Business mentor, parenting coach and Joy of Business facilitator, Dr. Glenna Rice, is on a mission to remind mothers just how powerful and experienced they are, and to help mums realise that many of the skills they have acquired while raising children are perfect for running a business.
“When we look at what we have to offer a particular situation, it’s important to cast our eye far beyond what we think is relevant,” remarks Dr. Rice. “For instance, I did a zoology degree before becoming a physical therapist. I never, in a million years, thought I would use my zoological knowledge in physical therapy, or as a business mentor, or parenting coach. But I was wrong. I draw on that education all the time.”
“I have learned that nothing you have accomplished is superfluous; nothing is a waste of time. And I think that’s a particularly powerful message for mothers to hear,” she explains. “The skills that a woman naturally acquires in the act of being a mum are incredibly valuable in the business world.”
Dr. Rice understands the pressures of being both a mother and business owner, having built a thriving private practice and several personal coaching businesses, all whilst raising three children on her own. She believes there are several ways in which motherhood prepares you to be a strong and successful businesswoman.
It prepares you for busy, busy days
When building and running a business, your days can often be incredibly busy … but that is nothing new for mothers, who truly know what busy is and can function effectively at a rapid pace.
It builds the ‘multi-awareness” muscle
As a mother, you build a mental muscle that allows you to be aware of many people, their needs, and their schedules simultaneously. This is a vital skill when running a business; it enables you to be aware of multiple factors – the finances, marketing, how the business is growing, stock levels and your employees – all at the same time.
You become a master manipulator and negotiator
Motherhood teaches you that when you want something done, control simply doesn’t work. As a mum, you have to get what you want in subtler ways; weaving a solution out of everyone’s different needs. Like a martial artist, mums become adept at using others’ momentum against them; turning them in the direction they want to go. Control never works in business, and it is mothers who best know how to manipulate and negotiate suitable solutions in a multifaceted, multi-directional environment. Importantly, mothers know how to invite others in the business to their point of view – patients, clients, investors or staff – without stirring up resistance or resentment.
You learn how to be a leader
Motherhood teaches you how to step up into your power; even the most timid woman must be empowered over their children or they will run rampant. As a mum, you learn how to assert your needs, desires and the edges of your personal domain. It goes without saying that these qualities are imperative when running a successful business. Mothers are well equipped to manage staff, customers and clients, and any conflict within the business because they have learned that you can’t make everyone happy, and that there are times when you have to say “no”.
It helps you work well within ambiguity
Nothing is ever certain in a household full of children and every mother knows that even the best laid plans can go awry. Mothers have to be able to accept whatever course life is throwing at them, and change on a dime. The same is true in business. It’s great to have a business plan but, if you really want a business that survives and thrives, it’s important to have someone at the helm who can change course, adapt, and work around unforeseen obstacles. Mothers have that exact quality.
You intuitively have an eye on the future.
As a mother, you have a constant eye on the years ahead; you are a futurist. When you ensure your children eat nutritious meals, the intent is to foster future growth and wellbeing. When you encourage hobbies in your young children, it is in order that they may, someday, be an expert in their field. Importantly, this futurism also allows mothers to know when the future looks bleak, and the current course needs changing. In business, you must also be ahead of the game. Your decisions can’t be based on what is best in the moment but, rather, what will create the best future. Motherhood is the perfect training ground for successful, visionary business leaders; those who can read the future and make current-day decisions that have successful long-term ramifications.
According to Dr. Rice, there is one overarching quality that mothers possess, that is vitally important in business. “As a mother, you learn how to function from trust; trust that your children will be ok; trust that they will learn what they need to learn; trust they have the skills to succeed, and trust that you have been there for them and have contributed to them”, she explains.
“Trust is an unconditional element of any successful business. As a business leader, you must trust that the company will be successful, that it will continue to grow and that you will know how to contribute to allow your business to thrive.”