The 4-Week Vacation, with Dr. Sabrina Starling
How does the quality of your life relate to the health of your business? How do you free yourself from the constant demands of your business? If you have a cash-sucking business, there’s hope. It doesn’t have to be this hard. Joining us today for this conversation is Dr. Sabrina Starling, the Business Psychologist. with Tap the Potential. She’s an author, speaker, and coach who believes that work should support your life, not the other way around. And she’s introducing her new book, The 4 Week Vacation.
If you’re not taking time off, on the edge of burnout, exhausted, struggling with team performance, stressed or cash-strapped… tune in now, and find out how making a 4-week vacation pledge might be your answer!
Table of contents
Creating Freedom in Your Business
[4:00] “When we have success, we struggle. When our businesses grow and they take off, they demand more and more of us. Being an entrepreneur is our greatest opportunity for personal development. Because we have to grow ahead of that business in order for that business to be where we need it to go. So what I take from that experience is that hiring and being in business has always been challenging. This is nothing new.”
[7:50] “The book that I always wanted to write is The Four Week Vacation…. But before I could write this book, I realized I had to help them [entrepreneurs] with their hiring challenges. So I dug in and wrote How to Hire the Best, and I developed the How to Hire the Best system so that business owners could take their lives back….And that’s really what it takes to have a thriving business, and a business that’s going to continue to grow, that’s going to not rely on you, the owner, for the day-to-day operations of the business.”
[9:00] “When we design our businesses to give us freedom and generate profit and ongoing owner’s pay, then we have that opportunity to make strategic decisions with the wealth that’s being created; not just for ourselves, but for team members, and impacting the communities that our businesses are located in. So it’s really much bigger than just creating a business that gives you freedom. It’s really about creating a business that’s going to have an impact for all involved—and what I like to call life-giving businesses.”
Hiring Top Talent
[12:30] “I really think it is getting clear on the ‘why’ that we are in business. If we are in business to be perfectionists, then we can work 70 plus hours a week and we can be great perfectionists and really be good at it. If we are in the business to create freedom and opportunity for others, then we need to align our choices and actions with that.”
[13:13] “When we’re in survival mode, psychologically, it’s very hard to access that creative part of our brain; it’s just not there. So creating a vision and a compelling why is really the most important thing. And the irony is that we tell ourselves we don’t have time to step back and get into that creative zone… Well, all the research shows that the less we work, the more effective we become.”
Dr. Starling shares a few things you can do to step back and rest: take a lunch break, stop working at 5 PM, and don’t check emails and texts until the next day. Otherwise, you get burnout and overwhelm, and somewhere along the line your life stops being the one you’re trying to create.
Thoughts on Retirement
[18:10] “When I titled my book The Four Week Vacation, I almost changed the title. Because as I’ve been talking about this book for years with people and entrepreneurs, I get pushback. Because I hear, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself if I take four weeks off.’ What is that about? And I think so much of it is that we’re so used to working hard that we’ve convinced ourselves that this is where we need to spend our time.”
[19:25] “When you start having that space, where that business doesn’t need you anymore, that’s where you have that opportunity to really ask, ‘What else? What else is there? What’s important to me?’ And I’m with you–I don’t want to retire. I just want more time for what matters most in my life. I don’t want my business dictating every moment of my day, and how my week runs.”
Finding A-Players for Your Business
[24:40] “What’s interesting to me is that when we have A-players in a role that aligns with their strengths, and they get to use their strengths a lot on a daily basis, they will be 900 to 1200% more productive than a warm body. The other side of that is, you can hire an A-player who was an A-player in another business, bring them into your business, and put them in the wrong role, and you will see over time their performance and their motivation going down. Because they are no longer in a role that aligns well with their personality strengths.”
[25:58] “You want to screen out the wrong people before they ever get to an interview with you, and screen in only the right people to be in an interview with you. Because our time is precious, and the hiring process is one of the most time-consuming processes when you follow traditional hiring practices. And those traditional hiring practices, by the way, set us up to mis-hire 75% of the time, for the very reasons that Bruce is identifying.”
[36:30] “Part of the Tap the Potential solution that I teach is you run the business around the sweet spot. So the sweet spot—and this is from The Pumpkin Plan, also by Mike Michalowicz—is that intersection of your top clients and what they want most from you that aligns with your strengths. [It’s] what you can be the best in the world at; and the systems that you put in place to support what you’re delivering to those top clients… This means you know who your top clients are. You know who’s not a top client, who doesn’t fit that profile.”
Burnout, and the Need for The 4 Week Vacation
Dr. Starling shares with us data collected during the height of Covid-19, from 200 entrepreneurs.
[41:22] “84% are reporting that their mood fluctuates based on how the business is doing. 81% find it hard to switch off and not think about the business. 61% say it feels as though it takes increasing effort to accomplish simple tasks. So right there, these are core symptoms of burnout. At that point where we feel like, ‘I’m working harder and harder, and I’m not getting the result.’ That’s where we can slip from burnout into depression and other challenges in our lives. Because that feeling of hopelessness starts to set in.”
[46:10] “Those who have more systems in place in their business are less likely to be burnt out.”
The 4 Week Vacation
In her research, Dr. Starling realized that many entrepreneurs had rarely taken more than four days off in their 30-40 years. She recognizes, though, that this is not why people go into business in the first place.
[43:10] “85% say the business cannot run effectively without them. 71% are not delegating activities that don’t require their expertise. The number one system that’s missing in these businesses, 98% report they’re lacking a system for attracting top-performing team members… 70% lack a system for onboarding new hires, and 81% lack a system for retaining top-performing team members.”
[45:00] “We believe as entrepreneurs that we can work ourselves out of this dilemma. That we don’t need to ask for help; we don’t need someone who can guide us along the path. We’re going to figure it out ourselves because we’re self-made people….I would say to that, be willing to invest and recognize that part of creating the value that you need to create, and creating the margin that you need to have in your business, is looking at: How are you going to invest to develop yourself? And how are you going to invest to develop your team?”
[47:50] “I’m on a mission to disrupt the traditional story of entrepreneurship that to be successful we have to grind it out and work 70 plus hours a week–and sacrifice our time and our health and our time with those who matter most to us, all for the sake of the business.”
[48:15] “Work supports life, not the other way around. That’s the way to run your business.”
What’s in The 4 Week Vacation
As we wrap up, Dr. Sabrina Starling shares the sections of The 4 Week Vacation with us.
- Part 1: The Psychology Behind Working Less
- Part 2: The “Tap the Potential” Solution (How to pull everything together)
If you take one thing from Dr. Starling, let it be this: Identify what is important to you, and how you can live your life in alignment with that.
Contact Dr. Sabrina Starling
About Dr. Sabrina Starling
Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist® is an author, keynote speaker, and coach.
Dr. Starling is a business coach specializing in helping entrepreneurs take their lives back from their businesses. She is also the author of the best-selling series “How To Hire The Best” and releasing this fall “The 4 Week Vacation®”.
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