Canadian Lawyer

May 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 38 of 43 37 It seems counterintuitive, but you can't manage anyone else unless you're managing yourself first. Your staff is not immune to the fallout from your insecurity, stress and changes client to call — always more, more, more. This impacts our home life, especially when we have to tell our partner why we won't make it back for dinner or to kiss the kids good night again. It's easy to forget that we actually achieve more when we do less. Slowing down, carving out space and time for ourselves and what we enjoy and creating distance from our work helps with perspective. When we have a clearer head, when we're not trying so hard, then we create the mental space to solve complex problems and to respond to events instead of reacting to them. 2 Struggling with finances Ask any business owner what their biggest stressor is and the majority will say money. As the leader of your company, it's impossible to have all the answers for all the problems, which is why the right support and education is key. Identifying areas for growth, then connecting with the right professionals to fill those gaps, will accelerate your success and make you feel supported and confident. Ask yourself: Who is my tribe (personal and professional), and who will support me to get there? What other education, tools or resources do I need? Who can mentor me from where I am now to where I need to be? Take steps to address those gaps. 3 Managing staff issues When you first started your business, it was probably pretty easy. The only person you had to manage was you. Now, 90 per cent of your time is likely spent managing the everyday challenges that your team brings into the workplace. It seems counterintuitive, but you can't manage anyone else unless you're managing yourself first. When you don't feel safe, neither do your staff members. They are not immune to the fallout from your insecurity, stress and changes. You need to take them along on the journey with you, to connect with them and to keep them aligned with your vision and mission. Managing this issue starts with managing yourself. 4 Maintaining health and well-being R e s e a r c h s h o w s t h at 2 0 % o f Canadians suffer from mental illness annually, and evidence suggests that psychological distress is most acute for sole traders. This is cause for real concern. There will always be pressure, setbacks and failures running your own show — it will never go away. This is why it's crucial to be mentally healthy, fit and strong. Making conscious choices each day about what to eat, when to exercise and how to switch off from work and on for home is the recipe for success and stamina in small business. Practising gratitude, meditating, walking in nature and being mindful of your thoughts, feeling and experiences are all ways to interrupt negative patterns and influence positive ones. 5 Asking for help While you might have people around you all the time, it's easy to feel like no one truly gets it. So, instead of confiding in those closest to you about your challenges, you isolate yourself more and more. This only exacerbates what you are experiencing as you internalize what is happening. Your mindset plays a huge role in changing this situation. It helps you move from talking about what you wish for to actually taking steps and asking for the help that will make a difference to your life. Extending your hand for help is the biggest step toward gaining a sense of control over your environment. Knowing you can change yourself, your business and your life is crucial not just to survive but to thrive. Anastasia Massouras is the CEO of Work Happy, which provides well-being and employee assistance programs and tailored advice for companies. She is also the founder and CEO of Pure Insights, a consultancy specializing in mental health intervention. For more information, visit

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