Today feels a bit different than a usual workday. Yes, I have things to do. Yes, I’m procrastinating a little bit. But… for the first time in a long while, I feel entitled to a little bit of a mental vacation. This isn’t to say I don’t take breaks. I do! I’ve even been a little bit lazy lately… but this week I feel less and less guilty about it.
I think the main reason for the big shift lately is that I sold my eCommerce site. It didn’t take a lot of time to manage (maybe an hour per day), but I did think and worry about it constantly. “Will I make enough sales today to cover my ad cost?” “How could that customer be so mad at me when it was their fault in the first place for blah blah blah blah…”
Now that the site has been sold, I feel so relieved! It’s not just the money that came in from the sale (that was nice) and not just the time I spent managing the site (clearly also cool), but the relief that it’s not my problem anymore!
Running this site wasn’t particularly stressful. Customer service is hands down the #1 thing that stresses me out, but the more I did it, the less it bothered me. Ad performance could have been more consistent, but overall I each week I was turning a profit. So it’s striking how much my outlook has changed after releasing myself from just this one responsibility.
I can’t help but think of other responsibilities, and how you might not realize how much they weigh on you until you give them up.
Being the person in the household who knows when you need to buy more coffee, when you need to sweep the floor, when you need to refill your phone credit…
Not all of those things are bad! (Cats = worth it!) but it’s worth noting how each responsibility feels.
When we left to travel, we figured that since we didn’t have too much stuff it wouldn’t be too hard to pack up and reduce… but every time we went through our closets or cabinets, we would magically find a whole carload of stuff to give away!
Again and again…. and then we sold most of our furniture and electronics on Craigslist… and every time, the act of giving things away was such a weight lifted off my chest.
It was only when the weight was gone that I realized it had been there this whole time.
It’s a relief to give up all that extra stuff, to realize that it’s not the positive kind of responsibility. I guess the “yoga” way of saying this is to let go of things that no longer serve you.
If a responsibility builds you up, keep it… if it weighs you down, let it go.
It might be easy to tell the difference when you’re cleaning out your shoe rack (nope, still hard!), but it can be much harder to tell the difference when the situation is more nuanced.
The hardest question for me is, to what extent is each aspect of your business a positive or negative responsibility for you? If your business is your livelihood, you’ll need to tolerate some negative things in order to keep the whole machine afloat. But which ones? Are they all necessary? Can you frame them differently so their impact is more positive?
At what point should you dump a client that is a bit of a nuisance?
At what point should you just reimburse that annoying customer (who doesn’t really deserve a refund) so you won’t need to hear from them anymore?
At what point should you leave your somewhat-reliable supplier and try a new supplier, not knowing what the outcome will be?
…and let’s not even get started on relationships!
There are no right answers. And for now, for this one small corner of my professional life, I don’t need to make those choices.
If you need me, I’ll be over here, worrying a little bit less than usual. 🙂