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Mike Cooper's Blog

By Mike Cooper | Broker in Winchester, VA

Phone a friend

If you're a business owner, you know what it means to burn the candle on both ends.  There can be some pretty long days and what seems like endless weeks.  I've had the mindset that you've got to make hay while the sun is shining, but recently, I've started to take a different look at things.

I buried a friend a few weeks ago.  She was 54.  That is not old by any standards, and it got me to thinking about my own trajectory.  It is pretty common for me to spend 12 hours or more a day concentrating on business.  That can often carry over into 7 days, and if I'm not paying attention, it can stretch into weeks without interruption. 

I love what I do.  I'm building two awesome companies simultaneously.  Both companiesare becoming stronger every month and they are both demanding more time.  Of course, that's to be expected as they grow.  At some point in the not too distant future, I'm  going to need to hire more workers, but for specific reasons, I'm not ready to hire any right now. 

This past weekend I took three days to escape to the mountains, and I noticed something.  I didn't take any Advil while I was gone.  I have gotten into a regular diet of Advil to shew away a nagging headache that pops up regularly during the week.  Stress manifests itself in numerous ways, and it appears that my headaches may be the way it's showing up in me.  

Even if you think you're not stressed, you may be.  I for one, always feel like I'm not stressed.  But to be honest, after some of the things I've done in my life that would stress anyone out, I don't feel stressed out or show typical signs of it, but that doesn't mean that my body and mind aren't taking on more stress than I realize. 

I wrote a blog last year about this topic.  In that blog, I asked the reader to hold two soup cans horizontally for as long as he/she could.  A can of Campbell's Tomato soup weights about 10.75 ounces.  Seems light enough, right?  Try it.  Hold them out to your sides horizontally until you can't old them any longer.  I promise you, it will not take as long as you think.

Carrying the world on your shouldersThe same is true of stress.  You can add those 10.75 oz cans of stress on day after day, and then one day when you don't see it coming, the weight becomes too heavy to carry and you collapse.  Please, know your limitations, and take care of yourself.  All of us are trying to succeed in life and business, but you won't succeed if you're incapacitated. 

Pay attention to your body.  Pay attention to your attitude.  Pay attention to how you interact with others.  If you find yourself getting angry more often, or you're getting worked up over things that didn't bother you before or your fuse has gotten shorter, if you're having trouble sleeping or your appetite has changed dramatically - that might be a sign that you are carrying more stress than you think.

What can you do?  Scale back your schedule.  Pass work on to others who are capable and willing to help.  Take a day off.  Change your diet.  Exercise.  Do yoga.  Take time to leisurely write a book.  Start a blog.  Phone a friend.  Go to lunch.  Take a walk.  Run a marathon.  Turn off the TV and read a book, but most of all be aware of signs that you're more stressed than you think you are.  I can guarantee you, if you're stressed, the signs are there if you're willing to see them.  Take care of yourself. 

 
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