Stress, it appears as it came with the job of starting a small craft distillery.
We often ignore it.
We often feel overwhelmed by it.
We often believe that if we make a little bit more Vodka, Gin or Whiskey it will be alright.
Truth be told is that is a far more serious problem that not a lot of people are talking about it.
The craft spirits industry is a high-stress business, which usually involves high upfront capital and long production hours to only find out that you need to sell double and triple what you initially projected to become cash-flow positive.
I didn’t understand how important managing stress was at the beginning of starting my business. But it quickly became very apparent.
After a few years during “the long production days,” I noticed that I was dragging myself out of bed, which by artifact affected all aspects of my life including my family and my love for distilling.
For me, this began recently when I started waking up earlier than prescribed to journal and workout. Rather than rushing, always with a heavy head feeling fogged and always tired.
Life is busy.
I get it.
Without the morning anchor, you will be far less equipped to deal with the challenges of life and high-stress scenarios a small business requires.
Without question, life can beat you down at times, and 2018 was a very challenging year for my wife and I.
It was the year that I lost my dad and also welcomed our twin girls, all in a span of 15 days, in addition to having our 5-year old son, life became hectic.
On top of that keeping up with the business production, marketing and sales, a full-time job, a podcast, and a separate company that is dealing with solving a key problem for craft distilleries which is their TTB monthly reports.
For me, this meant I had to make some adjustments the night before.
Due to high levels of stress, and the constant flow of information and emails I was always in a constant "ON" mode.
This lead to unhealthy eating habits and late dinners, accompanied by a few glasses of wine or spirit (or both) and then topping it off with something sweet and watching TV.
Every person has 24 hours per day.
From the President to the high performing athletes, you and me, every person has 24 hours per day, and it started with that reflection to change my habits and better myself that I started eating simpler and indulging less.
It was also a reflection of past news about distillers having massive heart attacks and not surviving. We don't hear it often as the industry is fairly small and new, but the lifestyle of this business focuses primarily on unhealthy habits and not a lot of moderation.
In addition to the long hours, production issues and ensuring that everything is produced with quality and integrity, good habits slide out and bad ones creep in.
When I started the distillery, it came from a place of identity and legacy. I wanted to start a business that will be here for a long time, something that my kids can look back and say that my dad created this and be proud.
So I want to challenge you, to take small steps towards healthy habits that will not only contribute to your health but also help your business. Start reading more, eating healthier, exercising or simply going for a walk with your significant other.
Take the necessary steps to ensure you are not just another statistic, but rather the outlier.