I sat in the tiny emergency department room looking at my IV and listening to the machines beeping. It had been three days since I’d been able to eat anything, and the constant morning sickness was only getting worse. When news got out that I was in the hospital for IV fluids, the texts started pouring in. Friends and family offered to watch our kids, bring us dinner, and even do our laundry! To each kind offer, I gave the same response: “No thanks, I’m fine!”
After responding to the texts, I put my head back on the bed and sighed, slowly realizing what was happening. Here I was, alone, wearing a hospital gown, holding a bucket, and somehow I was still refusing help.
Something had to change.
That was the moment that I decided: I could no longer pride myself on doing it all alone. I could no longer tie my self-worth to my business — or my income.
And I could no longer put my business above my health.
Crash and Burn
I know the hustle, and I know it well. Up until this miraculous pregnancy, I worked during every free moment of my day. Early mornings, toddler nap times, and late nights were prime productivity time for this mama of two, and I never considered slowing down.
That is, until I found myself with my head on my pillow or in the toilet most of the day.
Once the morning sickness set in, I essentially stopped working on my business. If I was wasn’t going at 100 miles per hour, I didn’t think it was even worth trying. I berated myself constantly for no longer being able to keep up with my frantic pace and even considered giving up the entrepreneurial life altogether.
Fortunately, through a lot of self-reflection, business coaching, and prayer, I came to realize that this was not the end of my book — merely a new chapter. I started taking small steps to make my business work for me, instead of the other way around, and have come out the other side stronger and even more profitable. Here’s how my business and I began our transformation.
Let Go of the Busy Work
You know those days when you feel completely exhausted from working all day, but realize you didn’t actually accomplish anything meaningful? Because I was going at full speed all the time, I was never taking a moment to ask myself if I was spending time on the right tasks to move my business forward.
Once I had no choice but to slow down, I realized that I had been wasting WAY too much time on social media, business research, and over-analyzing every tiny decision. These tasks filled my days, but were truly nothing more than excuses for staying small. Once I let them go, I had time to try new projects and produce better work.
Give Up the All-or-Nothing Approach
On days when I felt like I just couldn’t keep up with the workload, I asked myself one question: “What can I do?” This simple question opened me up to possibilities instead of excuses. I was shocked at what I could accomplish in small bites of time, rather than working for hours on end.
If you find yourself behind on a project or unable to keep up with your to-do list, rather than throwing your hands up, ask yourself what you could accomplish in the next ten minutes.
Focus on Residual Income
As a freelancer, I’m very focused on my hourly rate and how many projects I need to take on in order to hit my financial goals. What I was not familiar with was finding easier ways to make money. If your business does not currently have room for residual income, it’s time to make a change.
It took time, but I slowly cut down on some of my freelancing work to create group programs, a monthly membership, and build up my network marketing business. I’m focusing on streams of income that don’t require me to be ‘on’ all the time, and this allows me to save precious energy.
Give Yourself Grace
This was the biggest (and most challenging) takeaway from my morning sickness. I am not my business. A good financial month does mean I’ve made it, and a slow month does not mean I’m a failure. Because I could no longer wear my productivity as a badge of honor, I had to get honest about how lost I had become.
Find meaning outside of your accomplishments. Take downtime. Schedule fun. You are so much more than a number in a spreadsheet or feedback from a client, so start treating yourself that way.
As I head into my third trimester, I still have hope that the morning sickness will ease. But if it doesn’t, I’m now okay with it. I found the hidden blessings, and I would never have made these powerful changes without this sweet baby giving me the nudge I needed.