Get All Access for $5/mo

Reframing Success: How To Set Up A Winning Lifestyle For The Long Term To ensure you're fighting fit for running a business, you need to readdress the equilibrium, and reevaluate what success means.

By Aliya Rajah Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


The way we define success in society has changed. By and large, money and power attract respect, which is a massive driving force for wanting to be successful. In today's culture, we glamourize being overworked and always busy through phrases like "I've got a dream worth more than my sleep," and ''hustle 'til you no longer have to introduce yourself."

The 9-to-5 isn't enough, and if you keep regular working hours, people will likely ask what else you're doing with your time. This mentality implies that the more hours you put in, the more rewards you'll receive. In other words, the desired result is always achievable, providing you're prepared to work long enough, hard enough, and fast enough.

These messages can be particularly damaging because you're constantly "on" as an entrepreneur. Naturally, you want to succeed, and to a certain extent, some degree of stress is good for peak performance. But (and it's a big but) when we start building chronic stress, it can cause a range of physical and mental disorders, before ending up in total burnout.

Growing a business can quickly take over your life when you set the pace. Your cognitive functions suffer, productivity becomes impossible, and maintaining success is no longer sustainable. Starting your own business is a huge emotional investment, and the journey is full of financial uncertainty, making it hard to step back and switch off. You might feel guilty or genuinely fearful about missing lucrative opportunities if you take a break. Plus, other factors may be driving you forward, such as a lack of self-belief or critical self-talk.

Successful entrepreneurs are celebrated for having laser focus, although the seemingly positive attribute is a problem if your dedication develops into an obsession. It can mean sacrificing things that keep our lives balanced, like seeing friends and family, eating healthily, getting enough sleep, making time to rest, and prioritizing self-care.

Related: It Doesn't Have To Be Lonely At The Top: Why Entrepreneurs Need To Take Charge Of Their Mental Health

Don't ignore signs that you might be heading towards exhaustion. Check-in with yourself and ask the following questions- if you frequently answer yes, it's time to reconsider your work/life approach:

• Am I constantly exhausted?

• Am I more anxious about the business than before?

• Do I find it hard to make decisions and get overwhelmed easily?

• Is it difficult to focus?

• Am I struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep?

• Have my loved ones shown concern about my behavior?

• Am I neglecting other areas of my life?

• Do I do things that bring me joy?

To ensure you're fighting fit for running a business, you need to readdress the equilibrium, and reevaluate what success means. It starts with being in the moment enough to actually appreciate your achievements; otherwise, if they don't give you any enjoyment, what value do they have? It is also crucial to acknowledge how far you've come, and also accept where you are to develop clear goals for the future.

Your health needs to be a priority, so that your body and mind are in the best shape they can be, and it's about maintaining quality relationships in your life, so that you can pick up the phone for support when obstacles arise. And cut yourself some slack- you won't always get a perfect balance, but regularly nurturing your mental, physical, and emotional well-being will help you create the strongest foundations to succeed moving forward.

There are many healthy habits you can implement that will directly impact both your business performance and personal fulfilment- here are a few you can get started on right now:

1. Create different circles You need to spend time with people in your life who are entirely separate to work, and who you can switch off with. It's also essential to build a good network of other entrepreneurs. As much as your friends and family care about you, they won't necessarily understand the emotional rollercoaster you're on. Having other business owners who share similar highs and lows and who you can bounce ideas off will keep you inspired.

2. Find space in the mornings Morning routines are the focus of many contemporary self-help books, and there's no doubt that having a wholesome, powerful morning routine is extremely effective. That doesn't mean you need to pile extra pressure on yourself before it even gets light. Rather than getting up at 5am to study or learn a new language, for example, give yourself 15 minutes to check in with yourself, and fill your cup. This can be done by journaling, meditating, light exercise, and practicing gratitude. How you start sets the tone for the rest of the day.

3. Keep your external values in check Some entrepreneurs find their business becomes their identity, and it's hard to separate themselves, mainly because everything they do centers around the company. That also means if there are challenges and setbacks, it gets reflected in how they view themselves, which has a negative impact on mental health. Establish who you are outside of work, and make time for what matters to you.

4. Share the load It's not easy to delegate in the early stages of a business for financial and emotional reasons, but it can become a habit meaning you never relinquish any control. You need to invest in the right resources, so that you are comfortable with not being available 24/7.

Related: Stepping Aside: When To Walk Away As A Leader

Aliya Rajah

Personal and professional development coach, and podcast host

Aliya Rajah is a personal and professional development coach, corporate trainer, podcast host, entrepreneur, and founder of Coaching with Aliya. She is one of the leading coaches in the UAE, working with male and female clients, including CEOs, public figures, celebrities, professors, lawyers, and healthcare professionals. She has conducted training sessions for ADNOC, the UAE Ministry of Education, the Emirates Foundation, and First Abu Dhabi Bank. On her podcast, The Women Who Flourish, Aliya shares proven strategies to help people stop standing in their own way, overcome their fears, and make their dreams a reality. 
Growth Strategies

Connecting Strategy With Purpose: A Shared Vision For Dubai's Quality Of Life

The unveiling of the Dubai Quality of Life Strategy 2033 marks a new era in the Emirate that is focused on prioritizing resident well-being and happiness.


Cairo-Headquartered Beltone Holding Achieves Net Profit Of EGP514 Million In Q1 Of 2024

The company's consolidated financial and operational results for the period ending March 31, 2024 revealed remarkable growth.


Here Are The 20 Startups Selected For The Eighth Cohort Of The MBRIF Innovation Accelerator Program

The final participants of the year-long program were selected from over 200 applicants from across 35 countries.

News and Trends

UAE-Based Shorooq Partners Makes First Investment In Türkiye By Leading A US$5 Million Seed Round In Traveltech Startup Roamless

Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner of Shorooq Partners, said in a statement that Roamless is "a company poised to disrupt the traveltech industry."


Nurturing Connections: UBQT Co-Founders Jonathan L. Hasson And Lara Varjabedian

Jonathan L. Hasson and Lara Varjabedian, co-founders of UAE-born social networking app UBQT, are on a mission to help people reconnect in-person with those who (really) matter.

News and Trends

"We Got Funded!" UAE-Based Mysafe Raises A US$4 Million Series A Round To Fuel Its Expansion

The Series A round was led by Evanox, a venture capital firm known for its strategic investments in high-growth technology companies.