I was never comfortable with the term mompreneur but I’ve learned to embrace it since my baby has turned into a full-blown toddler. Being a business owner and a mom overlaps in my ways than I ever expected it to, and I would never have guessed three years ago that my mini-me would teach me so much about entrepreneurship in general. In fact, it almost seems silly now looking back that I never saw how these two important pieces of my life would connect.
Learning from each other is key in life, but there’s just something extra special about small hands, big hearts, and curious minds. She might be hair tangles and tantrums some days, but she’s basically a Fortune 500 CEO the others. And it’s not just my kid, all of them are if we, as the adults, pay attention! Here are some ways that my three-year-old, Isla, has taught me about resilience in the workplace:
Practice Cognitive Reframing
If you flip through parenting magazines or scroll around on wellness sites, you’ll see plenty of info about cognitive reframing, otherwise known as changing the way you think about negative situations and bad events. I was introduced to this concept a few years ago and would make some attempts here and there to always lead with positive thinking, especially when sh*t hits the fan. But what really made things click for me was seeing Isla live this out daily.
We went through a major cognitive reframing experience earlier this summer when she learned how to swim. Like most toddlers, she loves being in the pool…but on her own terms. Haaaated getting splashed, wouldn’t even try to dunk her head underwater, and my mom guilt was real when I thought about how I still hadn’t enrolled her in swim lessons. But then, once she saw her cousins splashing around and having fun in the water? She was ready to go, ready to swim, and took the fast track in ditching the floaties once and for all.
While I’m obviously pumped that Isla has her swimmer’s legs (we live in LA, after all), I think about this a lot. It reminds me of resilience in business, too. Anytime I feel stuck in a negative response, when I’ve been feeling all the imposter syndrome feelings, and when I’ve been anxious about what’s next… Anytime I feel unsure or stressed, I remember that reframing the situation is essential in replacing it and transforming it into a success.
Choose Your Response
I think it can be said that a big part of parenting is spent talking to our kids about how choosing our responses and reactions are so important. Sure, my kid is only three but she gets it (seriously, kids deserve way more credit than adults give them). I know that Isla, my husband, and I have had many a post-tantrum convo about how important it is to first breathe and calm your heart, acknowledge your feelings, and then when you can think more clearly, think about what you can do next to fix things or feel better. Teaching Isla how to choose your response thoughtfully instead of reacting instinctively is important to me—but man… I never really take that advice for myself.
The thing is, I’m all about teaching her to react to things proactively and confidently (well, as much as you can with a three-year-old)—I know that my parents did the same to me. But in all mompreneur honesty, there have been times in my business journey where I’ve maybe chosen to ignore my own advice and react in the moment instead of taking a beat first. Because in reality, nothing can make you feel a certain way. It’s your choice to take those feelings on just like it’s your choice in how you respond. Ultimately, it’s up to us what meaning we assign to something. Choosing your response effectively is just as vital in business as it is when you’re an upset three-year-old.
Flexibility Is Key
Like most kids, Isla thrives on more structure than not. But, at the same time, my husband and I wanted to be really careful about how structured we built our routines with her. We have friends that tailor their entire days to their kids: their rooms have to be at 70.2 degrees with a sound machine turned on at sound level 8, they have to go to sleep at exactly 6:51 p.m. each night, and they need to be tucked in with one stuffed animal, three blankets, and a fan turned on high. Without it? No dice. And it works well for them—just like in business, there are a million ways to architect how you accomplish your goals.
While this works well for our friends, my husband and I knew early on that we wanted to raise our kids to appreciate structure, but also to be flexible in their ways. Why? Because life happens and sometimes you have to go with the flow.
And when you embrace adventure and travel with kids, sometimes that means she naps in her carseat, in hotels, or… not at all (gasp!). And, what we’ve learned, is that Isla trusts herself enough to learn her own cues, she’s adapted to new situations, and she’s as flexible as you can expect a three-year-old to be. It’s also inspired me to be flexible, too. Being able to pivot and change in business—and to trust myself—has led to huge gains in my own levels of resilience at work.
More than anything—more than the organic snacks and the tailored nap times and the swim lessons—there’s been nothing as important to my husband and me as raising Isla to be a good, kind person. While structure and schedules and cognitive reframing are all vital pieces of bringing up bebe, none of it matters without raising her to hold her values close to her chest.
Whether you’re a parent, entrepreneur, mompreneur, or none of the above, it’s still a good reminder to continuously pause every so often and take a good look at the values you’re honing in on when it comes to your career. What are your core values? Do they still stand true? Are they reflected in everything your business puts out into the world? Download the Core Values Clarity guide to help gain some more clarity around your business.