Your 2017 Mantra: I Matter
One of the greatest expenses you will ever have in your life is opportunity cost. -Warren Buffett
Did you know that you matter? Like, Viola said in The Help -- You is Important. Do you know how your importance is visually represented in your life -- if at all? Although it seems like a small statement, and unrelated concept -- the way it impacts your life is huge. You matter, meaning there needs to be space for you to show up in your life, and you need to create that space for yourself.
As women, we are so ready to put things before ourselves -- albeit from a place of compassion, concern, love and respect. The problem is, it’s often at the expense of you. We need to remember, a mantra, that reminds us we matter too. It’s important that we apply the same compassion, concern, love and respect we have for others, to ourselves. As we’ve been told, and seen all too often -- you cannot pour from an empty cup.
What Makes an Empty Cup
We find ourselves empty, and blame it on “burnout.” This term is nothing but a cop out, relinquishing us of the ownership we have over our actions. Burnout is the too common symptom of a broken relationship between our priorities, namely work and life. This is part of a larger issue: stress. Stress in your life in has very little to do with where the symptoms present themselves, like work. However, it has everything to do with the choices you make about how you want to live your life.
Disclaimer: I do not believe in work-life balance -- it’s an elusive concept that is backwards. Even if I were to buy into the hype -- it would most certainly be called life-work balance. What I do believe is life and work do not need to balance, they need to coexist. Especially as an entrepreneur, this relationship needs to be as fluid as possible.
It’s not about the specifics of your job, venture, life and/or social calendar that need balancing. It’s the choices you make (and don’t make) about how these things fit into your life. Being aware of your choices, and approaching them mindfully with clear purpose can transform your relationship with yourself, and stress -- and put work in its place. The first step to begin this is assessing what “yes” really means.
Is it a Good Yes, or a Bad Yes?
In business, before saying “yes” an assessment is made to determine the cost to the business. The term coined to this is opportunity cost. The opportunity cost is a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Since every resource (money, time, etc.) can be put to alternative uses, every action, choice, or decision has an associated opportunity cost.
From this, opportunity cost in your life can be viewed as what benefits you could have received if you were to choose a different or alternate path. In the case of remembering that You Matter -- the alternate choice is you first. If you learn to weigh the cost of exerting your time in different places with different people and in different activities, you’d be less apt to drive yourself to burnout. Sometimes saying "yes" to that last minute event, is really saying "no" to you and your actual goals at the moment. In reality you are stealing from yourself.
The Best Yes
Despite how passionately you embrace your life, the bottom line is we have a finite amount of time and a limited amount of energy -- we simply can’t do everything. To stop stealing from yourself, you have to first, as always -- know you. You have to know what your goals are, what your focus is, who and what fills you, as well as what depletes you. If your job is the culprit, look to build activities that bring you joy and relieves stress into your days and weeks. In entrepreneurship, it's about diligence. Having the appropriate knowledge, processes, and help in place, to prevent your presence being needed at every turn. You have to make your venture work for you, not you work for it.
For those of you who value freedom and don’t like to feel bound to a schedule, this is not that. Yes, although this sounds like the antithesis to spontaneity -- it’s not. Having a better understanding of yourself in this regard -- allows you to make this “best yes assessment” in your head and on the fly. It’s not that you can’t say yes -- it’s that you understand the ripple effects and are prepared for it’s impact.
“There is an opportunity cost for everything we do. This is why we must have the awareness to ensure that what we are pursuing is really what we value, because the pursuit leaves countless lost opportunities in its wake. We choose one experience at the sacrifice of all other experiences.” ― Chris Matakas, The Tao of Jiu Jitsu