This article was originally published by Tamryn on LinkedIn, you can read it there if you prefer.
I recently paid a visit to the dentist. Not a regular check-up, because I am one of those people who tends to avoid those at all costs. I tend to have years in between check-ups, not months.
But my gums have been receding and I have exposed the bottom of a tooth and my husband – who is far better at looking after me than I am – insisted that I make an appointment.
After poking around in my mouth for a bit, the dentist put all his torture tools down, allowed me to sit up and announced “you have some of the cleanest teeth I have ever seen in my life.”
But just before my ballooning head could swell fully, he followed it up with, “and that is the problem.”
Excuse me? What?
A dentist, announcing that clean teeth are a problem?
So it turns out, no, the clean teeth are not the problem. But my enthusiasm for cleaning them is. I clean too much. Who would have thought?
I was given strict instructions to let my electric toothbrush do its job without any assistance. I have to admit, that the passive toothbrushing is incredibly painful for me (mentally, not physically), but it has also been incredibly good for my poor, abused gums.
This is, quite possibly, the best outcome you could hope for regarding a trip to the dentist! But it made me think.
Tooth-brushing is not the only activity in my life that I tend to over-do. I am very much an all-or-nothing person and I am an extreme perfectionist. And that’s all fine and well – until doing too much causes harm.
If you have read any of my older articles (thank you!), then you will have noticed there has been a fairly large gap since the last one. The reason is very simply that I have been trying to make a conscious effort to look after my mental health.
Writing regular articles is hard work. Its fun, but it’s not something that happens in a couple of seconds. They require effort and often, research, and always, a huge amount of self-doubt. Sometimes I have the time and energy, and sometimes I do not. We have a lot going on in Pharsyde right now, some very exciting things coming soon. There is only one of me, and I have to choose between what I want to do, what I have to do and what I need to do.
I have been through burnout more than once and have found my way back (I am launching a new programme soon, ask me about it!) but its way too easy to fall back into old habits.
Especially when it feels like you are doing the right thing.
Squeezing in one more meeting, putting in those extra hours, writing that extra article… these are all good things. Things that move your business forward.
But you can do too much of a good thing, until it becomes a bad thing.
Your business health is directly proportionate to your mental health! So every now and then, I have to force myself to stop and just, well, stop.
Yes, not posting an article to LinkedIn means I lose some momentum. Yes, not working an extra hour today means working that hour tomorrow. And yes, I might have lost a potential client or two because I refused to squeeze in that consultation.
But I still have me. And I still have my health – physical, mental and emotional. And I have learned – very much the hard way – that those are far more important than the momentum, hours or new clients. Which I can always get back, later on.
My business is still here, its still healthy and its still growing – and that is all because I am still here and I am still healthy! (still growing too, unfortunately)
If you find you keep on pushing yourself, but you are running out of steam, running out of passion and running out of you – please stop. Just, stop. Rest. Recharge.
Too much of a good thing, is still too much.