Are you working from an empty bucket? Pretend that emotions, energy and confidence were ladled into buckets at the beginning of every day; who would receive those buckets? The entrepreneur has the responsibility and opportunity to inspire, empower and improve the lives of employees, customers and the community. We spend endless hours and effort motivating employees and developing customer relations. We are concerned about the health and productivity of our work environments. Enthusiastic employees deliver better customer service and produce at higher levels. The care and emotional feeding of employees and customers is essential to creating a healthy, productive and profitable business. Who Feeds the Entrepreneur? December 27, the height of the busiest week of the year for a property management company in a ski resort, saw a steady stream of tourists, property owners and renters flow in and out of my office. By 4 pm lunch had still not been achieved. As I emerged from my office and asked the reservationists, “How has your day been?” “Great, Elaine, today has been fun.” “Really? Tell me about it.” They related a long list of comments from happy property owners and tourists. “Wonderful, but that is quite different from the comments I have heard. Why didn’t I hear any of these?” “Oh, Elaine, we can take care of all of the good news. We only send you the challenges we don’t know how to handle.” Have you ever felt like this? What they said made perfect sense. Who reinforces the spirit of the entrepreneur? All too frequently, that task is relegated to the entrepreneur. How do you bolster your spirit and energy? We give verbal and physical awards to employees. We compliment customers on their accomplishments and even send them appreciation gifts or take them to lunch. What do you do for yourself? Post positive affirmations on electronic sticky notes on your computer. Print affirmations on postcards to be displayed on your desk; one lady even laminated them and put them in her shower, on her treadmill and on the sun visor of her car. Carry a business card sized reminder of quotes, successes or mission statement which rejuvenates you. Reaching in to your pocket, purse or desk drawer to touch it provides a small electric surge of revival. No wonder executives display a picture of their family on their desk as a reminder to smile. Periodically treat yourself to a massage, pedicure or relaxing hour at your favorite pastime. Take a walk, buy yourself or someone else flowers, drive to the park to sit quietly for a few minutes. There is always the option of chocolate or other edible treat, but that can be an expansive selection. Personal preference Steamboat Ski Resort possesses such beauty in every season that just stepping outside to drink in the natural landscape invigorates me. Physical activities always clear my head. Throwing china against the wall provides a release but it is noisy, expensive and messy. Running, walking or hiking always renews my energy. Treat yourself like your best employee or customer Maybe music, reading or meditation works for you. Treat yourself with the same care and appreciation which you lavish on your employees and customers. You deserve it. “I don’t have time,” you protest. Bonus When you feel more uplifted, energetic and enthused for the future, those around you will sense the emotional boost and respond in kind. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them. My personal preference for printed affirmation postcards and business card sized inspiration is PrintPlace.com. Consider mailing the postcards or business card inspirations to others to spread the positive mindset idea. Concentrate on ways to feed and nurture your own spirit as well as the spirit of your employees, customers and the community. Your emotions, your bank account and your relationships will thank you.