Back, about 20 years ago, I realized something. I had been warped.
You see, my dad is an artist. He works for himself, on his own time, harder than anyone else would ever ask him to, and driven solely (well, maybe not solely, but clearly) by passion. My mom stayed at home with my brothers and I, but she probably had more of a professional life – in the definitive sense – than my dad. She helped with the family business, ran the family, ran the PTA, and is still known to be well more intuitive and business savvy than most of the others in our family.
So though I started college with thoughts of a biology degree on the way to med school to study prenatal genetics, it didn’t take long to realize that my path was a much more nebulous, curvy one. I followed Dad’s advice, and instead of letting the voices of my past teachers “should” on me, I listened to my inner voice. That inner voice had me do a few things:
- Dual enroll at an art university to study the oboe, and play that instrument in a series of orchestras through both college and graduate school. Career path? Nope. Challenging and fulfilling? Absolutely.
- Major in Literature. And then go on for a Master’s in Literature. I picked up a biz minor along the way, and studied marketing, but I spent a sold six years with my head in a book. Career path? To an extent. I look back on those years as a blissful diversion from real life, and frankly, I didn’t really care how much it would impact my career. I figured I was learning to learn and that would be sufficient (I was right.)
- During college, I also worked and volunteered a great deal, and recognized early on that I have a deep seeded need to give my time and talent (as it is) to things I believe in.
I also realized that, like my dad, I function best when I can hold the clock. I’ve had careers – wonderful, fulling and successful ones – that put me in the position of having someone else dictate my time. That was fine, and I can do that, but I crave independence and thrive on it.
And so, when it was time to become a mother, I also decided to become an entrepreneur. After all, I’d started and led volunteer organizations successfully, so why not a company?
For the past few years, I’ve worked at the helm of kigo footwear, and it’s been great! Being an entrepreneur requires a combination of drive, courage, self awareness (failure does happen, but it doesn’t make you a failure), and a very understanding spouse – among other things. Luckily, my understanding spouse is also a first-child, type A entrepreneur, so we get each other.
One of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur is that it’s a lot like being in college. You have a long list of things you have to get done. And you have a modicum of flexibility, so you can make it happen on your own time. You also have the ability to choose other things to do. Like be fully a parent during those busy after-school hours that are filled with activities, homework and making a nutritious family dinner. (I can’t say my kids love my homework help or my nutritious family dinners, but at least I get to offer it.)
I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, but there has to be some in there, because in addition to full time entrepreneur and full time mom, I’m also the editor for Barefoot Running (because I love to edit and I love running so…), a worship leader for preschoolers (because I love the kids and it’s fun to write puppet show scripts) and – as of this week, the co-president of the elementary school PTA. My mom would be so proud. My dad totally gets it (he’s the head of a dojo and his local Rotary, in addition to still running his art company).
My husband says that I’m afflicted with GSD (Get S*** Done). I think he’s right, and I think it’s why being an entrepreneur is so rewarding.
Gotta go. Have a meeting scheduled.