I never thought that being pregnant would be so hard.
I guess I just saw all the Instagram models with their over-stylised hair and makeup, teeny tiny bikini bodies and gorgeous bumps enjoying mocktails by the pool and thought the process looked a little something like this:
- Fall pregnant.
- Keep going on with your life for nine months.
- Baby is magically born.
- Instantly bounce back into shape!
Yes, it is very clear I never thought about the realities of pregnancy.
What ACTUALLY happened to me was entirely different. My first trimester, I suffered from morning sickness all day, every day. My sense of smell was so heightened that I couldn’t even walk into the kitchen at work without vomiting. Everything smelt terrible: our house, the kitchen, our bed, my husband. Everything.
All the nausea meant that I couldn’t eat properly and I literally lived on crackers and vegemite toast for a good portion of those three months.
I was exhausted every second of the day, no matter how many hours sleep I had the night before. All of my energy was spent trying not to vomit, and to hold down something solid in my stomach. I felt this extreme guilt and fear that the business I was so engaged in a few months earlier would fall apart without me. I was thinking I had to push more and more just to sustain my business-baby AND the actual baby I was making inside of me.
I really felt that when I got into business; I had created a business-baby. You take everything so personally, have expectations, and wants and love that little bundle of joy. You spend lots of time making decisions and cleaning up the crap, much like taking care of this thing that has no way of saying thank you.
But, what I realised, is that having this pregnancy was probably the best thing I could have done for my business-baby.
I’ve Learnt to Delegate
I can’t be taking care of my business-baby from my hospital bed, with my actual baby trying to attach to my nipple and clients or staff on the phone demanding to ‘speak to Mare!’ It’s not healthy for me, for my baby, or fair to the clients and staff. They deserve better than my half-arsed attention. So I’m learning to delegate more.
No more being the bottleneck, stalling things, procrastinating on the things I don’t like etc. Someone else is going to have to start to do it, so they might as well start now.
I’ve Created Better Systems Than Ever Before
It has allowed me to create systems around some things that I felt were ‘un-systemisable’.
I know that within the next few weeks, everything that I do needs to be handed over to someone. So, as much as I would have liked to have thought that I am indispensable in a role that I created for myself, the fact is that I’m not. The business will survive without me. In fact, it will probably thrive in areas that I don’t even know, because I’ve never focused on them. Now the team has the ability to focus on things that I probably wouldn’t have given time to.
Also, the team gets to understand more of the workings of the business than ever before. They can take more responsibility and grow together, without me holding on so tightly to my business-bundle-of-joy.
I’ve Become a Better Sales Woman
All of the sales we make through our business are done via consultation over the phone. Part of my role is actually ensuring that we have a certain amount of money coming into the business. That, as you can imagine, can create some stress and anxiety, particularly when it’s getting close to the end of the week/month and I’m not tracking on target.
Being pregnant, I gave myself the opportunity to really let go of sales targets, so that I reduced my own stress. What did that do? It actually made me a better sales person.
I no longer look for people to buy. Instead, I track my numbers based on the amount of people I have helped on the phone, rather than the money that I have to make by the end of the week. The result has been that I’ve let go of the need to SELL and focused on SERVING. That is so much less stressful.
It has enabled me to be so much more relaxed through the whole process and if someone doesn’t buy (when I know they should have) I don’t take it so personally. I don’t have the energy to waste on it. Instead, I focus on things that feel good (because if Mama feels good, baby feels good). I think about all the ways I helped that person, and check off that person on the ‘people I helped today’ list.
The outcome has meant that I have actually started helping more people. And, those people generally buy easier, with less fuss and less stress on my end.
I’ve Let Go of Things I Can’t Control
I used to be really attached to what my clients did. Things that I couldn’t control.
Have they completed the tasks that I had set them?
Did they realise how important that ONE THING is?
Maybe they didn’t – does that mean it’s my fault if they don’t complete what they need to?
I would take things they said about my program really personally and get defensive.
Now I don’t have the energy to focus on that kind of thing. So, as Elsa would sing, I just ‘let it go’. Boy, do I feel better for it.
I know deep inside that the products and services that we provide are amazing. I know that I have done everything possible to ensure the quality of our business and everything that we do. So I rest on the knowledge that if someone has a problem, we can either sort it out, or it’s not my problem, it’s theirs.
I’ve Learnt to Say No, Particularly to Bright, Shiny Objects
With no time and no energy, it’s pretty easy to say ‘no thanks’ to things that I would have ordinarily let take up lots of time and effort with very little benefit to me.
As someone with an entrepreneurial soul, there is always a plethora of bright, shiny objects in front of me, ready for me to dive into. It’s really easy to get distracted and lose focus on what’s really
important. In my business-baby, it’s really the focus on sales, marketing and client delivery. So, with my pregnancy, I’ve really learnt what the core, basic, fundamental things are for the business and just focused on those, to the exclusion of everything else. I feel as though life has become more simple as a result, and allowed heaps more time to take care of my body and the baby that’s growing inside of it.
I Feel Supported by My Business, Rather Than Supporting the Business
By focusing on what really matters within the business, I feel that for the first time in my life, it’s not going to fall apart if I’m not thinking about it 24 hours a day.
The purpose of the business was never for me to treat it like a baby. It was created to support me so that I may live an extraordinary life, full of passion, amazing experiences and love.
The reality is this – My business is not a baby. Although in all businesses there is a stage where you need to treat it that way – giving it lots of love and attention – I finally feel that it has turned into a mature 20-something who can finally take care of herself. She is ready to move out of home and into the next exciting phase of her life. She doesn’t need Mum to make dinner, do the washing and sort out doctors appointments. She is fully capable of doing it all herself.
Yes, there will be a time when she stuffs things up, but, I’ve taught her well enough that she can look after herself rather than calling Mum every time something goes wrong.
I feel that I have raised a respectable, good-doing business that can take care of herself.
And…it’s a really nice feeling to have.
Now, if someone could help me be this calm and at ease with the birth of my actual baby, that would be great. I’m off to get a snack and have a nap.