woman-outstrtchd-arms.jpgWhat does digestion have to do with running a small business? Plenty! In the next three posts, I’ll explain how your individual wellness and the wellness of your entrepreneurial venture are linked more closely than you may realize. Today, I’ll share the metaphor and tips for working with the first of the metaphor’s three components.

The Digestion Metaphor
During nutrition school, I overheard a colleague discuss her protocol for clients dealing with digestive challenges. In addition to dietary changes and supplements, she recommended her clients use this affirmation to help keep their focus on a healthy digestive tract:

“My intake, assimilation and elimination are in Divine Order.”

I recently got to thinking how much this affirmation applies not just to our physiological digestion but, as entrepreneurs, to our businesses.

Just think about that affirmation for a minute: “My intake, assimilation and elimination are in Divine Order.” What a grand intention for a small business owner to hold! What a difference it could make in our business lives if we kept our “intake”, “assimilation” and “elimination” in Divine Order!

Application to Business
Breaking the affirmation down into bite-sized pieces will help make it useful. Take a look at the three components individually:

Intake: in the world of physiological digestion, intake refers literally to what we take into our bodies. As a business metaphor, it refers to all the things we take in as small business owners: new clients, email, snail mail, ideas, information from the internet and this blog☺, handwritten messages, marketing material from others, invoices, books, phone calls, text messages, new supplies, new equipment, audio and DVD material, and customer feedback (positive and/or negative).

Assimilation: in the world of physiology, assimilation refers to how our bodies break down food and liquid into the components it will use for fuel. As a business metaphor, it also refers to our ability to extract the business fuel from what is before us and put it to good use. Assimilation requires our attention. Our time. It requires sorting, extracting useful information, and making small or large shifts based on new information. This can be a challenge when we try to take it all in – to take in all the email, all the new blog posts we see, all the phone calls, all the new communication that comes our way. Assimilating means making sense of information and ideas, putting them to good use, and getting the most from each thing we attend to – (i.e. assimilating the new tax laws that my CPA just told me about.)

Elimination: in both the physiological and business worlds, this means getting rid of what no longer serves us after we have taken all that has been useful. Perhaps you clipped an article from a journal. Now you toss the journal. Maybe you implemented a new marketing technique and joined a networking group. It served you well last year. This year, it’s no longer the right vehicle. You stop your membership. As a business owner, you can eliminate: antiquated systems, books and materials, equipment, clients, staff members, procedures, and even attitudes that no longer move your business forward.

As entrepreneurs, we took a big bite out of life when we set up our own businesses. We need to be sure to manage that bite well. We need to be sure that the intake, assimilation and elimination of our businesses are in Divine Order. We need to be sure our bodies are in that same Divine Order. Over the next three days, I’ll give you some tips for all three components involved in both body and business wellness. It all starts with intake.

Intake – Focus on Your Business
Today, spend some time thinking about all you take in as an entrepreneur. By taking in, I mean all the things you fold into your business life each day. This can be an overwhelming task, so go slow. Chances are, many things are coming in to your business at high volume and a fast pace. Simply notice your intake. Take time out to list or just notice the things you take in each day. Glance at all you take in – a message on a scrap of paper, a business card, or your email in-box. Breathe. Glance at something else you take in – papers in your in-box, notes by your phone, or books on your book shelf. Breathe. And notice something else. This simple act of noticing is a practice in mindfulness for your business.

Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if you told me that your physiological intake (eating) matches the pace of your business intake. If that is a hurry-up-and-eat pace, perhaps it’s also time to take a respite on the physiological front.

Intake – Focus on Your Body
Sometime during the next 24 hours, make time for this juicy dining experience. The experience will be most effective if you can eat alone…preferably in a peaceful setting.

Place the meal in front of you and take a few deep breaths before you pick up your utensils. Take a moment to simply notice the colors of the food on your plate. Take another moment to breathe in the aroma.

Now pick up your fork and arrange your first bite. Take that bite of food into your mouth and immediately place your fork back down on the table. Chew your bite of food completely. Notice the textures and flavors. Savor the bite. When you have swallowed, then go ahead and lift your fork to arrange another bite. As you did before, take in that bite and place the fork back on the table while you chew and savor. Continue in this manner until you are full and satisfied. Take a final moment to just allow the experience to settle in to your bones.

Eating this way is a practice in mindfulness. It can remind us of the many flavors and textures that surround us each day that we let go unnoticed. Intake is the first component of the affirmation for digestive wellness of business and body.

“My intake, assimilation and elimination are in Divine Order.”