Please welcome Julie Lenzer Kirk, Author, The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business(John Wiley & Sons), Speaker, Consultant.
Julie and I share way too many similarities as women entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, author, speakers & consultants! After a truly empowering power networking chat, I asked her to write this guest post for something I feel passionately about…how to truly be successful in your balancing act as mom and profitable home based business owner.
Little did I know that she’d share even more empowering & touching stories to make her point clear as day!
Please share your attention & link-love to Julie; and start chatting below in the comments to agree, disagree or “feel” the value of every word she penned below.
Is that glass or rubber you’re juggling?
As a woman entrepreneur who also happens to be the mom of two beautiful newly-teenage girls, I’ve had my share of opportunities to make choices between work and life.
Sometimes the decision I had to make was clear: my dad had been diagnosed with a recurrence of lung cancer (after being cancer-free for 9 years!) on Christmas Eve. He lived 1500 miles away and even though we were throwing a big New Year’s Eve party at our house, I had to go. We called off the party and I went and spent 3 days just hanging out with my dad where I got my last picture taken with him. In the following 6 months as he courageously battled cancer, I flew back and forth for a total of 9 weeks away from my then 8 and 6 year-old daughters, but I have no regrets. Since I was self-employed and had hired good people to keep working, I was able to take that time away from work and my business not only survived but we had our best year ever. At the same time, I was able to negotiate a $250,000 contract with a new customer, some times on the cell phone at the hospital while my dad received his chemo treatment. He didn’t mind – he was an entrepreneur, too – and it made him smile to see our success.
But to me, that time with my dad was pure glass. Had I dropped that ball in my great work/life juggling act, I would have never been able to recover it and, as a result, never been able to live with myself. You see, I had realized that some balls we juggle are rubber. They bounce and we barely miss a beat. This one wasn’t going to bounce.
Fast forward 4 years when I somewhat unexpectedly received a contract from a major publisher to publish The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business.
Don’t get me wrong – getting published was a lifelong dream that I shared with my dad. When this opportunity presented itself, however, I had admittedly not thought much about the business I was going to build around it.
I had taken some time off after cashing out of my business and while I continued teaching, I was enjoying my time with my kids. When I looked at my opportunities, my original thought was to become a full-time speaker/trainer, but then I started looking at what that really entailed. The lifestyle of an on-the-road professional speaker was not conducive to spending a lot of time with my kids. And frankly, since my daughters were entering their teen years, I felt strongly that THIS was a critical time for me to be around for them, even more so than when they were little. I was in a quandary – what do you do? Which opportunity is glass and which is rubber? How do you choose?
I decided to look for alternative ways to promote my book while limiting my travel to a reasonable level. In doing so, I developed some guidelines for determining which of the balls we juggle are glass and which are rubber:
1. Get clear about your core values.
I had created my first company all around having flexibility in my life and being able to spend time with my kids. That had not changed. If I was going to be true to what I really stand for (and preach!) I had to walk the talk and make decisions authentically.
2. Ask yourself: will this matter in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
With my daughters being at what I consider to be a critical point in their growth where they are getting the opportunity to APPLY the lessons and values we’ve taught them, do I really want to play the absentee mom NOW? While I can’t completely stop them from making bad decisions, I can be here to support them and provide guidance. That is hard to do from a hotel room miles away.
3. View a decision holistically – will the opportunity come again?
I received an exciting opportunity to be a guest on a daytime TV program, but the taping was the day we were leaving for our long-planned, 2-week family vacation to Italy. We were flying through NY so I could have made it work, but when I mentioned it to my husband, he flipped. We had been incredibly stressed out and this had the potential to start our vacation out from an even more chaotic position. I had to look at the big picture – was this going to be my ONLY opportunity to get on national daytime TV? No, I didn’t believe so and besides, I felt strongly that I had to walk the talk and make the right decision for my whole family. Turns out, another opportunity came up and I tape a 6-minute segment for national TV next month!
You need to recognize that some things can bounce – and then let them bounce without guilt. When you really think through the criteria listed above, you may be surprised at what becomes rubber that you were sure was glass. My daughter’s second birthday was rubber. I had a business trip that took me away on her actual birthday but with her party planned for that weekend, she never knew the difference.
What criteria do you use to prune your commitments and your schedule? How do you prioritize between home and work?? [Please share your answers, questions, thoughts in the comments below! Let’s get to Your True Values of Home Office Entrepreneurialim today!]