It’s no secret that 2021 means life, work, and home are all wrapped into one these days.
Many of us live, eat, and breathe the balancing act that is working from home, managing others at work and managing a family. And even if our work takes us outside of the home for the day, it’s not exactly a walk in the park to start the second shift once we return for the evening.
So how can we make this work? How can we survive and thrive after what has been a situation of uncertainty, fear, and mass reorganization of priorities?
I think the answer (always) lies within. Like any spiritual quest, we must pause and look inside our hearts for the wisdom that pertains most specifically to us…also that’s a nice way of saying f*ck what everyone else says and just do you, boo (because sometimes saying f*ck it is the most spiritual thing you can do).
So let’s do that. Let’s look within, and let’s get honest. Do you see any of the same issues popping up within your experiences in business and at home? Because I am a firm believer that the problems we have with others, or our interpretation of the events that happen for us (not to us) are all a reflection of what we need to address within ourselves.
If you’re not already familiar with conscious parenting, here’s the gist: our children are sovereign, self-guided individuals who do not require our conditioning or impression-molding to survive in life. In fact, our children are here to teach us more so about ourselves than anything else. So much of the work involved in being a conscious parent is to get curious about your own reactions and responses. And to accept what is (the “as-is”), in order to ultimately find freedom—within yourself, and in who your child came here to be.
So you might be asking: what’s the link between parenting and business? In essence, it’s leadership. As leaders of the next generation, we are tasked with a pretty serious job. Akin to leading a team at work, running a business, or even being a role model within your peer group and larger community.
I want to introduce you to a few examples that demonstrate how pulling on conscious parenting principles can positively impact your business, the experiences you have with those you work with, and ultimately your satisfaction at the end of the day:
1. Self-Awareness: Look, you’ve got to wake up to be woke. Pick your modality: journaling, meditation, therapy, coaching, reflecting via a long walk, or gazing upon a body of water as you contemplate life—they all work as long as they get to the essence of who you are. By addressing your limiting beliefs, internalized traumas, and even the “shoulds” and expectations you place on yourself, you can better understand what you are and aren’t willing to pass down onto your kids.
How might this affect your business? Well, self-awareness is the key to managing most conflict with others—to know how you might be showing up and contributing to the dynamic. I’ve seen this a million times throughout my corporate career and as I witness other mothers who I truly admire: a self-aware leader is the most powerful of all.
2. Nonjudgement: I mentioned the words “as-is” above—this is practicing nonjudgement in its finest form. When we accept things as they are, in the present moment (as-is), there’s no judgement over them being right or wrong, good or bad. They just are. So we don’t freak out as much about the traffic pileup, because it is what it is in that moment. Or we don’t assume our child’s behaviour is what they’ll be like for the rest of eternity—it just is what it is in that moment.
Would this not be so powerful to take on at work too? Think of this the next time you experience “failure” or when you’re impacted by another’s actions that you cannot control. The analyst didn’t get the report to you on time? Does judging the reasons for it in the moment really matter? It’s likely something you’ll need to return to once the storm has passed in order to address performance. But in the crucial moment, judgement isn’t going to be what saves you. Nope—pivoting, innovating, and taking inspired action is more appropriate, productive, and rewarding.
3. Intentional Routines & Rituals: I’m a big proponent of modelling and involving children in self-care and holistic practices. As a parent, when you’re grounded, you’re present. You are in control of your reactions and responses and can communicate more effectively. This has a ripple effect onto your kids, and within the household in general.
Well, guess what: your staff and/or peers are no different! You can model what self-care and energetic management looks like to those around you, at any time. For example: not working when sick. Taking the occasional mental health day to accelerate future productivity. Taking care of body, mind, and soul in order to bring your best self to work and life. The list goes on, and it’s all good for business. Not to mention, you will inspire those around you to take action on their big dreams and best selves. I happen to think that’s pretty cool.
4. Nurturing authenticity: Perhaps one of the more difficult principles of conscious parenting, nurturing authenticity essentially means taking care to not condition or control your child based on your own unaddressed wants, needs, or expectations. It actually does take a lot of self-awareness and practice! But the benefits are huge: children can learn for themselves, can experience struggle in a safe container, and develop the confidence in their resilience.
Let’s apply this to business: are you afraid to give away/delegate a big piece of work (that would free up your time) because secretly you are afraid it might make you uncomfortable? Because you’ll have to trust someone else? Because you’ll have to refocus your time and energy into something else? Because that task defined a part of who you are? Being able to break away from your own ego stories, fears, or things that make you uncomfortable means you are giving someone else opportunity. And isn’t that the whole point of leading others?
I honestly could go on and on about the intersection of business and parenting. In my career, I have witnessed that not only are transformational leadership skills transferrable across industries, it is the most powerful leaders who also embrace grounded, conscious parenting practices at home. There is a strength in your balance, your calm, and your steady hand. And in times of uncertainty, that is a powerful way to lead indeed.