How to find breathing space…. when you feel like your business is taking over your life.

So, you’re feeling overwhelmed…You’re wondering why – no matter how many times you pull back and take a break and reassess things – Why does your business keep taking over your life?

Perhaps you notice the social symptoms first… social life? What’s that again? Or perhaps your family is starting to complain… or a loved one feels like they have to compete with your business for your time…

What’s really going on here? And does it have to be this way?

No, it doesn’t. And the key salvaging your relationship with your business – and the rest of the world – might be closer, even simpler, than you think.

Here’s what happened for Kylie:

During a workshop, I was inviting participants into a quiet space to experience the soul of their business. Kylie sensed hers immediately. She experienced it as a beautiful, blue, exquisite light… In love with that light, she imagined picking it up and putting it into her heart. Beautiful, right?

Or maybe not. Suddenly, Kylie’s whole body started panicking. She went into a kind of shut down, and couldn’t even hear the rest of the words in the guided meditation. When the rest of the participants opened their eyes and began to share their experiences with each other, Kylie was left shocked and confused….

What happened?

Kylie’s business is a soul business – a business that does good in the world and feels close to her heart, like it is part of her purpose, an expression of her soul.

For many people, conceiving a soul business is like conceiving a child… one of the most sacred and meaningful things that happens in life… So, like with a child, the sense of love, belonging and purpose that Kylie’s business gave her was so close to her own heart, that she felt like there was no separation at all.

But, like with a child, there is a separation. There really is.

Although we may feel “at one” with a child, children – and adults – need a sense of separate self, if they are to grow into healthy and whole beings. They need to be loved and respected as themselves. Not as an extension of you.

In a similar way, your business has a being, quite separate from your own. (For an in-depth on this concept, see the free workbook by my friend and mentor Mark Silver.) And, like a child or loved one, if you just treat it as an extension of yourself, then you really aren’t giving it the space it needs to grow.

Your business is not you.

When Kylie imagined taking the Soul of her business back out of her heart, and sitting it front of her, her whole body was flooded with relief. She realised, instantly, how she had let her businesses take over her life so many times before. And she was excited to move forward in partnership with a business that would not overwhelm the other relationships in her life… like the very important ones with her husband and kids.

If your business was all about you, then a client would never come to you, unless you went out and found them, and walked them to your door… And you would have to be there on the other end of your emails, making sure your clients read them and respond!

But this is not what happens. Far from it…

If you send out an email, someone reads it and responds. While you are sleeping, or eating, or on holidays, one of your clients will talk about you to another, who will leave a message on your answering machine, and… Voila! your business continues without you.

So let’s be clear on some role responsibilities here:

You are responsible for your own soul, which knows what you need in each moment, in terms of balancing the many important aspects of your life: friends, family, loved ones, rest, activity, spiritual nourishment, and ‘being in service’ in your work or your business.

Your business has its own soul which will take care of and guide you in balancing the many important aspects of your business: time with yourself, personal and professional development, marketing, administration, accounting, reflection and evaluation, product or service development, and time with your clients.

As much as you love your business and want to support it to grow, you can actually stunt it’s development (and yours), if you happen to forget that the soul of your business is different from your own.

What you can do when you (or your business) need some breathing space:

Make some quiet time to close your eyes and ask yourself: If my business had its own soul, separate from me, what might it look, feel or sound like?

And as you begin to get an impression of it, notice where this soul is located… is it in front of you, beside you, above you, or inside you?

If it’s inside, or too close for you to see, then perhaps it’s time to give it some space…

Imagine creating some space between you and the soul of your business, so you can actually see and appreciate each other.

It might feel a bit scary at first, but it doesn’t have to be…

Now you can take some time to listen to the needs of your own soul, and then to the needs of the soul of your business. You can even have a conversation about it, soul to soul.

What you hear might surprise you…

Your business may be more capable of looking after its own affairs, than you realise… and of letting you know when and how you are needed – and also when you’re not!


Do you agree? Have questions or comments?

Please feel free to comment below, or contact me.



4 Responses

  1. Liz Fritzlaff says:

    Absolutely! Put so beautifully. As an extension to this idea, we can
    identify our personal values and the values of our business. Not only do these not need to be the exact same values, it is healthy that they are not! For instance, we may have serenity, peace, relaxation or family in our personal values, and these may not be appropriate for our businesses. Alternatively, there may be values that we want only for our business and not necessarily for our personal lives, such as success or “being the best”.
    And for a final thought…do our business values allow the space for others to join, share in our vision, help us grow our business and even allow us more time (down the track) to step back and focus more on our personal lives again?

  2. jamie says:

    What a fantastic article. I so appreciate your perspective and relate to the content. As a coach and a creative, I find my work to be deeply connected to who I am as a person. As things grow, it helps me see that some of the struggle I’ve been going through is really separation anxiety and completely to be expected. Thank you!

  3. Leonie says:

    Thanks Yollana this is really helpful for me, and I’d like to work with the suggestions, Cheers LZ

  4. yollana says:

    Oh dear… Lost a few comments when my new look website came online… Sorry guys 🙁

    @jamie… I’m glad this perspective helped. How wonderful for you and your business to be at the stage of “separation anxiety”… I take it that means it’s growing up!

    @Liz.. Thanks for extending the concept in this way with the thoughts around values… Your comment abou coming back to our personal lives makes me wonder about much we “separate” ourselves from our business… How much do we personally invest… How much do we personally risk… How intimate are we? In a world where we are desperately in need of ethical, helpful, transformational businesses, could too much space mean that you end up feeling personally disconnected from what your does? Could it breed inethical or inequitable actions? Are there some people in the world who actually need to get closer to their business, not further away?

    @Trey and Suzie… I lost your comments after I read and replied to them.. So Sorry!

    @Suzie, I think I said, glad you stopped by and I’d be curious to hear what emerges for you as you think about this stuff.

    @Trey… You said something really interesting. Can’t for the life of me remember. Would you care to post again?