I've always tied so much of my value to what I was producing via my past jobs or, in more recent years, through my flooring business or even the podcast. My worth was very directly tied to all of it. While I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my installation business, where the podcast should go, and what other ventures I am interested in, I wasn't producing a whole lot and was struggling with feeling worthless. I wasn't moving anywhere. I wasn't accomplishing anything. I was just at a standstill. None of the above was correct though. I was struggling with me. 

I spent seven years growing Illustrious Hardwoods and three years on Floor Academy. I gave it everything I had. There wasn't a lot of downtime. I may have been around my family, but I wasn't present. That level of dedication destroyed me—mentally and physically. 

I have started taking care of myself. I'm exercising. I'm eating better. I'm communicating with my wife and kids better. It took me a while to realize there are seasons in life. Sure, I knew that, but it wasn't clicking that this season was about me. It wasn't about installation or the podcast or developing some new and exciting idea. It was about working on me so that I can more successfully do those other things in the future. 

Taking time for you to slow down and experience life is very rewarding. This has been a lesson my daughter has been trying to teach me for years. There I am trying to leave a box store with some materials purchased on the weekend, and I have other things to get to. My daughter was probably three or four at the time, and she stops to smell the flowers on the plants outside. Literally just stopped. There I am, getting frustrated and saying let’s go, we gotta move and get this, that and the other thing done. She just keeps smelling the flowers. She calls me over to smell them, and I fight back. She won’t move. She wants me to enjoy the moment with her. I relent. I take a second and enjoy the moment. It didn’t cost me anything. It didn’t change how long anything took. I enjoyed a moment with my daughter to take in the world around us. How many of us need to slow down and smell the flowers?   

Don't forget about you and your needs. Don't forget about your family's needs. The business or the job do not have to be the obsession. It's okay for them to exist in a state that provides and maintains while you work on you. The candle does not have to burn at both ends all of the time. There are seasons for everything and perhaps I will get that candle burning on both sides again, but for now, I am content to work on me and have that be the focus while I play around with a few other things. 

Learning to set boundaries can be tough. It’s easy to answer the phone at all hours when you are starting out or answer that instant message that comes in late at night. Maybe you don’t have a lot of things lined up and are hungry for the work. Maybe you are off that day and get a call to look at a project and rush right over there to bid it. All of these things set bad boundaries for you and your clients. Your clients will expect you to drop everything for them, and you never have your own space away from the business. 

It was one reason why I got so burnt out. I have had to train myself to ignore incoming calls and schedule people for a few days later even though I may be free that day. There is something to be said for looking busy and unavailable. Think of it like dating. You want what you can’t have. Make your clients want you through your unavailability but deliver more than they expect when you are around. This mindset has greatly helped me lately. I can do more with less. 

Having less to do has freed me up to take care of me. I will spend an hour or two a day just walking. That’s four to eight miles a day. It’s great for your health. It gives me time to think and process ideas; it lets me listen to podcasts or audiobooks to learn new ideas; and I can’t complain about my weight loss either. Finding time to take care of yourself while running the business is certainly not an easy thing to do. 

I know plenty of guys and gals who swing by the gas station in the morning and grab a sandwich, some energy drinks and off they go. Then, they run out for lunch. Whoops, I‘ve got an estimate after work, time to swing by a fast-food joint on the way. No wonder so many of us are not healthy. Garbage in equals garbage out. How can we perform when we are not taking care of ourselves? 

It has been a struggle to balance all of this. Losing an hour or two to walking, taking time to make a healthy breakfast, packing a lunch that is good for you, and then coming home and having a good dinner—hours a day are lost on all of this. That is less time to work on the company and to work in the company. I have found ways to do more with less though. I have to manage the time better and stay completely focused on what I want to get done. I’m also happier not grinding it out day after day.   

I know my lifestyle choices created how I felt. The culture around us pushes grind culture. That’s not healthy, at least not in the way most perceive the grind culture to have to happen. Make sure you are taking care of your mental, physical and emotional health. Enjoy those around you, build relationships and take time to enjoy the little moments in life.