Do you have “Owner Overload”? Here are 5 symptoms.
I had a practice as a veterinarian for racehorses and my life revolved around working.
I practically lived in my truck.
My truck was my office, my pharmacy, and sometimes I even slept in it overnight if there was an emergency.
Most days, I would drive to one of the area racetracks where I worked and park my truck in the barn area.
Everybody knew my truck.
It was always parked out in the open and it was like being in a fishbowl.
Even if I was on the phone or trying to eat my lunch (on the odd occasion I had time for it) people would bang on my window, open my car door, or (my personal favorite) stand really close to my window with their face up against it until I had to acknowledge their presence.
The only way I could get any peace was to hide out in the barn bathroom.
The downside to this approach was that apparently the bathroom stalls were built for jockeys because the doors were really short and if you didn’t actually sit down on the “throne” your head was above the door and everyone could see you, even at my height.
So I had to sit on the toilet in order not to be seen.
This became symbolic of the way I felt. Like my life was in the toilet!
This is when I realized that while my partners and I had built a very successful business and we were making really good money…I had also had a case of “Owner Overload.”
Perhaps you can relate?
Here are 5 signs that YOU may have Owner Overload
1. You can’t take time off for fear that the place will fall apart without you.
You come in early, you work late, you rarely (if ever) take a vacation – and when you’re away?
You’re worried about how things are going at the office or clinic.
Even if you DO manage to escape for a week of R&R, your phone is on and you’ve invited your people to call you anytime.
Not only are you waiting for them to contact you…you’re calling them to check in to tell them that “one more thing” that is on your mind.
2. You’re the center of the action.
If your business was a wheel, you’d be the hub at the center. Everything needs to flow through you.
Your clients request to deal with you, personally. Your staff run every decision past you.
A problem comes up? You are called on to solve it.
Someone doesn’t know how to do something? You need to show them. (Again.)
3. Your business has taken over your life.
When you’re not physically at work, you are still *mentally* at work.
You are kept up at night, thinking about problems or challenges at work.
Thoughts about your business distract you when you should be spending quality time with your friends and family.
You worry about being the “boring one” at the party because all you talk about is work and business.
(Who am I kidding? You don’t have time for parties! The person you are boring is probably your spouse who is tired of listening to you talk about your business.)
4. The weight of responsibility is taking a toll on your health.
You’ve embraced the idea that “the buck stops here” – with you. It’s your business, so you’re responsible. For everything. Right?
The stress of this is having negative impacts on your health.
You may be indulging in a few extra glasses of wine to relax after your long days.
Or maybe you’re stress eating (or forgetting to eat.) You can’t remember the last time you made it to the gym.
5. You can’t grow because you’re maxed out.
You enjoy your work. (Even though you’re working more hours than you really want.)
You make good money.
You’re making less than you’d like.
You have ambitions to grow but can’t see how because you’re already maxed out.
How many of these feel true for you?
ALL of these were true for me before I shifted to a self-managed business.
I kept believing that if I just worked a little harder for a little longer…that things would get better.
Spoiler: they did not get better. In fact, they got worse.
I let my Owner Overload go untreated and it progressed to Burnout.
It wasn’t until I learned to work (and think!) differently that things began to change.
Marshall Goldsmith famously said:
“What got you here, won’t get you there.”
Owner Overload is something that we create for ourselves due to our SUCCESS.
You might even think about it as a milestone achievement on your journey – so if you’ve made it this far: congratulations!!
The good news? Owner Overload is a sign that you’re ready for the next level.
The GREAT news is that the next level is about working less, stressing less, and enjoying more.
To get there, you need a new way of thinking and a new way of operating.
If you’d like to break free sooner rather than later, I invite you to book a consultation with me.
It’s 30 minutes. It’s complimentary and confidential. We’ll make a plan to take your business to the next level.
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