A Self-Evaluation for Entrepreneurs

This is a checklist for myself as much as it’s for you. Although much of it applies to everyone, especially those who work at a desk, if you are an entrepreneur and work intensely, you likely need signs, signals, alarms and life forces to interrupt your work flow in order to take care of yourself. I hope that the following helps to make your days as healthy and as effective as possible.

Are you hydrated? It’s always time for a large clean glass of water. Bonus: add fresh organic lemon or liquid chlorophyll and drink up.

Have you eaten recently? Or, if you’re like me, have you eaten a piece of dark, fair-trade chocolate recently? But really, eat good food, often.

Have you stood up recently? Most of us are guilty of sitting for way too long. Try it right now: just place your feet on the floor and straighten your legs. Go outside, take a walk, do some light stretching by your desk. Invest in a healthy workspace (that means ergonomic furniture)! Practice yoga – every entrepreneur should do it. Practicing yoga on your own is wonderful, but sometimes scheduling yourself into a class might be more effective in forcing you to get up from your desk (personal experience). You will come out of each practice feeling refreshed, more grounded and ready to get back to work.

Have you donated or given some of your time? Your time is your most valuable commodity. Nothing will remind you of how valuable your time truly is more than giving it to those who could really use it. Give. And then give some more. It feels good, makes the world go round, and what you put out there, comes back to you. But really, imagine if we all shared just a little bit of our talent or experience with another every day.

Have you asked for support? Whether you feel most supported when speaking to your peers or to a professional, anything that makes you feel stuck is worth talking about. Virtually or in person, build your community. Exchange ideas. Connect others. Refer each other. Asking for help is a sign of strength, and nurtures development.

Are you dressing the part? Working doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be comfortable. Make sure you are wearing clothes that give off your desired impression, but also stay true to you. (I wrote this post wearing an organic cotton t-shirt and stretchy pants, bare foot and cross-legged at my desk).

Are you getting enough sleepIf you can’t remember the last time you slept a truly full night (it happens to us all), set the intention now to make it happen tonight. Close the blinds, shut out all lights (every device included), and hit the sack. We are all busy, pulled in so many directions, and all have so much to do, but we have to take care of ourselves in order to keep it all up. It’s healthy and necessary to push ourselves, but pushing yourself too much can impact your health and your long-term success.

Are you getting nothing done? It’s inevitable to feel this way sometimes. I find clients can often be so hard on themselves when they feel like they aren’t accomplishing or getting enough done, or anything done in a specific area. We just need to pause and start small – check any small task off of your to-do list (it can be as little as following up on an email). Be regular, not rigorous. Build yourself a steady momentum. Consistency almost always wins over frequency. Expect improvement, not miracles. Change happens when you keep practicing. Your best strategic plan will always be called “Doing Things.” Know that you are making a difference. One way or another, you are tipping the scales. The proverb that I live and work by is, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” Measure your success constantly, and base your success on YOUR progress. Period.

Do you feel stuck? You aren’t. Or, if you really are, you can unstick yourself with ease. Learn to breathe. Do not underestimate the power of breath and being connected to it. Pause, and make conscious, deliberate moves. Be mindful. There’s nothing more powerful than your brain. If something isn’t working, move on. Identifying what isn’t working is as important as figuring out what is, and what can be. Evolve constantly.

Have you waited a week? Sometimes when we’re too close to something, it messes with our perspective. Wait a week. See if you feel the same way when you’ve put some time between you and anything bothering you. As entrepreneurs we’re often revving on high. Acting quickly is quintessential to being an entrepreneur, but if you need to slow down in order to be mindful, do that, rather than being too reactive based on an emotional knee-jerk reaction. Be kind to yourself. Go slowly. You don’t need to be a pro out of the gate, be good to yourself and set a good pace. As Einstein said, “It’s not that I am so smart, I just stick with problems longer.”

Do you feel behind? Being successful isn’t about chasing something. It is about being present right where you are to make the most of it all right now. We all get better, but we need to do the work first, and that work will likely piss you off, at least a bit. It’s worth it.

Are you working outside of your comfort zone? You should be! The best source of knowledge is experience. Get going – you are only waiting on yourself! Playing it safe is actually risky. Fitting in is failure, standing out and up is success.

Are you comparing yourself to others? Resist the urge to judge others or put them on a pedestal (although feel free to be inspired by them and their work). You never know of their struggles or gifts, and where they really are in their own business and life. You have NO idea what is happening behind their beautiful website, or how many copies of their book they really sold, or if they can pay their rent easier than you can. Focus on you, because that is what you know, and what you can control.

Have you hugged someone today? You should. Hugging is so much better than a handshake or a fist bump. How many things in life are as good to give as they are to receive?

We are likely doing much better than we think. It’s not about making it through every day, it’s about making the most of every day – not just for our work life, but for our greater life, which includes our work.  We are all different, so add your own questions (and answers) to help make the day work for you, as much as you work for the day.