Let’s talk about that ever elusive concept, “Work-Life Balance.”
I’m an entrepreneur mom. I spend vacations checking email and returning phone calls. I’m always deep in thought. I don’t check my kids’ homework and they are on their own for projects and deadlines. It’s the norm for my boys to see mom working crossed legged on the sofa, laptop appropriately perched on lap while Blake and Adam do their thing on The Voice. They learned to talk while riding around on mama’s hip, listening to me negotiate contracts and strategize about growth.
During my least proud mom-moment, I opened the back door to place a tantrum stomping three-year-old out of earshot so I could finish a conference call (whoever said two’s were terrible was sadly mistaken). Before you call CPS, I stood and watched him flail around on the other side of the glass, and it was the last fit he ever threw.
“They” say entrepreneurs are the only people willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40. How do I separate work and life? Can I be a wife, mom and an entrepreneur? If I shine in one role, does another role suffer?
What happens when entrepreneurs hit a wall? When their best effort is simply to put one foot in front of the other. When we realize there is no such thing as work-life balance.
I am vaguely familiar with that term. And I’m pretty certain I recharged a time or two in my past life. Before I had kids. Before my 4-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
Before I became an entrepreneur.
And while I am at times lonely, I am not alone in this quest for balance, however lopsided it may be. Entrepreneurs work long hours, leaving them with no personal life and no time to recharge.
It’s at this place, this precarious crevasse between work and life, where the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation become my lifeline. I’ve been surrounded by mentors, like-minded entrepreneurs (although just a couple are women) and coaches. And with funds devoted to small business through the AEDC and WTEC, I was a 2014 recipient of a $100,000 EnterPrize Challenge Award. In the two years since we won, the Nobox staff has more than doubled. Our growth is due in part to the support of our incredible Amarillo community, the WTEC and the AEDC.
The key to real success is focused, hard work. But I can’t help but believe that there’s a dash of serendipity in the recipe, as well. Lucky for me, I started a business in a small-business friendly community. What Amarillo lacks in scenery, it makes up for in opportunity (although, there is the Palo Duro Canyon and our breathtaking sunrise and sunsets). The people are amazing, companies are growing, we have really great coffee, and we have an exceptional entrepreneurial support system.
When you’re an entrepreneur mom, work-life balance is an illusion. There really is no such thing as having it all. At times, I ask myself, “Why on earth am I doing this?” And then pick myself up, shake off the exhaustion and tap into the abundance of resources that Amarillo offers to local business leaders.
Today, I’m traveling with a team of entrepreneurs and business leaders from Amarillo to join other entrepreneurs from across the nation at INC 5000. We’ll hear super star entrepreneurs like Tony Robbins and Robert Herjavec, and gain powerful new perspectives and new momentum to lead our companies’ growth.
It’s my honor to work with Amarillo’s best and I look forward to recharging at #INC5000.
In the meantime, could someone recommend a good concealer? I need to do something about the dark circles under my eyes.