The Key to Success That Most Entrepreneurs Are Missing

Published on December 6, 2023

Everyone is talking about it, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. According to a 2022 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 Americans aren’t getting adequate rest. 

We live in a world where we’re constantly reminded that time equals money. But if you’re not carving out enough downtime, you’re putting your longevity at stake. That’s a problem that can snowball quickly, potentially leading to consequences for your health and your business. 

What Is Rest?

If you were perusing the internet at any point in 2021, you likely came across a trending TED Talk about rest. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, an internal medicine physician and researcher, explains why even those of us who are getting 8 hours of shut-eye every night aren’t waking up feeling rested. 

Rest is often, and incorrectly, linked synonymously with sleep. If that were the reality, then with 70 to 90 million Americans diagnosed with sleep disorders, we would undoubtedly be looking at a much lower-functioning society. Sleep and rest are not one and the same. We’re starting to understand that rest is actually a much broader concept that goes far beyond sleep. 

The 7 Types of Rest

The breakthrough idea that Dr. Dalton-Smith explains is that there are seven types of rest. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Seven?? I barely have time for one!” then I have good news for you. The beauty of this concept is that it’s not a methodology or a 7-step program. It’s more of a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. You have options.

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Physical – Passive rest like good sleep or a power nap, or active rest such as yoga, stretching, or a massage.
  2. Mental – Taking regular breaks throughout your workday.
  3. Sensory – Avoid too much screen time, giving your eyes and ears a rest.
  4. Creative – Seek inspiration through nature, art, or music.
  5. Emotional – Express your feelings authentically and avoid people-pleasing.
  6. Social – Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  7. Spiritual – Look for connection through things like community, meditation, or prayer.

Recognize Your Deficit

If you’ve never been a restful sleeper, the 7 Types of Rest offer alternative methods for seeking out the kinds of rest that work best for you. There are many ways to recharge your body and mind. The key is identifying where your deficit lies and then taking action. 

For example, let’s say you spend a lot of time at your desk every day using your computer and checking your smartphone. As a result, your body often feels stiff, and you experience frequent headaches. That could be an invitation to seek out a combination of sensory rest and active physical rest. 

Try setting your alarm in 2-hour intervals and taking 10-minute breaks throughout the day. Close your eyes, stretch, and walk to the breakroom or kitchen to refill your water.  By the end of the first week, you’ve given yourself an extra 6 hours of physical and sensory rest that you didn’t have before. 

Whether it’s incorporating regular breaks into your workday, adopting a meditation practice, getting outside more, or listening to soothing music to help lull you to sleep, those small changes add up.  They can have a big overall impact on your health and productivity. 

Rest Smarter, Not Harder

In the entrepreneurial sphere, it’s easy to gloss over the importance of rest. We tend to live in a near-constant state of hustle because it looks and feels more productive. That’s how you keep the momentum going, right?

The problem with perpetual hustle is that it leads to burnout. And research shows that entrepreneurs are uniquely susceptible to burning out. This all-too-common pitfall can result in mental and emotional fatigue, poor decision-making, and more serious health problems that can even be life-threatening

If you want your business to succeed, you need your body to succeed. Remember that rest is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Identifying your rest deficits and incorporating various methods of downtime will provide your body and mind the respite they need. If you’re not already making rest a priority in your life, then the time is now. Knowing how you rest best is the key to personal and professional longevity.

Ginni Saraswati is a member of Grit Daily's Leadership Network and the owner and founder of Ginni Media, a podcasting production house providing multiple podcast services in one company. Through Ginni Media, she produces podcasts for Fortune 500 companies and leading brands like Siemens, Conde Nast and AAA, as well as provides tools for thousands of people creating and producing their own shows.

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