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Can female entrepreneurs have it ‘all’?

If you’re a female business owner, this is something that you’ve probably asked yourself on more than one occasion. As women in business, we’re often asked to wear several hats and we can quickly find ourselves being pulled in a variety of directions. Whether that’s in our role as a business owner, a mother, a friend, a partner, a creative or an entrepreneur, there’s certainly a lot of multi-tasking involved. With so many pressures and demands on your time you may have found yourself asking, is it really possible to be successful in all areas of my life?

What does having it 'all' really mean?

It’s worth pointing out that success means very different things to different people. What you or I class as ‘having it all’ might be completely different to the version of success that your business bestie or colleague dreams of. We’re all a work in progress and our vision and goals are constantly evolving and changing and that’s just how it should be. It’s all about getting clear on what you want out of life and what your goals and ambitions are. Don’t hold yourself up to some vague standard of what you think you should be aiming for.

Dealing with inner conflict

When you’re juggling so many balls, it’s not surprising to see that lead to a whole lot of inner conflict. Self-doubt might be starting to creep in and you find yourself asking questions like: ‘Am I dropping the ball somewhere? I’m neglecting my business, I’ll never be a success. I’m not spending as much time at home, I must be a terrible mother.’ If thoughts like these are running through your head, hold it right there. We all suffer from self-doubt and imposter syndrome at some point in our lives.  We all feel like we’re not good enough, not smashing our goals and we’re coming up short. If you want to find out more about imposter syndrome and the impact it’s having on you, have a read of my recent blog post ‘Can I overcome imposter syndrome?’

Lets look at the research

 One of the key findings of the 2019 Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship commissioned by HM Treasury and led by Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings and CEO, Commercial & Private Banking, was that only one in three entrepreneurs were female. In addition, female entrepreneurs with children viewed their parental and family responsibilities as being the main barrier to their future success in business. A massive 46% of female entrepreneurs with children identified these kinds of responsibilities as being either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ barriers. And that was before the pandemic hit. Wow.

Don't write yourself off

With the school holidays already in full swing, it’s all too easy to write the rest of the summer off and tell yourself that you’ll pick things up again in September. It’s been a tough year for all of us and if you need a break, it’s okay to take it. If what you need is to take a step away from your business and regroup in September, give yourself permission to do exactly that. 

On the other hand, if you’re feeling as though you want to power on through when it comes to achieving your business goals, there’s still a few weeks left of summer to make the most of. If you’ve got the time and the inclination to start ticking some of your business goals off your to do list, go for it! 

Don’t write off the rest of the summer just because you feel as though you should. What I’m saying is, do whatever feels right for you and don’t feel the need to apologise for it.

The impact of social conditioning

We’ve all been exposed to a whole lot of social conditioning throughout our lives reinforcing the idea that women can’t have it all. We can’t be successful mothers and run a business or succeed in our career goals. You may have grown up in a family with a stay-at-home mum and perhaps we still view that as being the social ‘norm’? We are conditioned to think that our achievements in one area of our life must mean that we’re failing in another and we can often experience negative thoughts as a result: “My business is doing well, so I must be failing at motherhood.” “I’m spending loads of quality time with my kids, that must mean I’m neglecting my business.” I wonder if men feel this kind of guilt when it comes it comes to juggling their parental responsibilities with their careers?

If you’re looking to read more around this topic, I’d recommend checking out Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which deals with the author’s own experiences in business and how women can help impact change on a wider scale. Sandberg shares her experience of trying to ‘have it all’ and talks about how difficult it can be for women to raise children whilst building their careers. Lean In isn’t just about the balancing act of parenting and building a career as a woman though, it also deals with the challenges women continue to face to ‘get ahead’ in what is essentially still a ‘man’s world’. Despite her book originally being published in 2013, Sandberg’s belief that women lower their own expectations of what they can achieve is still, in my view, relevant in 2021.  

No-one really has it all

This is something to remind yourself of when that sense of self-doubt starts creeping in. None of us really have it all, despite the images that you see on social media telling you differently. We all have our own personal battles and struggles, every single one of us is dealing with something, we’re just not necessarily sharing that with the world. You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

 

Shelley sat on stool

Working with a coach is a great way to really help you stop, take a moment and think about how you could be holding yourself back. Coaching helps you to define what you actually want and start the ball rolling the steps to achieve that.

And if September is your comeback month, why not join me in The Successful Ladies Mindset Mastermind. We’ll spend 16 weeks together working through my signature steps  you need to find your successful lady mindset that will enable you to achieve the successes you dream of. 

Want to find out more, let’s chat

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