I had the good fortune to spend last Saturday with Laura Novak and Vanessa Kreckel. Laura is going to be a first time mom this November and Vanessa the second time around this December. I was talking with Laura about how being a parent can be, in so many ways, like a creative business owner. As a dad of three children and a little bit of experience with creative businesses, I can relate. With a nod to Laura and Vanessa and those creative business owners who might be (or are soon to be) parents, here are my top six commonalities (in no particular order) between parenting and owning a creative business.
Everybody Has An Opinion. From the kindest places, everyone wants to tell you what to do and how to do it. Whatever it is, it worked for them so it has to, has to work for you. Listen to everyone, but ultimately chart your own course. Everyone’s child is different so is your creative business.
What Works Today Probably Will Not Tomorrow. Kids are ever changing. One week the baby sleeps, the next week not so much. Temper tantrums evolve into independence and back again. No such thing as the right way or the way, only the thought of what might work today. Flexibility is everything.
Consistency Matters. As much as flexibility is everything, so are boundaries. Structure, consistency and healthy boundaries make children feel safe. They thrive when they know where they cannot go and where they can. Clients, employees, vendors and colleagues too.
Children Grow Up. Rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, running, school, playdates, sports, writing, reading. If you would never tell your seven year old to wear a onesie, why would you still use that form contract you found when you first started seven years ago? Honor each stage by meeting it on its own terms.
You Can Learn As Much From Your Children As They From You. The wisdom of children is unfiltered. My son said the other day that he wants to make a potion to make everyone alive again so we can all die at the same time, even daddy. Seriously? The beauty of a creative business is that tomorrow is a different creation, just like you never know what might come from a child’s mind. Your creative business can take you wherever you allow it to go.
Joy In The Mess. Being a parent is messy. You will fail miserably one day, rock it the next. Others somewhere in between. Three minutes after you want to pull your hair out, your face hurts from smiling. The moment is everything and almost always unexpected. You have to forgive yourself your failings but work incredibly hard to enjoy your success. Nobody’s perfect. Then again perfect is boring. Success is how well you can navigate each day with the wisdom to know that tomorrow will come. Your own truth is the best result so long as it comes from your belly. Your children are allowed to see you in not your best light. They will love you anyway. The journey is the joy. Enjoy the ride.