Recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal a trend that makes my heart proud: More people than ever are exploring entrepreneurship.
In 2021, just under five million new businesses were registered in the U.S. alone. That’s five million more people putting their passion and purpose together to create better lives for themselves and others. And the boom is expected to continue in 2022, with 17 million new businesses projected to launch.
Of course, these entrepreneurs will quickly learn what many seasoned business owners already know: Success takes more than passion and purpose. It also requires tremendous perseverance — the kind of effort and determination that keeps you going late into the night and powering through long days.
When you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s easy to fall into habits that can quickly lead to burnout. And while the pandemic has brought employee wellness to the forefront, entrepreneurs are often left out of the conversation, despite the effort required to grow their businesses – often at the expense of their wellbeing.
When you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s easy to fall into habits that can quickly lead to burnout.
Taking care of your health, and recharging your positivity battery, is paramount to success, no matter when and how you work. As a leader who supports a global network of a million entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space, I’m constantly inspired by the innovative steps they take to put their own wellness front and center as they grow their businesses — even through difficult times.
Here are three lessons I’ve learned from my network that I hope will help you to nourish your own wellbeing while you strive to reach your business goals this year.
Find your well of inspiration
We’ve all learned over the past two years how important it is to have strong social connections — and how hard it is to succeed without them. This is especially true for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship and loneliness have been known to go hand in hand. And it’s not surprising that toiling away night and day to build a business can be somewhat isolating — particularly during a pandemic.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Finding a community of like-minded people can be like tapping into a deep well of inspiration, support and kindness; balm for the spirit when you’re running on fumes.
Some of my favorite entrepreneurs have baked social connection right into their business models, buddying up with a partner or cofounder, or tapping into existing communities that can boost their energy and enthusiasm.
Those connections don’t have to be local. The pandemic has shown that virtual communities are just as powerful as physical ones. I follow nearly 900 Amway entrepreneurs on Instagram, and their passion and propensity to propel one another is so uplifting to me.
Take Esther and Leonard Kim for example. This 75-year-old South Korean couple has not only grown their business together, they’ve also plugged into Korea’s popular online health community, 25 Cent Ride, a Peloton-like group of bike enthusiasts and business owners who spin together while offering one another energy and support.
Serve others (and not just your customers)
Most entrepreneurs have a higher purpose behind their business. They might be looking for an outlet for their creativity, for flexibility in their working hours, or maybe they’re looking to grow a team or a community.
But just like giving back can boost morale for company employees, looking beyond personal business goals can be a source of emotional energy and motivation for entrepreneurs.
Studies show that when we act in service of others, it can really feed the soul. And entrepreneurs are in a unique position to make an outsized impact on their communities.
For example, entrepreneurs in our network help support the work we do with food banks and underserved communities — we’ve even built playgrounds, farms and contribute to a program that helps support women entrepreneurs in India.
But even much smaller contributions, like donating to a local homeless shelter or community center, can fill your personal bucket with pride, satisfaction and the energy that comes from knowing you’re lifting others up.
Be generous with your wins
Anyone who has started a business knows that learning comes with the territory. That’s why concepts like “growth mindset” have gained such traction in the last few years.
But retraining your brain is not only good for your long-term health, it’s also easier when you share your newfound knowledge with others. It’s called the retrieval principle, and it’s based on research that shows people retain 90% of new learnings when they put them into practice immediately. I’ve seen this principle in action with so many entrepreneurs I know. They’re not certified nutritionists or physiologists; they’re simply passionate about health and wellbeing, and came to their businesses with an open mind, a hunger to learn and a generous spirit.
There’s nothing more energizing than helping someone else improve their life.
These folks have committed to learning as much about marketing, sales and networking as they have about exercise, nutrition and healthy habits. But as hard as they’ve worked to acquire their knowledge, they don’t hoard it. They’re sharing freely with their communities, passing the knowledge — and the torch — to up-and-comers. What they’ve learned, and taken to heart, is that there’s nothing more energizing than helping someone else improve their life. Turns out paying it forward pays big dividends for your own wellbeing.
I know how hectic running a business can be — and how easy it is to think that putting your own health and wellness on the back burner will benefit the business long-term. But ultimately, as an entrepreneur you’re the engine that keeps everything going. If you burn out, so does the business. Learning from entrepreneurs who’ve struck the balance between a healthy business and a healthy life has inspired my own wellness journey. I hope it inspires you to prioritize your health and wellbeing in 2022.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.