Okay, this might be a no-brainer, but a lot of us just don’t do it — prioritize ourselves. Now, you’ve probably heard me say countless times that if you want to be your own self-employed entrepreneur it takes a huge amount of work. And hours that are more 5:00 to 9:00 rather than 9 to 5 (often 5 to midnight, who am I kidding!). 


But your vision should include what happens to you in the mix. It can’t be all work and no fun… Okay, correcting myself slightly again, it might be all work for a while, but if you’re not excited by what you’re doing — in other words, if your chosen path isn’t fun, stimulating, energizing, and something you’re passionate about — then rethink what you’re doing! 


So here’s a checklist — a questionnaire — to see if you’re prioritizing yourself:


Is this making me happy?

Obvious, but I think we all really need to think of this first. You could be making money, but is that really the same as happy? No. Is what you’re doing fulfilling a passion or at least giving you some leeway to pursue other passions. Are you in with a good group of people whether it be partners, investors, employees, or a more social group? 


Is it making me money? 

This question is NOT just about “Is it filling my bank account?” In other words, is it helping me achieve the goals I set not only for myself but my spouse and my family. Is it giving you the opportunities that often do come with money? If you’re just in business to fill your bank account, then you might want to check around for people really supporting you personally as much as professionally. 


Sub-thought on making money: The Side Hustle. We’ve all probably been there. Doing a side hustle while we try to build out something we really want to do. And I say this is totally okay if — if — you have a clear delineation about what you’re doing it and why. No one is going to blame you for wanting to pay the bills or buy food. 


Am I saying “No” enough? 

Learn to say “no.” That’s the greatest mark of an intelligent entrepreneur. This isn’t so much “know when to say when” it’s about biting off more than you can chew — or more than your body and brain can literally handle. The best, most successful people might seem like they’re always doing a lot and have their hands in many pies, but I can assure you that they’ve probably said “no” more times than “yes” today. This is also about helping you focus so you can put your best efforts into things. 


Did I drink enough wine today?

Yes, this is 100% literal most of the time. But it’s also a reminder to do something for yourself on a daily basis. Treat yourself to something. Don’t constantly beat yourself up during the process even if you’re in the middle of the grind. Especially if you’re in the middle of the grind! That’s the most important time to “drink some wine” and let things unwind for a minute so that you can step back and assess what’s going on and how you’re feeling. Plus… a little wine every now and then (like days that end in “Y”) never hurt!  


Am I really going with my gut? 

Having a gut feeling on something is 100% real. It’s wired into us just like our fight or flight mechanism (you know, when you sense danger, you get tingly and hyperaware). So while you might be concentrating on your spreadsheets and projections, really tune into what your body is telling you. Ultimately, stress has probably derailed more start-ups than anything. More than lack of funding or even not being able to deliver. 


Who am I affecting?

As a ruthless Shark, you might not think I’m empathetic or hold much regard for people around me, but I do. I think that’s one of the secrets to entrepreneurial success — assessing the needs and goals of those around you. How’s that? Well, I dare you to find one truly self-made entrepreneur. Especially once you’re up and running, you need to rely on lots of people to keep your business going so you better think about how you’re effecting them. And so, you have to separate the personal from the business. You can totally be a shark in the waters of business and firmly press your knowledge and vision, but at the end of the day, you better be able to go out and have a glass of wine with the folks who’ve helped you achieve success. And that helps keep you healthy. 


Do I have a daily routine?

And by this I truly mean an exercise routine on top of any other routine you may have. 
Look, burnout is real. And the best way to avoid it is to prepare yourself physically as well as mentally. If you’re a driven person, you know that mentally, we’re capable of a lot. But if your system – your body – is literally failing you, it doesn’t matter what your brain can do. I talk a lot about my daily exercise these days and I’ll tell you, it’s helped me tremendously.  Not only does the Dome of Desire look shinier as well as my lovely porcelain Canadian skin, but I feel better and I can be a better Shark in all the oceans I swim in. 


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