Stacey Price AccountantIsn’t it funny how we automatically assume a successful woman in business who is also a mum MUST have “mothers guilt” for working hard and assume they are missing out on quality time with their children.

Recently I attended an event run by BSchool in Melbourne where the speaker was Carolyn Creswell from Carmen’s Muesli fame.  I have always wanted to hear Carolyn speak – but our diaries never seemed to align (probably because her’s was too full as she is one seriously busy woman).

Whilst I knew of her business history (buying the business for a measly $1000 around 20 years ago), and I see the muesli stocked in supermarkets everywhere (now shipped to 32 countries OMG) – obviously my curiosity always comes back to ….How the heck do you fit everything into your day?

After listening to Carolyn speak the answer was kind of obvious in  my eyes – this woman doesn’t mess around, she is organised and knows when to make other people responsible, she doesn’t worry about things that are out of her control, she doesn’t touch the same task more than once unless necessary and she has amazing staff that are like family and she doesn’t have “mothers guilt” for being a successful, working mother. Ah, music to my ears.

“I am a better person for doing what I love, and doing it well and having time to do the things I want/need, knowing that others have the skills to do the things I am not great at.  I am a great mum & a great business woman.  I am both.”

Well how refreshing is that to hear?

I think so often people assume we, as mums, feel guilty for running a business.  Why?  Why should we feel guilty for doing the things we love.  I know that personally my life seems to be complete chaos.  Each day my routine is different, I don’t do school pickup and drop off on the same days, my children go to aftercare 3 days a week and I often work nights to attend meetings and training (but my husband is home during this time).

But like Carolyn, I have a crazy busy life so that when we do have “family time” it is just that.  My children (and husband) get my undivided attention, I don’t allow work to be done during family meals, I take the kids swimming every Monday, I go to school assembly every Friday, I spend the weekend at kids parties, Auskick or going to the park – because I know I have put the hard yards in during the week.  I am happy, I have no guilt, I have no resentful feelings, I am not working when I should be watching my family grow and the time we do have together is quality and not fake.

Whilst I try hard to keep my life balanced, there were some great tips that Carolyn shared with us that I think we can all learn from:

1.Do it, decide, move on.  How many times have we pondered over the simplest of decisions for hours on end….when really we just needed to make a decision and move forward.  We simply don’t have time to waste – time is too precious.

2. Don’t put a monkey on your back.  Don’t take responsibility for things that ultimately are not your responsibility.  You hire people to get the job done, so let them get it done.  Review, assist & advise – but ultimately let them do what they are hired to do.

3. Don’t butterfly your emails.  OK – most of us are guilty of opening an email, then not doing anything, then opening it again, not actioning it, opening it again and then pondering it….before actually doing what is required. The email just keeps flying back and consuming your valuable time.  Open it, action it, file it.  No more butterflies.

4. Be outcomes focused. So work out what the end result is – and work towards that.  Don’t take your eye off the prize.  If what you are doing is not getting you closer to your outcome…stop and reassess.  Don’t waste time on things that are not helping.

5. Feedback is a gift. If someone gives you feedback – take the time to listen and work out how you can make changes based on the feedback to make your product or service better.  It is far too easy to gloss over feedback of any kind – but you can always learn.

6. Choose what you can control.  And manage what you can’t control.  Don’t stress over things that are beyond your control.  Things like the weather and the traffic.  Manage those moments, but you can’t control them so just go with it and work around it.  Make calls during those times, listen to a podcast or just relax.  Be prepared to be agile.

Running a business takes hard work and resilience, and there is very rarely a true overnight success.  Challenge yourself to see the opportunities, have a team around you to share the journey, live with a grateful heart, be prepared the push the boundaries and believe.

“If you get a No, it is not no forever, it is just no for now.”