Understanding and Managing Sensitivities as a Business Owner

The entrepreneurial lifestyle offers an exciting opportunity to create and build the dreams you see in your mind. It’s empowering and fun to grow something from scratch that makes you feel proud, creative and inspired as a career.

It can also be challenging to create the work life balance you need to stay healthy and happy while following your passion, especially if you consider yourself a physically or emotionally sensitive person.

Let me explain.

People who like to be of service often become entrepreneurs because they like to help and support other people. It’s their ability to be sensitive to the needs of others, and help them with specific needs and challenges, that makes them great allies in the business community. It also means they may be sensitive in ways that require more understanding, mindfulness, and self-care to feel strong and maintain their unique work life balance needs.

What is an HSP and Empath, and Why Is it Important to Know as an Entrepreneur?

According to Judith Orloff M.D. and her book The Empath’s Survival Guide, there are various layers of sensitivity and ways you express it personally. For those who identify as a Highly Sensitive Person or (HSP’s), elements in the physical environment can heavily influence mood, health, and wellbeing. Some examples include harsh lighting, loud sounds, big crowds, certain smells, and the need for lots of alone time to “recalibrate” towards a state of inner balance. HSP’s are also often introverts, preferring frequent quiet time or a few close, well-known connections.

Empaths, on the other hand, take the sensitive nature of the HSP one step further. They are able to notice and respond to subtle physical and emotional energy differences in others around them, and can easily mistake those feelings as their own. As a result, they internalize what they feel and can turn that confusion and dischord inward, using it to judge themselves. They may also feel as if they have done something personally to cause the discordant feelings they are experiencing. Empaths can be introverted, extroverted or ambiverts (a combination of the two). A person can be an HSP and an empath at the same time. The spectrum featured in this article can help you discern where you fall on the scale of sensitivity.

Tips to Maintain Self Care and Balance as a Sensitive Entrepreneur

Now you understand how sensitivity may impact your work life balance and business, let’s explore a few simple solutions to manage it.

Create daily physical movement and down time.

Exercise, meditation, quiet time with a morning cup of tea or coffee, or simple stretching throughout the day can go a long way to move stuck energy and clear the mind. When you sit too long or just “push through” to meet goals and commitments, you also limit the body’s ability to regulate itself. Making small efforts consistently can go a long way, even if it’s simply to leave 10 minutes early to take a longer walk to an appointment.

Learn to tell the difference between anxiety and unhealthy overstimulation.

Networking events or gatherings can make anyone nervous. People aren’t sure the best way to explain what they do, understand comfortable ways to interact with strangers, or how to get over that fear of public speaking thing. Feeling a little off or anxious is normal, feeling constantly overwhelmed is not. If this happens frequently, take a step back and research ways to calm yourself before and after and event, or work with a coach or therapist to create personalized self care tools.

Just say no to networking events or gatherings that don’t feel like a fit.

As a business owner you want to do all the things. Yet, you also need to be discerning. If you attend an event a total of three times and always feel off afterwards, re-evaluate. Think about why you are doing it, what you are getting out of it, and if there’s extra self-care steps that can ease stress. Also be OK with saying no if you are just not feeling it that day, even if your business brain says just push through! Listen to those subtle intuitive hits; it’s your body telling you important information to improve self awareness and care.

Understand what self-care means to you.

Self care is not pampering, although it can seem like it from an outside perspective. An act of self care is simply knowing what you need to feel centered, clear,and like your true self, then practicing it regularly. Taking a bath or shower, using essential oils, listening to calming music, journaling, crafting, cooking, and spiritual practices are all simple acts that help us replenish spent energy. At the same time, healthy, consistent self care habits ignite inspiration to keep us moving towards goals with a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Remember, sensitivity is a strength and a great asset to have as an entrepreneur. With the holidays coming up and lots of year-end activities on the calendar, be extra mindful of self care habits and explore ways to be a healthier, happier business owner in 2019.


Katrina Pfannkuch is a coach, creativity catalyst, empath, professional writer, blogger, content strategist, and podcast producer passionate about creativity, entrepreneurship, mindfulness, and personal transformation. For over 18 years Katrina has created content, content strategies, and provided marketing and branding support for IBM, 3M, Allegro Coffee, and Kapost, in addition to several businesses in Northern Colorado. She offers coaching and content consulting services for clients nationwide through her business, Creative Katrina, LLC and hosts a monthly Creative Mastermind locally and online.

In addition to coaching creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs, Katrina writes about creativity, personal development, and mindfulness on her blog, Creative Katrina, offering strategies on how to stay inspired, productive, and mindful. Her podcast, Flirting With Enlightenment, shares tips and insights on how to tap into inner wisdom and match passion with purpose.

Website: creativekatrina.com

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