For many small business owners, work is a calling. The Lord has gifted you in entrepreneurship, leadership, ingenuity, and other skills. Therefore, this journey of business ownership is fulfilling a passion and purpose.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t still get tired.
In fact, as business owners, so much of ourselves is poured into our work that burnout is even more of a threat. Your time, resources, heart, and soul are poured out. And sometimes you find that you’re not exactly feeling replenished by the outcomes of your dedication.
Why should this matter to you?
Aside from the numerous negative side effects on your personal health and thriving (increased cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety, early mortality, diabetes, and interpersonal conflict, just to name a few) burnout is proven to lessen professional effectiveness and limit performance.
So how do you protect yourself from this impending burnout and recover when it inevitably makes its arrival?
A research study conducted with over 300 individuals recently provided interesting insights into factors contributing to burnout and preventative care for Christians.
As it turns out, there are some unique experiences for Christian leaders that impact you as an individual and contribute to burnout:
- Time demands– Many business owners don’t work the 9-5 hours. And even when you’re not physically at work, it occupies your mind and resources.
- Expectations from self or others– As an owner, you have high expectations of yourself and your business. As a leader, others are depending on you and looking to you for a high standard of behavior and performance.
- Isolation– With the expectations and demands previously discussed, creating rhythms of community and social support are challenging and feel difficult to prioritize leading you to withdraw or hold energy back from engaging relationally.
- Loneliness– As an owner, you hold a unique position and have a different experience from your staff or peers. It can be lonely to not share your experience or be understood by others.
- Fear and burden of failure- Ultimately you are accountable and hold responsibility for your business and employees. That is a heavy weight to bear.
Examining each of these through our lense as believers also puts some pieces together. Perhaps you feel additional pressure to live up to a standard of Christian ideals or holiness, plus the expectations of stewardship or management. These contributing factors make it easy to see why burnout is such a prevalent experience among leaders.
However, the study produced three top factors that are most indicative for preventing burnout. These are protective factors that should be established as integral parts of an entrepreneur’s life before burnout is a factor in order to prevent this kind of exhaustion or lessen the extent of the experience if it occurs. This is entrepreneurial resilience- prioritizing necessary preventative care as business activities and building strength to bounce back from the inevitable challenges leadership will present.
Three Components of Preventative Care
When demands rise, it is easier to withdraw than assert energy toward developing resources for help. However, this is the time when support becomes the most critical. Therefore, setting up a variety of support systems (not putting all your eggs in one basket) is necessary before burnout hits. Some support systems you may tap into could be: a regular coffee/lunch group with fellow business owners, personal therapy, a business coach, family members, mentors further along the road, or other friends and social supports.
Regular Spiritual Renewal
Continuous nurturing of personal intimacy with God is shown to be effective in preventing burnout. This may look different for different people, but a good place to start is with spiritual disciplines. Regular time in God’s word, prayer practices, worshiping at church, and time with fellow believers may all be ways to fill up your soul. Consider what makes you feel spiritually renewed and set aside time for these things as important tasks to managing your business.
Rest Taking Practices
Sabbath keeping should be considered a top business activity as an entrepreneur! Statistics show that many owners only take one day off per week, and another percentage take zero days off from work every week. Understanding that you will not be able to effectively manage your business without respecting this personal limitation will free you to be more innovative, effective, and healthy as an individual.
So maybe this is the secret sauce of business ownership. Identifying how to be your healthiest self- so that you can be effective in work and leadership allowing your company to flourish. Resilience may mean doing the hard work of preventative care so that when hardship approaches you are able to bounce back, rise above, learn and grow stronger than you were before. For help with implementing these preventative care techniques or to build up your support system, Crossroads is here. Get in touch at https://crossroadcoach.com/contact/.