Meet Tom, Tom is a trained Physiotherapist and owns a small business, Pinnacle Health Group. Tom was kind enough to give us 5 minutes of his time to talk about the impact 2020 had on both him individually and his business, as well as what he’s looking forward to in 2021.
Were you able to find time to switch off over the Christmas/ New Year break? If so, how did you spend your time?
Christmas and New Years break was really needed this year, just like I’m sure it was for many Australians, especially those of us from Victoria.
For the first week of the holidays I switched my phone off so I could be fully present without distractions. We made a pact that over the break, the priority was quality time with family (I have a three year old and a 10 month old)
We flew up to Northern NSW and had a lovely few days on the beach, but then we hit a slight snag with border changes. Nonetheless having a few weeks with my little family was just what I needed to regain perspective and get ready for 2021.
What are you doing to help you refocus as we start 2021?
I knew by the end of 2020 it was important that I started strategic planning for the year ahead so that I could come in after the holidays with a clean slate, less stress and a clear view of my goals and objectives.
In 2021, I have refocused my energies on my physical, mental and social wellbeing. So, I am moving for an hour a day (bike or run), I am continuing my daily mindfulness practice each morning via the Smiling Mind app, and I’ve also been organising more social catch ups both at work and with friends - as this is something I really missed last year.
Keeping up my momentum with movement and mindfulness practice will help me run my business through 2021 - which will be a big and challenging year.
What do you think will be your biggest challenges and opportunities as a small business owner this year?
The biggest challenge for me this year will be continuing to lead through the rapid change ahead. As the owner, consistent communication with all stakeholders and iteration of the business model is inevitable so preparing team members for this will be a challenge (but also a great opportunity!).
In 2021, the biggest opportunity for us is actually simplification of our business model and also adopting new technologies to improve the client experience.
What learnings, both personally and professionally, from last year are you looking to take into 2021?
Personally, I’ve really realised that family and friends are really important for overall wellbeing. As 2021 ramps back up, it's important to keep things simple and remember to engage friends and family in my life to help me maintain perspective.
Professionally speaking, I think I realised in 2020 how important speed to market is. It’s hard because as an owner you want everything to be perfect before you put it out into the world, but really you just need to get things out there. I also want to make sure I’m empowering my team to bring new ideas they can test and learn from.
Work and home life can be integrated much more than a lot of us previously thought. I am now working at least a day from home each week and that is allowing more time to help with family commitments.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
For me mindfulness is focusing on the simple things in life. It is acknowledging what I am grateful for, what I am feeling (good or bad), and being present in the moment.
For me going into 2021, being in the moment is a huge focus.
What would you say to those who haven’t explored mindfulness meditation?
Don’t judge. Mindfulness is not about sitting with your legs crossed on a mountain top and chanting!
If you are wanting to improve your clarity of thought, feel more content with decision making (personally and professionally) and sleep better - you need to give it a try.
Start really small and if you are a busy body it might be as small as sitting still in silence for two minutes a day to begin with and becoming aware of your breath.
If three year olds like my daughter are learning these skills at daycare it’s definitely something adults can do!
Why did you first start using Smiling Mind, and has that reason changed?
I started using Smiling Mind initially during the working day at 11am. The main reason was to reduce stress in between meetings and help me reset.
As I continue using Smiling Mind, I now think of it as something that is just automatic (like brushing my teeth each day). The reason I continue is to keep me performing at a good level consistently, if I miss a few days it’s definitely something I notice.
How is mindfulness part of your routine and what does it help you manage?
I practice mindfulness at 11am every day. It is scheduled in my diary Monday to Friday and is a 10 min timeslot. My best work is normally done from 7.30am-11am and so after this dedicated time I need a reset. I tend to think of it as pushing a reset button on my brain and this helps me transition into the afternoon. It helps me manage my decision making, energy levels and stress.
What elements of the Small Business Program, supported by MYOB, do you find most important for you at this stage?
I really enjoyed the intro mediations (The Basics), which provide great tools to focus the mind and anchor attention, especially before meetings. This was shared with some of my team as a way for us to reset ourselves and to work with more focus and less stress.
There’s also some great, simple sleep meditations in the Small Business Program that can help with positive routines and time to calm the busy brain before bed.
Any tips for other small business owners looking to take more active care of their mental health?
For all small business owners 2021 is going to be a big year. With many business challenges ahead it is important for business owners to put their oxygen mask on first before assisting others. I would start with setting aside some time each day dedicated to you. In this time do one of the following:
- Write down three things you are grateful for today
- Go for a walk without music, phone or any distractions (just you and your thoughts)
- Turn off your phone after work (don’t take it to bed)
- Do some light stretching or breathing exercises before bed
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
I'm really looking forward to socialising at work, continuing to adapt our business model and launching our new brand Well Workplaces - watch this space!
Have you tried the Small Business Program, supported by MYOB, in the Smiling Mind app yet? If not click here to check it out!
Don't work for a Small Business? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Check out our Workplace Program here.