Justin Ferguson

Self careR-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to – hopefully, I don’t need to finish this lyric.

The textbook definition of respect is a positive feeling or deferential action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem. Like this definition, typically you may think of respect gearing outwards & providing others with it. However, this article isn’t going to do that – as tech entrepreneurs, the respect I want to talk about is the respect within. 

Ask yourself - do you feel like you respect yourself alongside your entrepreneurship journey? What does that even look like? Let’s think about what it doesn’t look like - hours at the desk without getting up, drinking coffee for breakfast and not eating until dinner, or even staying up all night because you “enjoy your work.”

When you are passionate about your work, it is easy to neglect your physical needs. Practicing self-respect starts with recognizing one’s worth and treating oneself with the same consideration and importance as the business you’re working on. Respecting yourself is taking care of yourself - which typically leads to improved decision-making and resilience. This is one of the key reasons why I love TEDCO. Although we are all passionate about the work we do, TEDCO constantly reminds us to take care of ourselves and respect not only the work we do but how we do it.

Ensuring self-care remains at the forefront of your brain involves a blend of strategic planning and mindset shifts. Here’s a few things that I have found helpful in my career:

Systematize Health Maintenance:

  • Keep a stock of healthy snacks and water readily available.
  • Plan gym sessions for when you're most likely to attend, such as before office days.

Optimize Schedule and To-Do List:

  • Carve out specific times in your schedule dedicated to self-care + relationship time with significant others.
  • Expand your to-do list to include a "Health" category, covering essentials like eating breakfast and taking vitamins—small actions that significantly impact overall well-being.

Reframe Productivity Mindset:

  • Embrace the importance of well-being activities by viewing them as critical to your productivity. This involves recognizing that taking care of your health is not a detour from your entrepreneurial journey but a fundamental part of it. By adjusting your perspective, you ensure that self-care and business success go hand in hand, leading to a more balanced and sustainable approach to entrepreneurship.

A wise man once said, “You better check yo' self before you wreck yo' self.”  For the purposes of your entrepreneurial journey, this translates to “you better respect yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.” Afterall, self-care is an essential component to your success, not a diversion from it.