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Sick Days? Solopreneurs Are Entitled to Them Too

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Sick Days? Solopreneurs Are Entitled to Them Too

It’s the one thing you dread – being sick or unable to work for a period of time. I’m not normally sick, so it’s a strange feeling and one that put me in a quandary of what to do and how to handle it.

You see I started feeling like I had a sore throat on Saturday. I had a quiet day on Sunday hoping that it would all go away and then I woke up on Monday morning feeling dreadful and pretty much without a voice.

Decisions, decisions. What to do? Now I’m a solopreneur, so if I don’t work, I don’t make money and as the ‘Cash Flow Queen’, I absolutely know the full implications of what my not working means.

But then I remembered two things:

  1. I remember a young woman in her 30’s, well respected, well known and highly sought after as a key person in her industry. She got the flu but kept working the long hours to meet deadlines and to prepare for presentations. But then she developed pneumonia but didn’t realise that was what it was and kept working and working until she simply couldn’t. She was rushed to hospital, but it was too late. She didn’t make it. She left behind a distraught husband and two small children and an industry in shock.
  2. Even though I am my business, I thought, “You know what, I’m entitled to a few sick days each year.” When we are sick, our bodies are telling us to slow down, to take time out, to relax and let go.

So, on Monday morning I decided to have my version of a ‘sick day’. Now I can’t say that I didn’t work, I did. But when my head is cloudy and headachy, there’s no point in me doing any number-crunching. However, I can work on other projects. And so, I gave myself permission to not do any client work but to work on my business instead and to do that at a slower pace without pressurising myself that I had to do ‘x’ by a deadline.

Tuesday rolled around, and although I was feeling better, I still wasn’t great. I had a lunch meeting in the city booked with a colleague and friend who was visiting from Melbourne. I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I drove to the city and met with her. I was again allowing myself a pseudo sick day. I took the pressure off myself to not do any client work and just enjoy the meeting, and I did. We had a great meeting; we laughed, we talked business and how we can help each other and truly connected. I went back to my home office and dealt with a few urgent phone calls and emails and not much else.

And then we got to Wednesday, I still wasn’t feeling 100%, in fact, the head was still cloudy, my coughing fits had turned into sneezing fits, but again I had a lunch meeting booked in with a friend and colleague. This time we were meeting by the Parramatta River where I arrived early and had time for a lovely walk beside the river, it was quiet, and I felt the peacefulness of it permeating my being.

We met up and went for a short stroll together before settling down for lunch at the café. Whereas I’m usually very mindful of the time and rushing around trying to jam as much into each day as possible, I was consciously doing the opposite, allowing the time to slip by without a thought, being open to whatever opportunities might flow from the meeting. And they did, and they probably would have anyway, but it felt so much easier and more natural and certainly, less rushed and pressured.

Today, it’s Thursday, and I’m on deadline to submit this article. The head’s a bit clearer, I’m still coughing a bit and sneezing, and I’m giving myself another pseudo sick day dealing only with what has to be done which includes writing this article.

Those that know me well know how hard I push myself, the long hours I work and the consistent and constant action that I take. So, it will be a big surprise that I’ve totally taken the pressure off this week, but what has surprised me the most, is just how much I have achieved.

Don’t wait until you’re feeling sick to take the pressure off yourself, and when you are sick, absolutely, please, please remember that you too are entitled to take the sick days.

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