by Michael Gunther

Lately, I feel like I’ve been going at a breakneck pace—rushing from meeting to meeting, generating new sales, working on client projects, managing team issues, keeping up on finances, and so on. At the end of each day I still have a list of ‘have to do’ and ‘want to do’ items to accomplish, but I can’t focus and I’m out of energy.

The other night I was reflecting and asked myself, ‘Michael, what’s going on? What needs to change and how can you do it?’ Of course, I realized that I’m still dealing with the grief of losing my mom. I also realized that I was missing two key components this past month: taking care of myself and making time to work on the business.

It’s been a challenging month. As a leader, I need to be “up” for my team and make sure we’re focused and on track. In addition, I know that if I don’t perform my duties our revenue will go down and thus, no matter how I’m feeling I must forge ahead and do what is expected of me. (Sometimes responsibility really sucks). Normally these items would not be an issue for me, but over this last month my energy reserves have truly been depleted.

Since my mom passed, I realized I’ve not been exercising or eating well. I probably deal with my stress through eating comfort food, but this week it occurred to me that comfort food doesn’t really make me comfortable. In fact, it typically makes me feel worse—so first order of business is to get back to eating better. I also realized that I’ve not run or really exercised since my mom’s decline this last month. I need to exercise. This is probably one of the greatest stress relievers for me—even as much as I have to force myself to do it, I always value how I feel afterwards and my stress level seems to decline in accordance with how often I exercise…duh.

The other component missing over the last month was the time I dedicate to working on the business. This is a behavior that I preach to all of my clients; one that a mentor 20 years ago suggested I implement to enhance my performance in my job. Lastly, it’s something I typically religiously follow on a weekly basis. Of course I’m stressed because I’ve let go of it.

Now you may wonder, what’s ‘working on the business’ mean? We all have daily responsibilities within our organizations or with our clients that we know we just have to perform. In fact, sometimes these day-to-day operational tasks can consume our time and energy to the point where we lose track of where we are against our goals and vision, as well as what’s really happening both externally and internally with your business. Because of the propensity to get things done, individuals often forget to step back and reflect on what is really happening around them. This ‘working on the business’ time is scheduled each week to evaluate what’s going on with your team, where you are against your goals, and what strategic projects you need to be working on for the future.

You’re basically stopping and ‘smelling the coffee’—taking a 35,000 foot view of everything going on with you. This is what I did the other evening when I realized that my stress was coming from not taking care of myself and not scheduling my ‘working on the business’ time.

Bottom Line

In this world where we always seem to be on the go, remember to take time each week to reflect where you are as a leader and an individual to see if you’re in need of some course corrections to refocus yourself towards your goals and replenish your personal time and energy reserves.

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. To read the previous articles in this series, visit his blog at

Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. Learn more at

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