TIME advice

How 3 Female Entrepreneurs Bounced Back

Three businesswomen
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I knew I had to make a change

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

Some refer to it as their wake-up call. Others call it a breaking point. Brene Brown dubbed it her spiritual awakening.

While we each have our own labels and codewords we use to describe these challenging episodes in our lives, the experience is truly universal. Nearly every founder, maker, and creator you speak to has some variation of the same story to tell about the psychological price of entrepreneurship.

The moment when it all became too much. The moment when they were jolted from their old patterns of thought and behavior by an experience—or series of experiences—that brought them to their knees. The moment when it became glaringly evident that the way they had been operating was no longer working, and that it was time to make a change.

The three stories you are about to read are representative of the wide spectrum of founder experiences—from teetering on the edge of full-on burnout to a New Year’s decision to recommit to self.

These entrepreneurs are candid about the fact that reaching this personal and professional juncture can be unsettling, but they also demonstrate that it can be a moment of grace. An opportunity to pause and reflect, to become more conscious and deliberate in the way that we live and work. Their stories serve as an important reminder that no matter how alone you might feel in the middle of your “spiritual awakening,” countless other founders have been through the same struggle, done the hard work, and are now better off for the experience.

As author, researcher, and professor Brene Brown explained in her powerful TED talk on shame, “the two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”

Renee Warren, Co-Founder of Onboardly

I knew I had to make a change when…

I realized that, in a 24-hour day, the only time I had to myself was when I was sleeping. From dawn until dusk I was either a full-time CEO, mother, housekeeper, or wife, and there was quite literally no time for me. No time to work out, get a pedicure, read, or even go out with my friends. Some may say this was self-inflicted, and there is a grain of truth to that. But I couldn’t figure out who would do all the work if it wasn’t me.

So, on January 1st of this year, I decided to make 2014 the year of Renee. This was an uncharacteristically selfish thought for me, and it took me some time to fully respect my decision to take time for myself. But as I progressed through the year, it became evident that this new practice made everyone in my life happier and better. Business boomed, my kids started regularly sleeping through the night and were less fussy, and my husband respected me and loved me more.

When you slow down and “smell the roses,” it opens up all your senses. You see things differently, you sleep better, and your thoughts are more clear. Me-time means more focused work, more inspiring ideas, and bigger leaps forward. I’m starting to realize who I really am and my path in life.

Here’s how I started practicing self-care…

1. Sleep is absolutely the number one indicator of a healthy lifestyle.

I told my husband that my only two requirements—regardless of travel plans and workload—was that I needed eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night and the ability to work 45 hours per week.

As mothers will understand, this is a big deal. We have a one-year-old and a two-year-old, and thankfully we’ve had them on a decent sleep schedule since they were both three months old. They sleep 11-12 hour nights, so asking for an eight-hour sleep was entirely realistic.

2. I spend one hour of “me time” every day.

It can be anything from having a bath, reading a magazine, working out, or watching TV—whatever I feel like doing in the moment. What matters is that I get at least one hour of uninterrupted me-time.

3. Eating and exercise.

This, I like to do with the family. Planning and having dinner together every night is so important. We take the time to talk about each others’ days, and introduce new foods to the boys’ pallets. (My two-year-old loves salmon and falafel wraps. Who would have thought?)

As a family we hike together, go to the playground and run around, go for long walks, and otherwise involve the kids as much as we can in our daily routines. Showing them from an early age how much we love to eat well and exercise helps to shape their healthy mindsets as well. We’re their role models, so everything they see us eat, do, and say they interpret as something they also can and should be doing. It’s good practice for us anyway!

(MORE: How to Navigate the Burnout Zone)

Erica Diamond, Founder & Editor-In-Chief, WomenOnTheFence.com

I knew I had to make a change when…

Somewhat ironically, the realization that I had to slow down came when I was at the height of my game. I was 26 years old, newly married, and thriving by all accounts.

For years I dreamed of making my passion my paycheck, and it had finally happened. My business was on fire, we were being covered on TV, in newspapers and in magazines, I was receiving numerous awards, and I was named to the Profit Hot 50 list—the only female CEO that year.

On the surface it looked like I was rockin’ it, but I was quietly suffering and getting dangerously close to burnout.

If you’ve never experienced burnout before, it feels almost like a constant agitation. Everything becomes irritating. You get into bed at night, unable to shut off your brain. Because of this, you don’t get restful and restorative sleep, which leads to more anxiety and worry.

I became so fixated on growing my business, that the more I grew, the more I stopped appreciating it. Every high became no big deal. I was monopolizing our marriage with talks of both daily work stresses and accomplishments. Everything was do or die, life or death. I mapped out and planned every minute of every day, and managed to become a highly functioning and successful MESS.

Here’s how I started practicing self-care…

Thankfully my mother, a therapist, noticed what was going on with me and suggested that I see someone professionally, which was a tremendous help. Getting into therapy was a gift to myself. One of the most helpful things she told me was that slowing down didn’t have to mean diminishing my gifts: “Don’t eliminate your gifts. Be your authentic self, but complement it and balance it with a calmer lifestyle.” For me that meant yoga, but it can be anything that brings you feelings of peace and calm.

Sleep had become a major issue for me at the time, and another great tool was my “worry list.” Whenever I became confronted with stressful thoughts during my sacred sleeping hours, I transferred them to a piece of paper on my nightstand and let myself worry about it the next day—off my head and onto paper to deal with tomorrow.

If I learned one thing through the whole ordeal, it’s that good restorative sleep is absolutely essential.

(MORE: How to Refocus When You Burnout on Your Career Marathon)

Caroline Ghosn, Founder & CEO, Levo

I knew I had to make a change when…

I contracted salmonella and was unable to function for a week, and then unable to go back to eating varied foods for another two months. It made me realize the baseline state my body was operating in, and how tired I had been.

Here’s how I started practicing self-care…

From then on, I began what has become an increasingly ambitious wellness regimen, documented and monitored using wearable technology. I measure my sleep and aim for 7-8 hours a night, cut out coffee altogether for two years to eliminate my addiction (and now have, with a doctor’s blessing, returned to a half mug 2-3 times a week in the morning for the antioxidant benefits), work out 2-3 times a week, and meditate once a week.

I’m working toward meditating once a day–that’s my new goal and the next step.

You Don’t Have to Wait for a Crisis

A common element in so many stories of breakdown, awakening, and transformation is the metaphorical ‘salmonella’—an event or experience that forces us to revisit our lifestyle choices, whether we’re ready to or not. But the good news is that you don’t have to wait for food poisoning, major loss, or depression to start making changes.

While we still live in a culture that tends to conflate productivity with worth and constant forward motion with success, there’s a noticeable shift happening in the way we think about work and business that’s leading us toward a more holistic definition of what it means to thrive as an entrepreneur.

A moment of peace and presence is now just a tap away, and conversations about mental health and balance are no longer taboo in many entrepreneurial circles.

Now is the time to capitalize on this sea change and claim your right to do things differently.

MONEY Careers

Work for the Man? That’s So Over, New College Grads Say

With banks dissing them and peers largely underemployed, Millennials are finding an alternative financial future.

Big companies still have many high-paying positions, and with the job market perking up those opportunities will expand. But young adults are still having trouble establishing basic financial security—or landing a decently paying entry-level job. Instead, they are forging different paths to financial success.

This search for alternatives starts with checking and saving. Banks haven’t figured out how to serve this new generation. Millennials have big debts from college, and instead of a single, steady full-time job, a recent grad may have four or five paying gigs. Banks can’t fit them into an existing box. But this new generation still needs credit and banking services.

Faced with this inflexibility, one third of Millennials seek to cut ties with traditional banks and financial companies, according to market researchers. Half say they are counting on start-up firms to overhaul how banks work, and 75% say they would prefer financial services from the likes of Google, Amazon, and PayPal. They are also turning to alternative financial firms like Square, Betterment, Robinhood, and Wealthfront to manage their payments and manage their money.

In their search for financial options, young adults are also finding new ways to launch their careers. Millennials have seen under-saved Boomers delay retirement, while corporations have shed workers and their peers are settling for jobs below their ability. As a solution, more twentysomethings are turning to entrepreneurship. Six in 10 recent college graduates are interested in starting a company, according to a new survey by CT Corp., a small business services firm. Those results mirror similar findings by other polls.

Entrepreneurial pursuits offer the potential to put individuals squarely in charge of their future. This is the mindset that the Thiel Foundation capitalizes on with its 20-under-20 fellowship, which seeks to develop entrepreneurs right out of high school and convince them they don’t need college or the student debt that comes with it.

The problem is that while many recent college graduates say they want to be their own boss, a large portion doesn’t really understand what that entails. So while 61% say they’d like to start a company, only 45% believe it’s feasible, CT found. Meanwhile, 67% display a knowledge gap around practical aspects like incorporating, registering a business name, securing a domain, and marketing their products or services.

Still, the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in this crowd. One in five recent grads started a business while in college, and even among those who don’t believe they’ll ever start a company a third dream about doing so. More than half believe that being their own boss offers greater rewards and more financial security over the long run. Let’s hope they are right because in the new normal this is the path often taken.

TIME Companies

Uber Will Launch Courier Service in New York on Tuesday

Delivering packages by bike and on foot, UberRush will serve as an "Uber for things," according to general manager Josh Mohrer.

Uber, the popular driver-for-hire company that has made waves for the threat it poses to traditional taxi and limo companies, is setting its sights on a new frontier: courier service. On Tuesday, the app-based service will launch UberRush, through which users can hire foot or bike messengers to send packages from Manhattan to anywhere else in the city, according to CNBC.

Josh Mohrer, the general manager of UberNYC, told CNBC, “It’s an Uber for things.”

The new 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service will reportedly cost between $15 and $30 depending on how far the courier has to travel. Deliveries are expected to take less than an hour. Both senders and recipients will also be able to track their package’s progress within the new app. Uber did not tell CNBC how many couriers will be available though Mohrer said the company will “always have enough” people.

The startup, which launched in 2009 and now operates in more than 70 cities, began testing delivery services with Christmas trees, kittens and ice cream last year.

[CNBC]

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