“Become the Fire” for Parents: 3 Ways You Can Transform Life’s Chaos Into Career & Personal Success by Elisa Schmitz
In my book, Become the Fire: Transform Life’s Chaos into Business and Personal Success, I share 10 lessons that show success in career and life is not dependent on how smooth a path you have. It’s about mastering your own transformation – from being thrown into the fire to becoming the fire – every single day. In the January/February 2023 issue of Chicago Parent and Metro Parent magazines, I share several takeaways from the book for moms so you, too, can go from dreaming to doing:
1. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable and Kick Impostor Syndrome to the Curb
You know the little voice inside your head that whispers things like, “I’m not qualified” or “What if I fail” or “I can’t do this?” Those thoughts are part of impostor syndrome, the uncomfortable feeling that you are a fraud or a phony unworthy of success. So many moms deal with those self-limiting thoughts that make us doubt ourselves. We may think, “Who, me? I can’t do it!” To which I answer, “Why not you? You can do it!”
To battle any fire that stands between you and your goal, you need to have self-confidence. The more self-confident you are, the more you can be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And the more comfortable you are with discomfort, the more success you can achieve.
Start small and accomplish achievable tasks – from organizing a kids’ activity to running a school fundraiser – to build up your ability and appetite for taking on bigger challenges. The more you succeed at the smaller stuff, the bigger the challenge you can tackle.
By stretching yourself, you realize that’s where the growth is. You trust yourself to embrace opportunities, take greater risks and accomplish your goals, even if they’re outside your comfort zone. Then one day, you’ll realize there’s nothing you can’t do when you set your mind to it. That’s self-confidence. And that’s when you’ve kicked impostor syndrome to the curb.
2. Side Hustle Your Way to Viability and Success
If you have a business or creative idea but you’re not sure it will be viable (at least not right away), a good way to test it out is by starting it as a side hustle. A side hustle is something you do in addition to your main job of full-time career or parenthood.
Side hustles can be especially helpful if you want to stay at home with your kids, or if you can’t afford to leave your job to start a new business. A side hustle allows you to test drive a concept in your free time, to see if it has legs, while you raise your kids or before diving into entrepreneurship headfirst.
When I started my first business, iParenting, my dream was that it would be something I could do parttime from home as I raised my family. But as the company grew and evolved, I moved it from a side hustle to a full-time job. Yet by starting small, I was able to be home with my babies, test the waters and gauge the company’s viability before taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.
When inspiration struck again with my second business, 30Seconds, I followed a similar path. As a single mom, my kids were my priority. I worked intently at night and while they were in school so that when they were home, they got my full attention. Parents are pulled in so many different directions, and childcare is often a costly necessity. That’s why starting your dream as a side hustle is something to seriously consider.
3. Overcome Chaos and “Work-Life Balance” Challenges With Passion and Grit
You know when someone tells you something can’t be done, but you show them it can be done anyway? That’s grit, and it’s what kept me going as I was building my businesses. As a young mom to three children, finding the sweet spot between work and parenting wasn’t easy. I found work-life balance to be an oxymoron. When I focused on work, family life was affected. When I turned my attention to family, I tipped the scale in the other direction. Maintaining equilibrium was an ongoing struggle and trying to keep the precarious balance took its toll on me. Like many moms, I was always putting myself last.
Because I was so passionate about what I was doing, I stuck with it. I found creative ways to further my goals and grit helped me persist through the fires – even though that scale kept tipping. Adjusting my mindset to “I can do it” often meant that I really could do it.
One of the best answers I can give to those who ask me “How can I achieve success, too?” is this: do what you love, work harder than anyone else, be relentless and stick with it, and success will follow. Because when you love what you do, you’ll be good at it. When you love what you do, you’ll be recognized for it. When you love what you do, you’ll be passionate about it. And that passion you feel means you’ll never “work” a day in your life.
Order your copy of Become the Fire: Transform Life’s Chaos into Business and Personal Success.
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