Why you should run your health like a business

Introducing ‘Your Health is Your Business’, a new approach to thinking about your health and wellbeing as a business owner.  

Established by two local health coaches and Chamber members, Dahl from Nrgized Health & Nutrition, and Emma from Emma G Total Health, this collaborative project is focusing on five key aspects associated with healthy living: sleep, movement, nutrition, stress, and emotional resilience. The pair will also be promoting the importance of prioritising self-care, to ensure your health really is your business.  

 We asked Dahl and Emma to provide some advice to our Chamber members, starting with this introductory piece from Dahl looking at the correlation between how you look after your business and your health.

When you’re a small business owner, you quickly learn the importance of establishing a clear vision and planning ahead. 

You also understand why you need to set goals, act on areas of improvement and implement strategies that minimise and manage your risk. You start to recognise the value in surrounding yourself with the best people, including the team of experts you call on to provide support, guidance and accountability when you need it.

All of these factors are vital for maintaining profitability, sustainable growth, and keeping you one step ahead of your competitors.

That’s why I’m always amazed by how many small business owners choose a different route when it comes to their own health.

Nearly every day I come across at least one small business owner who, in terms of their own health, doesn’t have a clear vision or a meaningful goal. In spite of knowing what they need to do to live a healthier life, many of them struggle to take consistent or appropriate action.

It’s not until I point out that living a healthier life and running a successful business are so intrinsically linked that for some the penny begins to drop. But, for some, this still isn’t enough to prompt significant or appropriate action.  More often than not, rather than seek professional advice or engage the support and guidance an ‘expert’ (like they would if they were starting a business), they either continue to do nothing, or they try to go it alone.

I don’t know many small business owners who intentionally set out to manage a business that’s destined to fail… but I do know plenty of small business owners who are risking everything they are working so hard to build, simply because they put more value in their busy-ness than they do their health. 

I’m assuming that at the first signs of financial weakness, declining sales, or unhappy customers, these same people wouldn’t even blink at quickly seeking help to rectify their situation and contact the professionals to help them do it. But when it comes to their health, it’s the opposite. They ignore the early warning signs – lack of quality sleep, poor eating habits, lack of regular activity, headaches and mood swings.

This can go on, day after day, year after year until the inevitable crash happens. It’s only when something significant happens, and they’re forced to take stock and seek help.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Here are some tips that small business owners can apply to help them plan, manage and grow their health for the benefit of their business.

Set a goal, write it down, and put it in a place where you can view it every day: To be successful in business, you need to set tangible financial and or sales goals. The same is true for your health.

Every day, set yourself a daily health goal. Ideally this goal will be related to achieving a specific action e.g. eating lunch outdoors, stretching before and after a meeting, eating one piece of fruit before lunchtime. 

Make it a non-negotiable so that its repeated day in and day out. Before long you this will become a habit that’s simply a normal part of your working day, just like reading a report, or making a sales call.

Build a support team and surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed: A successful business is very rarely (if ever) built by one person. Most of us know that improving your health is very difficult, especially if you’re trying to do it alone, and more so if you’re already feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed.

Don’t be afraid to enlist the support of someone whose business is helping people in business live healthier and more productive lives. Tell your family and friends about what you are trying to do and explain to them why you want to make changes.  Don’t let embarrassment or pride prevent you from asking for help. Yes, you may have to invest some capital, both in terms of cash and time, but the return will certainly be worth it, and the stakes are simply too high for you not to.

Dahl and Emma pose for a photo.

Monitor progress regularly and use multiple tools/reports to track how things are going: There’s huge value in using a variety of tools to monitor progress/success.

If you’re using the scale, remember the scale is just ONE tool, and your value, or the value of your health can’t be measured by one number alone, and nor should it be. You are the expert in you, so how you think, how you feel, and how you live must be included when you’re putting together your health KPIs.

‘Get Rich Quick’ i.e. ‘Lose Weight Fast’ schemes always come with a price: Often ’Get Rich Quick’ plans involve sacrificing your integrity, values, and family, and it’s the same for ‘lose weight fast’ programmes. When it comes to your health, fast weight-loss often requires you to compromise your values. Quick fixes are not long term solutions – for your health, your business, or indeed, your life. 

Find a plan that you believe in and that aligns with your personal goals, lifestyle, and values – and STAY WITH IT. All too often, I see people jumping from one quick-fix to the next trying to find that magic bullet.   In reality their current plan, with some small and incremental adjustments, is all that’s needed to turn things around.

Listen to your GUT – for both health and business: I’ve found that when I’m working for myself, my gut (aka intuition) guides me best – but it is up to me to listen!  If my gut is uneasy, then the decision I’m pondering is most likely not the right one for myself or my business. This especially applies to nutrition and exercise.  If my gut is uneasy (gassy, bloated, hungry, full, etc.) or my body just doesn’t like what I’m asking it to do (beyond a little discomfort of course!) then they’re telling me what I’m doing isn’t right for me!  Learn to trust your inner intuition, it will always guide you towards a better decision if you listen closely enough.

Anything worth achieving takes time: Sometimes this is a hard one for most of us to swallow – be it in the terms of health or business.   Time is the one thing we all seem to want more of, and these days we don’t want to wait for anything. We want instant gratification. Instant success!  But patience is a virtue. So, if you know you are taking the right steps to reach your goals and you are putting in the work every day – then give it time – and you will succeed!

Practice some self-compassion: Be patient and treat yourself with some compassion and empathy.  Remember – even our greatest heroes have flaws. Focus on progress over perfection and you’ll be fine.  Learn how to enjoy the process, and have a little fun along the way.

Reward your progress – celebrate your success! In the business world, we get or give meaningful bonuses for a job well done. Take the same approach with your health and wellbeing. Clocking up daily wins should be reward enough, and celebrate your successes with humility and in the most a meaningful way possible!

This article is part of a series focused on treating your health like a business. The next article will focus on the energy ‘cashflow’. 

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