Business Wellbeing: Can You See Your TOES?


‘Can you see your toes?’ You might think it’s a question about personal wellbeing, but in fact it’s just as relevant for business wellbeing.

Remember the old test for belly fat?

Stand up tall, arms by your side, look straight ahead, breathe in and out, relax and then look down. Can you see your toes or can you see some other kind of obstacle before the toes?

It’s not just women with breasts that are reasonably well developed who may have a problem here. It may not be the breasts that are in the way. It’s actually often the belly. Now, if your belly is so big that you can’t see your toes, chances are you’re carrying a little too much belly fat, which is as bad for your business as it is for you yourself.

Why is belly fat bad for business?

While potentially there could be a correlation between business owners’ well-being and the well-being of their business, that’s not what I’m talking about today. What I want to cover today is the idea of not being able to see your toes in your business. In this context, the word toes has a special meaning.

‘TOES’ is an acronym which stands for

  • Time
  • Opportunity
  • Energy
  • Satisfaction

So pretend that you’re the business and the business has a body. If it can’t see its toes, that could mean there is too much belly fat in the business – belly fat which actually gets in the way of being able to fully connect. So ask yourself:

  • What are you doing with your TIME?
  • Where are the OPPORTUNITIES coming from? What are they?
  • Where is the ENERGY drain?
  • What’s happened to your SATISFACTION?

An example of using TOES to improve business wellbeing

This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had.

My client has an IT company. It’s doing very well. He has systems. He has teams. He has many customers. He helps a lot of people. He’s got a lovely, stable business, with solid, steady income. His wife has a good job too. They’ve got plenty of wealth creation going on in their life. On the face of it, they’re doing really well.

The biggest problem, though, is how to get and enjoy time together. This is a very common problem for successful, busy couples. In this case, we made quite a breakthrough, which is actually helping him to create a different way forward. It has so much to do with being able to see his TOES in the business.

His biggest energy leak was around time, in particular the amount of time he was giving away for free. He was making his business more efficient by having the right team members and by having systems in place. But the more that happened, the more time he was giving away to people who couldn’t afford to pay the standard fees for IT services. He was attracting people who were very needy, who had a crisis that needed to be managed, and he wanted to do them a favour and help them out. He’s a lovely guy coming from a really great place.

But when we actually tracked the last two years, four years, six years as he became better at running his business, he’d actually been giving away more and more and more of his time for free. That’s a lovely thing to do, but it meant he was still not getting any time back for his family. That was the core problem.

So we needed a way to solve that problem. What we did was we put together a number of existing strengths and potentials – in the business and in a wider scenario – and looked at how to create a for-purpose entity to sit next to his existing for-profit entity. That helped him develop a plan to get the lifestyle he wants; make the impact that he wants to make, and continue running a successful business.

What to do if you can’t see your TOES

So if you ever get to a point where you can’t see the TOES in your business, it’s time to sit back, have a really good look in the mirror and see what’s going on.

In our bodies, belly fat comes from a few different things. It’s essentially habits that help soothe, numb or just generally make you feel good. Overeating, drinking too much. Lack of movement, lack of momentum, lack of energy in flow. It’s the same in business. You have have habits that are not conducive to business wellbeing.

Maybe you react rather than being proactive. Maybe there are too many instant reactions to solve the immediate problem rather than going to the source of the problem. Those reactions continually absorb energy, but don’t solve the underlying issues. That can form a habit. It can also teach the people around you that it’s okay to behave that way. Over time, it’s going to be harder and harder to break that habit. You start lose your energy. You might even start losing connection with the reason you started the business in the first place.

When our businesses get fat and lazy, they cause us to feel tired, anxious, depleted and not so much fun anymore. That’s the time to give ourselves and our business a bit of an overhaul. We need a check up. We need to figure out our bad habits and how to fix them. And for real business wellbeing, we need to get back in touch with why we wanted to do this thing in the first place.

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High impact conversations that transform people and companies. Sue loves working with leaders on a mission, to untap their full potential. Her specialties include entrepreneurship, leadership, integration, transformation, and growth.


Phone: (02) 8860 6540
Level 5, 4 Columbia Court,
Baulkham Hills 2153 Sydney, Australia