09/11/2012 11:50 am ET Updated Nov 11, 2012

Tips to Sustaining Happiness in Work and Life

For Women & Co. by Willo O'Brien,

Very often, businesses are born from a passion for what we love. And as driven self-starters, it's not long before we start wearing many different hats to get the job done. We dive in with optimism and zeal, believing we can do it all.

The problem is, it's not long before we find ourselves with overflowing to-do lists. Tasks we find less enjoyable either don't get done, or they're moved to the bottom of the list (usually right next to exercise and self-care), and feelings of anxiety take over. Sound familiar?

As a business owner, I've been there myself, and I see this pattern happen over and over with my clients. What started as a skill that comes easily to you has slowly but surely become part of the daily grind. What happened to the excitement you had for what you were creating? You may have even convinced yourself that these challenges are good for you, because you're thinking, "I'm learning so much!" Or, perhaps you've flat-out resigned yourself to the notion that hard work is just the nature of the beast to become successful.

I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, this common misconception around work is one of the main reasons businesses fail. It's why we fall ill, or find ourselves overweight, fatigued, or depressed. If you're always operating from a place of exhaustion and stress, you could damage your long-term health, and decrease the longevity of your business, where you are (supposedly) your most valuable asset. How can you stay in balance?

Know Your Strengths
Your knowledge, skills, and energy add the magic to your business. Allocate time to focus clearly on what drives you and understand what you love doing best. Make it a point to review your strengths, even if it's a quick mental list, to help you stay on track.

Own Your Weaknesses
As an artist and self-employed creative, I can tell you flat-out that I am no good at bookkeeping. I learned the hard way, but now it's crystal clear. I don't like it, so I end up putting it off. Once I finally do dive into it, it takes me a long time -- certainly way longer than someone for whom this work comes easily -- and I end up feeling anxious, impatient, and irritated. Those reactions aren't helping my business, especially when my work depends on my creative energy and enthusiasm.

Weakness isn't usually celebrated in the workplace, but recognizing where you may be hurting your business vs. helping it can be a saving grace. When we stand in our strengths and commit to giving ourselves the opportunity to fully shine in that realm, we set ourselves up for success.

Ask for Support
Knowing when it's time to build a team, collaborate, outsource, or delegate is a skill all its own. It can feel daunting at first, because we're afraid we won't be able to afford this additional person, or we're unsure how to manage the relationship. That's understandable. But remember, just like any new skill, it takes practice. After a few conscious efforts, you'll hopefully see how much it can benefit your business. After all, it's an important skill that will genuinely support you as you take your career to the next level. It's an investment in the most valuable asset in your business: You.

And in a way, you're helping others. When you ask for support, you're able to empower and employ the efforts of someone else's unique knowledge and skill set. It seems like a luxury, but when you step back to evaluate the holistic view of your company -- your health, your time, and your happiness, you may realize it's a small price to pay.

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