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Why your health helps your business

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    With one in five Australians reporting that they have experienced mental illness, Anastasia Massouras says small business owners need to focus on their health for better performance and profit

    Remember when you decided to start your own business? You were fuelled by promises of freedom, flexibility and financial security – the excitement of choosing the hours you worked and taking holidays when you wanted, for as long as you wanted.

    Now compare this to the reality: spiralling overheads and payroll costs, working up to 80 hours per week, struggling with cash flow or the need for financial expertise, dealing with mental health and wellbeing issues, and managing staff and their concerns. These are the most common challenges facing small business owners today.

    It is a journey of bitter-sweet moments. But there is hope; there is a way to bring happiness back to your work

    Statistics from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman show that 97% of Australia’s economy is made up of small businesses with no more than 20 employees. Yet more than 60% of these fail within their first three years, and the odds are stacked against those that continue.

    In addition, in 2019, the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health conducted by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance revealed that one in fi ve working Australians reported experiencing mental illness, with evidence suggesting that psychological distress is most acute for sole traders.

    Fleeting instances of excitement, achievement and growth are often buried among feelings of isolation, fatigue and ongoing financial stress. It is a journey of bitter-sweet moments. But there is hope; there is a way to bring happiness back to your work.

    Bring happy back

    Just as you have achieved success in your business and life thus far, you can achieve further success with the right support, education, tools and strategies surrounding your health. Extending your hand for help is the first step towards gaining a sense of control over your environment. Knowing you can change yourself, your business and your life is crucial – not just to survive but also to progress. After all, silent suffering is the silent killer of your business.

    Your mindset plays a huge role here.

    Your perception of your reality powerfully influences the way you view your world and the decisions you make in business. It helps you move from talking about what you wish for to actually taking steps and doing the stuff that will transform your life. This kind of growth creates feelings of freedom, power, authority, motivation and encouragement.

    This is a tipping point in your business. You can breathe again and start to find joy in why you do what you do each day. You shift from feeling overwhelmed and helpless to hopeful and in control.

    24/7 self-care

    Running your own small business is a 24/7 activity, which is why you need to be mentally healthy, fit and strong.

    There will always be pressure; it will never go away. There will always be setbacks, failures and obstacles. What counts is how you deal with that pressure, with those setbacks and obstacles. It’s essential to move away from simply reacting to events towards responding to events.

    Knowing you can change yourself, your business and your life is crucial – not just to survive but also to progress. After all, silent suffering is the silent killer of your business

    It is also important to learn how to transition from your professional to your personal life. Learn to keep stress or adversity that you may be experiencing in one aspect of your life from negatively impacting on another.

    Making conscious choices each day about what to eat, when to exercise, and how to switch off from work and on for home is the recipe for success and stamina in small business.

    As Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike, said, “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

    Maintaining your health and the health of your business requires time, consistent effort, commitment and caring for yourself and your people. But this is the only way you will ever perform and prosper in your business, wouldn’t you agree?

    Anastasia Massouras is the CEO of Work Happy. She is a leader, facilitator and coach helping small business owners and teams to overcome barriers that prevent growth

    Original Article