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Power of the Parent turns six!

Power of the Parent turns six!

It’s been a hot minute since Power of the Parent® was born, and my oh my what a ride! Most of you know by now I like to share as many angles as possible for a few reasons. For one, I still think there’s an abundance of bullshit online about the realities of running a small business. Lots of praying on those feeling vulnerable to spaff a load of cash on unwanted ‘transformational masterminds’.

I also heavily encourage celebrating too. There’s a lot of hiding in the shadows for many of us and it’s high time we embrace the good stuff. 

So, here goes with six of my biggest learnings from the last six years…

1.     People want to hear all sides of the story

I don’t have a stat to hand, but I know in my very core that when I’ve shared the behind the scenes, the tough moments and quite frankly the shit bits – alongside the celebrations, the achievements, the highs…people love it. It’s still a bit of a novelty for some of us I think. We’re conditioned to go after the traditional ‘wins’, the goals being achieved at all costs and working harder. But honestly some of my best development has come from the failures. 

I’m a big believer in celebrating, so I don’t shy away from sharing the good stuff too. But I’m mindful not to paint a false picture. It’s important that we remember boundaries, and nobody owes us their story. However, if we do feel inclined to lift the metaphorical lid a little, let’s celebrate that too. 

There’s a blend here – I don’t want to turn anything into a race to the bottom, or wear the tougher moments like a badge of honour. They still need working through and let’s be honest we don’t want to go looking for them.

2.     It’s ok for some things to come with ease

There have been moments when something happens with relative ease and I’ve wondered why on earth it’s happened. Maybe it’s inner critic stuff. Perhaps the slow start to my business sent me down a path of ‘if it doesn’t feel hard, you’re not doing it right.’ But I know that’s not true now. I will bask in those days when something hasn’t felt clunky or full of back and forth that you just can’t quite get ahead of. 

There are some days and weeks where things feel silky smooth and have a confident calmness about them. I don’t need to feel guilty or apologise for that. Frankly, I’ll always be most grateful when an invoicing process goes smoothly. But I’m yet to have a winning streak on that one!

3.     You don’t have to cherish every moment

This is something I believe when it comes to parenting as well – I bloody hate the ‘you get 18 summers with them, make them count’ kind of posts for a whole host of reasons, and I’m applying the same logic to running my business too. 

I’ve been on the receiving end of comments about how much easier running your own business is compared to employed life. I should ‘just be grateful’ and crack on. The race to the bottom rears its head again! Some moments I’m just there for, gripping on for dear life until they’re over and we can move on. Others, I really do cherish them.

The experiences I’ve had running the business don’t fit neatly into an adjective or a tick box of easier / harder. And I think it’s time we all stopped trying to do that tbh. Let’s listen to people’s stories and accept our uniqueness is going to mean we tackle things differently. 

4.     Uncoupling your self-worth with financial success is hard

My gremlins, inner critics and imposter thoughts have been known to rule the roost. And what a party they are – except it’s one I really don’t want the invite to! 

The natural dopamine hit when a contract gets finalised or you send an invoice off is a tough one. It does feel good to make your own money and something fairly obvious to celebrate. However, when the rejections come in or the ‘we’re going to look at other options’ it can make it difficult not to take things personally. Wondering if you really are as good as you think you are. But in many cases these decisions really are so far out of your hands.

Don’t get me wrong, if I was missing the mark with clients I’d want to know. But sometimes the ‘no’ has everything to do with their situations that are of no concern to yours. This article was an interesting reframe on the conversation about self-worth and financial success if you’re needing a nudge on this one.

5.     Spotting your strengths in overdrive is essential 

As a strengths practitioner, this is close to my heart. It’s also still something I regularly need to check in on despite it being my bread and butter. We never coach ourselves the same way we would others! Two of my biggest energisers are my empathy and compassion strengths. It’s a heady mix. When they’re at their best I’m a bloody good coach and consultant. When they’re in overdrive, it makes for a pretty terrible business owner and I struggle with my boundaries. 

My strategic mindedness strength has helped over the years. It regularly reminds me I can’t help everybody come what may, but it’s by no means been a smooth tag team. When I spot the strengths in overdrive I have to give myself some headspace to come up with a plan to bring them back in line, and coaching supervision goes a long way to help too. 

6.     Never lose connection to your why (and if you do, get back to it asap)

When I’ve got bogged down in the parts of running a business that I’m crap at or leave me feeling physically drained, it really does help to go back to the basics of why I’m doing it. I’ve got multiple ‘whys’ and they’re grounded in every bit of my life. Some are grounded in how I want to be as a parent, others are more external factors about the influence I’d like to have on the world of work for parents. 

I’ve written down all of my different reasons for Power of the Parent® existing multiple times, and I keep them close to hand. It might sound ridiculous to some, but being able to look over that list is part of my little workplace culture. It’s the stuff I feel connected to. On the days it’s going well I’ll beam at it with hope, and on the tougher days it’s the reminder I need to keep going. 

A lot of learning to do…

I’ve honestly had to learn my patterns and who I am all over again since setting up the business. After over a decade in retail and corporate life, picking apart some of the beliefs I’d absorbed up along the way was an uncomfortable process at times. When you leap from a culture that values those who shout the loudest, who have answers to everything (even if they’re way off base) and presenteeism is currency, it can take a lot of deep work. 

There are regular pinch me moments that I get to call this my job. I’m incredibly grateful and I do work at keeping it going. For all the shiny moments or warm and fuzzies, there are 10 more that might not be quite so straightforward. I love the blend, I’m never bored and I feel like I’m making a difference for parents in the workplace which is my ultimate goal. 

I know that I’m often in a position of privilege and power in a room with a business, because I’m seen as an expert – hopefully one that is considered but challenging. I’ll never lose sight of that and I’ll always shout about the brilliance of having parents in the workplace on your side – they’re chuffing fantastic. 

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