As a busy mompreneur I’m always on the hunt for productivity tips, life hacks, and real-world inspiration from other successful people. Yet, what I often locate is refined, packaged advice that makes everyone out there seem so much more WITH it than I am. Can you relate?!
Take for example interviews with successful company owners and mompreneurs who gush about how amazingly proficient they are… how they started and grew their business while simultaneously managing multiple children as the primary care giver… and who share ‘helpful’ insights on how to increase productivity (they get up at 5am, workout every day, practice meditation = success).
Yet when I read these ‘helpful’ insights I often find myself thinking: ok, yes, I can try those things but is that REALLY what is going on in your life? Is that your BEST, honest advice? Are you for REAL?
To me, having also founded and expanded a new business, and co-founded another, while raising kids – my REAL advice would be something more along the lines of:
- Prepare for good days and bad days.
Some days you will be up at 5am, dressed, finished checking emails and serving your kids a hot breakfast by 7am. You will get all of your emails addressed (in the same day!), deliver 2 major projects before the deadline, buy groceries, cook a lovely supper, and tuck your kids back into bed with a smile. These are the days you feel buoyant, productive, and truly kick-butt. High five to you!
Other days you will be forced out of bed at 2:30am by a child with a nightmare [bloody nose/random question/projectile vomit] and unable to get back to sleep so it will take 3 cups of coffee and a lot of wall staring before you can even fathom making your children toast. And those emails? They won’t get addressed at all, because the school calls in the middle of a critical deadline to pick up a sick child. Finally, when you go to make supper that night you realize you forgot to buy an essential ingredient. Pizza it is.
My REAL advice here is… it happens. Yes, it likely even happens to those that don’t admit it. Those business owners that make it look easy and seem to have all of their ducks in a row? They have bad days too. So, when a bad day derails you, keep in mind that tomorrow is a new day.
- Be ready to experience highs and lows.
Like the teeter-totter at your child’s playground, be prepared to swing up and down. There will be moments you fist pump, jump with joy, and scream with excitement. These joyful moments might stem from securing a big client, making a large breakthrough, or receiving some much overdue recognition and reward. Revel in it! These moments were hard-earned and well-deserved.
On the low-end are times you’ll be completely overwhelmed by your long to-do list (why does it just keep growing?!), feel spread too thin, and cry more times in the day than you smile. In a nutshell, these moments suck.
My REAL advice is…try to enjoy the ride, no matter how bumpy. And when it seems you are stuck on a particularly bad low, reach out to a trusted friend or colleague for some safe venting and support. I also find chanting the mantra “this too shall pass” helps calm frazzled nerves. Really.
- What works for one might not work for another.
In the endless pursuit of how to improve ourselves: work faster, be more productive, become more present (the list goes on and on) we hear conflicting advice and are bombarded with ideas from fresh-faced business owners who ‘understand success’. I personally take some tips to heart and give them my best try and toss others aside. It all depends on how I feel and what I might be seeking to support my current mental state (see #2 above).
After a lot of trial and error, here’s what I’ve come to realize. Not everything works for everyone.
My REAL advice is…. take insights, tips, and advice with a grain of salt, looking past glossy social media photos and refined feedback to seek answers or resources that REALLY resonate. When you feel connected to something, encouraged by someone, or motivated by an idea…go ahead and give it a whirl. If something doesn’t yield the results you were hoping for…. move on. This is ok.
You are unique, your situation is unique, and you might have unique needs. Don’t aim to be like somebody else; just be you.
Finally, some last REAL reminders (take ‘em or leave ‘em):
- You are AWESOME
- Be yourself
- Prioritize what matters – to you
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Reward yourself from time to time (or often)
- It’s ok to make mistakes
- Be your own cheerleader
- Don’t give up
— Adrienne Tom is the co-founder of CareerPreneur Partners.
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