May 15 is International Day of Families. What better time to reflect on how our families affect us as entrepreneurs? In times of high stress, it may feel like your home and work lives are at odds with each other. I understand. The demands of taking care of a family and building a business can seem overwhelming. But even under the most challenging circumstances, focusing on how our families make us better entrepreneurs can help put things back into positive perspective.
My husband (my rock!) and my four children have fueled my success as a business owner. I've succeeded because of them not in spite of them.
Drawing from my own experience, here are ways your family can potentially give you a professional edge:
Keeps your work ethic in check--When you're working to provide for your family, failure is not an option. Knowing your family is counting on you makes you work harder--and that can mean the difference between a business that thrives and one that flounders and fails.
Teaches you patience--Loved ones can and will test your patience at times. As frustrating as that may be, it helps you learn to exercise control over your reactions and pick your battles. That repeated practice in maintaining composure can help you keep your cool when situations become tense in the business world, too.
Makes you a better negotiator--Family relationships require a healthy ratio of give and take to gain consensus and respect. In achieving that with your loved ones, you fine-tune your negotiation skills -- something every business owner needs!
Drives your productivity--When juggling work and family responsibilities, you learn ways to stay organized and do the most with the time you have. With the interests and activities of my four kids and all that I need to do in my business, I can't afford to squander time or use it inefficiently. I'm sure you can't either! 24/7 is all any of us have each and every day. Families lead us to discover strategies and tools that help us plan and prioritize more effectively.
Gives you a breath of fresh air--You know what they say about "all work and no play." It may be a cliché, but we should all heed its message. Work is important, but so is taking a physical and mental break from it. Your family gives you something to focus on outside of your business, and it grants you permission to have fun, laugh, and relax. When I spend time with my husband and children, my energy replenishes and my motivation renews.
For me, the link between family and business success is undeniable. That's not to say life is always smooth sailing and conflict free, but awareness of that connection helps me stay focused and centered. The next time you feel a disconnect between your home and professional aspirations, I encourage you to pause and really think about and appreciate the ways your family helps you develop the soft skills that no entrepreneur can succeed without.