Entrepreneurs Need Sick Days Too, Here’s Why

Shirley Jean-Baptiste

Entrepreneurs Need Sick Days Too, Here’s Why

Imagine being told by your ER doctor that the recent lab tests he ran on you were abnormal and that you would have to being admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, you have deadlines to meet, emails to send, and pitches to write. Unfortunately, sometimes illness comes when you least expect. It doesn’t ask you if you could fit it into your already busy schedule, it just comes in gun blazing, disturbing your peace and shifting your entire itinerary.

Recently, I had another brush with pulmonary embolism (my first episode was in 2014).  Web MD describes it as a “sudden blockage of a major blood vessel in the lung, usually caused by blood clots.” Pulmonary Embolisms, or PEs, are very common.  Even super star athletes like Serena Williams and former NBA player Chris Bosh have suffered from them in the past. It’s no different than any condition that triggers a lifestyle change. And as an entrepreneur, you must learn to integrate your new norm with your old life and business.

I hate disappointing my clients, especially if my service is an integral part of their projects or business. During my stay at the hospital, I had writing deadlines the same week of my admission. I met them, thanks to the help of my family bringing my laptop and all the materials I needed for work.

Be transparent

Within the hour of learning I would be admitted to the hospital, I contacted my clients to let the know the severity of my condition and that there was a possibility their deadlines would not be met. I must admit, at first, I was hesitant about telling them I was sick in the hospital. It felt very like “the dog ate my homework” type of scenario. Surprisingly enough, they were very understanding and more concerned about my well-being than the status of their projects. My saving grace was that prior to being admitted to the hospital, most of my deadlines were 75% complete. If you’re someone who likes to do things at the last minute, train yourself to at least do the preliminary research or outline, just in case life happens.

Make adjustments

I’m fortunate that besides having to take blood thinners for the rest of my life and being susceptible to bruising due to the nature of my condition, my life hasn’t changed drastically. But what about the entrepreneurs who are living with chronic conditions like cancer or kidney disease? Biweekly dialysis sessions or chemotherapy might be very taxing, and, of course, time consuming, taking you away from working on your business. That’s when having a team or a system in place is paramount. But let’s face it, if you’re a new entrepreneur, the chances of you having a team is a slim to none, so everything falls on you. If Tuesdays are reserved for dialysis, “go hard” on Wednesdays instead.

Take care of yourself

Like anything, you must do what works for you. If you decide to pursue entrepreneurship despite having a life altering condition, you’ll learn how to navigate the two through trial and error. And don’t be too hard on yourself. The health of your business is based on the health of the driving force (YOU) that’s behind it.  So rest up and check your emails tomorrow!   

Don’t give up

The beautiful thing about doing business today is doing it from the comfort of your home or anywhere in the world you like. Your smartphone is the gateway to opportunities, capital, and influence. It’s not uncommon to hear success stories of people who are bed bound or just have a phobia of being outside making a killing by working online. I don’t want to be insensitive and assume that these people are content with their circumstance. However, I want to highlight that no illness, or even the slightest cough, defines who you are as a person or an entrepreneur.  

Remember, even America had a sitting president (no pun) by the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt who suffered with polio. He served more terms than any US president in history, despite being wheelchair bound for most of his presidency. He never let his debilitating condition stop him from doing his presidential duties. Nor should you let anything stop you from reaching your goals!

 

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Entrepreneurs Need Sick Days Too, Here’s Why