entrepreneur parent

Mothers Share 6 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned From Raising Kids

entrepreneur parent

Anyone who has children knows that raising them involves a lot of learning, both for the kids and their parents. Parallels between entrepreneurship and parenthood are plentiful. Parenthood, like entrepreneurship, is one of life’s ultimate learning experiences.

We asked EO members who are mothers: “If parenting is akin to entrepreneurship, what entrepreneurial lessons have you inadvertently learned from your kids?”

Here are six lessons that they shared:

1. Ask precisely for what you want

“My youngest child is extremely determined. When she sets her mind on something, she will get it. She’s taught me to dream big and never settle. When she wants a toy, she is relentless. I am amazed how at such a young age, she has learned to phrase an ‘ask’ and make it impossible for me or anyone else to say no. As an entrepreneur, it has taught me how to ask precisely for what I need and might want.”  

― Liza Roeser Atwood, EO Idaho, Founder and CEO, Fifty Flowers

2. You’re more adaptable than you think

“As a born planner, I never planned to have a baby and start a business at the same time. But that’s what happened: My daughter was born in April 2013; my first gym opened in June 2013. After a two-week maternity leave, I started running staff meetings at my house while breastfeeding and figuring out the new baby routine. After the gym opened, she slept in her car seat under the front desk while we worked 6am through 11pm, seven days a week for the first year. It was unprepared, unplanned and totally hectic.

“Reflecting back, I now realize that sometimes the best things in life are unplanned. My daughter turns six this year, and she’s a happy, charming and social girl. I’ve also learned that both she and I are more adaptable than I thought!”

― Alice Kao, EO Los Angeles, Co-founder and CEO, Sender One Climbing

3. There’s value in acknowledging emotions

“I am a mom to two charming girls, and I run a content strategy firm. Child development training helped me learn to manage employee emotions. A therapist once told me, ‘Your children don’t need a solution. Even when they act out, they want to feel that their emotions are heard and acknowledged.’ When I saw what a dramatic difference this made with kids, I was eager to try it on adults.

“Whether talking to employees or clients, I ‘mirror’ or reflect back to the speaker that I hear what they are saying: ‘Bob, I understand you feel frustrated when Janine doesn’t get the reports finished on time,’ or ‘Jessica, I hear you felt unappreciated when Jackie didn’t acknowledge how much work you did on that account.’

“Once the person feels heard, you can move into problem-solving territory. But if you start with problem-solving, you’re missing an opportunity to forge a connection—not to mention the emotional baggage still on the table can create all sorts of tripwires.”

― Anna Redmond, EO Los Angeles, Co-founder and CEO, Hippo Thinks

4. Consider the value in alternative approaches

“I’ve learned to ask my 13-year-old son why he wants to do something a certain way, especially when it’s different from my approach. After all, just because someone has less experience doesn’t mean they don’t have a better approach.

“For example, for a friend’s birthday recently, my son wanted to give cash instead of our usual gift-card approach. My immediate thought was, ‘No, that’s not classy.’ But instead, I asked why—and his answer was insightful. He explained that a gift card to a specific store meant his friend could only use it there, but if he doesn’t want anything from that store, our gift would be inconsiderate. And as for a credit card-backed gift card, we’d have to pay a fee to purchase, which is a waste of money. His ‘why’ made sense, so his friend got cash.

“Having a child in the house is a constant reminder that great ideas come from all around, and it helps keep me extra aware to ask ‘why’ in the office—where great minds also surround me!”

― Denise Blasevick, EO New Jersey, Owner, The S3 Agency

5. Don’t limit yourself through self-talk

“There is a certain age where kids develop self-awareness and become self-conscious of their actions and presence. I felt sad watching my oldest child become self-conscious and create self-limitations. Helping her regain her confidence has been a journey from a natural self-freedom to society-induced limitations, all self-created by life experiences.

“As her mom and biggest cheerleader, I’ve noticed that I, too, allow my self-talk to limit my dreams and business ambitions. I talk with my daughter about the struggles I face being a female entrepreneur, which can be daunting. I tell her how I overcome the instinct that I am not worthy. We all need to believe that we can do it—and then anything is possible.”

― Liza Roeser Atwood, EO Idaho, Founder and CEO, Fifty Flowers

6. Be fearless

“It’s remarkable to see the faith that my two toddlers have that everything will be ok. They trust in others with a fearlessness that makes me want to go back in time to recapture in myself. They are willing to try anything: Food, new experiences, meeting people—they are incredibly adaptable to change.

Taking risks and trusting your intuition are critical in entrepreneurship. My kids have helped me realize that somewhere along my professional journey, I’ve become more risk-averse and less willing to pivot readily to navigate professional and industry changes. As I parent them, I continuously remind them—and myself—to be fierce and unafraid.”  

― Veronique James, EO Arizona, Founder and CEO, The James Agency

Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey general Inspirational LEADERSHIP Lessons Learned WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS


Comments are closed.