The parallels between entrepreneurship and parenthood are plentiful. With Mother’s Day weekend upon us in the US, we asked EO members what lessons they have inadvertently learned through parenting their children. Here’s what they shared:
1. 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. As I parent them, I continuously remind them—and myself—to be fierce and unafraid.
When my oldest son was just barely old enough to talk, he would respond to some of our requests with, “I just can’t want to do that,” in a very matter-of-fact way. It was as if he was saying, “Sorry, I’d love to help you, but it’s simply out of my control. I just have no motivation or desire whatsoever to do that.”
As an entrepreneur, you have to know when to say no if something is not in your skill set. Unfortunately, many of us learn that lesson the hard way. There are so many opportunities available; focusing on the best ones is critical. A firm no is often as important—if not more so—than saying yes.
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.
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 is a happy, charming and social girl. I’ve also learned that both she and I are more adaptable than I thought!
Five-year-olds are smarter than you think! And clients—even enterprise-level clients—are not as scary and sophisticated as they may seem. Underneath, we’re all just (5-year-old-ish) humans with similar, basic needs for attention and acknowledgment.
My biggest takeaways: First, cater to what they care most about. Second, be simple and clear on your position and proposition. Finally, maintaining a sense of calm and being polite goes a long way toward success when dealing with both children and clients.
— Andre Chandra, EO San Francisco, founder and CEO, PROPELO Media
6. Offer customized solutions
Your firstborn “starter child” comes with no handbook, so you figure out parenthood, similar to how you figured out entrepreneurship. Then, if you’re fortunate enough to have more children, you think you’re on easy street. You’ve got this because you’ve been through it once—right? Not exactly. Just as no two businesses or clients are alike, neither are children. So, it’s back to the drawing board.
Many parenting lessons carry over into business. A big one is to customize your solution to fit the individual needs of your clients. In parenting, this means that for one child, I can raise an eyebrow to tweak their behavior, but for the other, I could raise both an eyebrow and my voice and make my head spin around, but she’d only look at me and say, “That’s a weird face, Mom.”
Entrepreneurship is a blend of many skills. Undeniably, the ability to deliver a message efficiently, eloquently, and effectively is one of them. For some, the goal is to capture attention from a TED stage; for others, the stage is our boardroom. Regardless of our audience or the stage we aspire to dominate, EO has created a programme that turns EOers into exceptional presenters.
Global Speakers Academy (GSA)was launched in 2019 with the goal of bringing together members from across the globe and world-class speaker coaches for an intense and immersive 4.5-day classroom training programme on public speaking. Since then, the programme has graduated and certified inspiring high-impact talks delivered by members on every continent.
Applications are open (until 28 February 2023) for another high-impact Global Speakers Academy training in Lisbon, Portugal in May 2023. As you ponder whether now is the time to 10x your public speaking skills, hear from four GSA graduates about the transformational experience the programme had on their journeys:
What was your level of comfort with public speaking prior to attending Global Speakers Academy?
Michèle Hecken (EO Canada Bridge): I was comfortable, but I was not confident. Prior to completing GSA, I did not have the tools that I have now, which allow me to comfortably—and confidently—stand in front of hundreds of people and deliver a talk.
Stephanie Camarillo (EO Idaho): I was a novice with a passion and a desire to get my story out!
I had experience teaching university classes, some presenting for work, but it was giving an EO talk that inspired me to want more. I must admit: the self-doubt during my GSA experience was strong; I was comparing myself to others in the EO cohort. I remember walking into the room one morning and fellow attendee Robyn Rosenberger, founder of Tiny Superheroes, said she believed in me and told me to keep going. I did. And it’s been an amazing journey since.
Joe Frost (EO Nebraska): I had spoken in small group facilitations, in front of a classroom of students, and as guest at community events. I was fairly comfortable being in front of an audience but did not feel comfortable at all being considered a “keynote” speaker. That is why I attended.
Andrea Heuston (EO US West Bridge): I was a confident speaker when I signed up for GSA. On a scale from 1-10, I was about a 7. I’d been speaker-coaching for nearly 20 years, but I loved being behind the scenes more than on the stage.
What was your main motivation for attending Global Speakers Academy?
Michèle Hecken: I had sold my business and was writing a book, which made me curious about public speaking. First and foremost, I wanted to see if speaking was even something that I would enjoy. To me, the only way to answer that question was to go through proper training and find out.
Stephanie Camarillo: I wanted to amplify my voice, get world-class training, and get feedback and support from my peers. It turns out that the relationships built from that group have been the best takeaway and life-changing. We have all stayed in contact, frequently collaborate, ask questions, and support one another. It built my network exponentially, and I’m astounded by how valuable the experience has been.
Joe Frost: I’d been talking about becoming a keynote speaker for years, and finally decided to take a step towards doing it. I wasn’t sure of the formula for success, nor what topic I should present. I wanted GSA to give me a framework for a signature talk and help me understand what topic and how best to present on it. It did exactly that!
Andrea Heuston: Learning! I am a quintessential EOer with a true love for learning, always looking to add more arrows to my quiver.
In what way was the experience transformational for you?
Michèle Hecken: In so many ways! My biggest takeaway was to learn how to craft a talk that is not only informative, but also engaging, all the while presenting my value proposition. I was also impressed to learn the process that can be applied to crafting a five-minute talk equally as much as to creating a four-hour workshop. Lastly, I am grateful to GSA for the incredible community of fellow EOers I met and remain in contact with.
Stephanie Camarillo: GSA helped me gain the confidence and tools to speak publicly and tell my story. It helped me begin to build out other platforms. In inspired me to start building my personal brand. I just co-authored my first book, Lead Like a Woman: Audacity (with a fellow GSA graduate), I’ve written a second talk and am expanding my audience and social media following. I have also developed a women’s leadership retreat in Tuscany, Italy. Seriously, GSA opened a new chapter in my life. I am having so much fun!
Joe Frost: The GSA experience was impactful in three key ways. First, interacting with fellow EO members from around the world is priceless. Second, learning a proven system for developing a signature talk and the takeaway value from applying that system to multiple topics. And third, being able to work on my talk with professionals and peers during the week, improving every day.
Andrea Heuston: GSA is the single most impactful event I’ve attended in all my years with EO. I even wrote an article about it sharing the three reasons the programme was truly transformational to me.
Thanks to GSA, I became more comfortable telling my stories on stage. I also met and cultivated friendships with the most amazing people in EO!
What is the coolest outcome (speaking gig) you got as a result of attending GSA?
Michèle Hecken: I’ve had quite a few, from a five-minute Ignite talk at EO One Canada Conference to a four-hour workshop for a group of female entrepreneurs. Since GSA, I’ve given a keynote in Vegas, a talk at EO’s Global Leadership Conference, and have spoken to so many amazing chapters. My next talk is for EO Malaysia, and I am really looking forward to it!
Stephanie Camarillo: I loved delivering a talk to an audience in Seattle from a little village in Tuscany where we have an apartment. I’m applying to speak to global audiences now and that’s exciting. But in all truth, the coolest outcome is when someone attends my talk and writes about the impact. One EO member said: “I couldn’t let today go by without sending you a note to tell you how inspiring and courageous your message was last night … you were the topic of conversation today in the office, everybody was so touched and motivated by your story.” Impacting people like that gives me a sense of deep purpose.
Joe Frost: I am much more confident in my ability to deliver keynotes, but honestly the coolest outcomes were the relationships I made with other EO members. I’ve worked with many, shared the stage with a couple, and referred several others.
Andrea Heuston: I have had so many incredible speaking opportunities since attending GSA—more than I can count! Right now, I am finalizing an online course for aspiring speakers and presenters in the fitness industry, available to over 100,000 people for continuing education credits!
What is the title of your keynote, what is it about, and who is it best suited for?
Michèle Hecken: The title of my talk is “The Art of Offboarding,” and I love speaking to very different types of groups, but I am biased in favor of fellow EOers. When I speak to EO chapters or at EO events, not only do I get to bring tangible value, but I also get to meet fellow members and grow my incredible community.
Stephanie Camarillo: The title of my talk is “Three Secrets Successful Entrepreneurs Use to Find and Keep the Best Talent.” It illuminates a strategy of how to gain freedom and empowerment by lifting the dreams of the people you employ. Every entrepreneur deserves the opportunity to take a radically honest look at our innermost hopes and dreams—and reshape our business culture accordingly. A self-styled “freedompreneur,” my message is that ultimate freedom is the ability to choose your own journey in the face of any consequence.
I love delivering my talk to entrepreneurs, their spouses, employees, and key stakeholders to help align their company around a shared purpose empowering all to drive results.
Joe Frost: The title of my talk is “The Future is Fractional—Reinvent, Re-engineer, and Reimagine your leadership team with Fractional Professionals.” It’s about learning what a fractional profession is (and is not), why you should take advantage of the talent emerging in this space, and how to find the right fractional for you. It’s best-suited for business owners, which is why I have been delivering it to EO groups nationally and internationally. My favorite audience!
Andrea Heuston: I don’t just have a singular keynote—I have developed a portfolio of them! Some of the most recent are: Five Reasons Why Women Make Outstanding Leaders, Three Tactics to Create Deep Connection with Your Audience, and Finding Joy and Confidence in Public Speaking.
Are you ready to apply to Global Speakers Academy?
Inspiring, right? As your member host for the spring 2023 GSA cohort and a fellow GSA graduate, I consider GSA to be one of the best programmes ever created by EO. I am eager and excited to meet you in Portugal this May as you, too, undergo this fully transformational experience.
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.”
“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!”
Sleepless nights, assessing (and reassessing), pivoting, negotiating, anticipating, spending … Are these keywords describing entrepreneurship or parenting? For all the parents who are entrepreneurs out there, you probably know these endeavors run in parallel.
For those reality TV fans out there, EO Idaho member Scott Hatter’s Baja Fresh store on Broadway is one of the locations featured in “Undercover Boss,” to be aired on CBS this Sunday at 8 p.m. Very cool! Check out the promo here.