Tales of a Shopkeep: tales of burn-out

No one is immune to it. We’re all well-versed. Familiar.

Burn out.

We live in a culture, a society as it were, of being eternally busy. We do it to ourselves, or at least I do. I’m in charge (for the most part) of my own schedule. And I schedule myself out to the nth degree. I have my kids, my bonus kids, my bonus-bonus kids, my partners, my family, my best friends, my business friends, my business (this store), my other business (the market), and that back-burner business that jump-started it all (my maker business). I have committees and boards and non-profits and customers and business associates. And I wonder why I don’t have time to think. Time for that ever-elusive imaginary thing called ‘self care’.  Self-imposed busyness. And where does it get me? It gets me here. Destination BURN OUT.

And what does that mean for small business owners – especially small business owners who are the sole proprietor’s of their businesses, with no one else to ‘leave in charge’ (oh, you know, like parenthood sometimes)? It means we still come in. We sit behind the counter when no one else can, or will. We get sick, and still come in. We cry ourselves to sleep at night because we don’t know what else to do. We spend as much time as possible with our families because -isn’t that who we’re doing this for? But even that time is sparse or sub-par. Your mind wanders. Did I pay the gas bill this month? Did I schedule out that event and get permission from the city to close down that section of this parking space and did I email that other business owner to provide refreshments for that fundraiser we’re doing for that non-profit? Did they respond? Did I respond? Did I brush my teeth this morning? Did I make my kid bathe? Hell, did I get my kid to school this morning?

I don’t even know anymore. That’s where I am. Destination burn out.

But I’m trying to find my way out. I’m asking for help, where I can. I’m trying to take time – elusive as it may be – for myself. Mostly just to think. Not for pedicures or spa days or salt cave afternoons or lady lunches – no – just time – to sit. To sit and think and re-balance myself. It’s fucking hard dude. You can’t make more time. We can make more of almost everything else in this world, but we can’t make more time. Why hasn’t anyone figured that out yet?!

So since I can’t make more time, I have to make the best of the time I do have. Figure that out. We don’t want to waste time. Oh no. That’s what that schedule is for, remember. To schedule yourself/myself out with just enough time to get from that meeting to this . . . but I’m learning to schedule for the in between times.

Sorry guys. It’s been a rough month. We lost 2/3 of our staff this month and I’ve been playing catch up since, and losing. I have an amazing support network, and I don’t want you to think I’m bitching because, I’m not. Or at least, I’m not trying to. I’m just letting you know – I get you. And I think you get me. This life is hard sometimes, and this is one of those times.

This morning I sat down at a meeting I head up for local brick & mortar retailers. I had no energy. I had no agenda planned. I didn’t want to go, honestly. But, I keep my word – and if I say I’m going to be somewhere, then I’m going to be there. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And, I lead this meeting, so me not attending  . . . well, that would be quite silly. So, I went. And other retailers showed up. And we talked. We shared stories and made some decisions and plans and it reminded me – THIS (that) is why I do this. It’s this community. My handmade community. My retailer community. My Bloomington community. My Gather community. My family. This is why (sometimes) the burn out is ok – and we’ll get through it. I’ll get through it. And so will you, if you’re suffering like me right now.

I’ll find someone awesome to hire. This rain will eventually stop. The sun will finally come out, and I’ll be able to open the doors again.

until then . . . be gentle with your fellow humans . . . because you never know what’s happening on the other side.

all my Love . . .

i hope your days are filled up



ps – apologies to anyone i’ve let down this month . . .

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