How Taking a Break Can Help Mother Founders Create a Better Life
The Double Shift Struggle of Moving Countries | COVIDX2 | Fear of Failure, Overwhelm & Burnout | The Dark Side of Success | What I saw in the Mirror | “HELP”.
15th March 2022 : A Year ago…
The Setup Scene: Spotlights, Cushions, Mike, Lights, Camera, Action
The Host: My residence and My awesome support tribe
The Production Sponsor: Alibaba Tech, Kr Asia, Asia Star Focus
The Scene: Snapshot of images.
The Outcome: ( Still pinching myself if it was a dream)
YOUTUBE VIDEO by AsiaStar Focus reaching ~200K Views) |
BLOG ARTICLE: Necessity the Mother of Invention.
AsiaStar Focus reaching ~200K Views)
The Inside Thoughts:
Self-Doubt, Failure, Imposter Syndrome, Fear, Panic, Overwhelm, Burnout, Exhaustion. I Give Up.
In the midst of the shining luster of entrepreneurship that articles, spotlights, and PR shine on, lies another parallel universe; a reality that gets left behind; the gruesome challenges & impact of entrepreneurship.
The Story behind the scenes
Started as an event-based, community-building, networking app, for mothers in 2019, the first few months of its launch, were an absolute delight. Apart from the daily struggles of being a newborn mum, running the different jigsaw pieces of a baby, a toddler, family, social life, work schedule and if lucky to have self-care slotted into the bigger picture, it was a vision coming true. Living through the adrenaline at that time, I recognized less that life as a Mother/Founder is always going to be a double-shift struggle.
Slowly, gradually, other things come into play.
Even though 2022 started as a year of awesome opportunities, both financial and growth-led, it was blended with absolutely different trajectories (toss in other ingredients like some failures, fear, overwhelm, and panic), honestly the first three months unraveled a messed-up pie!
A pie built over the previous years of not just executing ideas and solutions, finding product market fit, and working through remote teams but hazy work styles, health ignorance, and hustle culture. In the midst of the chaos that was running, labeled by the external world as my “passion project” [read meetmumz], getting COVID and a drop in HEALTH, forced me (thankfully!) to step back.
Step back to Think.
As a bootstrapped company supported by Grants from the Hong Kong Govt and Singapore Universities, it was wise, I believe, and crucial for me to pause.
- WHAT am I doing?
- WHAT should I do?
- WHAT is it that I want to do?
- WHAT the (bleep) have I started?
I had for sure built something, and it was more than just a mere promise to deliver.
It had numbers to show, It had an impact, it for sure had its moments. BUT, it lacked structure, it lacked systems, it lacked clear definitions. It was in a way spread to whatever and wherever I could lay hands on…. because I was so desperate to deliver.
Through the “passion” and “desire” to fulfill this “project”, I had moments. Moments I could proudly celebrate and pat my back to some awesome stuff I had pulled off, and like the flip side of a coin, I could even slam my forehead and point to some expensive stupid decisions I had made. But in the rush, I would ignore it.
The thing was, those signs had started to quietly show long before someone brutally, transparently, and blatantly spelled it out to my face and that was “my moment of truth” that hit hard. It hit me so hard that I stumbled away from my naive outlook. It did put me closer to reality, but the harshness of how it was all just so differently wired for me, made me realize how far away I was from this MASSIVE JIGSAW PUZZLE called Entrepreneurship. This definition of how it is “supposed” to be.
With a few segments in control and a few others scattered away, for a moment there (rather few months), I just laid there. Quiet. Inward. Staring.
Staring not just at what I had created, but rather at what I do now? This thing, that I had worked for through the last few years, through a second pregnancy, through relocations in midst of COVID, through motherhood, and bloody through an opportunity cost of a zillion other things including family, a career, a hobby, a different life, time with my children. What was this?
The more I thought about it, a vision board would creep in, creating magical moments in my mind. It seemed to be my CALLING. I wanted to give my dream a chance. Another chance because I wasn’t ready to let go. Not yet. But I sure was positively ready to change and redefine how I approached things. And that’s when I knew that to be able to move ahead, It was time to step back.
TIME TO STEP BACK
Living up to the societal pressures of being the perfect mother, the perfect successful founder, the perfect human, it suddenly became very important for me to Re-evaluate and Re-think the life I wished to have and the type of business I wished to build.
I no longer wanted to be consumed by fear of not meeting the set standards and that started an internal battle of redefining.
- WHY am I doing this?
- What does success mean to ME?
- What am I trying to do?
- What do I wish for my kids to mirror?
- What traits do I want to stand for?
[ Panic, Fear, Anxiety, Self-doubt OR Strength to overcome, Perseverance, Balance, Purpose]
It was clear.
Time to ask for HELP.
After family as your first touch point who stands like a rock-solid pillar, close up next comes your tribe. Your tribe of wise people, advisors, friends, fellow mothers, and fellow founders.
The community I built to serve and empower was now serving and uplifting me.
This gesture of extending support filled me with graciousness, gratitude, and acknowledgment of the fact that at the core of everything lies the strength of the community you build. My own story was the start of what mothers, who are founders go through. And that like me, so many women despite their challenges, persevere. They are driven by their passion for their businesses and their love for their families. They are setting an example for their children, showing them that they can pursue their dreams and balance their responsibilities. I took inspiration from these mothers and precisely followed the first step before you ask for help: Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
It was then that I met another Mother, a Founder, a Friend:
That marked the start of wiping the slate clean, to rebuild over time, what has come to be
A space to change the narrative of how mother-run businesses are perceived. A space created for Mothers to build their businesses, be seen and be supported along with the balance of raising the next generation. A space that co-exists for the different roles you play, and a space for you to feel belonged!
image: Whiteboarding Sessions
In the Last 11 Months From May 2023 to March 2023,
We hosted a Meet and Greet for families who moved from Hong Kong to Singapore in August 2022
A Founder Business Circle IRL breakfast meet in Singapore to talk about challenges.
Online “Babies to Business” workshops done on interest-based topics
Running internal brain trust and wise women groups across the globe talking about the challenges of mothers who are founders towards creating
The Mother/Founder Manifesto Book.
The book Co-Authored with CAMILLE FAYLONA, finally on AMAZON – The Mother/Founder Manifesto – A Business and Balance Journal for Mothers Building Companies
The Power of gratitude and the importance of branding headshots by the awesome Rebecca Downie Photography
image credits: Rebecca Downie Photography
A Co-Founder Collective for 5 brands ( November – December 5 Weeks Cohort)
image: The Christmas Collective
Regular Co-Working rooms, a revamped website, and kickstarting our blog
Image – CoWorking Room
An opportunity to work together to Shine the light on Mother/Founders (Coming up in MAY 2023)
THE MOTHER/FOUNDER (mini) CONFERENCE
Form Link: Join us as a vendor-pop up brand/sponsor
so yeah while we were quiet, I was trying to move.
Now more than ever, moving consciously, in the direction that creates a life of balance
“As a mother, I know that, like every parent, wherever I am, I’m thinking about my kids first. And as a first lady, I have had the privilege of traveling around the world and seeing firsthand that no matter where we live or what our circumstances might be, parents pretty much share the same hopes and dreams for their children. They want their kids to be safe and they want them to be happy. And none of us have any idea what hardships or obstacles our kids might have to overcome in their lives. But as mothers and as fathers, we need to do everything in our power to make sure that our kids can overcome these obstacles – that they can live up to their potential and achieve their dreams.
And that means we cannot be afraid. We can’t be afraid to take risks, to fail, or to be criticized. We have to be brave enough to stand up for ourselves and our beliefs, and to stand up for our children and their futures. Because if we’re not willing to do that – if we’re not willing to fight for the things that we believe in – then we’ll never be able to create the kind of world we want for our kids.”