Is “play” a four-letter word in your small business?

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

An award-winning small business attorney in New York City, Nina is a sought-after professional speaker and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She is the go-to counsel for knowledge economy and creative companies, delivering legal services and educational resources that save them time, money, and aggravation.

Posted on March 23, 2018 in All Systems Go!

“SPEAK!” PROFIT!” “ACTION!” filled my computer screen in rich tones of red and blue and green. A fellow speaker had wangled me a free—FREE!—ticket to a 4-day high-ticket workshop, and I was invited.

Normally, I’d jump on the opportunity like an eager puppy. Scheme a way to attend and explain to my husband why I needed to be away on yet another business trip. My suitcase would be packed before I got the plane tickets.

Instead, I wanted to cry. I suddenly felt the meaning of the phrase “straw that broke the camel’s back.” What’s the big deal? If the timing, the staffing, the finances aren’t right, just say no and move on … right? Rather, I felt like an over-burdened donkey trudging up a hill, and this was one more brick added to my load.

Did I refuse the invitation and move on? No. (Not right away, anyway.) I first reached out to one of my mastermind, Rochelle Lisner of Dynamic Business Growth. To ask what was wrong with me. Why was I having another Moody Monday?

Rochelle gently reframed the issue. “When was the last time you did something just for fun?” she asked. BULL’S-EYE! I couldn’t remember. Tears prickled my eyes. It’s been three solid months (probably more) of family crisis, product launch, nieces’ graduation parties, PT for a sprained ankle. Even playful stuff like hair blowout, trashy murder mysteries, and manicures were in the service of something else. A wedding (had to look my best). Travel to family events (distraction for the journey). Overall cleanliness.

Play had become a four-letter word.

I then spoke to my colleague, Kristi Royse, principal of KLR Consulting, for her take. For 20 years, Kristi’s firm has helped organizations build and develop better and more collaborative leadership teams. And as a business owner herself, she understands the burnout issue first-hand.

Her prime takeaways:

  • Pay attention to the signals. You’ll notice patterns. Cycles of “I’m not happy” or “I feel like a failure in everything—clients, spouse, kids, self” are signs that you’ve lost a healthy perspective. And that something in your business needs to shift.
  • Get trained eyes to help you see. Call it “Divine discontent” or exhaustion, sometimes we need others to help us see our situation differently. Become part of a mastermind or hire a strategic coach to get an outside perspective.
  • Play to your strengths. Are you doing work and taking on challenges that feed your growth? Or are you bored, stagnant, frustrated? Consider hiring/outsourcing to get tasks off your plate that drag you down and steal your play time.
  • Treat yourself like your favorite client. You probably make them a priority, don’t you? You put their appointments on your calendar. Keep your promises to them. Speak to them with respect. Do the same for yourself when choosing how to unwind and care for your health.

Entrepreneurship is not just about building a business. It’s about building a life that serves you. And when you bring play back into your life, you boost your profits too.

So how do you balance/integrate/juggle work and play? Post a comment below and let us know.

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