Fatigue and the Entrepreneur: How Much Is Your Fatigue Really Costing You And What Can You Do About It?

Fatigue and the Entrepreneur Part One

Physical Energy for Entrepreneurs

By Dr. Ernesto J. Fernandez, DOM, AP, LMHC

This article was recently reprinted for
Lee Milteer’s Millionaire Smarts Program

With an Introduction by Lee Milteer

Dear Millionaire Smarts Members:

This topic this month was motivated because my dear friend and colleague Roger Mellott passed away a couple of months ago when his heart simply stopped while working out of town in his hotel room. His passing has been very painful to me since he was one of my oldest and dearest friends. What a wake up call for my own mortality. Many of you might be familiar with Roger Mellott if you invested in my Mastering Leadership Skills CD program or my Insider Secrets to Success for Entrepreneurs series.

Roger was an amazing professional speaker for more than 20 years and was loved by all his audiences. We had the pleasure (tongue in cheek) of being on the public seminar circuit together for six years presenting in more than 100 cites per year, full-day seminars all day from 9 AM to 4 PM . Then we had the joy of packing up and traveling to a new city to present again the next day. Both of us realized that we had to use this public seminar business as a stepping stone to big corporate private clients. We were both willing to sacrifice our personal life to establish a successful business when first getting started. The sacrifice worked out for both of us. Roger when on to establish his own business and NASA was his major client. He worked as an outside consultation, speaker and trainer and made a very handsome living except that he had to travel almost every week.

I had many conversations with Roger about taking care of himself and stop working like a madman. (We are all guilty of this from time to time.)

I understood the model of pushing yourself to the max when we first were trying to get a foothold in the business but to keep up that pace for such a long time had a serious impact on his health and longevity. Roger loved life and lived it to the max. There is nothing wrong with living life to the max since none of us want to leave with our music still in us. However Roger did what most of us entrepreneurs and business owners do — he sacrificed much of his physical health away to working long hours, traveling non stop to make our clients happy. He did what we all do. Push the fatigue out of our mind and keep going.

I had been concerned about Roger for several years now. The more successful his business became the more he worked and worked. I often said to him, Roger you have got to rest some. You are wearing your body out never resting. Even when he was not working he often traveled to be with his family or take them all on wonderful vacations overseas. He simply never rested. He lived outside New Orleans so the last hurricane really changed his life. Very little access to planes since most of the airport was not functional. Roger’s stress level was at an all time high when he could not get home for more than a month to find out if his house had survived. The house survived but there was massive destruction to most of Roger’s property. I know he was depressed about the damage and he was in high stress and working way to much while under that stress. I am sure all of this contributed to his passing.

How many of us can change the details of this story just a bit and it may be us? Too much stress, too many hours working in massive fatigue and not admitting it? Not listening to our bodies need for rest in the pursuit of success?

Since the Millionaire Smarts Program is about our mindset I want to bring to your attention that you have to have some awareness of exactly how much stress you have in your life and what are you doing to nurture yourself to make sure you will have the physical energy to achieve your long term goals and live a healthy life.

Our guest expert this month is Dr. Ernesto J. Fernandez , DOM , AP, LMHC. He is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, a mental health counselor, an author, a professional speaker, and a consultant. He has worked with some of the top entrepreneurs, athletes, and business people to achieve greater degrees of health and success in their respective fields. The following article is from him and he has given us permission to use it personally.

How Much Is Your Fatigue Really Costing You
And What Can You Do About It?

Part One

Fatigue is a growing epidemic in the United States and it’s directly impacting your business. Small businesses are losing millions of dollars in productivity every year due to fatigue. It’s become simultaneously, a common topic of discussion among friends and around the water cooler and at the same time a source of secret personal shame and embarrassment because you can no longer function, perform or cope at the high level you’re used to.

Not only will you have the employees, subcontractors and vendors who you depend on, dealing with fatigue, affecting their performance and the productivity of your business. You’ll also have your joint venture partners dealing with fatigue in their businesses. And most importantly you personally might be suffering from fatigue and not even know it.

How does fatigue affect your performance and productivity? Besides fatigue affecting your energy level, which alone can be a serious problem. Fatigue also affects your ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time, your ability to think creatively, your mood and outlook on life, and your ability to handle stress and change. And to add insult to injury, fatigue often affects your ability to sleep and to get good quality rest and relaxation, thus creating a cruel and vicious cycle of sleeplessness and fatigue. It’s the all too common story of the entrepreneur who goes on vacation and is constantly thinking about work and calling into the office.

High producing entrepreneurs often have a lifestyle that sets them up for fatigue, burnout and a variety of health problems. A common phenomena I’ve seen with my high performer clients is that they give it their all at work and then they don’t have anything left for their family or themselves. Tragically over time, many become caricatures or shells of their former self and they lose the ability to really be present with themselves and the people they love. They appear to function great at work, but behind the scenes, home is a different story.

Fortunately, from a financial point a view, the business owners’ job performance is often one of the last things to completely deteriorate. Work is typically the last “Stand” for the entrepreneur for exerting self – control and will power over your body to achieve your goals. Although you can still make really good money, you will likely be making much below your true earning potential. Why? Because when your mind and body are tired, operating at 80% of its fully rested and recharged capacity, you won’t have the same quality of patience, mental clarity, discernment and physical energy to feel out the hidden opportunities in your business.

It is virtually impossible to completely reap the rewards of a millionaire mindset in your business and personal life, if you are operating from a fatigued mind and/or body. Ironically when you are fatigued you will spend a great deal of time putting out fires and cleaning up messes resulting from decisions made with a tired brain. When your nervous system is rested and recharged, you’ll make better decisions with less negative fall out. And most importantly you’ll spend your time on productive work and before you know it you’ll get more done in less time and effort. The net effect is greater income with less stress and strain and that’s in line with the millionaire mindset.

In contrast, to your job performance being one of the last things to deteriorate when you’re fatigued. Your personal relationships will be one of the first ones to break down and suffer long before your business begins to suffer. This often leads to serious marital dissatisfaction and social withdrawal. Many marital conflicts arise out of the fatigued partner not having the energy, attention span and patience necessary to be a spouse. When you’re operating from fatigue it’s much harder to remain objective in a conversation with your spouse and you can easily get defensive. It’s very difficult to sustain a deep intimate relationship with someone who has a high level of fatigue and burnout. Because, when you have a high level of fatigue you will naturally want to conserve your energy. You may have a willingness to give energy to your spouse, but your capacity to give will be very low and you’ll be easily perceived as selfish and self-centered. And for all practical purposes you are selfish and self-centered, however, it’s a biological response to low energy versus a psychological character flaw or lack of affection for your spouse. And the irony is that entrepreneurs are high energy people and that’s probably one of the traits that made you attractive to your spouse and spouses can’t help but take it personally when you don’t respond to them the way you used to.

Several studies have shown that stress and problems in a marriage will often weigh on you at least three times as much as stress from work. Many stress related conditions and diseases arise from chronic marital distress. The destructive trap many people get into is that they blame their spouse and/or marriage for their stress and problems when in fact the source of their problem is really your health – undiagnosed Burnout and/or Adrenal fatigue.

Most health professionals don’t fully understand the mindset and work habits of entrepreneurs. This questionnaire is designed to help you discover if you have any of the classic symptoms of fatigue that often go un-noticed by doctors and therapists.

Fatigue Questionnaire

Give each question a value ranging from 0-3 with “0” as not true and “3” as very true.

  • Are people annoying you by telling you that “you don’t look so good lately” or when you look in the mirror you look stressed and tired?
  • Do you tire more easily and more frequently?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating?
  • Are you working harder and harder but accomplishing less for the effort?
  • Are you increasingly more cynical and disheartened?
  • Do you often experience unexplained sadness?
  • Are you forgetting appointments, deadlines or personal possessions more frequently or if you didn’t have a good secretary or personal assistant you would?
  • Have you become more irritable or less patient, especially with your spouse and family?
  • Are you more short-tempered?
  • Are you more disappointed with people around you?
  • Are you seeing family members and close friends less frequently or are you isolating yourself more?
  • Are you too busy to do even routine things like make phone calls, read reports or send cards to friends?
  • Are you experiencing increased physical complaints (headaches, aches, pains, lingering colds)?
  • Do you feel disoriented when the activity of the day comes to a halt?
  • Is joy elusive or fleeting?
  • Are you unable to laugh at a joke about yourself?
  • Does sex seem like more trouble than it’s worth?
  • Do you have very little to say to people out side of a work situation?
  • Is your business functioning because you delegate much of your work to assistants and staff, while you perform your key functions less and less?

The interpretation is as follows:



You are doing fine.



Your stress is starting to show.



You are a candidate for burnout.



You are burning out.


over 40

You are in a dangerous place.

Adapted from Burnout: “The High Cost of Achievement” (Freudenberger, H.J. 1981) © 2006 Ernesto J. Fernandez

Now that you know your score, now comes a true reality test for you. I recommend you share this article and questionnaire with your spouse and have your spouse score you. Did your spouse score you about the same or higher than you scored yourself? If you scored above 21, to avert a serious problem, you need to immediately change something in your lifestyle and how you take care of yourself. Stress comes at a price which you either pay now to extend your quality of life and physical and mental vitality. Or you pay later with rapid aging, pain, disease and disability.

Dr. Ernesto J. Fernandez, DOM , AP, LMHC, is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, mental health counselor, author, professional speaker, and consultant. He is available for private health consultations and speaking to groups. Go to www.ernestojfernandez.com to contact him personally.

Lee Milteer
Millionaire Mindset Coach, Professional Speaker & Author
2100 Thoroughgood Rd. , Milteer Building , Suite A Virginia Beach , VA 23455
757 460-1818        

Share on your social network

Comments are closed.