Why do some articles go viral and why does mine reach a meagre 10 people? What motivates people to share articles but not mine? I feel pressure when some have 1 million followers and I have to scrape by with 500, holding firm to my boundaries of NOT buying followers or finding randoms to drum up irrelevant content just to keep the online presence.
I stress myself out though, catastrophizing how my stuff is not worth reading. Then by odd chance, I scrolled through a friend’s WeChat Moments and saw that she had shared my new WeChat account QR code with her friends – and I had not even asked her! I was so touched I cried looking at the screen. Then I sent her a message to say thank you and how grateful I was that someone thought my content was worth sharing.
She said she thought what I was doing was helpful for people, and that she had read my free ebook, “Pull Yourself Together: Bridging the Communication Gap between the Depressed and Those Who Love Them”, and learnt a lot from it.
That made my day for weeks!
We started chatting more and reconnected, as we had not been in frequent contact. We shared stories and challenges as entrepreneurs. And she – my generous and kind-hearted friend, Maika Endo – agreed to share her story here on the occasion of Stress Awareness Month, because we both know that being entrepreneurs as ourselves is not so glamourous as everyone thinks. Sometimes, it is a struggle, maybe 30 times a day.
NN: Hi Maika, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your ventures?
M: Hi! I’m Maika. I’m a peace of mind advocate and founder of an award-winning boutique spa & wellness center which I set up from scratch in China, and is still up and running for a decade! When I started, I had no experience at all, but I was full of passion. I have worked with many inspiring therapists and wellness practitioners from around the world, and this is why I am here today. To share my best tools and resources to help you set up, grow, and streamline your own business with confidence, clarity, and pleasure!
NN: I know building Kocoon and now Wellnesspreneur was met with challenges from all directions and created lots of stress and even burned you out. Can you share the experience?
M: I was unexperienced as a business owner, and therefore, took bad work habits from the start, such as; skipping lunch almost every day, working all the time and very late, and neglecting self-care. I was very skinny, and probably looked unhealthy, because I was getting comments from my family.
I remember one year (my vegetarian year!) where I was sick every single month, and I also started getting chronic migraines. When those migraines would hit, they would be so strong I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple days (that’s when I created the Anti-Migraine Head Scrapping for Kocoon Spa!).
One particular week, my body was totally out of control, with high fever, and my body could not accept any food or drinks- except mineral water from glass bottles. My head was pounding and I was taken to the emergency in the end. The doctor did not understand why I waited so long to show up. My kidneys were severely damaged from this.
After that episode, I started to go out for a proper meal every day for lunch, I would eat alone at the beginning to focus on eating mindfully and appreciating my food. I ate meat again (Since then, I have adopted a plant-based diet but occasionally eat meat when eating out), read a lot about nutrition, small business management, and personal development. I banished chronic migraines thanks to the coaching sessions with a mindfulness coach as we identified patterns, and I learned to work on them proactively to prevent them from occurring or worsening.
I also took a year of private Chinese medicine course with a doctor to learn how to better take care of my health. I understood why I had certain emotions during my “unhealthy lifestyle”, and also how feeling worried consistently, damaged my vital organs.
NN: Did you know you were stressed in the beginning?
M: I did not realize it because I was overwhelmed, I did not have enough perspective to look at myself. I think we need to be able to step back in order to work on something.
NN: How would you describe the feelings of burnout?
M: I think burn out is the feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed. You start to believe that your state of stress is the norm. I would describe it as someone who is trying so hard to swim, he/she is actually sinking. I was literally dreaming at night, that I was drowning in the ocean! I would wake up feeling so tired.
NN: What helped you come out of the burnout and become whole again?
M: 1-Reading books! It’s amazing how much resources you can in books. There are people who have been there, walked the path, and have so much great advices to share. My favorites are listed here.
2-Private coaching was a game changer, as I learned how to step back, look at the situation from different perspectives, and bring things into motion. I have tools now in my pocket, that I can use for a lifetime. Once you know that there is place of clarity, where you can feel inspired, and guided, your mind is stretched in a way, that you cannot unlearn it!
NN: I know Kocoon and Wellnesspreneur are results of your passion and also set up to help people. What is your mission with these two ventures?
M: I was born in a family of health care practitioners (men are doctors, women are nurses), so if I didn’t end up being a nurse, I think that’s the closest I can get! To be the one serving those who serve.
My mission with Kocoon Spa is to give tender loving care to people leaving or traveling in Beijing- and by doing so, reminding them of self love. It is also a platform, for other health and wellness professionals to share their passion to the community.
Wellnesspreneur is a digital platform dedicated to supporting health & wellness practitioners to either set up, grow, or streamline their business with confidence and clarity.
NN: It’s great to know you can do what you love, but does doing what you love or doing good for others mean you won’t get burnout?
M: I believe that anybody can experience stress and burnout. Actually when it’s our own business and we love it, we tend to forget to pace ourselves, and we expose ourselves even more to burnout. What we can do is to adopt healthy work routines from the start, one that you can sustain for a long time. It’s like what my godfather said about passion and love, “don’t give it all at once, but little by little. It has to last for a lifetime!”
NN: What word of caution would you give entrepreneurs about managing stress and burnout?
M: Don’t push back things that are worrying you. Take time off to work on resolving sticky points, anything that is clunky, and if you need help, ask for help. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely journey, and sometimes we adopt the easier way-which is to avoid facing a problem, and hide in our cave.
My advice is;
-Find a supportive community where you can have fun and learn.
-Get help and accountability – but quality help where you receive the person’s undivided attention. You can have this through a mastermind, mentorship, or a coach.
And know that peace of mind has no price. When you have no peace of mind, you suffer, and suffering can take you out of every moment with your loved ones.
Yes, peace of mind has no price tag, a cost too hefty to bear. So perhaps today, to be aware of my own stress, I can find the peace of mind.
With friends like Maika’s support, I do not need to spend a fortune on marketing to prove my content is worthy. Some methods are simple and easy, like those from Maika’s experience on her Free Cheat Sheet, “33 Easy Ways to Grow Your Health & Wellness Business”. You can also follow her on Instagram @wellnesspreneur.co
I believe in organic growth. Somehow, someday, someone, might decide to share my post and thoughts, and I will grow step by step — for a cause.
Today, I will sleep one more minute to prevent my stress levels from going over the barometer. Plus, it was my birthday yesterday, so all the more a reason to sleep more!