Take the Shortcut: One Year's Worth of Advice
I'm no parenting expert. I just do what I know and fake the rest. There are certain superpowers I've developed, like the ability to know when my daughter is going to poop (hint: it's always right before we have to go somewhere). This past year I've taken some of my business strategies and successfully applied them to motherhood. Whether you've just taken home a squealing babe, are juggling a rambutious pre-teen, are launching your own company, or, especially all of the above, hopefully these tips should guide you like they guided me. A year later, my daughter is still in one piece.
Business Speak: Be Resourceful
Life Speak: Take Shortcuts
I've never baked a cake from scratch, at least by myself anyway. My daughter's first birthday was NOT going to be the time to start. I used two boxes of Betty Crocker mix, a design I found on the back of the box, and some store-bought icing. It was a huge hit. I mean, people could not stop talking about how delicious the cake was. I also saw online these adorable, custom balloons with Emojis on them. I was dying to make them. They involved all sorts of fancy supplies. I took construction paper and glue dots and made three. This combination of hand-made and store bought allowed me to get out my creative side without creating unnecessary challenges for myself.
Anyone who says there are no shortcuts in life, or there are no shortcuts to success, is wasting a lot of time. There are shortcuts and you should take them. If you're not a baker, buy the boxed cake or, better yet, buy the whole cake at the store and decorate it. I understand the desire to not serve your child processed foods, so just don't do it often. Again, take the shortcuts on the small things.
Business Speak: Delegate
Life Speak: Ask for Help
Yes, you probably CAN do it all yourself. You're strong. You're talented. But you'll also burn yourself out and won't be able to do everything 100%. Ask for specific help. There are tons of people who are dying to assist you. Have someone bring over dinner one night, especially in the beginning. One of the kindest things a friend did when I hadn't had a home-cooked meal in days was bring over a lasagna. It was the best lasagna I ever had. I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford daycare, have a huge network of family, and a supportive husband. Still, I'm often hesitant to ask.
On client projects, when I find myself stumpted, Jason often encourages me to delegate to others or reach out for assistance. He does it with a group he calls his CORE Team. When I followed his advice, I ended up saving hours of time spinning my wheels on complicated post-production software simply by having a friend give me a hands-on demo first.
Business Speak: Network
Life Speak: Create a Community
Put yourself out there. Whether it's at cocktail parties, the playground, the gym or a Meetup event, speak to people. And follow up on those interactions. Some of the best new relationships I've formed over the past year have been at unexpected places and many conversations have been fostered because of Maisie. Starting a business and becoming a new parent can surprisingly feel isolating. Creating these connections can yield potential business leads, future employment opportunities, playdate and more.
Business Speak: Be Proactive
Life Speak: Plan Ahead
Don't get crazy about it, but do be prepared. It'll end up saving you a lot of frustration and time. Parenthood leaves you exhausted. You'll forget things. To combat that, rely on a calendar, make lists (particularly on your phone), and try to keep a consistent schedule.
Anticipate professional problems and plan accordingly.
And always, always, always pack extra diapers.
Business Speak: Be Agile
Life Speak: Be Flexible
As much as you can prepare yourself, there will be problems. And there will be changes. STRIKEink has evolved in the past few months. As a company dedicated to our own products, we've had to take on some client work to bring in the money to support of own initiatives. As a parent, and a professional, I'm constantly forced to be adaptible. Daycare opening late will delay all my meetings for the day. A baby cold will take out our whole house the day before a deadline. Even when you delegate and take short cuts, there are going to be times things are just not going to work out as planned. Sometimes they can be even better than you could have imagined.
Business Speak: Have Fun
Life Speak: Enjoy Every Second
The biggest lesson I've learned in the past year, and one that I need to remind myself of daily, is to have fun. I embarked on both of these journeys out of desire. I wasn't forced into either and that makes me very, very fortunate. As a result, every day I try to have at least a little fun. Whether it's pulling Maisie around the living room and pretending we're on a safari or jamming out to some royalty-free Music for a client video, I do something smile-worthy.