While checking my Facebook ‘On-This-Day’ function this morning I stumbled upon a blog I wrote and published on August 25, 2013, entitled 3 Guiding Business Principles.
Four years later, I continue to endorse and emulate these three guiding principles: Be simple. Be genuine. Be honest. I have, however, would like to add a three more business principles.
- Be strong.
As many of you know the last fiscal year has been a whirlwind for me both personally and professionally. My husband and I welcomed our son in late December 2016.
Though many families choose to announce this life change via social media we opted for more traditional communication methods, such as face-to-face conversations, phone, or email. In many cases I didn’t outright tell the majority of people I was pregnant, I let them come to their own conclusions about my apparent weight gain. I carried on business as usual, designing and delivering workshops, working on my Masters of Education, serving on the Chamber board and executive, and hiking on weekends.
As I began to show around month 6 (mid-September), conversations began to make drastic U-turn from “How’s business going? Any new contracts?” to “When are you due? Boy or girl?”
Then, with each new person who was brave enough to assume I was pregnant, came the Nuggets of Doubt: “How are you going to handle everything? You’ll have to cut back.” “Are you shutting down your business? You can’t do both.” “Are you still going to be Chair of the Board? That’s not great timing.” “Wow. Your life is going to change. Can you handle everything?”
Honestly, there were countless times that I arrived home after meetings, networking events, or training sessions in tears. Big. Fat. Wet. Tears. (No, it wasn’t hormones, I can assure you.)
They weren’t tears from stress. I knew I could handle this new life change.
They were angry tears that friends, colleagues, and complete strangers tried to fill my head with endless Nuggets of Doubt about this very conscience life change that my husband took many years to make.
The one thing that pregnancy taught me: be strong. You know you best. You know what you can handle, personally and professionally. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.
My baby will be 8 months in a few days, business revenues are up 12% over 2016, I will be renting office space downtown Kingston in September, I received high 80% on my most recent MEd course, and being Chair of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce is fantastic.
This leads me to the next principle:
- Be strategic.
While I don’t have a glossy document outlining my life or business plan, I have a mental map of where I am going. Master’s Degree. Frontenac Challenge with family. Revenue and client goals. Marketing ideas. Volunteer opportunities. It’s all planned in my head.
Honestly, to-do lists are one of my favourite things. They keep me focused and on-task to ensure that I remain effective and efficient in all facets of life. My family knows that I have always enjoyed being a busy person. In high school I would work between 20-30 hours a week at a part-time job, volunteer, and had two extra-curricular activities, plus all in-school activities. During one summer at university, I had a full-time job and 4 (FOUR!) part-time contract positions.
Though I am seemingly busy, I always find the balance between personal and professional life. Sometimes baby has had to come to meetings with me – and you know, people are okay with that!
Nowadays, I find that many people are very busy doing nothing.
I’d love the sense of accomplishment, be it for personal or professional reasons.
- Be happy.
Perhaps the most difficult of all the guiding principles: be happy.
In the world of social media, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Photos of vacations, weddings, babies, families, businesses, and jobs, we seem to put our best foot forward on social media, only posting the happiest videos and photos.
Even though I am content with my personal and professional life, it’s a daily struggle not to continually compare my life and business accomplishments to others.
Let me repeat: It’s a daily STRUGGLE.
I am happy with my clients. I have developed strong professional working relationships with each of them, and appreciate the opportunity to work with them.
I am happy volunteering with the Chamber. I have been given this fantastic opportunity to provide my expertise and experience to lead the organization.
I am happy with my family. My husband is wonderful, taking 6 months of paternity leave from January to June, and continually supporting me and my crazy ambitions. Kudos to my son who brings me such joy, and has been sleeping through the night since March.
This has been my reflection of the last 4 years… I can only wonder what the next 4 will bring!