it pays off in the long run. I experienced it and I understand the hardships. Winston Churchill said I will reassure you that your courage comes when you go from defeat to recovery with enthusiasm. It’s a beautiful thing that my career, passion and story combined will assist you in the three variables that are needed and never enough of Energy, Time and Money from your business.
Back in 2012, I started a small business and with limited support staff I scaled it to four locations within 3 years. Since I am a go-getter and the only expert in my small business, I had to travel a total of 10 hours a week from one location to the others. As a medical provider, my education and other achievements were paying off earnestly; my dream had come true and I was at the peak of my success. Money was flowing in and I was enjoying my status along with the responsibilities of hiring, cultivating and firing staff for years, operations.
I received weekly business reports from my staff and I would skim over the long list of names, codes and numbers, but due to little time, I rarely checked the reports thoroughly. This caused me to overlook receivables and was unaware of costly money mistakes that were happening in my small business. I began to notice cash flow diminishing little by little, until BOOM, in my face without the ability to ignore it, $200,000 was lost. And consequently, more thereafter, 30 k, 10 k, and even 5 k. Small business owner frustrations set in; I couldn’t pretend. My staff took advantage of their freedom to self manage, became complacent, and covered up mistakes without my knowledge of the problem(s). Over time, I realized the staff were incompetent and couldn’t meet my requirements to assist me to the next level. I was hurt. And honestly, I knew in the back of my mind even after hiring people for multiple training days, coaching, mentoring and more individual training times they weren’t a good fit.
I ignored it, a small business mistake. Talk about overwhelm! This became taxing, stressful, paralyzing, and shameful that my small business’ cash flow diminished monthly and it was too big of a monster to ignore. I couldn’t even pay myself for years. While it seems I am placing blame on staff for my mental exhaustion 100% of the operations were my responsibility and putting people in place who were trained was my solution. They just so happen to be the wrong people.
I was swimming in burnout from sea to shining sea. At the time, I didn’t know what to call the lack of energy, low motivation, poor empathy, no concern or care for anything. I just knew that stress was running overtime. It took me a long time to recognize that it was more than stress, since I have a high tolerance. I knew something wasn’t right, I was becoming different.
My emotional intelligence sunk, anger gripped me, isolation became my friend and I was stuck in overwhelm. I needed stress relief and I needed it now. Worse, the love of my life that influenced my desire to survive difficulties in my small business, the one I desired to marry vanished away leaving me in the middle of nowhere emotionally. Something in me died. I was in my own world full of emotional turmoil and resentment for my small business.
Procrastination, lack of effort and unexciting work ethic ruled my world. I found no one that I could tell my truth too that I knew would understand or not judge me. So, I kept it all inside. I would cry at night from the loss of my love. Getting up in the morning to go serve others with my invisible shield was starting to show. I became numb to my small business practices while remaining one of the top providers in my regions. New business never stopped flowing, I just stopped wanting it too. So, I hired more experts but they didn’t work out.
Mentally exhausted, I endured. I kept going and going and going until I couldn’t escape the damage I made all in the name of saving my small business. I jeopardized my personal A1 credit to save my small business and lost a lot along the way trying to float the small business. All of my savings, to include my business character, associates, my drive and believe it or not I almost lost my car and home.
I was at a place of resentment and regret with the small business. The small business that I built with blood, sweat, and tears was now my pain.
I resented phone calls, working, paying staff/vendors/bills, and angry at people who just wanted help. I tried to ignore it all, but it just continued to show up. Sheer annoyance and shame, I felt, but most of all broken and cluttered (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial). so I couldn’t see a solution other than to give up. No one else was in charge, but me.
My daily route included dragging my feet to leave the house at 8:30 am and returning after 10 pm 6 days a week for years, it left me crying one day. As i wiped my eyes driving 30-60 miles one way I became afraid of who I was becoming, a person with no balance, eager to leave work early consistently or watch Netflix in my office to avoid dealing with yet another person/document or report, I didn’t care if I showed up for work at all and especially, when I had a head on collision with a client’s mother and all I could do was just stare and repeat 1-3 words to survive the moment. It took all of me to not jump off of the deep in with her. I was in shock with myself and I asked “where was my empathy, where did it go?” That’s when I realized that something had to change or burnout would ruin my reputation in the field and that the small business that was already on a respirator would just flat line.
Eventually, I became sick and tired of being sick and tired of running on empty. I needed to face my cluttered truth and not my fantasy (you know the thoughts that allow you to focus on a story you tell yourself to ignore or justify the truth?). The fantasy is nothing more than a way to deny, deny and deny some more plus blame others and suppress the truth. I said to myself, “you need to stop lying to yourself”. “Your non-care attitude is impacting your work and bottom line”. “You know that you are not showing up for your business nor are you doing the things you need to do and if you don’t change nothing will change”. I realized that I was a victim of burnout. My hustle left me, I felt dead inside and it was creating massive challenges. I knew I needed to evaluate my life. I couldn’t deceive myself any longer; I had to make myself have a come to Jesus moment. I looked at my current state, clutter, heart break, anger with staff, anger and resentment with my small business.
Oh Boy, what burnout can do!
Finally, I built enough mental strength to plan my change, my recovery, my freedom. The embrace of the steps for recovery was uncomfortable, I cried and cried, I tossed and turned and I prayed. Sooner rather than later, I had to make a decision. At some point, I had to come to my truth. And my truth was to scale down to recover. I went from 4 locations to 1 location for my small business to a virtual office all in the name of self-care which was my burnout repellent. I rested not for the purpose of running away, but to regain my mental strength. I was no longer willing to strain myself, I decided to advocate for myself by making the one decision that I could, the best possible solution for me at that time. I went from serving 60 clients a week, closing 4 brick and mortar doors to only 16 clients virtually. 16 clients were my number for maintaining my livelihood. While cash flow wasn’t the same, 20 k a month at least, to a third, it flowed and the operations from the reports were manageable. I had my time, freedom back and learned to financially adjust.
The mental exhaustion and mental strain went away. Little by little I recovered from the resentment making it easier to find my way back to the shore. I began to care about my purpose again. I began to be clear about my needs. I began to honor my word to my clients, do no harm. And I began to find my stride again. Putting the pieces back together again and using them as bait for the offspring to pursue opportunities that were a product from the main service work I was doing. I developed systems for time management and better business systems that would allow me to move forward after feeling what I thought was a never ending cycle. I became unstuck and I created four income streams from my main discipline. Everything became clearer, I pivoted not only in my current business but created a way for other small business owners who are experiencing burnout to find their way back to the shore of time freedom, self-fulfillment, healthy relationships and a lifestyle that they can enjoy with the money they need.
I was reactive rather than proactive. And I wouldn’t want you to go through what I experienced. No, I wouldn’t change anything I went through, because each hardship shaped who I am today. That which cannot (don’t) kill us makes us stronger. My passion to help you navigate through life’s struggles of burnout and personal mental strain is the light of hope that sparkled the creation of my consulting company, Chantay Golson International Firm, to passionately help you realize your red flags, transform and live a life that is fulfilling, happier, better and more balanced. Contact me today and allow me to help you with energy, time and money; the three valuables that are never enough. You deserve to be happy and prosper.
To Your Small Business Success,
Chantay Golson, LPC, CAMS