Is your business firing you up or burning you out?

I love the buzz of start up businesses. There’s so much energy, passion and enthusiasm, ready to bring ideas to life, set wheels in motion and put plans into action.

We all start fired up. But the late nights and constant learning curve can take their toll.

A few setbacks later, with a big dose of self-doubt, we can find ourselves running on empty and heading for burnout.

There’s a lot to be said about taking time out to rest and recharge, switching off, spending time out of your business and enjoying the fruits of your labour.

But what about re-energising within your business?

Wouldn’t it be great to reconnect with all that energy, passion & enthusiasm to see you through the tough patches?

Besides, who says that work always has to be tiring anyway?

What difference would it make to your business if you came away from each day charged up and ready for the next?

Are you running your business it in a way that energises you?

Here are some thoughts to get you started.

Play to your strengths

We hear this a lot, but do we actually do it? Or do we devote so much attention to improving our weaknesses that we forget about our strengths? Sometimes our strengths come so naturally that we take them for granted.

Yet our strengths are the things that strengthen us.

What would you happily do all day, work hard at, and be buzzing from at the end of the day?

For me it’s to do with encouraging and enabling people. Which is why I love coaching and training. But that’s also why I focus on marketing methods that involve actively connecting with people – like networking rather than say search engine optimisation.

They say you can do anything, but not everything. So why not choose the things that play to your strengths?

What are your strengths? Are you taking full advantage of them in your business?


Do the candle test.

Draw a candle. Write down all your business activities which energise you next to the flame. Put the ones that drain you by the wax.

How much of your time is spent “in the flame”, and how much is “in the wax”?

How does this affect your energy levels?

Many people start off doing what they love as a core business, then find the rest of the business takes over. Other people love the chase of the getting business in, and are less  enamoured by the delivery and follow through.

For some, simply restructuring their day can make a big difference. Making sure each day has its highlights as well as the more mundane stuff. Somewhat like how parents entice kids to eat vegetables by mixing them with food that they like. You might also find there are certain times of day when you can whittle through the less enjoyable tasks.

Others choose to outsource some of the ‘wax’ to free them up to spend more time ‘in the flame’.

What could you do to work more in the flame and less in the wax?


It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it

Does the thought of sitting in an office all day to work on your business plan bore you to death?

If so, why not change how you do it?

What would make it more inspiring, energetic or fun?

A friend of mine took her business plan outdoors, and combined it with a countryside trail, setting each milestone of the trail as a target for nailing each part of the strategy. By the end of the day, not only was she full of energy, but she also had a fantastic business plan to show for it.

On the other hand, if you know that you work best in a structured, organised environment, then give yourself enough time to plan and pay attention to the detail.

The key is knowing what energises you and applying that to how you do things as well as what you do. If you come alive when presented with a challenge, set yourself a challenge. If you know you work best with people, seek out partnerships, collaborations and accountability partners.

After all, the more appealing the task, the less energy you waste avoiding it, and the more enjoyment and satisfaction you get from accomplishing it.


Understand what fuels you

Anytime you find yourself obligated to do something, because you feel you ‘should’, the chances are it will be draining, however necessary it is to your business.

A photographer I was working with the other day knew that she loved the people side of her business – meeting clients, getting to know them and taking their pictures – but once she got to editing and producing the final photos, she found this laborious and draining.

In her mind, this was when she was locked away from people for hours on end, working away at the technical details.

However, when she started taking a creative approach to this process, rather than a technical one, and aligned it with her core motivation – helping people – her whole perspective changed, and so did her energy. It was no longer just about clicking on a computer and getting the technical details right. It became a vital part of delighting her customers with something creative and personal.

It’s amazing what a shift in mindset can do to unlock your energy. What fuels you? How much of your day to day business is aligned with that core motivation?


Celebrate to Recharge

It’s amazing how often we get to the end of a big project or a busy period and slump. Or go straight into the next thing without skipping a beat. Yet simply taking the time to celebrate and reward your achievements can be a real energy boost and give us more momentum for what’s next.

Try it now – what have you recently accomplished that you’ve yet to acknowledge? How will you celebrate?


Next time you’re feeling run down in your business, check your candle. Are you fully fired up? Or are you drowning in wax? How will you adapt your business to give you more energy?

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences with this. Do share them in the comments below.

Grace Marshall

Grace Marshall is an author, coach and Productivity Ninja, who loves helping people live and work with more brilliance and less burnout.She coaches at, runs workshops and speaks at conferences as a Productivity Ninja with Think Productive, and her latest book, “How to be REALLY Productive” was named Best Commuter’s Read in the CMI / British Library 2017 Management Book of the Year Awards.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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