For many of you, I am a stranger that occasionally attends the SBCN in Kitchener. This is about to change!
I started my business 15 years ago while being a single mom, raising 2 very young children, living in a city I never stepped foot in and trying to create a life outside of work and home for myself. Not an easy task to accomplish. When I look back now, it looked like a 'piece of cake' but while I was going through the changes and the growth, it seemed like a slow journey - but a journey nonetheless. My growth, both personally and professionally, has taken me to where I am today - and I like where I am and I extend much gratitude for the loyalty from family, friends, and business contacts that have helped me along the way.
There are a lot of reasons that bring you to a successful life. We all need to be clear what these are so that you can nurture them, show gratitude and help others attain their success by sharing a bit of your own story - just to show that anyone can do it! I don't necessarily have special traits (although my following would say otherwise) but I do have a determination to succeed in life. Is there failures? Of course, but I refuse to leave them as failures. They must be turned into success - there is no other alternative, for me. If you are growing a small business and raising a young family - there should be no other choice for you.
I can attribute my success to many things, people and events in my life but the following are the 3 that top my list:
1. I joined supportive networking groups.
Joining groups helped in all 3 spheres of my life - business, family and personal. I chose groups that supported myself as a woman, as a mother and as a small business owner. They valued my time, my goals and I valued their support without feeling pressure to always meet their demands and agendas. There are so many choices in regards to deciding which networking groups would be of benefit to you. My opinion is this - choose that group that also meets the other needs in your family and personal life.
2. I balanced my family life with work.
I made promises to my children regarding work, and I kept true to those promises. At the end of my life, the last thing I wanted to hear was my children saying that 'your work was more important to you then us'. Am I a perfectionist and hard working business woman? Absolutely, but, I knew my children would always be the most important, if I had to choose. I just made sure I didn't have to choose because I love being a business woman.
My work schedule included strict times when my office, my work and my thoughts were closed for business. I worked when the children were sleeping or out with their friends or away with their father. I didn't mind working weekends or late into the night or getting up before the sun to ensure my business didn't suffer but I didn't work when I could attend a school play, a school trip or playing hop scotch outside (okay, that shows my age).
3. I created a personal time for me.
With the focus for most of my time on the business and the children, this didn't leave much time for me. Considering that I felt I was important as a woman, I made sure that there was time on my schedule for a personal life. When I hear people say, 'I don't have enough time', it bothers me. You have 24 hours a day like the rest of us. Choose wisely what is important - the less important things shouldn't have a place on your schedule. Simple things like meeting friends for drinks, having a massage or even 20 minutes alone to meditate are all good choices that I took advantage of.
15 years later
Fast forward to December 2014 - I moved again to a city I barely stepped foot in, branching my business into a new service while maintaining the success and growth of the business I've had for 15 years. My children however have grown and moved on in life. I continue to build a life outside of work and home but find all too often that they merge as one. And, I really like this. Many have said, you are not your work but I have to disagree to some extent. As a small business owner, thriving in today's economy, successful in raising children and building a career that I respect, it's difficult to remove yourself entirely from your business. It is definitely a symbiotic relationship - and one that I have become accustomed to and enjoy.
So, after having a long hour conversation with Linda OJ, I was able to articulate my goals for 2015, which again includes growth, not only for me professionally but also personally. I look forward to seeing more of you at the monthly SBCN meetings.
Founder/Workplace Health Strategist