As 2009 begins, I believe these will be defining times for many Mom Entrepreneurs. With the economy struggling, many families are facing hardships that threaten their financial stability and peace of mind.
If you are one of the over 10 million moms in the US that own a business, you have seen these hardships take their toll as your grasp on a healthy work/life balance is strained. While common stressors have always included health issues or even a company’s explosive growth, the recession has undoubtedly added to this turmoil. As the idea of balance at home and business is threatened, I believe this is a golden opportunity for Mom Entrepreneurs to re-focus and renew their dedication to fulfilling their life plan.
While my own defining moment as a Mom Entrepreneur struggling with work/life balance was not prompted by the recession, it was indeed prompted by a hardship. My epiphany came shortly after the birth of my second child as I was being wheeled frantically through a hospital’s neurological unit. Five minutes earlier my doctor had informed me that it was highly probable I had a brain tumor. They needed to find out immediately if it was operable. My world stopped. And to think I almost didn’t make the appointment because I was too busy preparing for an upcoming tradeshow.
Within an instant, I gained clarity over what was most important and where I needed to be in life. I only wish I would have been able to gain that clarity on my own, without the threat of a serious illness. I was lucky to not have the suspected tumor, although I still have obstacles to overcome.
We do not always have a choice about the struggles we face in life, but we do have a choice as to how we confront them. We can either allow them to strengthen our soul and fuel our passions, or simply allow them to fade us into darkness.
Life Planning for the Mom Entrepreneur
The best way to harness those passions is to create a life plan. To take that important first step, you need to define your roles as a mom and as an entrepreneur. This is not a matter of what you “have” to do, but more of what you “want” to do. The idea is to dream big and think family first.
Once you have a list of your top five personal and professional goals, outline the process for accomplishing them. Create an outline by filling in the small goals that are needed to accomplish those end goals.
Finally, as you review your outline, its time to define the boundaries. Boundaries are vital for creating your “balance” and need to be realistic and rewarding. Examples include, not working after 7pm, weekends reserved for family only, or even that work must be done at the office exclusively. With your written plan in hand, evaluating which opportunities you can pursue without derailing your balance will become much easier. Life planning is a personal process, feel free to make the journey as elaborate or as simple as you need.
Flourishing in this Economy
Moms are amazingly resilient and resourceful. I have no doubt our families and businesses will continue to flourish in this economy. While times like these are hard, I believe they are important for reminding us how fortunate we truly are. In these defining times, life planning is an essential tool for helping us celebrate and cherish those gifts.
Are you a Mom Entrepreneur? Check out StartupNation’s Leading Moms in Business 2009 Competition!