In the five weeks that I’ve been a father, it’s dawned on me that parenting is exactly the same as running a business. If you want to be a better businessperson, I’d highly recommend becoming a parent. Both are exhausting, all-consuming and a financial pit but already I realise how parenting can make you better at business.
To celebrate my five-week milestone of keeping a child alive I’ve come up with five lessons from parenting that will make you a better businessperson.
- Celebrate the small wins
I got woken up by screaming at twelve-thirty in the morning after only getting to sleep after eleven. I then got kept up till three with a screaming baby fighting reflux. I’m about to start signing the adoption papers and then I get a smile. Despite a foul mood, suddenly everything is perfect
Much like in business, you’ll face sleep deprivation, three hours of screaming and some major setbacks. However, the little moments, the small wins, are what make it all worthwhile. Every day find a win. I promise you it will make the tough moments irrelevant.
- Follow your gut
I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with a wide variety of doctors during the past few weeks and I’ve learned to follow my gut. My son was diagnosed with potentially a major physiological problem and put into the hospital. I took him out, knowing what would be best for him.
Whether you call it your gut, instincts or the unconscious, you know better. Much like Steve Jobs never asked his customers for their opinion, you know your business best.
- Routine and ritual
Every night at 6:30 it’s bathtime. This happens without fail and is part of how I get some calm between seven and midnight. My business is exactly the same: I have certain rituals that take place on a daily basis. These include affirmations, gratitude and breakfast. Much like a bath grounds an infant, routine calms be as a businessperson. Find one activity that anchors you daily.
- You will get shit on you
In this case I don’t mean metaphorical shit, I mean you will literally get faeces on you. Thankfully, in this case, the shit is 50% your DNA so it’s not that bad. Similarly, in the business world bad things will happen. Clients will leave, staff will rebel and the markets won’t do what you hope they would.
The responsibility lies with you to clean up the mess and move on. I always believe that if you have a shitty day, go to sleep and start again tomorrow.
- Sometimes you need a partner
Sometimes your child fills up a nappy in a way that is the stuff of nightmares. It’s green, sludgy and you can’t work out how a little body manages to excrete so many. It’s here where you tap out and ask for help.
Having a solid partner you can trust means you have someone to hand the shitty situations over to. This might be because you’re not the best at handling it or that you’re simply just tired and cranky. Whatever the reason, being able to tap out and get help is priceless. Make sure your partner has you back no matter what.
Running a business is tough. It requires sacrifice, hard work and tenacity. Find the wins, make some routine, follow your gut and find the most amazing partner. With this formula, it’s going to be okay.