By Michael Gunther

I guess the above question could be seen as rhetorical considering you never spend a minute without yourself. What I’m actually referring to is taking the time to think, contemplate and evaluate where you are in your business and your life and where you are going; scheduling ‘quiet’ time to slow down and just be with your own thoughts.

I feel very fortunate that at a young age I was exposed to this concept from numerous fronts. First, my dad – he would encourage us to not only feed the body and the mind but to make sure we were feeding our soul. Slow down and appreciate what is happening around you and recognize all the gifts you have in your life.

Second was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Olivia, a quirky, funky dressed woman with a clear purpose of getting her students to explore their dreams and daily activities to gain a better understanding of themselves. She required us to write in a journal on a daily basis and to take alone time to discover our thoughts, feelings and challenges. This class exercise has had a lasting and significant impact on my life. I still write in my journal to this day, and find it fascinating to go back through the last 35 years of my life and see some clear paths, behaviors and patterns that have shaped my life and business. Some issues have been conquered and yet, some issues still prevail today.

My third influence with this concept was my boss and mentor from more than 20 years ago, Mike Rowe. Mike encouraged me, as a manager, to take time each week to “work on my business.” This time was to review my goals, team and plan in terms of where we were and what needed to change. My entire team knew I could not be disturbed during this time (it was a little easier back then because we didn’t have mobile phones, email or texting capabilities yet). It provided me the opportunity to get out of the day-to-day operations and activities and really focus on whether we were headed in the right direction.

So, how often are you taking time to “work on yourself” or “work on your business”?

If you’re not doing this weekly, you’re not doing it enough. I encourage all of our clients and their managers to take time each week for themselves. To focus on their goals and projects and assess their companies from a 35,000 foot view — considering where they are, what’s working and what’s not. This time should be scheduled each week and treated as if you were with your best client — that means no interruptions, not taking telephone calls, responding to email or texts; solely focusing on the client and his or her needs (the client being you).

If you’re not sure how to spend this time, begin by recognizing your current frustrations or challenges within your business. You can also start the process by identifying all the opportunities you’ve wanted to work on for your business but haven’t yet started. Just the process of writing down your thoughts will allow you to begin exploring these issues or opportunities from a different perspective.

Bottom Line

It’s critical to have thinking time. Slow down and schedule it in order to process what’s happening around you. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards of taking the time to truly be with yourself. By implementing this simple process, you can be on the path to achieve the next level of personal or professional performance.

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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