Dare I say that many of us became entrepreneurs for the flexibility. So we could dictate our own professional lives and not have to answer to anyone.
Why, then, do we continue serving a boss that isn’t there?
It’s been my experience since I left my job with the Detroit Lions in 2014. I’ve struggled to let go to the “9-5 grind,” even though there is no one pressuring me to hold onto it.
Today my 3-year-old daughter had to stay home from school. My tendency when that has happened in the past is to continue with my day as though nothing is different, pushing my kids (I have three of them) toward the television while I pound out deliverables.
Envision me at my computer while my kids scream from the other room that they’re hungry or bored. I get up to attend to the request and then sit right back down to continue with work.
That isn’t happening today.
Today, I’ve embraced my daughter being home with me and have paid attention to her. We’ve played Candy Land, gone to the park, and ate lunch together. We spent an hour in our family’s upstairs playroom – her playing and dancing to music while I worked at our art table.
Now I’ve sat down to write this story while she is in the living room watching Disney Junior. Once I’m finished with my story, we have a date to play Mario Kart.
This is worlds apart from how I’ve behaved in the past and I’m glad to have a different perspective now.
How has my perspective changed?
I think we are raised in a culture that sees stress as a badge of honor. If we are too busy to do fun things, we must be doing something right. For early entrepreneurs or business owners — especially women — this can result in massive amounts of confusion.
- Instead of working on our businesses (the fun stuff!), we spend all of our time focused on client businesses. This hurts our ability to grow.
- We eat standing up or in front of the computer, searching for whatever we can find in the cupboards or refrigerator. The message in our minds? Get back to work!
- We feel guilty not working while the rest of the world is. If others are in an office, we should be, too … right? Not necessarily. A benefit of being a business owner is that we get to make our own schedules and we need to own that.
It has taken me a long time to get to the mindset I’ve had today: enjoy the day with my 3-year old while I can, balancing work with play. Does that mean I’ve skirted my responsibilities as a business owner? Nope. My husband will be staying home with her tomorrow so I can focus on my work.
Today, however, it’s take-my-daughter-to-work day.
Work just happens to be at home.