LIVE. LOVE. LEAD.

Join our community of 50,000+ incredible women and receive weekly musings on the Artistry of Freedom.


The world will be set free by women who are free. Sisterhood is the key.

Has your business made you boring?

I was once a workaholic.

I worked not only because I loved my work, but also because so many of the details of my life were messy.  My marriage was unraveling, my money management was terrible, and my to-do list had no end in sight. I was totally overwhelmed, and I obsessed over my work in an attempt to feel some small degree of control.

One night, I was invited to a dinner party of entrepreneurs where the rule was that we couldn’t talk about business. As I was getting ready, I imagined what we’d discuss and a wave of sadness hit me: I had nothing left to talk about.

There had been a time, just a few years before, when I was passionate about a lot of things. I was designing jewelry, I had taken up photography and mixed-media collage, I was performing at poetry slams, and I was passionate about the things that drove my desire to start my business: environmental sustainability and whole-food nutrition.

Then I became an entrepreneur. I focused nearly all of my energy on learning about marketing, sales funnels and opt-in conversions. I spent nearly all of my time slumped behind a laptop in pajamas. I had allowed my life to become so dull that nearly every conversation I had was about business, and the pajama-wearing-hasn’t-showered-or-eaten-a-proper-meal-in-2-days-because-she’s-in-the-middle-of-a-launch me was really missing the old me.

A lot of people say, “Yeah, but that’s what you have to do when you start a business.” 

Yes, you have to be willing to hustle, but productivity isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing better.

There’s an insidious belief that to “make it” in business, you have to put 100% into your work. But 100% is all you have, and if your business gets everything, there’s nothing left for rest, play, rejuvenation, romance, relationships, education, or art.   If you focus exclusively on your business, you’ll destroy everything else that’s important to you.

I’ve seen so many women completely burn out, fry their adrenals, and dry up from the waist down in order to focus on their work. And once you burn out, it’s a very long road to recovery. It’s a completely unworkable approach not only for our health and relationships, but also for our businesses.  

Being a workaholic is unsustainable.

I reached the breaking point. I found myself sick with bronchitis for 3 months, I missed one of my best friend’s weddings, I neglected my marriage until it spiraled into divorce, and I was a health coach who wasn’t getting enough sleep or exercise. I rarely took time to play. I felt dull, bored and boring.

If you don’t create space for you – the person behind the business – your business will make you boring. {tweet it}

4 EASY WAYS TO START HAVING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS:

flower salad

Simple salad full of edible flowers.

1. Infuse more beauty into your life
When you consciously surround yourself with beauty, you feel more inspired and alive. There are simple ways you can bring more beauty into your life: wearing something you feel fantastic in, eating beautiful food on beautiful dinnerware, buying yourself fresh flowers, and visiting art galleries.

 

thyme flowers

These beautiful thyme blossoms sparked my research of some neighboring plants. Fun!

2. Go for a long walk every day
Walking with your eyes up — not staring at your phone — brings you into the real world where real life is happening. And you know what? Real life is quite interesting! Each day, go for a walk and look around.  Get curious about the world around you. Curiosity paints life with color, brightening up the dull spots.

nyc party pic

Spending time with girlfriends in NYC.

3. Make time to play each week
Too many entrepreneurs sacrifice friendship for their to-do list, but friends are here to keep you sane. Don’t be too busy to play. If you tend to book your schedule to the brim, schedule rock-solid plans a few weeks in advance, so there’s something on the calendar every week. Have your plans begin by 6pm at the latest, forcing you to end work at a reasonable time.

tango

I snapped this pic in Buenos Aires, which inspired me to try my hand at tango.

4. Have a non-business hobby
With all my travel, I’ve had a tough time maintaining a hobby, and it’s made a negative impact in my life. I’ve learned that no matter what, this is so important, as it gives us something outside of work and day-to-day “stuff” to focus on, and it offers so much in return. So, what have you been wanting to play with? Now’s the time to start.

—> In the comments below, share what you’re going to do to bring more life into your life, or any tips you have for the rest of us. I can’t wait to read what you have to share!

 

48 Comments

  1. Thanks for this solid reminder Nisha, I’m in the middle of stepping up some online work in a big way, and was starting to wonder about my Sanity! I have a question for you, what do you recommend for people who travel consistently (like me) as hobbies? You mentioned you had a hard time of it – do You have any suggestions?
    Thanks babe! x

    • Hi Hayley!

      This is such a great question, and
      something we should brainstorm
      here together. Some thoughts…

      Drawing
      Watercolors
      Knitting/crochet
      Dance
      Photography

      What would be super fun for you?

      With Love,
      Nisha

      • ooh thankyou!
        I am actually really into photography, but travelling full-time, sometimes it becomes more of a chore… not the taking of the photographs, but editing and organising them… So, I’m going to change the way I look at that..

        I love the idea of art too, thankyou!

        and dancing. yes yes yes. Brilliant.

        Fabulous. Al I needed was a little jig. There are so many things to do!

        Also:
        Yoga
        Singing
        guitar (or other instrument I may pick up or be able to travel with)… harmonica?

        feeling inspired. <3

        • Yay yay yay!

          xo

  2. I took a big leap recently and signed up for tumbling classes (I’ve never tumbled) and aerial silks classes (I’ve definitely never tried to dangle from a tall ceiling on a piece of cloth). I knew I needed some fun, something unrelated to work, and something that would force me to face my fear of looking like a complete idiot. These classes do all of the above! Cheers to all!

    • Awesome, awesome, Kami!

      You’ve touched on something so key here:
      how the fear of looking stupid stops us.

      I have suffered the same affliction for
      many years, and trying new things on my
      own has been HUGE for overcoming this.

      Excited for you!

      With Love,
      Nisha

  3. Thank u for this! I’ve been into my work for too long and now feeling isolated and anxious. Gonna get into an acting class just for fun and play. I love acting and want to start devoting some time to that as well! I had put the arts aside just to focus on my business. wrong move. Thanks Nisha!

    • You’re so welcome, Joane,
      and thanks for reading!

      Have you already found the
      acting class? I dare you
      to sign up today!

      Come back and let me know
      how it’s going for you.

      Much Love,
      Nisha

  4. OMG! I’ve become that boring person! Nisha, you really awakened something in me with this blog article. I used to enjoy crocheting and knitting, so much that things I used to make, people would ask me to sell to them. Because I saw it as something I liked to do, I did not want to sell anything because I knew that would take the joy out of me doing it for fun. Since starting my business, I have not picked up a crochet or knitting needles in 4 years! You have really inspired me to give business a break sometimes and reconnect with my favorite hobby. It brought me so much pride and joy to see me take yarn and make something wearable out of it just for fun! I need that FUN-NESS in my life again. What a great article and definitely and eye opener to some of my sabotaging behaviors I was not aware of.

    • You’re tugging at my heart strings, Simone.
      I did the same thing with my jewelry, when
      I wrongly decided that it was frivolous to
      have fun.

      I’m so excited to see your cozy creations!
      Share a pic of your first on Facebook?

      Much love, sister.

      xo
      Nisha

  5. EeeeeeeGADS! Get out of my head, Nisha!! You have described me perfectly: so obsessed with keeping all the balls going in the air with my business that I’ve lost all my other hobbies, except for my weekly Saturday farmer’s market ritual (and even then, I work for a farmer friend!) I love bringing the world of organic skin care to people, as well as teaching about why it’s so important, but it has certainly become my one and only life.

    Thank you for the wake up call to rekindle my other self and be less boring, less business-centric entrepreneur! Now, to go make a list of the things I love and figure out how to get them back into my life…

    • Oh, Emily, you’re totally warming my heart!
      It took several big wake up calls before I
      paid attention to this call, so I hope you
      save yourself now and start enjoying your
      life again 🙂 It’s here for living, right?

      What are 1 or 2 things you would love to
      start integrating right away? Might help to
      start small, so as not to get overwhelmed.

      With Love,
      Nisha

  6. This article was very inspiring and full of helpful tips but some reason I just can’t seem to figure out how to implement some of these strategies. I do however schedule some fun/me time. I do hula 1 day a week and sometime do shows. But I have so much other work to do that I just can’t seem to get any of it done.
    I have this mindset that even with making a “to-do list” and writing things on a calendar it still feels like nothing gets accomplished or what I don’t get completed on that list just runs over to the next, so on and so forth.
    I’m so overwhelmed with what I have to do that I can’t figure out where to start and I just end up doing nothing. Any advice you can give on this Nisha would be very helpful and grateful.
    Thank you.

    • Wanda, I have so been there, sister.
      Sometimes I still find myself in that muck.

      The thing that helps me is being really
      honest with myself about what I can and
      cannot handle, and what is actually
      critical. Sometimes we treat everything
      like an emergency, when in reality, the
      world won’t combust if the laundry waits.

      Perhaps for the next few days, you could
      start your day by writing down the 1-3
      mission-critical tasks, then writing the
      others on a separate list, to take care
      of once the most important things are
      handled. I know I get a huge sense of
      accomplishment from handling the important
      stuff in the morning 🙂

      Let me know what you think and how it goes!

      Much Love,
      Nisha

  7. OH YES – I totally relate to this, and as an introvert, I can get into even more of a cocoon.

    I think the biggest help for me was hiring someone to look after my inbox – that sucker really took up a lot of time and energy. Now I don’t feel obligated to check my phone and the “addiction” has really waned.

    Great article Nisha – we all need to talk about this!

    • Great one, Denise! Email can be such a time and energy suck.
      I recently made it harder to access email on my phone and it’s
      made a big difference. Anything that’s helped you detangle
      that “addiction”?

      With Love,
      Nisha

      • Honestly – it was just time. I would still check for the first two months, but because it wasn’t my responsibility anymore, I just felt myself withdrawing from it!

  8. So glad you wrote this, Nisha. I don’t buy it either…the myth that you have to work yourself sick – and boring – in order to be successful.

    I’ve always been a balance girl – my entire business is an extension of my fierce belief that finding balance is the path to a happy and healthy life. So when I find myself feeling guilty for not “working more,” I remind myself to walk my talk. And I truly believe that I’m useless to my clients if I don’t have a life outside of work.

    And to answer your question about something I’m doing to bring more life to my live: I’ve committed to brushing up on my French this year…I need to find a class to take this fall ASAP! My goal is to dig enough French out of my brain by next Bastille Day to be able to have a semi-intelligent conversation with my French friends – in FRENCH! – at next year’s celebration. Wish me luck! 🙂

    • Girlfriend, you are speaking my language!
      Walking our talk is our only hope for
      making a true difference in the
      world. I’m certainly not perfect, but
      it’s the dedication to growth that makes
      all the difference.

      I love that you’re sharpening your French.
      Check out http://www.duolingo.com/

      Much Love,
      Nisha

        • Yeah! Enjoy. Let me know how it goes 🙂

  9. As I’ve jumped into this world of entrepreneurship, I spent my first month or so consumed by my work and incredibly excited. But it started to take a toll on me and my marriage. Thankfully, I have a very honest husband who told me early on that while he loves and supports everything I do, our marriage and our lives have to come first, after God. His honesty helped me see that I do not want to go down any other path. So now my work is not my life.

    • Akirah, thank you so much for sharing this, sister.
      I so often see women entrepreneurs sacrificing their
      marriages for their business growth. It’s a tricky
      dance, but it sounds like you’re finding your footing.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Much Love,
      Nisha

  10. Hi Nisha,

    I have a serious question that I hope won’t be misconstrued as overly critical, as I think you’re great. You write a lot about the typical woman that thinks that if she works hard *now* she’ll be able to have it all later, and you talk about how this is an erroneous belief.

    However, when I think of you (and Sarah), to be honest, I am most inspired by the fact that you *did* go through a period of NOT having it all and working your asses off constantly ** in order to ** get to the point you’re at now.

    You write about coming to the realization that you could travel, play, have lives outside of work, happy relationships, etc. while concurrently having successful businesses. But you started living this way _after_ you had a successful businesses.

    I find that many of the luxuries you can afford (“afford” not just referring to money, but experience, staff, time)…are only possible after putting in the hours for many years to get to that place.

    It would kind of be equivalent to Miss Universe spending years working out day in and day out, eating healthily, getting plastic surgery (perhaps!) and then when winning the title and saying, “Oh, it’s no big deal. I spend hours a day relaxing, and traveling, and my staff takes care of setting up any engagements, being Miss Universe doesn’t have to be so hard – I can teach you how.” Or a 45 year old partner at a law firm preaching to the new associates about how she leaves at 5, goes to the beach on the weekends, and has plenty of time for baking. Obviously — because she worked her way up. A 26 year old dare not try these things if they wanted to keep their job.

    Anyway, this comment is making me feel slightly icky because I typically don’t like to say anything negative. But I just felt compelled to share what I’ve been thinking, and to let you know that I admire you *because,* like me, you spent many hours in front of your laptop in your pajamas. And it all worked out.

    • Violet, thank you so much for this thoughtful comment.
      No need to feel icky on my behalf — you’ve been perfectly
      kind and I value your perspective 🙂

      I’ve given this some thought, myself, as I’ve had this
      reflected to me before. Here are my thoughts:

      You’re absolutely right. I busted my a$$ to build my
      business and in the end, it all worked out…kind of.
      While I don’t regret everything that’s passed, I did
      miss my grandmother’s funeral and go through a divorce
      because my work was #1. I don’t think that anyone —
      no matter how new in business — should consistently
      prioritize their business over their friends & family.

      So what I’m really advocating for here is not sitting
      on the beach sipping cocktails from day 1, but working
      smarter (which often means just focusing on the task at
      hand and doing the most important things first).
      And yes, it’s going to be more work in the beginning
      when money, know-how and support are often limited.

      Thank you for the space to articulate this. I’ll see how
      I can make my stand more clear in future articles 🙂

      Does this sit well with you, and clarify things?

      With Love,
      Nisha

    • Checking it out now, Violet.
      Thank you!

  11. Thank you, This is a beautiful reminder! This is something I have always believed in and always tried to tell others, like my mom. But I also tend to forget that its ok to have me time and not worry about working! Being a cosmetologist, I have to do the foot work, socializing, and just plain moving to get clients in my chair. I recently over whelmed my mind, my wrist, and my schedule, so I’m on a little hiatus. It is nice to reassured its ok to take a break. 🙂

    • Yes, Marilee. Most of us come from families
      and live in a culture that says we must work
      to the bone, which often is more conditioning
      than absolute truth.

      Rest up and take care!

      Much Love,
      Nisha

  12. OMG Nisha, this is what I have just gone through! Working working working no time for life….Pre my business I could talk about any subject to anyone, I became so consumed that my conversation skill were suffering…in my business, conversation is everything. My beautiful partner was so patient but now he tells me when I get this look on my face that I need timeout (wineoclock) lol
    Now I work smarter not harder, I feel recharged and happy. Thank you for share this great article.
    Cheers Suzie

    • Cheers to you, Suzie! It sounds like
      you’ve really turned things around for
      yourself, sister.

      I’ve found that it can be confronting —
      embarrassing — to acknowledge that
      we’ve become dull and uninspired.

      Thanks for leading the way!

      Much Love,
      Nisha

  13. Yes! I so related to this article. There was a time (that hopefully I am emerging from) where I felt that if I didn’t eat, sleep and breathe my business then it would fall apart. It’s been a slow process of coming out of that, but it’s been so good. Now I’m determined to make my life more full of music, dancing and laughter – because otherwise life just becomes too flat!

    • Love this, Jen, and yes.
      Life without color is pretty
      freaking boring!

      I’m curious…
      As an artist, did you find
      yourself obsessing more about
      the business side of your
      business, than the craft?

      I’ve seen that so often and
      it’s what happened to me. I
      find this a really common and
      really troubling phenomenon.

      Thanks for reading!

      Big Hugs,
      Nisha

  14. Yes, ma’am!

    I hear you!

    I went from a dysfunctional relationship with food to working too hard, all as a way of avoiding pain.

    Now, I am much more comfortable sitting with my pain, breathing into it, and processing it.

    I almost sacrificed my relationship in order to work. I choose instead to have a healthy, happy relationship, make time for self-care, and listen to my gut. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I take time away. This allows me to be more productive and focused when I’m working.

    • Bravo, Shannon! I know that path from
      food to work addiction well. So glad
      you freed yourself, sister.

      Glad to hear you’re thriving 🙂

      With Love,
      Nisha

  15. I have a question, Nisha. I’ve follow a couple of former Health Coaches from their health coaching days to their “transforming others lives” coaching–you included. Most talk about how hard they worked at the beginning, the long hours they put in before they became really successful. Can you still build a successful health coaching practice, not work long hours and nor giving up the things that are truly pleasurable to us–like yoga, oil painting, cycling, long walks?

    • Great question, Gayle.
      I definitely recommend checking
      out the conversation I’ve had with
      Violet, above. Similar question.

      This is a matter of working smarter:
      Spending time doing that which is
      truly going to move your business
      forward. I have worked with hundreds
      of clients who are new Health Coaches
      to do just this.

      Besides, do clients want to be shown
      the way by burnt-out workaholics?
      It’s so out-of-alignment with what
      we teach 🙂

      With Love,
      Nisha

  16. Nisha,
    Thank you so much for this! I am taking your 4 tips and implementing them right away. You are right. Being a “work-o-holic” is unsustainable. As a woman I love my business and work very hard building it, I’ve been consumed!The biggest struggle I have faced is losing myself in it and not taking time out for myself to re-group, re energize and more importantly help myself be more creative! Again, thank you for this!

  17. I just saw this post on a home decor blog (go figure) and I thought of you: http://bit.ly/19V0rCv

    “Taking time to live life will only inspire your work.”

    And… I don’t feel so frazzled afterwards. 🙂

  18. Excellent wake up call! One of my goals is to quit working during the weekend and have fun building relationships and traveling.

  19. Great timing! and always relevant 🙂

    I’m realizing that my priorities have gotten all whacked out. The things I’m doing to have a life aren’t necessarily nourishing me. Then I have less time for starting my business. Lots of fear over giving up a life for building a side hustle. There are some projects that came to mind and have been wanting my attention for awhile. There’s a spiritual scrapbook that I’ve been wanting to put together with quotes and prayers. Also, my guitar. She’s waiting to be played.

    Have a beautiful day.

    • Thank you for sharing, Michelle. What baby steps can you take this week to move the spiritual scrapbook project forward? I’d love to encourage you to take just a little bit of time for play. xoxo Nisha

  20. I love how timing is always so perfect. A year ago I started a podcast and business. I am passionate about both and absolutely love them, but in the past year I have gone from fun loving life of the party to pajama-warrioring-home-body whose only way of socializing is going to personal-growth event that will forward my coaching and/or business goals or who goes to networking event to forward my coaching and/or business goals or who invites people to co-work as a way of seeing people while simultaneously forwarding my coaching and/or business goals. I think you get the point.

    I have had a friend of 12 years break-up with me. I stopped making jewelry – one of my artistic outlets. I haven’t been out to an intimate decadent dinner and dancing evening with friend in I can’t tell you have long. And most days I don’t really even want to leave the house.

    Even if I had the results in my business that I want to have or was making the difference with the coaching that I am committed to making, it wouldn’t matter because my experience of my life is so LAME-O!

    Last night I blew off a networking event that would have been fun to watch Sons of Anarchy at home alone. Now Jax Teller is hot, but he and his cast of marauding outlaws are no substitute for dancing, juicy convo, soul-connections or LIVING. As the show dragged on I started to have some internal monologue about how I should move. Maybe a change of scenery is really what I need – new location, new people, new me! Famous last thoughts!

    I have moved cross country. I have change groups of friends. I have changed styles and diets and schools of thought and literal schools and discovered the accuracy of the statement wherever you go, there your are. I knew moving was not the answer as soon as the thought came up. I also knew that the me that I missed wasn’t and isn’t gone. She just needs the excitement of a new (or even new old) outfit and some time set aside for FUN and LIFE!

    So over this long weekend – this biz chic is taking herself to Mexico! I am going to let my hair down, laugh, connect with friends and live the wild fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants adventurous life that I love.

    And it is no surprise that when I woke up, I found this post was in my inbox. You timing is perfect and divined. Thank you for getting this message out to the laptop lone-rangers and for reminding us to play. I love the quote by Hellen Keller – Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all! Your post reminds us all of this and I can’t wait for the 2nd and the commencement of 14-days of freedom and adventure you have in store for all of us bold adventurers.

  21. Oh, sister Katie. I witness your desire for play and connection and I am so excited that you are joining me and hundreds of other adventurous women on this 14-day journey. We are going to have so much fun!!! Much love, Nisha.

  22. It was beautiful to see the picture you used to talk about “infuse more beauty into your life”……some time ago, I had a dream about going into a restaurant were the only food were flowers……..I was so surprised, and inspired at the same time……..it was an amazing dream…..I woke up feeling energize…..As you mention, surround myself with beauty is a “must do”, specially when I feel tired or had a bad day…..Is beautiful to find you, and also know that you live in the same city I am 🙂
    Congratulations for all your beauty!!

    • It’s amazing what a difference having a beautiful surrounding makes on your attitude and happiness. It really is the simple things that have the biggest impact. Thanks for reading! xoxo

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *