Conditions of Satisfaction—How, When, and Why to Say No

We mompreneurs, as we’re working hard to grow and develop our businesses, can sometimes slip into a pattern of saying yes to things that really don’t serve or work for us. In fact, we may even find ourselves signing clients or accepting projects that flat-out stress, drain, or overwhelm us… which can’t be good for us or our businesses! We say yes to these things for many reasons, many based on fear: fear that we may miss out on an opportunity, fear that no one else may ever hire us again, fear that we won’t have enough money, or fear that if we don’t say yes to absolutely everything our businesses will fail to grow. Well, let me tell you, ladies—fear is no way to grow a business!

So today I want to talk about the benefits of learning how, when, and why to say no. My hope for you is that you won’t operate out of fear, but from a place of strength, power, and worth, and it’s my belief that saying no, when appropriate, is an amazing tool to help you do just that.

It’s really all about what I call “conditions of satisfaction.” These are the things that bring you fulfillment, that make or break this business for you, that work for you, and that ultimately bring you satisfaction in your business, home, and life in general. These are your non-negotiables when it comes to what makes you happy, and these are what should drive your decision to say yes or no when an opportunity comes knocking at your door.

Here are some examples of how your conditions of satisfaction can help you know when to say no:

  • If working from home so you can be with your children and not have to put them in daycare is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to travel or work from a remote location.
  • If working with other mom entrepreneurs is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to work primarily with businessmen in corporate America.
  • If doing work that is meaningful and stimulating is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job that bores you or conflicts with your conscience comes up.
  • If working only Monday through Friday during business hours is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a project requires that you be available evenings or weekends.

Take time to nail down your conditions of satisfaction. They are different for everyone. There are no right or wrong answers here. But the point is: you get to choose what brings you satisfaction! You get to decide what is important to you, what you’re passionate about, and what makes you happy to be doing what you do. Those are the things by which to live your life, work your business, and help you decide when to say yes to the opportunities that move you in that direction and no to those that don’t.

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Why We Settle and What We Can Do About It

Why We Settle and What We Can Do About ItSo we all know we do it, and you can read about some of the more common ways in which we settle HERE, but let’s devote some time to figuring out WHY we settle for less when we deserve what we really want, and then more importantly, what we can do about it.

 

1.  It’s familiar.  Some things bring a sort of sad satisfaction just because they are familiar.  It’s what we know how to do.  It’s predictable.  It’s comfortable.

 

2.  It’s a habit.  We go to work because it’s what we’ve always done.  We communicate with people the way we do because it’s simply how we do it.  There’s not much contemplation behind it.  We don’t even wonder if it’s satisfying.  We are creatures of habit.

 

3.  We don’t think.  Sometimes we put up with things just because we have never thought of doing them differently.

 

4.  We’re afraid.  Fear can be a motivator, but it also has the power to paralyze us in the face of potential change.  If you find yourself beginning a lot of sentences with “But what if…?” you may be settling for less out of fear.

 

5.  We have a mindset of scarcity.  Feeling that there is nothing better out there for us is a mindset of scarcity.  It keeps us stuck and thinking, “This is the best it’s going to be, so why bother trying anything else?”  That’s a bad place to be.

 

These are only a few of the reasons we settle for less than the best, so you may have others.  And regardless of what our reasons are, this is not where we want to stay.  So what can we do about it?  How can we start to shift from settling for less than we deserve to getting more of what we want?

 

1.  Move from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance.  Instead of asking, “What if there’s nothing else out there for me?” we need to say, “What if there are a million better opportunities out there for me?”  Whichever you believe will be true for you.  Be motivated to action by the possibility of opportunity rather than paralyzed by fear of the unknown.

 

2.  Create conditions of satisfaction.  Fill in the blanks in the following statement that will make it true for yourself:  “I will be satisfied with ___________ if the following conditions are met: _____________________.”  What exactly will cause you to be satisfied with your business, your marriage, your family, your financial situation?  Be honest and specific.  And then keep those conditions of satisfaction where you can refer to them at all times, especially when making important decisions.

 

So go for the ideal.  Hold out for what you want in life.  There is nothing wrong or selfish about pushing for the best and making it happen.  Sticking to our standards and operating out of our priorities makes us better moms and better business owners.  Don’t we owe that to ourselves?

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

What are your reasons for settling?

 

Do you have clear and specific conditions of satisfaction for your life and business? 

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Are you the parent you always wanted to be?

I’m gathering some information for an upcoming speaking engagement. I’m interested in learning how you feel about yourself as a parent. Right now, are you the parent you always wanted to be? If so, what wisdom or advice can you share with other parents? If not, what do you feel is keeping you from being your version of the “ideal” parent?

Please share your successes and struggles. What keeps you up at night? What do you most wish you could do/be for your children? What did you finally realize that made you satisfied with yourself?

All comments welcome!

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Delicate balance: mothers in business

As a mother of three children under six years old who owns her own company, I spend a lot of time doing one thing while thinking I “should” be doing another. Sometimes I’m building Legos with the kids and I’ll remember I’m on deadline for something I’m writing. Other times I’m sitting at the computer responding to a client or doing research on my target audience, only to have a nagging feeling that I should be back downstairs drawing silly sketches or playing hide and seek with the kids.And I know I’m not alone. Mothers in business, “mompreneurs”, have particular challenges when it comes to the issue of balancing business and babies. Without question, priority #1 is my family. I chose to be a mother a while back and have no doubt that this is exactly who I am supposed to be. But my journey to become a mother who also has a fulfilling career has been a not-so-graceful dance between passion, commitment, ambition, guilt, joy and inspiration. Can we truly have it all?

I’m collecting thoughts, witticisms, rants and such from women who are the primary caretakers of their family and who own their own businesses or who want to return to work but feel conflicted about it. If this describes you, please post your comments here.

Some questions to ponder:

  1. Why do you (want to) work?
  2. What are your biggest challenges as a mother/business owner?
  3. Does your husband/significant other support your choice to pursue a career?
  4. Does your work satisfy you? If so, why?
  5. What do you have to sacrifice to be a “mompreneur”?
  6. What is the most gratifying part of your work?
  7. What inspires you?
  8. What do you hope to teach your children by being a mother/business owner?
  9. What does “success” mean to you?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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