt with our customers or each other. Fortunately, one of the benefits of being a mother-daughter team is if one is having a seriously off day the other can step in and derail a potential train wreck.
Have you ever walked into a store where you could feel the negative energy or tension in the air? Or, walk in and get a sense that the person behind the counter did not want to be there and wished you’d just go away? It’s very uncomfortable for the customer and very bad for business.
Although not everyone can be on or cheery all day, every day, there are several things you can do to keep yourself in optimal shape and greet your customers with open arms and a smile.
- Get a good night’s sleep. To me this is the most crucial thing you can do for yourself and your health. Being cranky and tired is not a good way to start the day.
- Take things in stride. In other words, BREATHE and maintain a sense of humor. Yes, business is serious stuff, but you cannot let it eat away at or destroy you or your relationships. If you’re having a tough day or you have an irate customer, breathe through it; know that in the spectrum of life, it’s a passing moment.
- Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. I know sometimes the days are so hectic you can forget to eat lunch or just scarf down a handful of candy thinking it’ll hold you over, but sitting still, even for 15 minutes to digest a little bit of protein – even some cheese and a handful of nuts – will sustain you until dinner time. Jordan and I regularly packed our lunches and threw in a few snack bags of veggies, fruits and nuts to get us through those hectic days.
- Leave work at work. I know it’s easier said than done. As an entrepreneur, and particularly if you work with your family members, it’s extremely hard not to blur the lines and live your business 24/7 … but you MUST allow for some downtime. You MUST make the time to do things and think about things other than work, work and more work.
- Exercise. Another tough one … but necessary. Even if you go for a walk around the block or put on a stretching DVD in the mornings or late afternoons. You’ve got to keep moving! Put on some of your favorite music and dance around the room (or office). Keeping the blood flowing makes such a difference in your mood and energy level.
We’d love to hear your suggestions on how to maintain your energy level, especially when you are in a business where you need to be on 24/7.