Everything changed when one day, my husband said, “having this business doesn’t even make you happy; you’re angry all the time.” Well, that pissed me off, and I got…you know…ANGRY. However, he was right. I realized something a day or so later. It wasn’t the business that made me unhappy. I loved my business and the company mission. It also wasn’t motherhood that made me unhappy. I loved being a mom of a toddler and a newborn. I loved having my family. It was stress that was making me miserable.
In 2014, I started my second business. Starting a business is exciting. You want to scream it from the mountain tops and work around the clock, so everyone knows what you have and how you can help them. However, when I started this business, I found myself in a position that stopped me from having the time to go to the mountain top and work around the clock. My husband had gone back to school full-time, my sister (who was my business partner) left the country for a year for work, and I was at home with a two-year-old and a four-month-old. Enter, an insane amount of stress.
If you are a mother or are the spouse to a mother or you have a mother, or you have seen a mother on TV, you probably would agree with me when I say; motherhood is stressful. Also, if you know anything about having a start-up or being an entrepreneur or you can imagine starting a business, you would probably agree it is stressful as well. Putting these two together and trying to do them both by myself (for most hours of the day) killed my joy. My joy was gone because I was stressed 24/7.
I felt I needed to hustle and grind constantly. My husband’s statement helped me realize that I had to change something. I figured I could enjoy both motherhood and entrepreneurship; it would just look different. However, I was nervous about the idea of slowing down. If I slowed down, wouldn’t I lose my business? I adapted some new priorities which did help me slow down and ultimately reduced my level of stress.
The other day, a fellow entrepreneur friend posted something on social media, and it resonated with me. I’m paraphrasing here, but Caleb said he had observed it was common to hear entrepreneurial buzzwords like; “hustle” and “grind.” Caleb also noticed the great inventor, Warren Buffett, never spoke of hustling and grinding to succeed. On the contrary, Warren Buffett consistently talks about the following:
1) Staying in your lane
2) Being patient
3) Checking your ego relentlessly
4) Trusting your advisors
5) Recognizing your limitations
Warren Buffets words resonated with me because these were the same priorities I used to reduce my stress. Priorities that helped me find joy in both motherhood and entrepreneurship simultaneously. However, it didn’t happen overnight. It’s been five years, and I still have to work at it, but I have that same business today, and my sister and I are still growing it. A few years ago, we even had a direct competitor; they closed shop in less than a year.
The priorities I used to reduce my stress:
I stayed in my lane. I knew I wanted to be at home with my kids (at least when they were little). I didn’t have many mommy friends, so I joined a mom group and did “mom” things. I embraced that side of me.
I asked for patience. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own because I’m a natural “go-getter.” I prayed that I would have the patience to let my business grow, even if it grew at a slower rate than my babies (because they grow fast).
I check my ego, relentlessly. Being the “brainchild” of a business idea or doing the initial work to get something started can make one think he or she is the best thing since sliced bread. However, whoever made sliced bread probably didn’t make the knife too. They may not have grown the wheat or kneaded the dough either. They just sliced the bread. I’ve never been one with a big ego, but we all (including me) have had an ego at some point. No matter what accomplishments you’ve had, if you think about it, you have others to thank for it.
I trust my advisors. This past year I got myself a business coach and now have a group of advisors. The power of this is incredible. Even if you can’t get a business coach, find authentic and reliable podcasters or local entrepreneurs that will give you great information, not fluff.
I recognize my limitations. I’m still working on this one. I feel like I have worn all the hats there are to be worn in business (may not be entirely accurate). I sometimes think “I’ll just do this myself” when I really should be finding someone who would do it better than me so I can work on the things that I do well. I will say that my advisors preach this a lot and I do trust them. That is why I am working on getting this priority in order.
I began to systematically implement the prioritization system Warren Buffett recommends. Each time I added one of these ideas as a priority, my stress decreased. Do you feel like the hustle-and-grind lifestyle is stressing you out? What if you tried the Warren Buffett method? What if you checked your ego and recognized your limitations? What if you trusted advisors who tell you to stay in your lane and be patient? If you did these things, you could still succeed, but do it with far less stress in your life. Putting an end to the hustle-and-grind lifestyle doesn’t mean you stop caring about your goals. I think about ways to do our business better all the time and work on company objectives almost daily, but I do it with the priorities listed in this article instead of just working by hustling and grinding. If you feel stressed out and overworked, I encourage you to try a new method. Your health and relationships will thank you.