I am an entrepreneur, but I'm also a mother. I have noticed recently that many of the traits I have as an entrepreneur are the same traits I have as a parent. Would I have these entrepreneurial qualities if I wasn’t a parent? I don’t think I would, or maybe it would take me longer to acquire them.
Here are 5 traits (or lessons I have learnt) that I have acquired because I am a parent, and how these have benefited my business persona:
As a parent you learn to put yourself in your children's shoes – What do they need? How are they feeling? How will they react when that happens? You learn to think how they think and feel how they would feel. In business, a certain level of empathy is always needed. Having the ability to understand where your client is coming from or to anticipate what they might need is a valuable way to show your clients that you care, and that you are invested in their business and their success.
2. The importance of apologising (and having the ability to apologise)
It is easy to remind your child to apologise when they have made a mistake, but as parents we often struggle when it's our turn to apologise - it is equally important to apologise if you make a mistake too. In business, pride can never come between you and making amends or taking responsibility for your actions – we all make mistakes, but what really sets you apart is your ability to (sincerely) apologise.
3. Be a good listener
Children want to be heard and often any tantrums or moods come from feeling unheard – children might not communicate like we, as adults, do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to say. Making your clients feel heard will result in them feeling valued and will, in return, make them more open to hearing you out in the future. Be aware of the times when listening is all that is needed.
4. Get creative and be daring
When my daughter was younger she would continuously create incredible gadgets out of seemingly useless things, she still draws with such concentration and tells stories that are filled with imagination. Being a parent has taught me to be more creative in ways that I might feel are pointless – loosen up a little, explore, create, be daring; you have nothing to lose! The same goes for business – yes, you need to be professional, but there are many areas where you can get a little crazy and let your inner creative child out, such as your marketing campaigns, your blogs, or even just in your office decor.
5. Always do your best and don’t be too hard on yourself
As a parent you want to be able to teach your child the right values, you want to show them how to treat others and how to treat themselves – be kind, be generous, be loving, be caring, respect yourself and others. Teaching these qualities to a child can often be easier said that done and we all still struggle with these sometimes - the most important thing is to always do your best and to cut yourself some slack when you do mess up. As an entrepreneur you WILL mess up, you WILL find yourself losing your temper (hopefully in private!), but don’t beat yourself up over it – acknowledge it, accept and move on with a new lesson.
I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I wasn’t a parent, and all the traits and lessons above have helped me immensely in becoming the type of businessperson I want to be.