Stop Killing Yourself in the Quest for Professional Perfection

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Guest Blog By Julie Morris

As a small business owner or management professional, it’s perfectly normal to push yourself above and beyond. But there is a time when you have to accept that you can no longer dangle yourself over the edge without falling into unhealthy patterns.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you try to navigate the ever-stressful path toward professional growth:

You don’t have to do it alone

First and foremost, you have to understand that you can’t do everything by yourself and expect everything to be perfect. You have to let go of some responsibilities in order to free up your time to pursue other endeavors, such as growing your business or fostering your family relationships. The tasks you choose to outsource should be the ones that are least — or most — impactful to your personal or professional life. For example, consider hiring a virtual assistant to field phone calls or organize online documents. You can also utilize online services to find someone to walk your dog, mow the lawn, clean the house, or drive you back and forth to important meetings so that you can use this time to catch up on emails or Slack messages.

The effects of stress

Concordia University St. Paul recently published a fairly extensive article outlining the causes of workplace stress. Regardless of the reasons, when the pressure is on, your body and mind would rather be off. To put it simply and bluntly, stress screws with your body. It can tank your willpower and distract you from everything that’s important, including your self-care activities. Stress can trigger emotional exhaustion, weight gain and depression. Even more alarming, however, is that chronic exposure to cortisol, the hormone your brain sends rippling through your bloodstream when you’re stressed out, contaminants your body from the inside out. Excess stress and increased cortisol levels can trigger brain cell degradation. Some doctors even refer to cortisol as the death hormone.

To keep stress from taking over your life and health, you need to utilize tools that will help you keep it under control. For instance, eating a proper healthy diet and getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day can do a lot to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. And if you have a habit of doing everything you can for anyone who asks, take a step back every once in a while and focus on yourself. Saying “no” might be difficult at first, but putting others ahead of your own well-being will only create more stress and worries in the long run.

Self-care is good for your business

Many small business owners often work nearly 15 hours each day, which leaves little time for anything else. But the way you care for yourself – how you eat, sleep and enjoy life – is absolutely vital to your business. #GirlBoss and media industry entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso tells AOL, “Investing in yourself in simple ways allows you to show up to work and perform at your best,” and that self-care isn’t narcissistic or shallow. She asserts that taking good care of yourself is the best way to ensure that you have the mental and physical capacity to bounce back after failures.

Your demands are unrealistic

When you work for someone else, you’re expected to keep up with their demands. This may include everything from balancing an unmanageable workload to having to navigate the ins and outs of your industry in an understaffed office. But when you work for yourself, you hold yourself to a higher standard. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to bite off more than they can chew without even realizing their plate has begun to overflow. Learn to pay attention to your workload and find ways to streamline or eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming processes.

The bottom line is that if you want to continue being successful, you may need to step away from some of your work responsibilities, if only for a few moments. Quit being so hard on yourself and remember that if you lose your health, you lose everything. Stress can kill you unless you kill it first.


Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. She’s living this passion by the use of her site:

Image via Pexels

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