I’m a solopreneur and I make my own schedule. The other day I was talking with my coach about exercise. We were coming up with promises I could stick to in terms of moving my body several times a week. She suggested I do more cardio. I suggested I didn’t have time. She suggested I was making excuses. I agreed.
The reality is, I own my time. I’m extremely grateful for this. Many people ask me what’s the best thing about owning my own business. My answer is the best AND the worst thing about having my own business is that I have no boss. No one tells me what to do except me. It’s a beautiful thing to be in charge of my time and myself. It also sometimes really sucks . . . like when I’m feeling lazy or cranky or bratty. There are times when we all need to be told what to do. There are times when it actually is a huge relief when someone tells me what to do. I make decisions all day long and my deciding muscle is really strong. Sometimes she needs a rest. Sometimes she needs to surrender to the brilliance of another human being. (This is one of the reasons I hired a coach. Yes, I pay someone to be my boss.)
The hilarious thing about my excuse to my coach about not having time to exercise is that I said it as though someone other than me is behind the wheel. I know how importance exercise (daily, if possible) is to my overall well-being. I practice personal growth as a business-building strategy and I know how much more smoothly things go in my business life when I feel good. Exercise makes me feel good. When I feel good, I do good business. Therefore, moving my body is theoretically an important piece of my business plan.
And yet, so frequently it seems more important to clean out my inbox than to head to yoga class. I get very focused on a single task (such as writing a blog post like this one) and I deep-six the workout because in that moment my productivity, or bottom line, seems more important. It seems like I should spend as much of my time on income-generating activities as possible. After all, who am I if I’m not uber-productive and doing all the time? (This is a rhetorical question which shall most likely be answered in a future post.)
The great irony is that working my bottom in the gym actually improves my bottom line. I tout the business benefits of feeling good and making sure that one’s own cup is full before serving others because you can’t give of an empty cup. There is a part of me that knows doing a Sun Salutation instead of writing one last email actually makes me money, albeit indirectly. I do a Sun Salutation (or several along with a whole bunch of other postures, leaving me sweaty, blissed out, in my body, and stretched) and I feel better; I get on the phone with a potential team member and I sound uplifting, fun, and happy; they want to join my business to feel that way, too, and my business grows, along with my bottom line. (Plus my bottom gets a good work out too.)
What I’m saying is that there are so many things that we can do as entrepreneurs to grow our bottom line that don’t actually look like “work.” The intangibles are often the most valuable assets a business has; a brand’s attractiveness is often more energetic than palpable. And this attractiveness mostly comes from the people behind a brand. And you know what makes people happy, and therefore more attractive? Exercise. And meditating. And eating healthy food, going for walks, sitting in the sun, taking bubble baths, laughing, spending time with loved ones, laying in the grass, skinny dipping, having sex, taking naps. Are any of those “income generating”? Well, I suppose it depends on what line of work you’re in, but I know I don’t generate income directly from any of those activities (with the exception of spending time with loved ones because I genuinely do love the people I’m blessed to be in business with).
If you’re a business owner, or even if you’re not, the next time you’re looking to increase your bottom line, think outside the spreadsheet. Look to things that bring you pleasure. Research sustainable activities that release endorphins in the brain (i.e., activities besides consuming drugs, alcohol, and sugar, which is not sustainable). Add pleasure to your business plan. Work your bottom to grow your bottom line. Take a nap to increase your net worth. Have some fun to become financially free.
Your bottom or your bottom line? The answer, I think, is both.
(Thank you for reading. I wrote this post as a reminder to myself that work-related busy-ness is not necessarily next to Godliness.)
This post is part of Bindu Wiles’ 21.5.800 project.