I used to be a worker bee, but when I became the Queen Bee, my business changed! And it was all to do with self-care.
More than Hair and Nails
I used to think self-care was all about going to the hairdressers, getting my nails done, and perhaps a massage. But it’s so much more! It can be as simple as three breaths to feel calm. Time in nature, listening to the birds. Taking time for a break. For the Female Business Owner, it is a basic need. So why do we so often overlook it?
Back in my Corporate days. It was essential to look the part and a percentage of my salary would be spent on what I looked like. For me it was a mask and armour. I felt I needed to look the part to be respected and to protect myself, as well as fit in!
When I became a mum, I felt I had to put my daughter before all else, including myself. I’m not sure how I came to the conclusion. Whether I was told, I witnessed others being praised for it or whether it was instinct. I know years ago, when we bought our now 14-year-old black lab as a puppy, her breeder pointed out her Mum had lost fur. She proudly told us that it was because when dogs gave birth, they give everything to their litter… I somehow, felt that it was something I should aspire to. A selfless act, as our creations are more important than us. I wasn’t thinking children at the time, it was all about my career back then, but it stuck in my mind.
It was compounded further
Not long after having my eldest, I left my corporate job to start my business and I took that “selfless” act one step further. Obviously, I no longer needed a mask and armour to fit in. Leaving a very nice, regular salary for financial uncertainty, reducing our household income significantly, I felt I should further sacrifice the nice things. I justified this in my head, that my business was another child, and it should also come before me. Nice things would wait until I was successful (whenever that was going to be!).
I challenge this thinking
The problem I have with all this, is that if you don’t look after yourself, then how can you look after a child or a business. They need you. They are both reliant on you. Without you, to be blunt, they will die.
I have travelled the world and listened to many Cabin Crew (often my Dad, as he worked for BA for 30 years!) tell us to put the oxygen mask on first, then help others. As a child, I always thought it a strange concept. I was told to help others, why would I help myself first. But after much “self-Care Sacrifice” and as a result, limited business success, I now know why. If we help someone put on the oxygen mask before ourselves, we can help maybe 1 or 2 people. If we put it on ourselves first, we have help 5 maybe even 10 people.
Apply this to your business (or your kids)
By looking after yourself first, you can be more beneficial to your business (and your kids) than if you don’t. Neither can exist without you and neither can thrive if you are not thriving. Putting yourself first is not selfish, it is selfless. For business, it makes business sense.
Self-Care = Self-Worth
There is a direct link between self-care and self-worth. If you care about yourself, you value yourself and vice versa… makes sense? So, taking this further, if you don’t care about yourself, then you don’t value yourself and if you don’t value yourself, why would others value you? If they don’t value you, then they won’t buy from you… simple as that.
Life is a mirror
What we feel about ourselves is reflected like a mirror in the way that others act towards us. So, if we don’t place importance on our own self-care and self-worth, others will reflect that to us and treat us as such. Taking this to a business level, then a lack of self-care and self-worth will be reflected in the way of people not valuing what you and your business offers.
I’ve witnessed this
I know my first years in business were all about my sacrifice. It was what I thought I had to do, to nurture my business. I slowly went down the list of priorities, with kids and business and then husband and even dogs ranking higher. As my self-care declined… and I’m not talking going to hairdressers etc here, I’m talking more basic, like not showering because I didn’t have time, not eating healthily because it was easier to grab crisps… so did my self-worth. With that my relationships were affected, but worst of all, my business was struggling. I would hear comments about “too expensive” or “gosh, I’m not paying that”.
The stories we make
With all my self-care, I had created a story that my family treated me like a slave. They didn’t care for me. In their eyes I was there to serve. But this was not the case. This was my story, and they were reflecting it onto me.
Reaching the bottom
It got to a point, where I sat on the toilet… don’t imagine things here! I sat with the lid down, head in hands… it was a room with a lock and probably another reflection on how I felt about things that I ran to the toilet and not to my bedroom sanctuary! Sitting there I wondered how on earth I was going to get out of this hole! Looking back now and realise it was a form of burnout.
I had spiralled down to the bottom
I was in despair. Having suffered with anxiety and depression, I knew the feeling. I also knew I did not want that feeling. Not sure why, but I came to the conclusion that if no-one else treated me nicely, then I had to do it myself… not quite the right way to think, but it got me on the right path. I wiped my tears and opened the door…
It was a slow process
I’m not going to suggest that from that day on, things have been amazing. It has taken time and lots of realisations, but ultimately it is a win win. By caring and valuing about myself, others reflected care and value to me.
I’m still climbing
Since that day, I’ve made myself a higher priority (I still slip occasionally) and the difference has been spectacular. The relationship with my family has changed unrecognisably, none more so than with my husband. I was in shock (nicely) last year, when the events of COVID-19 led to a lockdown and my husband made the comment, that he would do all the shopping etc, as it was in everyone’s interest to keep the queen bee (i.e., me!!!) safe! How things have changed since my feeling of being their slave, I’m now considered the Queen Bee!
This has also translated into my businesses, which have gone from strength to strength. Each time I invest time or maybe money in my self-care, I raise my self-worth. When I raise my self-worth, others reflect that and value what I am selling.
Prioritise YOU embrace being the Queen Bee
Self-Care is business sense. Without you, your business cannot survive. It needs you to be fit and healthy to nurture it, so that it can thrive. I know there are many financial worries at the moment, but self-care doesn’t need money. Take a walk and enjoy nature. Mediate. As my yoga teacher would say, simply taking 3 mindful breathes can relieve stress (and won’t take a lot of time!). Most importantly Be Kind to yourself. To use the Bee analogy, you are the Queen bee, without you the hive dies…
I’d love to connect
For more information and support on self-care and other topics to help you grow your business, why not join myself and lots of other amazing female business owners in my free Facebook group… The Female Business Owners Mastermind