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Are You Pushing Yourself
Too Hard?

Periodically, we all need to reassess our personal or business situation, set new goals, make new plans, and face the fact that, to get back on track, some uncomfortable—even painful—changes may have to be made.

by Barbara Brabec

YOU'VE OFTEN HEARD IT SAID that there is much to be learned from painful life experiences. How true. As I was going through my second knee-replacement surgery in 2006 and really pushing myself to do the intensive physical therapy that was required for maximum mobility, I was once again reminded of the fact that self-employed individuals have a tendency to push themselves much harder than they would allow any employer to push them. This is true not only where one's business is concerned, but in all areas of life.

As I continued to moan about my inability to motivate myself to get back to work, my sisters and friends had to keep reminding me that I was being too hard on myself and expecting too much of myself at a time when my mind and body simply could not comply. (Sound familiar?)

If you're working hard on your business, maybe it's time for you to sit back for awhile and ponder your situation. As I've often emphasized in my business writing, nothing stays the same, and we must always remain flexible and be willing to change when necessary. In my various books and newsletters, I've often written about the specific changes I've had to make in my business to accommodate changing personal life circumstances. This is something I'm still doing today.

After being widowed in 2005 and going through two major surgeries right afterwards, I once again found it necessary to reassess my personal situation and make a number of changes in the way I was then living and working. I began by making several to-do lists and soon found myself working on a detailed three-year plan for all the things I wanted or needed to do to achieve my new business and personal goals, among which were bringing myself back to better physical health after years of being a caregiver for my husband, enlivening my social life, planning new writing/publishing projects for the future, and getting rid of excess "stuff" in the house. Last year I once again found myself going through this process, concluding that the older we get and the longer we've been in business, the more often we need to step back and look at our personal and business life and long-term goals with critical eyes.

What I had temporarily forgotten in 2006 and then remembered again last year, was how mentally energizing it can be to just sit back for a while and think about such things. Business pros understand the importance of writing a business plan and updating it often, but written plans are also helpful when you're trying to achieve personal goals. "Putting things in writing really opens your eyes, helps you get focused, and makes you stay on track," one of my readers wrote.

A Good Plan Will Necessitate Change

There are different ways to plan, with list making being one of the simplest ways to start a written plan. Once a list has been made, you'll probably need to plot various jobs or activities to a calendar to meet whatever deadline dates you've set for yourself. And if this seems too hard to do, just write down your goals every year and let those written goals serve as a plan.

As you think about your new plans for your personal life and business, ask yourself this important question: Are you living life the way you really want to . . . or the way others want you to live it?

Making changes of any kind is always painful to one degree or another, but I've learned that change usually brings its own rewards. ACTION automatically leads to ACTIVITY, which in turn leads to MOMENTUM, and once we get something new rolling, other interesting things are likely to develop.

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." - Alan Cohen

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