Entrepreneur Jac McNeil Reminds Us to Make Self-Care a Priority!

How can self-care REALLY help my career? Do I really have to make it a priority?

These are common questions I am often asked by busy people trying to stay afloat. With all the demands of our fast-paced lives, many of us put ourselves last and think of self-care as sleep.

However, putting ourselves on the backburner isn’t good for us. I couldn’t agree more.  Self-care is so much more than sleep. We need time to think, create, and innovate. So I invited Jac to share how making self-care a priority has empowered her as a wife, mom, and owner of two businesses.

(c) Jac McNeil

(c) Jac McNeil

Jac McNeil offers a highly-specialized and seamless blend of coaching and thought-partnership for women leaders and entrepreneurs. For over a decade, she’s worked with women leaders, business mavens, and solopreneurs: helping them to show up in their work with more authenticity, confidence, intention, and power. With a potent collection of tools, techniques, and talent, her work has helped hundreds of women build thriving, integrity-based businesses. She’s also the Founder and Owner of BOSS of ME TEES, an online apparel company for women. 

AM: Hi Jac! Thanks for being here. Let’s dive in. How do you maintain the balance between work (2 businesses) and personal life (being a wife and mom)? Why is this balance important?

JM: I’ve always had a clear sense of what ‘quality of life’ meant for me personally. For me, it’s being fully present with my girls and husband, living in a quiet neighbourhood surrounded by trees, doing work that is meaningful, and maintaining healthy and fulfilling relationships. But like most solo-entrepreneurs, I would feel challenged whenever my priorities would start to compete with each other. This happened when the energy and focus needed to grow my business would bump up against my ability to be fully present and engaged with my kids.

What helped me to navigate the feeling of tug-of-war between competing priorities was to create a list of non-negotiables. These are specific things that I honour no matter what. For example, I created a work schedule and stuck to it - when I’m at work I focus on work; when I’m not working, I am fully present with my family or other activities that I enjoy.  I also got really clear on how I wanted to feel and named the corresponding values I needed to honour in order to feel that way. Once I named my core values (e.g., integrity, mastery, intimacy, impact, etc.), decision-making became a lot easier for me. I would ask myself: Is this opportunity/experience/perspective going to bring me closer to my value of (insert core value here) or further away? This approach continues to serve me well after ten years of being self-employed.

(c) Jac McNeil

(c) Jac McNeil

AM: How do you practice self-care in your busy life? 

JM: For me, self-care is about much more than the basic eat-sleep-exercise routines. I feel the most vibrant when I am listening to my intuition, setting and defining boundaries, having difficult conversations (instead of avoiding them), and learning how to ask for help and receiving it when it arrives.

AM: How has a positive mindset influenced your work and home life?

JM: My mindset is definitely not always positive! My emotions are wide ranging and sometimes intense  —  which I think is perfectly healthy —  I see my emotions as valuable indicators of what I need to continue to honour and where I might need to pay attention or check in a bit to make some adjustments in my life. I ascribe more to personal responsibility — being accountable for the choices I’m making or not making and how those choices impact my life and business — rather than a fan of always having a positive mindset.

AM: How do you cope with negative self-talk? 

JM: My favourite way to address my own inner-critic and the exaggerated stories I might be telling myself is to first notice when they’re happening and then say: Isn’t that fascinating that I’m telling myself (insert negative self-talk) again. Instead of judging myself, I allow myself to feel fascinated. When I’m fascinated, I respond with love and curiosity instead of defeat and despair.

(c) Jac McNeil

(c) Jac McNeil

AM: How do you practice being confident daily?

JM: I feel that my confidence increases when I give myself permission to do and say things that feel vulnerable — when I find the courage to do things that stretch me. I don’t do this every day — I would have a vulnerability hangover if I forced myself out of my comfort zone constantly; so instead, I step in and out of my comfort zone and slowly, over time, that comfort zone widens and so does my confidence.

AM: What is your number one productivity tip?

JM: I decide the day before the ONE thing I absolutely want to accomplish the following day. Usually I accomplish a lot more than that one thing, but prioritizing my tasks and keeping my focus clear is really helpful with my productivity.

AM: Why is it important to dress for success?

JM: I love expressing my mood and personality through clothing and since my love language is definitely words of affirmation, I have fun wearing tees that express positive, uplifting statements. Last year, I launched Boss of Me Tees as a way of getting that love language out there. It’s an online t-shirt company that offers high-quality, Canadian made t-shirts. The response has been great, and I love seeing women wearing clothes that make them feel powerful and playful. 

Thank you, Jac, for sharing your self-care strategies and reminding us all to show up in our work! You are a role model to many, myself included! You’re teaching women how opening up and asking for help is vital to our success. As you say on your website: “Inner work is business strategy.”

Do you make self-care a priority in your busy life? How has doing played an impact in your personal and/or professional success?

You sharing your story will provide others with the hope & support to become their best self.

See you at the beach!