The Warrior Retreats to gather strength.

The Warrior Retreats to gather strength.

Posted by Liz Harwood on

73 days ago we entered lockdown and it forced people to work from home.

For me, it wasn't hard at all as I am both the owner of the FAMARA brand and also a Marketing Contractor and have worked 'from home' for most of my career.

When I worked in the corporate arena, I had a young family and I realised that 2 days of the weekend were simply not enough. The moment you woke on Saturday there were a list of chores that needed to be completed, and on Sunday you were already preparing your mind for Monday.

When I stepped out of that role, and took the decision to work for myself, like many business owners I worked pretty much 7 days a week fearful that if I didn't my new clients wouldn't think I was doing enough. After my marriage broke down (kids were 2,3 and 5), I continued to work most hours in a day to keep the business and the kids moving forward.

So having exited a senior position that required my attention from 9-6pm 5 days a week and that came with a healthy salary, 25 days a year holiday and healthcare - I'd stepped off the treadmill to the supposed 'freedom' of running my own business.

I'd stepped into a 7 day week, no healthcare provision, and every holiday suitcase would have to have space for my laptop. It was intense, and relentless. Trying to be all things. Creator, accountant, prospector, sales team, marketeer, accountant, HR, etc However there had to be some upside right?

Eventually it dawned on me that I needed to give myself permission to embrace the power of being my own boss and 'allow' myself to take Fridays 'off'. Balance was key if I wasn't going to burn out. I weighed up the pro's and con's, embraced that fear, and finally gave myself permission to enjoy Fridays.

My day. My balance. My 'guilt free' day.

When I took on a client I let them know that I was available to them all hours except Fridays.

I was clear.
Expectations were set.

And I embraced the new format with some trepidation.

N.B. It's odd now realising I'm writing this on a Friday with absolutely no thoughts in my head that I should be answering other emails, attending to other things. Today I do what 'feels' instinctive.
So for over 25 years Fridays were my weekend - just for me.
Don't confuse this decision with laziness.

I thought of my business constantly, but I thought of my health, my sanity, and my children constantly too.

As the kids were at school, I could play golf, see a friend or, (as I did frequently later on when the kids were older), I could fly out on a Thursday night and back on a Sunday for a much needed change of scene.

Far from reducing my efficiency it increased it.

Time spent during the working week suddenly became a power house. An engine room of efficiency because my mind was rested, not interrupted by exhaustion and desperation.
To reinforce this point, I came across this article. Marcus Raichle, professor of radiology, neurology, neurobiology and biomedical engineering at Washington University, made a pivotal discovery by revealing how a specific area of the brain responds to down time.

"A great deal of meaningful activity is occurring in the brain when a person is sitting back and doing nothing at all," says Raichle

As a creative marketeer, my refreshed brain was not bogged down with clutter, but free to explore incredible opportunities for my clients. They noticed, I noticed and my family noticed how much more fun I was and how much more efficient I became.

One time only, I reversed the decision. I was fearful for money and went back to work in an office 5 days week. Then worked the remaining 2 days to keep my own business going. To my regret I had the worse year of my life, yet it also came with positives. It forced me to take stock once again and I embraced the opportunity to walk away from corporate life, live my dream, and went on to launch FAMARA in 2016.

I still take Friday's as a day to do everything that makes my heart sing. Often that's painting, writing, creating in some way or other, or, it can be catching up with someone, playing golf, or nipping off for a change of scene.
What I'm really trying to say is give yourself permission to take time for yourself. You earned it. You took the road less travelled when you started your business and this is your reward to yourself.

Resting, recharging, even stepping back from your business for a period enables you to gather strength to surge forward on the path to success, after all "The Warrior Retreats to Gather Strength" (Nordic Runes)

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