Here is something that caught our eye this week:
Parenting lessons for small business
We typically have very full days. Our calendars are scheduled—often weeks in advance—and we have specific things we want to accomplish on a daily and weekly basis. We try to get as much rest as possible over the weekend and evenings to ensure we approach each day with the drive and energy needed to accomplish our longer term goals. We are masterful schedulers who aim to maximize productivity at all times.
When you have kids who get sick, they don’t care about your scheduled productivity. They will wake you up every 20 minutes, night after night, ensuring your Whoop score is solidly in the red. They will give you a hug and rub their snot all over your face in a best effort to spread the sickness to the entire household. They won’t eat and then want to eat immediately, and then refuse to eat, and then cry because they are hungry. They will spit their medicine out. They will require you to take them to the doctor, but the doctor’s office will tell you they are full so you should go to the walk-in clinic, and then the walk-in clinic will tell you it’s a multi-hour wait, and then you will have to forego your scheduled meetings to sit in a small waiting room with an angry little person. And then you may have to go back later that day and do it all over again with your other (equally angry) child. None of your “real” work will get done.
Anybody will small children will understand the struggle. The silver lining is that there are also some decent takeaways for small business operators:
When faced with an unexpected issue, it’s easy to feel you are on an island. You have to become comfortable asking for help. Ask a vendor, a colleague, your mom—whoever can help pick up the slack. You’re not in this alone and don’t make yourself a martyr.
When things get stressful and you get tired, you will probably become snippy with your partner/colleague. Congratulations, now you have two problems. You have to take a breath and remember you’re on the same team and think about what you can do to support each other, not bring each other down.
You’ll have to adjust your “to do” list on the fly. Yes, you had a plan in place. Then something came up and now you have to re-prioritize. Don’t waste energy stressing about it. Just focus on getting the critical stuff done. You can tackle the rest later.
Don’t act as if this is the end of the world. Kids get sick, then they get better. Businesses have crises, then they are solved. It’s fine to go into blocking-and-tackling mode, but keep your eyes on the big picture and don’t freak out. Your team is looking to you for guidance. If you are in freak-out mode, your team will pick up on it and likely go into freak-out mode (times 100).
If you do go into crisis mode, remember to take care of yourself. If you’re up all night, find 20 minutes to go for a walk to refresh your mind. Take a shower. Meditate for a couple of minutes. Eat healthily and stay hydrated. Take your vitamins. The last thing you want is to get sick and have to go back to the walk-in clinic yourself.
We have learned that many critical aspects of running a small business can be learned simply by parenting small children. We look forward to continuing our exploration into this topic in other pieces—once we get some sleep.
Have a great week,
Your Chenmark Team