Sometimes, guilt is a part of the package when it comes to being an entrepreneur. We all feel moments of guilt when it comes to our work/life balance. And there are periods of time when most of us will cycle between feeling guilty for working too much and feeling guilty for not working enough.
It’s uncomfortable to feel guilty, but there are ways to process these feelings and turn them into something positive. Here are three techniques you can use to stop being hindered by guilt and get back to being happy and doing what you love.
Create A Plan for Guilt-Free Breaks
Being an entrepreneur means that our success (or failure, for that matter) rests solely on our shoulders. To ensure we succeed in every aspect of our jobs, it can mean working around the clock.
This often leads us to feel guilty when we take a much-needed break. Instead of relaxing, we tell ourselves that “we’re not working hard enough.” While this might sound like a motivating mindset, all too often it leads to burnout. Then (naturally) we feel guilty for working too hard and creating stress for ourselves.
How can we break free from this awful cycle? Start by creating a structure for yourself that allows you the time off that you need. By setting realistic goals for each week, day, and even hour, you’ll be able to take breaks knowing that you have the rest of your work planned out carefully.
Recognize Your Unique Successes
Nothing brings on guilt like the comparison game. We look at the wins of other entrepreneurs and get down on ourselves for not being like them. If our bank account, client list, or social media presence pales in comparison to others in our industry, we blame ourselves.
Overcoming this kind of guilt requires us to celebrate our success according to our own business plans. If you don’t have a business plan, then create a timeline of the goals you’d like to achieve. Every person who runs their own business has a vision of what success looks like for them — some prioritize buying a second house, while others aim to have more free time to be with their family. What goals would you like to achieve in the next week, month, year?
Determine what is important to you and let go of comparing yourself to others. What matters at the end of the day is that you did your best to fulfill your own aspirations.
Allow Yourself to Embrace Downtime
One of the largest areas that entrepreneurs feel guilt about is not having enough work on their plates. If we find ourselves with unexpected downtime, we think that we must be doing something wrong… And, inevitably, we feel guilty about it.
This guilt convinces us that we need to work harder and longer to utilize our full potential. But what if you make more money than you dreamed of and still have plenty of free time? Would that be such a bad thing?
We all work at our own pace, and completing work quickly isn’t something to get down on ourselves about. It gives us the choice to take on more clients and create even more success for ourselves, or to kick back and relax knowing that we put in a hard day’s work. Neither choice is wrong, as long as you remember that your workload needs to work for you and you alone.
Guilt can creep up on us for a lot of reasons; however, it often boils down to not feeling like we’ve done enough. But don’t forget: You started working for yourself for a lot of reasons. One of them was probably to be able to play by your own rules and set your own standards of excellence.
Stay true to that desire and you’ll find your guilt can soon fade away.
Overcoming guilt in the workplace can be a tough task to achieve, but practicing a change in our mindset can be incredibly freeing and, surprisingly, lead to our best and most productive days.