Active Recovery Is Not For Entrepreneurs

Any sportsman or woman will know the concept of active recovery. You lower the intensity of your training significantly, after a prolonged period of heavy duty training, to recover from the work you‘ve done. These training sessions can be a pain, but also a blessing; they remind you that you do not need to push your body to its limits every single time.

I generally train this way as well. I do two-three days of heavy exercise and then take an active recovery day. Go for a walk, bike slowly, stretch. To a certain extend, I apply the same logic to my work. After an intense period of „brain exercise,“ I try to take a step back and simply do less.

Doing less to me, means getting up a little later than usual – check my mails irregularly and only respond to requests instead of pushing for improvements all-the-time. I used to think that a bit of digital downtime as a means of „active recovery“ would do the trick, beautifully.

Yet, last week I took a number of full days off and it might have been the best thing I‘ve done for myself in a very long time.

Our brain needs to disconnect sometimes

I have a constant knack for improvement and change. It is appalling really, I find it really hard to do and/or say nothing at all when I feel things could be done differently or better.

The curse of the perfectionist, combined with the fear that nothing lasts forever and business can change as much as the weather does – a great recipe for an entrepreneurial mindset, but a disaster on my mental health.

It is so important to simply „let things happen“ from time to time. Last week, I took a full week off. I didn‘t look at my emails, I didn‘t set up any client meetings, nor did I feedback the work of my colleagues. Just to disconnect from my day to day operations entirely.

It turns out, I really needed that.

A bit of stand-up paddling can work wonders

Fact of the matter, I feel so much better

Okay, I must admit, I did not last a full week without my phone or tablet. However, I did not check my messages every hour, nor did I request anyone to update me on the current state of affairs.

It took me a while to get into it, but after about three days, I felt liberated. The world hadn‘t stopped, things were still moving forward – not the way I would want it to, but honestly who cares?

It made me aware of the fact that I need to let go more. Even-though I did notice that „things“ moved significantly slower than without my input (ehm, or best to say without me telling „everyone“ what to do next), we as a team did more than alright. Each and every team member took responsibility for their tasks and most went a whole week without reaching out to me.

We are far from done yet, but I feel as though we‘ve made a stride in the right direction as an organization. Furthermore, it gave me a feeling of liberation; we are doing just fine. Yet, it also made me realize, I need to take care of myself better. Active recovery is not the same as a mental break, away from everything.

I needed a holiday and I‘m glad I took it. I feel great, full of energy and ready to make things happen. Have a great start to your week and don‘t forget to take a break from time to time as well! #mentalhealth #entrepreneur #vacation


Also published on Medium.

Remco Livain
I’m a digital entrepreneur, online performance marketeer, founder and CEO of the digital innovation consultancy GANDT Ventures (based in Switzerland). We support organizations (SMBs, corporates and later stage ventures) in their digital efforts. I learned the trades of the (online) business at Venture Stars (MIFLORA), Rocket Internet (Westwing Home and Living) and Insparx (C-Date and be2).

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