In this post Kate Griffiths explores some of the reasons why women business owners shy away from increased visibility and the big time. It is a reflective piece that chimes with the season in that winter is about giving yourself space to breathe and take stock.
Yesterday morning I had an inspiring time with Kate Codrington and a bunch of other women where we reflected on 2014 – in particular the moments we were proud of and what we would like to see more of in 2015. It was an enriching time and it led me to ponder on a question which I want to share with you here as it was a theme that emerged from the group. How do you cope with increased visibility when you have other demands on your time?
Many women have families and responsibilities at home. We are not just talking about cooking and cleaning although these duties tend to be rolled into all of that. Often it is the mother who holds the fabric of the family together. She is there when her young children finish school to hear about their day and support them through the tough times in the best way she knows; to mediate when there are squabbles over the favourite mug, plate or bowl; bring in laughter and healing and extra love through cuddles when that is needed. There is an expectation that she will keep on providing this constancy and love as and when required whatever is happening for her. After all that is considered to be part of the job description.
No one has endless reserves of unconditional love, it is vital that each of us takes time to refill the tank. That comes from having dedicated “me” time and yet if you are busy at work and home, how do you fit that in? For many mothers, their entrepreneurial journey is into doing work that they love and there is an assumption in there that if you are passionate about what you do then you will find the reserves you need to be there for your clients.
This is a myth. Dedicated “me” time means doing stuff for you; for your own growth. Often this is then translated into time for personal development and whilst that is noble and can really support an individual’s growth and reap dividends in terms of what you can then offer your clients, I question how much it fills you up personally. What struck me yesterday was that as people’s businesses have grown and I include myself in this to some extent; the focus has gone on to personal growth that supports the development of services for clients rather than on themselves. This can lead to the resources that you have being stretched even further perhaps to breaking point. Really that is about doing rather than being.
One of the best things that I have done this year is to take on a part-time housekeeper. You could argue that it is a luxury but it means that I no longer spend any of my time cleaning, it is just about keeping the house tidy. I can honestly say this is a great investment for me. It means that I am much happier doing the ironing now and actually found myself ironing a duvet cover earlier this week which is a first! It also gives me a bit more slack in my day to create with the extra demand for my services. It also means that I can play with my girls on the days they don’t have after school activities.
All that said, there is more to life than work and what I realised as I listened to myself and the other women yesterday was that for many of us, we are juggling so many balls in the air that there is very little time for fun and quality time with those that we care about. This is one of the biggest challenges as your business grows and especially if your partner has a demanding job too. It made me realise that going forward, I want to take some practical steps which are to have a regular date night with my husband including the booking in of the odd weekend away with the support of family to make this happen. It is much easier to relax when not at home faced with a mountain of chores that need to be done.
There is also a bigger theme here too and that is the theme of visibility. Why is it that so many businesses do not reach their potential? It is important to know your values as a business owner and make time for what matters. That may mean getting clear about your boundaries and saying no to work that is not aligned to your values, something I did recently. It is very empowering. It could also mean being clear about your working hours and if demand increases, consider building a waiting list for clients. Saying no to a client takes confidence and firm belief in your own worth and it can be very satisfying to have defined boundaries as well as being helpful for potential clients.
Beyond that for many there is a fear of success. When you are more visible then you become more accountable. Often people expect more of you. There will probably be increased demands for engagement so you need to become much clearer about what is in scope and what’s out of scope.
All of this gets easier if you can tune into your inner wisdom to discover what your soul desires. That is at the heart of this particular conundrum and is one of the reasons that I started Sacred Space for the Soul, an online FB group with offline meet ups. If you are involved in work that is making a difference to the world and could do with more sacred time, do consider joining us.
Alternatively you may wish to consider working with me one to one, as transforming people from the inside out is the focus of my work. It is vital that you come to realise that you are already perfect and are in just the right place for you right now. It is also why when we had the awards ceremony at Kate Codrington’s place yesterday where we determined what Kate’s certificate was for, I decided that mine was for being real. For me the key to wholeness is sharing my reality so that you can see it is good to reveal your own humanity.
Kate Griffiths works with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives. Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. If you cannot remember the last time you stopped and took time to relax then do check out Kate’s two day mindfulness course at the end of November.