By Becky Clifford / Photography Elizabeth D’Alessandro
One thing that I think helps in this magnificent union of “mum” and “entrepreneur” thing is the process of creating a positive support system around you. You don’t even have to be both. We all need support. Yet sometimes it’s easier to find competition or those that question what you do or why you do it. As women, I think we can tend to be hard on ourselves and hard on each other and my wish for all of us is for that to stop. Because positive support one can see through parenting, has a huge difference in how a child grows up, their confidence, their ability to take risks, their ability to be strongly rooted, and ultimately their ability to shine.
Taking a leap of faith and going after your vision or dreams can be scary but also I think we can agree one of the most rewarding experiences in life. You are leaving your footprint somewhere and changing the lives of those around you. You are going from someone who impacts your family to someone who impacts hundreds to maybe even thousands of people. Your story becomes told and your creation or talents become shared. We can all start by sitting at home and reading books on the famous female icons like Oprah and Maya Angelou…but sometimes I am struck by how nice it is to meet a stranger and hear about their path and create a human connection, beyond FB friends or celebrity…a real down to earth one. So if you have an existing business but it needs a refreshed image or market strategy or whether you have an idea for one but not sure what to do with it, I think starting to create your own network of support is a great first step and providing support to those around you. It’s like putting yourself out there to the universe and saying lets see what I can learn today, lets see who I can meet today, lets see who I can support today and in return learn from, lets see who may give me a token of advice that sticks in my head, resonates with me and lays another crumb on my path.
My husband came home from traveling to Belgium for a week long conference and he said the HR head gave a directive at the beginning of the meeting to try to meet 3 new people each day this week. My husband works for a global company often spends lots of time on the phone talking to people in different countries and time zones with different accents and he sometimes has stated it IS a bit different than when you physically see, touch, and feel the people. It misses something which makes sense that the opportunities when they are all together, it is advantageous to step outside those you already know and form new relationships. While he was talking about this, I related it to what I know, being a mum. I find it very lonely at times. Folding laundry, wiping up spills, fixing meals can all be therapeutic in moderation but also very mind numbing, not very challenging except when I purchased detergent for the first time here, and they don’t create connections. True human connection has been linked to happiness for years. And as a mum and entrepreneur who may already struggle with time constraints on just not having enough of it, it struck me as a great idea for mumtrepreneurs to get to know the people around their everyday world. Strangers. Because sometimes the extra planning of fitting in a meeting becomes added stress but I find when it is more organic and just happens – it is something that lifts me up, that feels kismet, and that writes my own story. It feels like I too start to form a support network and with that this country so far from my motherland starts to feel more and more like just that, HOME. I know the quote home is where the heart is and to a degree I do believe this. But sometimes it is nice to branch out even further. And I think most successful business owners/leaders end up doing just that. They are curious.
So last night I took my dog Higgens out with my daughter for the dog’s last tinkle before bed after a really long day fighting a cold and I met a man and his wife. His dog Simba (from the Lion King) seemed to take a liking to our dog. This man was very open, very welcoming and warm. It made me feel at peace. He had just retired and said he wasn’t currently working and asked if I wanted to walk the dogs today around 10. I thought to myself it would be awesome for Higs to know a friend, especially a Nachbar (neighbour in German). I also think sometimes we close ourselves off by saying how can I possibly have something in common with a 50+ older man from Croatia, but I DID. And to me as I did form that bond and as I did learn about his life, his businesses and his dream for his new business, I said to myself there is a reason this man came into my life. Not only that but sometimes running in the mom circle – we are all struggling to find a balance and learning a lot in the process – it was nice to be around someone who wasn’t in such a phase. It was refreshing.
I walked away and I had this sense of self -confidence for putting myself out there and meeting a stranger and being completely myself in our dialogue. My genuine, truest self. I wasn’t worried if he didn’t like my outfit, or realized my eyes were horribly bloodshot from this cold, or if he thought I had this mom thing all put together. I was just ME and I felt accepted and supported.
On the way home I started to have imagery of this colorful tapestry of people and places and things from all over the world being woven together in my mind. Each string making my tapestry stronger and I pictured that one day when I pulled back it would be this beautiful colorful creation so unique to my life and that I would want to share it with the world. And it reminded me of successful entrepreneurs that I’ve heard speak or those that have risen to such a position somehow. Even at the Emmys last week one of the actors made mention that he could not have done it without those that supported him and that it was a mountain of people. So, ladies, we aren’t in this alone. As more and more women become successful business owners and entrepreneurs, they leave their stamp on this earth and they catch the ears of the top policymakers & influential leaders across the nation. But to do that, we need support. And that support could be right next to you at the grocery store, at the Women’s expo in Zurich one year, or here at Mums In Heels (subscribe for our newsletter & become part of our Iconic Women FB Group). Take your vision and begin creating your tapestry. I bet it’ll be purty!