Is being a kindhearted entrepreneur working against you?

I’m guessing you have a big heart. You like to help people. You can easily identify the pain in their lives, or in the world at large.

You want to heal it and you’re good at it. You’re a compassionate and intuitive person.

Unfortunately, you’re often exhausted and drained at the end of the day because you’ve tried to do too many things and many of them were for other people. As a kindhearted person, it can be hard to

  • Say no
  • Put your needs first
  • Not give 110%

I know ’cause I’m one of those people. What I’ve learned so far is that

  • No one can stop you from saying no
  • No one can stop you from taking care of yourself
  • No one can stop you from giving 100%, or even better, 89% (B+ is a good grade too!)

No one can stop you except you, but here’s the secret that many of us kindhearted entrepreneurs don’t want to be revealed: we’re probably not saying no, or taking care of ourselves, or cutting ourselves some slack because

  • We think we don’t deserve it
  • And/or being a kindhearted person is part of our identity

These aren’t comfortable truths to acknowledge. Looking at the cracks in our own sense of self worth is no fun. I know that I can think of all kinds of things to do to not have to face them like, oh say, doing something nice for someone else!

This isn’t to say that being kindhearted is a bad quality that should be thrown out the window. Absolutely not. It’s when it grows to Hulk-like proportions that it can be detrimental to our well-being.

So what do people like us do?

Take small steps every day.

Being a lover of checklists and worksheets, I record the small steps I’m taking each day to remind myself to do it, and so that I have a record I can look back on when I feel like I’m not making progress. If I miss I day, I ask myself why, but try not to give myself a hard time. It’s working slowly, but solidly. Examples of small steps could be:

  • Eating lunch away from your desk rather than while working, or working through lunch all together
  • Ending client meetings on time even though you want to give more
  • Taking breaks
  • Saying no to requests to give your skills away for free when there will be no return on your time investment
  • Using B+ rather than A+ as your standard of excellence

Committing to take a bite-sized step each day feels less overwhelming then trying to overhaul your insides all at once, and I’m going to guess, it’s more effective. I like to think of it as laying down one railroad track at a time to get to a new destination.

We can make all kinds of plans for how we’re going to live our Big Vision, but being overly kindhearted can get in our way to achieving them. So we need to give ourselves the gift of taking small imperfect steps each day to be as caring and compassionate to ourselves as we are to our clients.

You deserve it. You really do.

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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