After starting my own business as a real estate agent at the age of 21, I quickly learned to juggle my work and personal life. Several years later, I joined forces with two other agents to establish Vancouver’s fastest growing Real Estate brokerage – Oakwyn Realty. Acting as the president and co-founder for such a large real estate brokerage has been a fulfilling role and one that I take on proudly, while also running a full-time resale real estate business. My work has always been my priority until my husband and I decided to grow our family.
As an energetic young businesswoman, I have built my career by focusing on my professional & personal goals without inhibitions or outside responsibilities, such as motherhood. Being from an entrepreneurial family, I knew that I would need to set ground rules and have a team in place before starting to grow a family, as well as my business. Holding on to my identity while being a top-notch mommy and scaling my business has been a challenge, but by sticking to my ground rules, I have been able to balance the tasks of growing a business, a child, and a life I am passionate about.
You can’t do it all:
As a business executive – you’re always working. Throw being a mother into the mix and you find yourself constantly on the go. It’s important to acknowledge that to do things well, you can’t do everything yourself. I am an advocate for collaboration and finding those who can do what you are unable to. Having a reliable team allows you to make space between your home life and your work life. While there will always be some degree of overlap, a solid team can help reduce the stress and angst that comes with taking a day off. Knowing your business is in safe hands and operating efficiently gives you the freedom to create boundaries and set time apart to spend with family. Hire and train your team to be reflective of your expectations, with or without you present. When you spend time with your family, they deserve your full attention – something you can give them when you are confident in your supporting team.
As a mother, you need to find ways to separate your family responsibilities from your business responsibilities. Your children can tell they do not have your undivided attention, especially when you make calls or respond to emails around them. By establishing boundaries, you can begin to set aside energy for the tasks and people who deserve our full attention. Whether it’s turning off your work phone at a certain time each day or reserving Sundays for family outings – you need to create quality family time that is exclusive to you and your family. Vice versa, your work team deserves you at your best when you are present during work hours. Establishing boundaries can be done by gradually building small steps into clear boundaries, but you must be consistent for them to make a difference. Find out what works best for you and your lifestyle.
One thing I have quickly learned as a mother is that things will change. Change can be scary, but it is how you adapt and respond to those changes that dictate your ability to manage it. My choice to have a family might have changed some aspects of my life, but it does not lessen my abilities or effectiveness as a business leader. Instead, it has provided me with fresh perspectives, new time management skills, and a better appreciation for my team. People get caught up comparing situations before and after a big change. Rather than stay in the past, use change as a vessel for growth by applying new skills to old situations.
Make time for those who support you:
Giving your time to others is part of being a mother and business owner, but it is also important to set aside time for yourself. I found myself constantly caught between my family and work, with no space for myself to be alone in my own thoughts. I decided to rent out a co-working space that allowed me relief from external pressures and revitalized my creativity. Finding what works for you and incorporating it into your life is the best way to manage your time. I used to wake up bright and early to squeeze in the gym to an already hectic schedule but made the switch to a stationary home bike instead. Finding ways to simplify your life gives you more time for yourself and those who support you. As a businesswoman and a mom, I have often relied on my support network and the team at work. Relationships are a two-way street, so you must make a conscious effort to return the energy they have given you. Making time for those who have supported you to return the favor is important in building long-lasting relationships and showing gratitude.
The biggest lesson I can give to people is – do not let work and family compete for your time and attention. Let these two worlds co-exist instead. When I first became a mother, I was wearing many hats and constantly juggling tasks. It was not sustainable and created more problems as a result. By fighting to keep these two worlds separate, I wound up creating more for myself and taking away from my relationships. I decided to embrace both worlds and bring them together. I use boundaries to ensure that I save enough energy to give both, but I do not waste energy trying to keep them apart from one another.