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My journey of balancing small business and small kids


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Reflecting on a stressful 2014 or was it?

Over the past few weeks I have begun to feel a stress unlike any I have during my journey as a parentpreneur.  The end of year approaching should be a time of excitement and joy. The anticipation of time off around the corner should light up my smile like the lights on our Christmas tree, yet I have found myself buried under the stress of work and worry. The end of the year for many entrepreneurs has us looking at the finances, goals, and in my case projects wrapping up. Projects don’t always coincide with the year end, but in my case I have two that have been inching a long for the better part of seven months coming to a close. Finishing is not my strong suit, I’m a starter by nature which may explain why I go so long between posts.

This year has been interesting fun and stressful year. We had a lot going on, in fact it’s probably been to much. Buried under my own self talk and stress I was glad to have a great call with my coach who reminded me of how good the year has been. I beat last year’s income (not necessarily profit), opened a real estate franchise office and quadrupled our agent count albeit from two to eight,  I think on some level that may be the hardest jump. The momentum should help us grow quicker next year. We also will finish our strongest year building homes.  The conversation with my coach was a good one because it helped pull me out of the muck of the day to day. When I get lost in the stress of all that has to get done with work and then helping manage a household, raise two kids and support my wife in her growing business it all seems to much. I think about shutting it down some days and just going back to a job where the weekends are really free. I have come close on a few occasion especially with the late night client calls and text ,the weekends full of questions and working with someone for months only to have them use some one else with out a second thought. When I’m caught in the stress I only see the bad, I don’t see the wonderful clients, the great conversations, the fun weekends, the hundreds of people we help employee through building. The stress causes me to lose sight of the dream that drives me, the desire to build a business that helps fellow real estate agents change their careers and lives.

It’s nice to have someone remind me of what we have accomplished instead of what feels sometimes like a series of short comings. Maybe it’s the nature of an entrepreneurs to strive to the next level all the while forgetting the level you’re on is last year’s next level. Andy Andrews says that those who can get through the fog of life seasons will be the one’s to see the reward on the other side. Well, I have turned my fog lights on and I’m going to power through.

This year end take time to review what you have accomplished. Maybe your income went up or down, think about what caused these results. What struggles did you have to deal with that you overcame? Sometimes familial changes or stress can cause your business to slip. I had a daughter in the hospital twice this year causing a new source worry and anxiety. Thankfully all is well, but I can tell you my results during that time were less than stellar financially. However I managed to push thru and I was there for my family when they needed me and that’s more important than a few extra sales.

Before you plan 2015 take a few minutes to review 2014. You may find that you accomplished more than you know and overcame some obstacles that taught you great lessons. The pain and stress are hard at the moment, but the lessons learned can be invaluable if utilized. It’s in the pain that we grow and its on reflection you get the knowledge of such growth.  The wisdom gained in a stressful year will only help to handle the next year better and so on. What once was stressful when faced again is less stressful.

Ask yourself the following questions?

1. What three situations did I overcome that helped me grow? What did I learn about myself in these situations?

2. In 2014 what worked well in my business and family and how can I make it better in 2015?

3. What are three areas I can improve that would make my work and family life better? Are there simple things I can implement like getting a maid for home and new technology for the office? What are some longer term strategies I need to get started on now to have ready for 2016?

This reflection is key to setting goals for 2015. Apply these thoughts to every area of your life.  You may find that 2014 was not as stressful as it seemed in the moment or that it may have been a year of great growth.  The story of your 2014 is yours to tell and yours to assign meaning to. That’s the beauty of life. When I look back on 2014 it was much better than I thought and I’m encouraged how it’s going to help me have a great 2015.
Have a great end to 2014 and get rested for a huge 2015.

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“KNOW THYSELF” – Plato

There is one common element in the journey to grow a strong family and business, it’s you.  That’s right, you are with yourself 24 hours a day.  From the boardroom to the bedroom you are there with you.  The interesting thing is that many people don’t  really know who they truly are. We have all heard the stories of people taking trips and time to go “find themselves.”  If it was only as easy as looking up “ME” on EBAY. I was curious what would turn up. The search resulted in pictures and post cards about Maine. I can tell you I am definitely not there (I don’t do cold well).  On Amazon the results were a bit more interesting. A face aging app, some odd novels, and a book by Ricky Martin titled “ME”.  Not on my short list to read no matter loca my vida gets.

So where does one go to “Know Thyself?” The answer, IN.  That’s right you must venture into the most scary place of all mankind, your inner thoughts. Without going “nuts” on the psychological and self-help ideologies I truly believe there are three areas in which you must know yourself that will feed into your family, business and all spaces in between.

1. You must know what you BELIEVE

Belief systems are the basis of all decisions we make and actions we take.  How we view the world, ourselves, religion, our children, the industry we work in is key to our success in life. The belief that success is possible is the start.  Next week I will go into more detail about how belief systems as a parent and business owner need to line up and work together. When we have contradictory beliefs we create friction in our life.  To “Know Thyself” you must understand what you believe and why.  Where did it come from and why do I really believe this? Challenge yourself and strengthen your beliefs or change them.

2. You must know HOW YOU RELATE TO PEOPLE, your personality and communication styles

Do you know your personality style?  There are bunch of great tests out there. Have you ever taken one?  Everyone in the entire world should take one. I have done several. The coaching company I employee has a very detailed program that my wife and I took together. It truly helped us understand how we operate and communicate. Patience is one of the greatest expressions of love we can show. When you understand how you relate to people and how your loved ones, co-workers relate you can be patient with each other. I recently had DISC profile done and went through a great class to learn how the styles interact. I had one done for my 5 year old as well in order to better understand her (if understanding a 5 year old tween wannabe is possible).  I will get into detail on this in a future posts as well. In the meantime consider that the way you see the world is not the same as the way those around you see it. People don’t even hear words the same. Some people hear tone more than verbage and many people are the opposite. Knowing these differences make the world and it’s people easier to deal with. You can’t change others, however you can change how you relate to them.

3. You must know WHAT YOU WANT!

Having a vision of what you want your life to look like is crucial. You must have a vision for your business and for your family.  It’s not just numerical goals or resolutions. Think about how you want your life to be day to day. The type of people you want in your business. Think about how your kids behave and treat others. We all want well educated kids, but what does that mean. More importantly we want children who have great character and influence. I recently heard Andy Andrews say that we should not focus on having great kids, instead we should focus on raising on kids who become great adults. That is the truth. Greatness is a journey that can only be achieved with vision. If you don’t know where you are driving you’ll find yourself in a place you never wanted to go. One of the best exercises I have ever done is writing a letter to myself from the future. On the top of the page write the date January 8, 2019.  Then tell your current self how your life is in 2019. This is a best case scenario future. It’s your ideal life so dream big. Explain what your day looks like. How does your family begin it’s day. Where are your kids, what are their ages, how do they interact with you and your spouse. How is your relationship with your spouse. What does your company look like?  Do this for all areas of your life. Ask and answer great questions of yourself. Take 15 minutes to just free write. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll find yourself taking a lot more time.

Knowing your vision, your personality, and your beliefs will be the first steps on truly unlocking who you are and aiding your journey as a parentpreneur.

Go forth and learn thyself.