5 Lessons I Learned From Growing a Business & Growing a Baby

Dear leaders, 

    In this week’s episode, I wanted to share a personal blog about the lessons that I learned about growing a business and growing a baby (at the same time).  So for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Shi Chen, and I’m a leadership and success coach for women entrepreneurs who want to get their big idea into the world and make a difference in the lives or those who need them most.  I started out my career as an educator and recognized the power of personalized coaching for professional growth, so I transitioned from teaching into coaching and have been empowering women to be entrepreneurial leaders ever since.  

Then, last May I found out that I’m pregnant with my first child!  So as I was growing my coaching business online, there was also the beautiful curve ball of learning how to grow life as well.  When I reflect back on this time, I realize that there are so many similarities in leading a growing companion and a growing family, that I wanted to share some of those insights with you. 

Lesson #1: Focus on what matters in the season you’re in.  

When I first started my business, I made the mistake of spending a lot of time, money, and energy on more "advanced" strategies, rather than what matters in the beginning: getting clear on my niche, connecting and marketing to prospects, and laying a foundation of growing my expertise.  Similar to my first trimester of pregnancy, where the focus is on "surviving", getting enough rest, eating healthy and exercising.  I imagine once the baby comes, my focus will also be on establishing trust with my daughter by connecting, bonding, and delivering what she needs, even before she can clearly communicate what that may be.  With each season (every 90 days), I can re-prioritize what to focus on so I can create momentum, and also let go of any guilt or feelings that I need to do it all. 

Lesson #2: Plan and do what you can, and be flexible with actually happens.  

I'm definitely a planner at heart, so I feel much better when I set aside specific steps and strategies to implement.  However, in business and baby-ing, there are many unknowns and things outside of your control, so I'm learned to create a framework of plans but be flexible with what actually happens.  For example, when planning my maternity leave, I was specific about which responsibilities to keep, and which to let go of, but again, it all depends on what kind of baby we will get, if she'll be really fussy or easy-going.  (By the time this is published--we will know for sure!) 

Lesson #3: Getting Support and Accountability are key!

You can "have it all", but you can't do it all yourself.  Support and accountability are key to saving you time, energy, and sanity!  Some people may see asking for help as a weakness, but that's not true!  I'm learning that by delegating tasks and responsibilities to people, you're empowering THEM to use their gifts to serve you as you let go of the things that you don't need to be doing. 

Also, in my third trimester, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, meaning I had to be more strict with my diet (goodbye, carbs) and exercise.  I had to take my blood sugars 4 times and day, submit it to my doctor, and go to get monitored by a doctors 2x/weeks.  At first, it was a bit annoying but it was a lesson in accountability of having my husband and professional doctor's care about my health and my baby's health.  Around the same time, I had extra support and accountability for my business with the help of a coach, Mastermind, and accountability buddy.  They helped me to stay on track towards my goals as it aligns to my life and business. 

Lesson #4: Confidence comes with practice, but you already have a lot of (business savvy and maternal) instincts. 

When I first started out as a coach, I was confident in my coaching skills but felt like I had a lot of learn when it came to business and marketing.  The more I learned from mentors and implemented, the more I realized that it's not that difficult and that I have a a lot of natural marketing instincts (you know, from being a consumer for all of my life).  I think the same goes for being a mom -- yes, there's a learning curve, but you're equipped with natural maternal instincts and you already have what it takes to be a great mom if you listen to that intuition and follow-through with what's best for your child. 

Lesson #5: People will give you a lot of advice and what worked for them.  Decide what factors are important to you, take what you need, and do what’s best for you situation.  

A funny thing I ran into, is that as soon as people found out I started a business, or was pregnant, people would get excited and give me advice (well, most of the time I asked for it).  The key is to learn how to glean wisdom from their experience, and discern what would work best for you and your specific situation.  For example, when it came to maternity leave -- some people would advise to take 3 months completely off, while others would say to go back to work in a few days.  For me, I had to decide what maternity leave would look like for my situation, which meant keeping my 1:1 client load but taking a step back on administrative and marketing tasks. 

All in all, I wouldn’t change anything for the lessons that I’ve learned as a leader and a mom. 
Tell me what you’ve learning about growing a business and a baby! 

If you found this letter helpful, please share it with your friends.  If you’d like more insight into turning your ideas into action so you can create a successful business and intentional life, then subscribe to the “Letters For Leaders” and receive your free “Vision Into Action” workbook.  

With Joy,