by Brigette Mashile, founder of Roka Roko
It is no secret that the entrepreneurship life is challenging; in so many ways, especially in South Africa with an economy like ours. The problems are many but all linked to cash flow. If this is not managed it can result in health issues you never had before or worsening ones you already have. Getting sick or ending up in ICU because of an illness due to stress is the norm for those with stressful jobs and huge amounts of responsibility. As a woman, well, you are just adding to your already hectic life when you decide to become a CEO of your own business.
I have learned over the years how to manage it; but I am still not good at it. On some days the stress gets to me and my body responds physically in the form of nerve pain, joints, a headache, pH imbalance or just plain crankiness. It is so important that when these events happen, you are aware of them; and are able to link them to something. No, you don’t just get a headache, and take a pain killer and ignore it. If it is recurring, then you most definitely have to look into it more.
I have put together a list of things I do to take better care of myself; in turn taking care of my business and delivering at work. This list is my list; I am sure every entrepreneur has something they do that can be added here. The trick is to always find what works for you. These things have proven to assist me in my business and in my personal life:
Have friends… and see them regularly
You need friends. Friends help you take a break from your life and business for a minute; or they can actually listen to you. We are talking about real human friends here; not your Facebook followers or your dog. You also need to see your friends regularly; for a meal, a drink, a conversation or a concert. If you are lucky and your friends are entrepreneurs too, then great because you will speak the same language. But if your friends are in different industries and also employed, I say even better! They can solve some of your problems from another point of view.
Take time out… alone
So, when you are not seeing your friends and not working, take time out for you. Not with your husband, dog, children, mom, etc. Time with yourself only. This is the most important advice I ever received and learned to do well. I am one of those people who have so much fun alone; I read, dance, clean, bake, sing really loud and off-key, watch TV series and a lot more. I rarely leave the house when I am alone….ok I rarely leave the house ever. When I am alone, I am calmer, I remind myself of my strengths and weaknesses; I have a meeting with me. This is essential for all of us.
Or watch a TV series. Whatever keeps your mouth closed but your mind running, about another subject. I love reading; I love, love, love reading! That’s enough right? Ok, cool…you got it. I read mostly autobiographies on people I find legendary; I read African literature; I read about Africa in general. There is so much I have not seen or heard about ourselves and I am always searching. Reading opens my mind to another land and way of working. So, find that one thing that you love and do it.
Go to the gym
Look… I am also struggling here. All my friends have become distance runners and Im still thinking about it. I have noticed though that most successful business owners are also runners…. it makes sense. Time alone with the road and air. Sounds great. The message here is you need to WORK OUT. Any type of work out is acceptable. It just works; it relaxes the mind, sorts out those stiff muscles and burns those terrible calories we collect when stressed and craving carbs. The rule is 3 times in 7 days; so you may not miss gym for 2 days in a row. If you find other less demanding ways of working out, please do pass on the knowledge. But this is a definite friend to you on this journey.
Sigh! Look, I cannot tell you what you must eat; because apparently it depends on your blood type. And yes eating well is expensive and time consuming. That is why I have spent so much time learning how to make it easier. I use my oven more; its passive cooking really. Tick. I plant my own spinach, tomatoes and onions; now I can afford asparagus! And find ways to be creative with the food I have available. You have to know how to prepare sweet potato at least 3 ways to survive. And, manage the portions, always. I love bread, ice cream and sweet potato. But I have to abuse one each week, within limits. And normally, when you are abusing your body with food, your body tells you instantly. Eating well makes you feel lighter, less cranky and sleepy, and helps you to avoid other illnesses as well.
Be aware of your breathing. A lot of things happen in one day that can make you want to stop breathing. Don’t do that, there is no ‘breathe again’ ticket! By this I mean, manage your temper. Getting angry fast leads to compulsiveness which always ends up costing more time, money and effort. Breathing is the one basic thing you have to do to remain on earth; but being aware is more beneficial. It clears your brain and you will think more carefully and find yourself a bit happier.
Now go on and do this again tomorrow; your dream is waiting.
Brigette Mashile is the founder and creative force behind Roka Roko, a custom fashion design business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company passionately delivers quality tailored and trendy fashion to make their customers happy, and specializes in styling women by creating unusual combinations with fabric, culture and style. Brigette has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand and a Fashion Diploma from Studio5 School of Fashion. She’s a former fashion buyer for a major retailer in South Africa, and an international direct selling company. She’s been passionate about fashion since the age of 10 and gained invaluable experience in the fashion world running informal fashion creation businesses until the day her own Roka Roko brand was born. Find out more by visiting the Roka Roko website www.rokaroko.co.za
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