I have learned that nothing you have accomplished is superfluous; nothing is a waste of time. The skills that a woman naturally acquires in the act of being a mum are incredibly valuable in the business world.
Having built a thriving private practice and several personal coaching businesses, all whilst raising three children, I understand the pressures of being both a mother and business owner. I believe motherhood prepares you to be a strong and successful businesswoman because:
It prepares you for busy, busy days. When building and running a business, your days can often be incredibly busy…but that is nothing new for mothers, who truly know what busy is and can function effectively at a rapid pace.
It builds the “multi-awareness” muscle. As a mother, you build a mental muscle that allows you to be aware of many people, their needs, and their schedules simultaneously. This is a vital skill when running a business; it enables you to be aware of multiple factors – the finances, marketing, how the business is growing, stock levels and your employees – all at the same time.
You become a master manipulator and negotiator. Motherhood teaches you that when you want something done, control simply doesn’t work. As a mum, you have to get what you want in subtler ways; weaving a solution out of everyone’s different needs. Like a martial artist, mums become adept at using others’ momentum against them; turning them in the direction they want to go. Control never works in business, and mothers know how to invite others in the business to their point of view without stirring up resistance or resentment.
You learn how to be a leader. Motherhood teaches you how to step up; even the most timid woman must be empowered over their children or they will run rampant. As a mum, you learn how to assert your needs, desires and the edges of your personal domain – all qualities that are imperative when running a successful business. Mothers are well equipped to manage staff, customers and clients, and any conflict within the business because they have learned that you can’t make everyone happy, and that there are times when you have to say “no”.
It helps you work well within ambiguity. Nothing is ever certain in a household full of children and every mother knows that even the best laid plans can go awry. Mothers have to be able to adapt to whatever course life throws at them. The same is true in business. It’s great to have a business plan but, if you really want a business that survives and thrives, it’s important to have someone at the helm who can change course, adapt, and work around unforeseen obstacles. Mothers have that exact quality.
You intuitively have an eye on the future. As a mother, you have a constant eye on the years ahead; you are a futurist. You provide nutritious meals to foster future growth and wellbeing. You encourage hobbies in your children so that they may, someday, be an expert in their field. This futurism also allows mothers to know when the future looks bleak, and the current course needs changing. In business, you must also be ahead of the game. Your decisions can’t be based on what is best in the moment but, rather, what will create the best future. Motherhood is the perfect training ground for successful, visionary business leaders.
And there is one overarching quality that mothers possess, that is vitally important in business. As a mother, you learn how to function from trust; trust that your children will be ok; trust that they will learn what they need to learn; trust they have the skills to succeed, and trust that you have been there for them and have contributed to them.
Trust is an unconditional element of any successful business. As a business leader, you must trust that the company will be successful, that it will continue to grow and that you will know how to contribute to allow your business to thrive.
Dr Glenna Rice, physical therapist, business and parenting coach