When I started thinking about a topic for my very first article on the Felicity Blog (one that I would need to write in English — my second language!), I started reflecting on how becoming a mom of two very energetic and sharp-minded kids has made me a better entrepreneur.
Here are 7 skills I’ve learned in motherhood that have made me a better businessperson:
1. Mastering multitasking and prioritizing
Mothers are by definition professional planners and creative problem solvers, which makes us great multitaskers — a very useful skill at home and at work. But I’ve also come to realize that if there are just one too many balls to juggle, the risk of dropping an important one increases and the danger of it having a major impact on either the kids, the family and the business brings chills to my spine. Prioritizing the essential, most important things for myself, my family and my business is key to success.
2. Staying focused
When I started being a work-from-home mom, it was easy to get sidetracked by errands, laundry, dishes — you name it. Although I have grown accustomed to being a jack-of-all-trades both in and out of the home, I now concentrate on reaching key objectives. This type of focus will make you more productive and happier. Keeping in mind why a customer has come to YOU instead of the competitor is something I often ask myself to try to keep in line.
3. Asking for help
Though we sometimes like to believe we can do it all, I could not have come this far without all the help of a) obviously my dear husband to whom I’m ever so grateful for so many things I cannot even enumerate here b) my dear parents and in-laws who have jumped in on so many occasions and saved the day c) all the other helpers out there throughout the years– babysitters, neighbours, friends, extended family. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child! I now know now that it also takes a village to grow a business. In recent years, I have made a point of cultivating close relationships with partners that are key to the growth of my company. I have found outsourcing a variety of tasks that do not bring an added value to our services has allowed us to grow faster and more efficiently in areas in which we excel.
4. Practicing mindfulness
This is a hard one for me. Being in the moment and 100 % present wherever I am is a daily challenge. The official definition in the Webster dictionary of this state of mind reads: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. The moment-to-moment basis is where it goes downhill for me. How can we possibly live the moment to the fullest while constantly multi-tasking through the day? Being conscious of this element has brought me to try to enjoy every minute of the good times spent with either my kids, my spouse, my girlfriends, and even during my work, in order to savour even the smallest joys and victories that will then give me the energy to continue on achieving what I’ve set my mind to. Hm…that’s food for thought, isn’t it?
5. Using patience and perseverance
Having children has taught me the real meaning of the word patience. Not simply trying to be patient when the going gets tough, but actually demonstrating patience in a variety of moments when I wished I could have waved a magic mommy wand and made it all better. Also, I have been surprised to notice through the years how much perseverance I’ve had when it came to instilling personal values and beliefs in my children. I have patiently repeated these values to them, to make sure my children knew our expectations. These skills have proven to be very useful as a business professional.
6. Taking better care of me.
Ok, so we hear this all the time; you have to take care of yourself in order to take better care of your family, your business and your home. But how can we, as overachieving mothers and entrepreneurs, actually insert a regular work out (or BFF coffee break, or movie nights out or whatever makes you feel GOOD!) in an already crunched schedule? There will never be enough time to get every single task on that list crossed out. NEVER. So, that being said, taking better care of the me must become top of list, in the prioritization department. Work can always wait a bit. Sometimes. It took me 10 years of being a mother to actually fully understand this one and it remains an everyday battle. But, the more I stick to it, the more I just keep marking my calendar with more me time! It’s made me more productive on all fronts, more patient, more confident and definitely a better business person.
7. Last but not least – Learning to LET GO!
If there is one thing you learn when becoming a parent, it is that you are no longer in control of everything. Perfection will never be attained any longer (if there ever was – for that matter – a sense of perfection prior to motherhood). Learning to deal with all the unexpected issues that arose during the course of early motherhood and then on is the best letting go exercise there will ever be. One of my very first bosses in the agency world once told me there were issues you simply cannot control. And that in the end, certain things you’ve been stressing about for days just end up solving themselves with very little intervention. You just have to let it go. At the time, I thought he was completely out of it …15 years later, I still think about what he said.