Why Health Should Be Every Entrepreneur’s Priority

Setting up your own business is an exciting prospect, but it does require a lot of hard work. It can take months of planning and lots of late nights to get everything ready for your big launch. During this time, many entrepreneurs put their businesses above their health. Often, they don’t get sufficient rest, eat properly or have time to exercise—all of which can make them susceptible to colds and other illnesses and stop them from working at their optimal level. This can have a negative effect on your business as you won’t have the focus and motivation require to make it work. So, rather than overlooking your health, start making it a priority by following these steps.

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Get plenty of rest

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of overlooking rest and sleep when setting up their businesses. But this can leave them feeling fatigued and unmotivated to work. It also makes it easier to make errors and create outcomes that aren’t to the highest standard. Therefore, instead of staying up all night working, make sure you give yourself time to rest. You could give yourself a day off or lighten the load by asking for help from others.

Another option is to choose suitable working hours that allow you time to see your family and get sufficient sleep too. Doing this can also give you time to go to the gym to help you stay fit. This resting period will help maintain your health while keeping the enthusiasm for your business at a high level. See http://uk.businessinsider.com/3-tips-get-good-night-sleep-rest-fall-asleep-2015-3 for further advice and guidance.

Prepare food the night before

When you’re busy, it can be easy to opt for unhealthy, convenience food such as takeaways and chocolate bars. If eaten regularly enough, these foods can leave you feeling weak, sluggish and bloated. Drinking too much caffeine rather than eating can also affect your mood and health. This won’t put you in the best mood to complete work-based tasks. So instead of going for the easy option, prepare your food for the day the night before. This can save you time during your busy days while also ensuring you’re eating the right things. To get you started, take a look at the advice on http://www.kaylaitsines.com/blogs/.

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Get the right office equipment

 

No matter what kind of business you are setting up, making sure you have somewhere comfortable to work is of the utmost importance. Back and neck pain are both issues entrepreneurs experience and is often caused by unsuitable work environments. These issues can make it difficult to concentrate and get comfortable. So, if you don’t have a proper office set up, this should be at the top of your to-do list. Visit a store that specializes in office furniture to try out different kinds of chairs and desks. Alternatively, you could visit http://www.officechairsonly.com/under-100/ to see what styles are available. Think carefully about what you will be predominantly using your desk and chair for to help you choose the best option possible.

Following these steps will ensure your business gets off to the best start possible by keeping you in tip top condition. Without good health, running a successful business can be an arduous task. So take care of yourself to benefit both your personal and professional life.

[post contributed for tamarhela.com]

The Necessity of Vacation

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

For the next two weeks, I’m creating my own sort of writer’s retreat, up in the boons of Northern California with my grandmother. I’ve got WiFi (which is on a limited GB plan!), but we were on dial-up up here just a few years ago. No joke. On Wednesday, my most exciting event was finding a dead raccoon and a (live) frolicking deer while taking the dog for a walk to the mailbox, which is down the street.

I’ve been here for a week already, however, feeling more relaxed than I have since I got back from Spain a few months ago. The most convenient part about my little retreat is that I have been able to focus on very important projects, including NaNoWriMo2014. I have never written so much in such a short time. Woot! 

Me in Oahu, Hawaii 2006

Me in Oahu, Hawaii 2006

Having time to ourselves to work on projects and reflect about things in our lives is very important. Therefore, I’d like to touch briefly on the importance of vacation–whether it’s a day of reflection or a week (or more) away from everything.

Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2007 with my grandparents.

Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2007 with my grandparents.

When I was 21, I had worked for 3 years straight with NO vacation. I thought I could conquer the world while working full-time, and going to school full-time. I worked 7 days a week (for the most part) and nearly collapsed from doing waaaayyyyy too much. Then I had a wake-up call when I finally took a vacation. 

Me in Campello, Spain in 2008--a life-changing vacation.

Me in Campello, Spain in 2008–a life-changing vacation.

One of my best friends was getting married in Hawaii and I didn’t want to miss the wedding. I booked a flight and hotel for both my sister and I, and decided we’d make the trip a full 8-day vacation. It was glorious. I had nearly forgotten how wonderful it was to relax and do next to nothing. I came alive again. And I realized that I hated working so much and needed to make a big change in my life.

Girls trip to Disneyland (CA) for Halloween 2009.

Girls’ trip to Disneyland (CA) for Halloween 2009.

A few months after that vacation, I quit my job and pursued other career paths. I was so happy and wondered what had taken me so long to make the change. Then I remembered that my vacation had triggered my desire for change, and that’s when I understood how important vacation is. Had I not taken that trip, who knows how long it would have taken for me to realize that I needed to make a drastic turnaround?

St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. Famous arch in the background.

St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. Famous arch in the background.

Vacation–or even reflection days–can bring clarity that the day-to-day grind can’t. It brings us to a different place physically (sometimes) and mentally (almost always) because we are removed from the norm. When we fail to take time for ourselves to reflect, get away from “it all,” and evaluate our current work/life situation, we do ourselves a disservice. We are more likely to fall into unhealthy habits all around, and wonder why we feel dissatisfied or stuck.

My nephew and I in Disneyland (CA) for my baby sister's Sweet 16 in 2011.

My nephew and me in Disneyland (CA) for my baby sister’s Sweet 16 in 2011.

Vacation doesn’t have to be something expensive or burdensome. It can be a day set aside once a month, or every other month, in order to disconnect from all our devices and e-mail, and become centered. It can be a day where our sole purpose is to journal and project the future of our business or career–or even plan our next novel. It’s a day where we ask ourselves: Am I where I want to be?

Times Square, New York with my mom in 2012.

With my mom in Times Square, New York in 2012.

And, if the answer is “no,” then we can use the remainder of our away time to come up with a way to answer “yes” in the near future.

Me, basking in the Cabo San Lucas, Mexico moonlight in 2013.

Me, basking in the Cabo San Lucas, Mexico moonlight in 2013.

I would like to note that an annual getaway does amazing things for our perspective on life. For myself, I come back from vacation with a new vision for my business and writing endeavors, and I just feel rested and ready for the next chapter of my life. I’m a nicer person when I come back from vacation, and that’s always a good thing. Being happier and more relaxed means that I’m a healthier person who can run a healthy business. I’ve made it a rule to travel somewhere at least once a year since that trip to Hawaii nearly a decade ago, and I’ve been blessed enough to keep that rule.

Gorgeous sunset at the Mona Lisa restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Gorgeous sunset at the Mona Lisa restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

If vacation is not an option for you in the near future, set aside some reflection days–national holidays are a good start. And, if the thought of vacation stresses you out…um…you should probably take a vacation. 🙂 Grab a piña colada and take some time for yourself. Cheers!

Homemade guacamole (with chips) and a

Homemade guacamole (with chips) and a “handcrafted” piña colada! Made it myself. 😉

Don’t Make a Resolution; Set Some Goals

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

I’m not a big fan of making resolutions, but I am a big fan of setting goals. And a new year is the perfect time to do so. Resolutions are typically outcome based, whereas goals can help us change behavior and habits in order to reach them. Thus, goals can help to create better behavior. (Plus, barely anyone keeps a resolution anyway.)

First World Probs Resolutions 

There are, of course, many ways to set goals, but keeping it simple is a good idea. In my attempt to keep things simple while also trying to be clever, I’ve come up with an easy way to set healthy and achievable goals—both for individuals and businesses: The HELA Way. (I hope that at least elicited a chuckle.)

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Here’s how I break down The HELA Way:

 

  • Health
  • Education
  • Love
  • Actualization (Spirit & Self)

 

It’s been a habit of mine, every new year, to set 4-5 achievable goals, by using wisdom literature as my guide. The categories in which I develop goals are universal: physical, knowledge, relationships, and spiritual/self-growth. Keeping to this particular pattern has helped me to reach my goals just about every year. Plus, I am constantly reassessing and measuring my progress.

 

Here’s an explanation of what The HELA Way means, and how you can apply it in your own life:

 

H is for HEALTH. If you don’t have your health, you can have everything else in the world and still be miserable. Health truly is everything. What goal can you set for your health in 2014? What do you currently do for your physical well-being that can simply be improved upon?

 

For example, if you work out twice a week, see if you can add one more day to your regimen. One more day a week adds up to 52 more days of working out during the year. Or perhaps you don’t work out but know you need to move your body more. What would it look like for you to start walking for 10 minutes a day, 2 times a week?

 

Physical well-being is crucial to being creative and productive, but you don’t need to be a body builder to achieve good health. Again, keep it simple and build upon new habits.

 

E is for EDUCATION. Improving our minds should always be a priority, and there are many ways to do so. Do you read every day? I’m not talking about emails, either. I’m talking about reading a short article that is relevant to your field. Whether you’re a writer, marketing director, or construction contractor, you should be reading something each day—or at least each week—that will teach you something new about your field. It doesn’t have to be someone’s dissertation; it can be something short and sweet like a blog post. 🙂

 

L is for LOVE. “All you need is love”—and a host of other things. Ha. But seriously, having love in our lives is a grand and necessary thing. Having love in our lives is mostly provided through building good relationships with others. In 2014, choose at least ONE relationship that is important to you, and assess some areas, which you can work on to improve it. Remember: it’s not about you, but about how you can give to others—even if you sometimes may not receive anything in return.

 

Click HERE and HERE to read articles on the importance of love in our lives.

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A is for ACTUALIZATION—spirit and self. I personally believe that we should all have something outside of ourselves in order to find harmony in our lives. For me, it’s my spiritual beliefs that keep me grounded. For you, it may be something else. But we cannot look to ourselves for all the answers. It just doesn’t work. What kind of spiritual goal can you set for this year?

 

Self-actualization is the other part of the acronym, and by this term, I simply mean self-improvement. I do not personally believe that we will ever “arrive” in this life, which is why it is incredibly important to do self-checks—and often. What is one goal you can set for yourself this year; one goal that will help shape you into a better person?

 

The goal can be something as simple as getting into the habit of rejecting negative thoughts—a goal that is actually harder than it sounds, but is worth doing. Think of something simple but effective. Something that you’ll be proud of at the end of the year.

 

Other Goals to Consider

 

Many of my clients are writers, and I encourage them to set writing goals. Perhaps it’s a daily word goal, or finishing a novel they’ve been working on for the past two years.

 

For business owners, The HELA Way goal-setting guide can also be useful. LOVE can have to do with customer/client engagement goals. EDUCATION can be for owners and their employees—improving everyone’s knowledge about a service or product, etc. You get the idea.

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Goals are not just “things” to be set up in January and then revisited December 31st. Setting daily, monthly, and quarterly goals is ALWAYS a good thing! Happy goal setting and Happy New Year!

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The Problem of being Good at “Everything”

In my last post, I stated that I had some exciting news. By that, I meant exciting and nerve-wracking.

I quit my day job.

Curls gone wrong...

There. Now it’s out and not so bad. But honestly, I am a little anxious about the immediate future. Why?

I’ve decided to freelance and work for myself.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m excited to be working for myself. But those of you who share in my entrepreneurial spirit can empathize with just how challenging working for yourself can be. However, I will reiterate that I am thrilled and can’t wait for the next chapter of my life to unfold.

This was the first week that I had all to myself. It’s been a week in which I rested, took time to get lots of “busy work” done, crossed off several things on my to-do list, and began to draft what my life will now look like in this new structure. And, as always, there are so many things you learn about yourself whenever a big change occurs. For me, I’ve been learning about the importance of limiting my focus.

You see: I’m the classic overachiever. I am unsatisfied if the job done is less than 110% and have high expectations of myself and those with whom I work—i.e. if you’re on my team, you better be ready to kick some ass. There’s nothing wrong with having that kind of work ethic, but when your ego intermixes with achievement and grows en masse, the “intimidation monster” may rear its ugly head in the process. This is what I call “the problem of being good at everything.”

GC FineImage via Meme Generator.

In the past, several people have told me that I am intimidating. Those who know me very well wouldn’t describe me as such, but would agree that because I’m demanding of myself, it may come across as intimidating to others. When I was younger and just in the blossoming stages my career, I honestly had no idea why I was labeled in that way. In fact, being the sensitive flower that I am (ha!), I would actually become offended at said label. But now that I’ve finished a ten-year run in the education field, I can actually appreciate those perspectives because I understand where they were coming from.

When you’re a know-it-all and try to take on every task under the sun, you WILL come off as Hermione Granger—and not in a good way. One of the most important things I’ve learned about myself while growing in my career is that my number one strength is strategy. (According to Clifton Strengths Finder.) That means that I can see solutions where many people see puzzles. I can mentally rearrange the “pieces” of a problem and see the whole picture. It’s nothing over which I have control—I was made this way. I am not responsible for this gift. It’s how my brain works. Though it sounds like an amazing skill to possess, it also has its curse. The curse of: the temptation to rescue everyone and solve the problem before they can even attempt to work out a solution for themselves. This is what Liz Wiseman would call an “accidental diminisher.”

People only want to be rescued if they’re drowning. And guess what? Many people in the workforce aren’t drowning; they’re simply looking at different ways to solve problems and may not come to an answer as fast as a strategist. But those of us who rush in too quickly diminish the genius of others. Particularly those of us who have four page résumés. *Guiltily raising my hand.*

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I began to realize this especially when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia last year. When I became physically limited, my eagerness to jump in and do everything and save the day was limited as well. Though Fibro is very painful and not something I would wish upon anyone, it has been a good thing. It taught me that I simply cannot do everything for everyone—I am NOT superwoman and that’s okay!

While I learned this lesson, old habits still crept in. I am nowhere near perfect, after all. Taking too much on my “job plate” was a problem and I’d become so overwhelmed that the huge progress I had made in lessening Fibro symptoms would be interrupted by a painful flare up. It sucked.

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Finally, I started focusing on myself more—specifically during this year. I was tired of feeling pain, tired of being overwhelmed, and tired of appearing intimidating. I just wanted to be me, enjoy my life, and pursue my passions. This caused me to initiate a mental dialogue with myself that eventually became external dialogues with some of my mentors. One mentor, in particular, said something so simple yet so riveting that it solidified my decision to change my life: “Tamar, you can either spend the rest of your life being good at everything…OR, you can spend the rest of your life being great at that one thing you’re passionate about.” Wow. Talk about conviction!

That conversation sparked events that eventually led to this blog post. Today, my office is a coffee shop and I’ll get to work out with all the retirees at the gym later—before most everyone is out of school and work. And if I want, I can squeeze in a nap, just because I can. But those are not the reasons why I’ve abandoned the intimidating overachiever. It’s much bigger than those perks.

Paid for Being FabImage via Some eCards.

 I’m finally pursuing my passion. The one thing at which I’m going to be great: writing.

Funny thing is, I liked writing when I was younger, hated it while in high school and college, and sort of rediscovered it as a means of mental freedom while penning my first novel, Feast Island, about five years ago. I had such a narrow perspective on writing until it became my liberator from the busyness of life. When it was the thing on which I spent all of my free time. When it evolved into more than just a portion of my job—it developed into my passion.

Now, the plan is to be a freelancer, specializing in copywriting, copyediting, content creation, and other writing services. Hopefully I will be able to have more time to focus on my fiction writing while not engaged in non-fiction writing. (Fiction doesn’t pay the bills quite yet, but here’s hoping!) I’m just about done with my NEW brand and website: helawrite.com. I will loudly announce when it’s ready for reveal, meaning I’ll be available for hire! 🙂 This is scary, new, exciting…all emotions mixed into one ball of anxiety-stricken and joy-filled energy. I’m optimistic about the future and expect failures, successes, and everything in between.

I don’t feel like I’m “finally on the right path”; rather, I feel like I’m on the right path for right now.

All that I experienced in my prior career shaped me to become the ME I am today. It helped me to learn very valuable lessons that I’ve since applied to my life to become better. I’m learning how to let go of things I can’t control. I’m perfectly happy being imperfect.  Every day, I come closer to truly understanding that this life isn’t about me, but rather about how I can be used to change the world through my vocation.

To the overachievers and those who “need” to control: guess what? You cannot control everything in life; the more you try to control, the more battles you will fight and lose. LET GO. It’s not about you. Become GREAT by relinquishing control, sharing the spotlight, and being a “multiplier” of talents around you.

To the underachievers: GRAB ON. Find your passion and begin to focus your energies on becoming better and better at that one thing. Become GREAT by being passionate, focused, and intentional. Bring others along side you for the journey.

I’ll leave you with the challenge to “dare greatly” as Brené Brown would say, and go forth in faith to do what you were meant to do. As the great Theodore Roosevelt said in the Citizen in a Republic speech,

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

Have a great weekend!

New Endeavors, Part 1

Today’s post is a short update regarding one of my new endeavors for the latter half of this year. I am excited to tell you that I’ve been accepted as a writer for examiner.com, writing on the topic “Healthy Living” for San Jose, CA!

My first article went live today and the feedback I received was only in regards to improving my formatting. They thought everything else was spot on! And now, without further ado, here is where you can read my article about Finding food allergy friendly restaurants in San Jose (or even in your own city):

http://exm.nr/12HKqvr

If you’d like to check out my author profile on the site, just visit by clicking HERE.

Until next time, I wish you all a wonderful week! 😉

-Tamar

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Halibut Salad