As the cold, gray winter finally transitions to warmer green months, it brings hope of renewal. I wish the seasonal revival that comes with the weather changes could guarantee a foreshadowing for the small-business entrepreneur’s climate.
However, a quick shake of my Magic 8 Ball only reveals an “Ask Again Later” or a “Concentrate and Ask Again” response to my questions regarding this perpetual dumpster fire that we have been wading through the last couple of years.
I use the phrase dumpster fire intentionally. My wife and I have an ongoing discussion about how it’s overused. But from my perspective, it’s the most appropriate term available that doesn’t incorporate other emotionally derived expletives that otherwise flavor the conversation when discussing the future of small businesses right now. Who could blame them?
If owning and operating a business isn’t time-consuming and demanding enough, the concerns of labor shortages, supply line issues, rising fuel/shipping costs and burgeoning inflation have only compounded the amount of work, worry and attention necessary to keep things moving.
As owners and entrepreneurs, we typically are able, ready and willing to give success our best shot. We are eager to do what it takes because the stakes are high. And in our constitutionally protected right for individual pursuit of happiness, we are often willing to trade our most valuable commodity – time – for a chance to make a decent living and, maybe one day, obtain financial independence.
But what if there were more to being successful than that? What if our time spent on the business wasn’t enough?
What about “the rest”?
When I use that phrase, I’m speaking figuratively and literally. I’m talking about resting from the pressures of the business to invest some much-needed time on “the rest” of the things we want in our lives – things like quality time spent with our families, recreational hobbies or just finding time to socialize for enjoyment.
By taking this time out, we temporarily relieve ourselves of the mental and physical burdens of stress we so often refuse to put down while working. And when else are we not working, right?
Just the simple act of remembering “the rest” does more than help us to grow. It helps us by sharpening our ability to visualize, problem solve and lead.
For years, I have been aware of the benefits of resting. I have even quoted pastor and author Rick Warren on the necessity to “divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually.”
In all honesty, those who know me will be surprised that I am even writing about this topic because I have always struggled to incorporate it regularly.
In my desire and drive to make the business work, it becomes too easy to be caught up in the company’s immediate needs and forget “the rest.” I don’t know for sure why it is so difficult for me.
It may have something to do with the ingrained desire to anticipate whatever is coming around the next bend. However, the last couple of years have been so far outside any business norms that it has been hard to find the center. And the hurry-up-to-wait-and-see game that has ensued has redlined everyone’s stress meter.
It would almost seem like the last few years have been trying to remind us to a) find time, b) take time and c) spend a little more time doing things that we enjoy outside our business so that we might remember “the rest.”
Donnie Brawner is CEO and owner of Paragon 360 and Paragon Fabrication. He can be reached at
Once a week this time of year, roughly 150 men trade business suits and work attire for baseball uniforms – complete from caps to cleats – for the Grip N Rip Baseball league.