If you want to learn about how you really show up in the world there are two things that will highlight ‘you’ more than anything:

Entrepreneurship and parenthood.

Why? Because they’re the same thing.

I speak from personal experience. I’ve done both, more than once.

I learnt to lead from my parents. I learnt to manage from my parents. I learnt my point of view from my parents.

Then I had my own business. Then I had my own children.

Both experiences woke me up. They helped me learn, very quickly, about my strengths and weaknesses.

I learnt more about leadership from running a company and being a father than I ever did from my parents.

If you really want to see what you’re made of, what you believe, what you value in life, your healthy habits, your unhealthy habits, every little bit of who you think you are — it will be exposed through the adventures of entrepreneurship and parenthood.

When you’re sleep deprived at 2:00 a.m. with a crying infant who needs attention, care, food, time … you learn very quickly about the responsibilities of having a child. Life is never the same.

When you have a team of several people who have entrusted you with their careers, payroll, personal development and time (essentially a huge part of their life), you quickly learn about the pressures that come with entrepreneurship and how it’s different to having a ‘job’.

I believe children provide us with our biggest opportunity to grow as humans.

Having to calmly negotiate and reason with a four-year-old about why he can’t have his brother’s toy right now takes skill. It takes patience. It takes breathing and getting above the ego battle of wills as to who’s ‘right’ and who’s ‘wrong’. It takes leadership.

I believe that starting and running a business is also a huge opportunity for growth.

Having to bring together a team of people, all with different values and habits, to achieve a shared goal, takes skill. It takes patience. It takes breathing and getting above the ego battle of wills as to who’s ‘right’ and who’s ‘wrong’. It takes leadership.

The problem is most people dive head first into starting a company and having children.

Then, and only then, do they wake up and realise how hard both can be. Why? Because nobody ever tells you what either of these experiences will be like. It feels like such a shock when reality sinks in. Both situations lead to life changing in certain ways. Neither the business nor the children are going back.

When you’re still in that learning phase and trying to figure out just what to do next, it’s pretty easy to blame someone else when you don’t get results that you expect. Your son refuses to pay attention for you and it’s easy to say “My son just won’t listen”. But what happens if you ask the question differently: “What is it about the way that I’m communicating to my son that’s driving him to rebel against me?”

It’s quite a shift in how you think, and that’s one of the great things about being a parent.

When things seem to be falling apart in your new business that you were so excited about, it’s tempting to think “My people don’t work as hard as I do”.

You can take some ownership — and drive your own development — by asking a different question: “What kind of company culture have I created with my leadership that’s driving my people to do ‘just enough’ in their roles rather than be driven towards excellence?”

Nobody can prepare you for either experience. Talking to friends and colleagues and reading all the books in the world will never substitute for the being a parent or being an entrepreneur. That’s why they are such fantastic opportunities for learning more about yourself.

Since being an entrepreneur and being a father, I’ve sought out ways to grow past the injected values and leadership qualities I picked up as a child from authority figures, media and personal experiences.

I woke up and realised that you can create anything you desire in life if you come from a place of introspection, curiosity and commitment to growth – all qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur and a supportive father.

Right now, in your life or your business, there’s something you’re struggling with in your business or in your family. You’re frustrated and not sure what to do. It could be you’re finding it hard to create space to be really present with your partner and children because your business is taking over your life.

Maybe you’re frustrated that your people don’t seem to ‘step up’ as much as you’d like them to and you’re forever finding fault with what it is they’re not doing.

Or you could be overwhelmed and in complete chaos. You start your days bouncing around from meeting to emails to meeting to emails … a continuous cycle of busyness that’s causing you to feel exhausted.

You’re possibly feeling low energy and depressed. You’re not happy with the way you look and feel, and can’t seem to create time to get down the gym, go for a walk, or just get some fresh air.

All of these things above can be solved. If you come from a place of creativity and persistence vs. the place of ‘that’s just the way things are when you’re an entrepreneur’.

Get curious about why your team is letting things go. Be supportive when your child is doing things that drive you crazy. Learn to look inside when things get tough because sometimes you really need to look inside before you can look outside.

Parenthood and being an entrepreneur are by far the most difficult jobs you will ever hold. But they are also an amazing opportunity for learning growing and connecting.

Think about one thing you can learn from your child today. Think about one thing you can learn from your team today. Then get ready to grow.

Wishing you love, health, and happiness.

David.

PS. I’d love to hear what you’re currently finding a challenge in your life. What are you finding hard at present?

Want to learn more about finding what what’s really important to you?  I’m holding a live event in London on November 20, 2018, called “Get Clarity”.  This all-day workshop is designed for you to get more clarity about what you really want and to set yourself up for a fantastic 2019.  Be sure you’re on my newsletter list to get advance announcements about Get Clarity.