For you entrepreneurs who think self-care is selfish, a few words from Katie McDonald could change your mind. The CEO of bnourished® and popular keynoter uses tried-and-tested tools to rescue her clients: people who are often taking care of business at the expense of taking care of themselves. Sound familiar? We asked Katie for advice on how to take back control of your life. Below are some essential insights, in her own words.
Be an Intentional Entrepreneur
One of the main perks of entrepreneurship is that we get to build our own environment. We get to build our own solution, on our terms, in our way, and have the impact and legacy that we want to leave without having to navigate a culture that doesn’t serve us.
However, what I often see is entrepreneurs who started with good intentions—to protect their life outside of work, to create a nourishing and inspiring environment at work—forfeit those intentions instead. They forget to take responsibility and delight in their work. They forget to design their own week. They take on clients that don’t elevate them, that might be denigrating or unappreciative.
As entrepreneurs we have so many choices that allow us to nurture ourselves. It starts with the caliber of the client that we choose and setting standards for the people with whom we’ll work. It’s also about identifying the clear yes’s and definite no’s when we’re presented with opportunities. And, most importantly, it’s about how we design our week.
Time Management vs. “Me” Management
So many people say they’re good at managing time. What they’re managing are external commitments and appointments; what they’re not managing is themselves. Time management is energy management, it’s “me” management. Entrepreneurs usually start with a blank week, and it’s their job to fill it. Intentional entrepreneurship requires us to know who we are and to design a week that supports and allows for our strengths, protects our time outside of work, and protects our time for creativity.
So, for example, Monday is my administrative day. That’s because I’ve just come off the weekend, my house is empty, and that’s my time to really get to working on my business. Tuesday and Wednesday are my client times, and my first appointment is at 9 am, because 5-9 am is my morning routine that I unapologetically protect. I’m open for business at 9, when I’m available and at my best. My last appointment ends at 2, before my energy levels drop (like all of us do) at 3 pm. I need time to wrap up my client work while I’m still at my best, and it also doesn’t interfere with my family life.
Design for Success
Understanding who we are, how we want to live, and what kind of business we want to inhabit—we forget that, we give that away. We fall into the very corporate trap that we left behind and try to recreate it in our own businesses. We forget that, wow, I have full agency here. I’m 100% responsible for how I design my day, and we’re often forfeiting that in the pursuit of a successful business.
But, in fact, it’s the opposite. When we leverage our creativity, when we allow for spaciousness, when we regulate our energy and priorities, we’re far more successful than we’d be if we just reacted all day to whatever fires erupt. That’s why intentional entrepreneurship requires not only self-discipline, but also compassion, boundaries, and self-awareness.