6 Ways to Bring Joy and Stillness Back Into Your Entrepreneurial Life
Hi, my name is Kmac, and I struggle with burnout. I am a classic Enneagram Three: the Achiever. I want to do something with my life that matters and I believe so deeply in the power of photography and capturing once-in-a- lifetime moments. Despite these beliefs, sometimes my job runs my life instead of it being the other way around. In thinking about burnout, I realized that I use six practical tools to revive my spirit and bring joy and stillness back into my entrepreneurial life.
There’s a lot of talk going on right now in the creative industry about burnout and exhaustion within the creative entrepreneurial life. Solopreneur, I’m right there with you! The definition of burnout is as follows: “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” Hmm…does this feel familiar? I know it does to me. There is something about working full time as a creative entrepreneur that so easily causes us to constantly be at the end of ourselves–fighting the upstream current just to keep our heads above water.
But, I don’t think this is the case just in the life of the creative entrepreneurial world. Our 21st century culture is so focused on achieving the next status or the next paycheck. We might look back one day and realize that we’ve been living like robots. That we lived without thoughtfully spending each beautiful second we have on this earth the best way that we could.
Allow me to encourage you in your own burned-out season. Try a few of my six practical ways to bring joy and stillness back into your entrepreneurial life and see how it affects your spirit! Some of these practices might be antithetical to what we have trained our minds and bodies to be accustomed to but I have practiced ALL of them. I can tell you from experience that it brought peace to my heart sooner than I ever thought it could!
Here we go!!
Think about it, what are one of the first things you do every single time you get into your car? You probably plug in or connect your phone to play music or a podcast, right? (If I’m wrong, please email me so we can chat haha). By no means am I saying there is anything wrong with that, because trust me I LOVE music and podcasts!!
But, when was the last time you simply drove around without the noise of music or podcasts drowning out a chance for you to sit alone in the quiet? There is something calming about the silence, and it forces you to be alone with your thoughts (which is scary sometimes). This silence can bring clarity and a calming peace to your spirit simply by turning all sounds off.
Ask yourself this, are you comfortable with being alone? I know and believe that we aren’t meant to live without community. But, we also cannot learn to be with people well until we learn to be alone well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the sunrise and/or sunset by myself and I absolutely never regretted it!
What does it mean to do well at being alone? I’m so glad you asked!! In my experience, it’s the capability of being fully content when you’re by yourself. Oftentimes, it brings me back to the awareness that we are never truly alone. I have never felt more connected to my Father in Heaven as my closest friend than when I feel most alone. It’s possible to feel zero loneliness while being physically alone, and I hope one day you can experience that joy!!
Now, this one is quite specific, but it’s that way for a reason. We are so accustomed to the constant checking of our phones (I’m guilty every time). What would it be like to just simply pull up to a red light and sit?
John Mark Comer, in his book on the subject of hurry said it best,
“It’s wise to regularly deny ourselves from getting what we want, whether through a practice as intense as fasting or as minor as picking the longest checkout line [or not checking your phone at the light]. That way when someone else denies us from getting what we want, we don’t respond with anger. We’re already acclimated. We don’t have to get what we want to be happy.”The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
Sounds crazy, but it takes so much discipline to just sit at a red light. I promise you, it’s so worth it!
Should be simple, right? But that’s not always the case.
I think sometimes we live our lives waiting for someone else to tell us that they love us, when that very someone is also waiting to hear the same thing. What would it be like to extend the hand first? For you to be the one reaching out and letting someone know that you love them?
I promise that it will bring you just as much, if not MORE joy than it would be to hear someone say first that they love you! Our world is so divided, but there are still so many more things we have in common than we realize! Everyone is just craving to be seen, known, and loved, so let’s be the one who goes first.
Go ahead, pull out your phone and call them!! (Unless you’re driving ;).
Have you ever done something fun or adventurous just to say that you did it? Or just to take a photo and post it? Yikes. I know I have. Since when did we start living for the approval of man? Since when did social media and aesthetics dictate what we do with our free time?
Go do something fun without taking any photos. Do something you love, JUST because you LOVE it!
I’ll be honest, I have a hard time with the phrase “you are enough,” because it’s just simply not true!! The whole point of the gospel is that we aren’t enough. But, because Jesus WAS that perfect sacrifice, He made us enough!!
I used to find so much of my identity in my work and what I could accomplish. It was easy for me to care so much about what I did because it felt like that was the only way that my life had any value. Over the past few years, I have learned so much about my identity and it has completely transformed the way I live my daily life.
Remind yourself daily that you are enough simply because Christ is enough. Our success is not determined by the amount of edits we can crank out or how many Instagram Reels we film in a day. Hard work is necessary, yes, but burnout is not.
Turn around and look back at how far you’ve come! Yesterday, you were worried about today, and now it’s here and you’re killing it. Maybe today is a slow day and all you can handle is editing a few photos and sending a couple emails. You’re still crushing it!
Is it possible to find rest amidst the craziness of an entrepreneurial life? Absolutely!!! It might look differently for each person, but it’s definitely promised by God:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I hope this was an encouragement to your soul! May these six practices of joy and stillness inspire you to be intentional with the little things in life. The little things make up the big things, and it’s all worth it!! I hope that each one of these brings joy and stillness back into your everyday and entrepreneurial life.
If you took me up on any of these practices, send me a message on how it helped your mind and soul. I would love to hear it!! And for my fellow photographers, I want to know how you are trying to find stillness in your business!
Hosts: @mckennaekleiner, amanda_gillianphoto
Couple: @skyecoyne, @iceman1221