I'm proud to be in an industry that is showcasing self-care and healing to the world. And as a spa owner, I also know you've worked remarkably hard to bring this much needed nurturing to your community.
But I'm a bit worried. In your attempt to give it all you've got, are you pushing through any of these burnout symptoms?
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Taking out your frustrations on others
- Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
[burn·out] noun. A state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
The suffering one feels during extreme overwhelm is real.
Isn’t ironic that we have devoted our careers to caring for the well-being of others, yet as spa owners, we are often completely overwhelmed with the Herculean task of running a small business to the point of breaking down?
And when we’ve spent months and maybe even years trying to learn and shove all the pieces of marketing, sales, advanced education, staff, payroll, inventory, finances, and leadership into our business "package", isn't it supposed to just...work.
But the reality is, most spa owners are trying to run their businesses similar to pouring 10 lbs of sugar into a 5 lb sack with a hundred holes in it.
Not only is the sack too small, but it's also old and grossly incapable of handling the volume of sugar you need to store. And now you’re dealing a big sticky mess all over the floor that could have been sweetness in the bag.
I can wholeheartedly relate. When you've got an exceptional amount of drive and big dreams, you push yourself hard as an entrepreneur. Even when you're focusing on the wrong things.
The 5lb sack in this analogy represents the structure of your business model & it's systems.
If you're attempting to use a model that isn't giving you the actions you want (Ex: you've hired Independent Contractors and trying to get them to clean, do laundry and help their colleagues is being met with huge resistance) and/or is lacking systems for client attraction, recruiting, client retention, the guest experience or company culture, I guarantee you will continue to be discouraged and eventually contemplate closing shop.
So how does one side-step overwhelm & burnout?
First, if you're already in full burnout mode, you need to give yourself permission to rest. A lot.
Maintain the status quo at work for now and go take care of yourself until you can replenish some of your energy. Depending on how long you’ve been overwhelmed, it may take months to hit the reset button on how you feel. Do yourself a huge favor and give yourself that gift because you certainly are going nowhere fast in the state you're in.
What I know for sure is feeling overwhelmed simply means you simply don’t have enough answers...yet.
It means you might need to step back from your to-do list...to reevaluate and prioritize the ONE THING that will give you better ROI for your time and efforts.
It means you might need to slow down and analyze what HAS been working...to see where you are making progress and fine tune it, rather than constantly looking for new projects to bring in business.
It means you might need to learn how to think more deeply about your business to be able to ask better questions...in order to hear more profound answers.
It means you might need to reach out for support from your partner, mentor, accountant, banker or colleague. Entrepreneurs are notorious control freaks who mistakenly think only they can do it. And it's this mindset that got them into this mess in the first place.
The common thread here for burnout relief is to BACK OFF.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you back off and give up.
I'm saying the moment you feel overwhelmed, you need a wider perspective of what’s happening in your business; to see marketing, sales, advanced education, staff, payroll, inventory, finances and leadership as an interconnected hub, rather than in separate, disconnected pieces.
Think of it as if you're trying to put a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle together with only half of the pieces visible and a missing box cover! How in the world could you ever (a) complete the puzzle with pieces missing and (b) even know what the finished project should look like. It's craziness!
Trying to manage your business the same way is crazy-making.
Not sure how to see your spa biz from a bigger perspective? I've got the perfect training for you to get started. And it's free.
Feeling overwhelmed and burnt out is a killer of dreams. It's not that you aren't capable, you just didn't have the right skills to see the bigger picture.