By Chantel Cohen, founder and CEO of CWC Coaching & Therapy, and an EO Accelerator in Atlanta.
Chantel Cohen is a therapist with a difference. A Columbia graduate, the Atlanta-based life coach and counselor specializes in helping individuals and companies looking to turbocharge their commercial opportunities. Ask how she came to this line of work, however, and you might be surprised by the answer.
“I wouldn’t say that I found my calling, more that it found me,” she says. “Remember, I’m a small business owner myself, so I know that feeling of setting up shop and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s only me now!’
“But pretty soon, I started getting these hard-driving professionals and business owners coming to me for advice. So I went back to Columbia and did a year-long business coaching course because, as I say, it truly found me.”
We asked Chantel about the importance of wellbeing to drive success for your small business and prevent burnout.
As Chantel puts it: “There is a false perception that only large enterprises have the resources — or need — to develop wellbeing practices. But in this case, size doesn’t matter. Long-term success depends on getting the balance right, not how much money you throw at it. Commitment to the process is the key.”
Ask yourself why
The huge variety of small businesses means there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are certain fundamentals that can smooth the process. Beginning with a clear vision of your goals and what success means to you.
“It’s easier to work with people whose ‘Why?’ is clearly defined,” adds Chantel. “Sometimes clients will tell me they are ‘stuck’ and don’t have clarity about the best way forward, so even the smallest progression can be very slow.
“This isn’t typical of therapy, because usually people want their therapist to be a conduit, so issues come up organically. In business coaching, I think of myself more as a ‘thought partner’, so our sessions are more engaging and livelier as we talk through things.”
Hang on to yourself
One of the most common wellbeing issues for small business owners is a direct result of their passion for work. When the buck stops with you, there is a tendency to associate personal wellbeing with the success of your business.
Remaining watchful of this issue is essential. Sometimes companies have to let employees go for reasons totally unrelated to their performance, such as an unexpected financial issue or (lest we forget) a global pandemic.
“If your sense of self is tied to work, that can be devastating,” adds Chantel. “I have had clients in such bad shape I had to do a wellness check there and then.
“One fun exercise is to give them a mirror and ask: ‘What do you see?’ People can struggle with this at first, but it’s a great way of stepping away from the problem and looking at it from the outside.
“Another is called a ‘float back’, which involves thinking about a time in the past when you were successful and figuring out the different things you were doing then. You pick out the ingredients, and pretty soon, you have a recipe for success.
“Everyone is different, but having a strong sense of self and being in alignment with one’s purpose is foundational.”
Chantel Cohen’s Top Tips for Wellness at Work
1. Multitasking doesn’t work
What you do is teach yourself to be inattentive. Work on one thing at a time, and you will be quicker, more effective and less stressed.
2. Be consistent with your sleep
People are tired of hearing it, but I see it all the time with clients: When you are sleep deprived, you are less effective. Do the hardest jobs in the morning, when you feel most energetic, and structure your day around energy levels rather than time.
3. Try to get outside
And do it within 90 minutes of waking up. Especially in places where the daylight hours are shorter during the winter, you need to get the sun on your face to raise serotonin levels and stabilize your mood for the rest of the day.
4. Routine helps
Work-life integration cannot be properly achieved without routine. Humans can only sustain focus for about 90 minutes; after that, we are less effective. If you take a 20-minute break to get a coffee, do a meditation, or head out for some fresh air, then your productivity goes up by over 20%.
5. Tech is a mindfulness game-changer
A lot of people struggle to establish a mindfulness practice, and that’s where tech can really help. Wearables like Oura rings track energy levels 24 hours a day, so you can develop the best possible routine for your wellbeing. Sensate uses low-frequency vibrations to calm you and put your body into repair mode, kind of in the same way as a monk chanting. These are proven to work and can be the difference between staying stuck and making true progress to a happier, more productive mind.
Contributed to EO by Chantel Cohen, an EO Accelerator in Atlanta. Chantel is the founder and CEO of CWC Coaching and Therapy, which provides therapy and coaching services to entrepreneurs and professionals. Chantel provides mental health support for leading organizations like Google, Coca-Cola, Bravo Channel, Lenovo and Coursera. Chantel recently contributed a post, Your Business or Your Love Life? You Don’t Have to Choose, to EO on Inc.
This post originally appeared on Lenovo Pro Community and is reposted here with permission.