*NOTE: Thanks to SUBWAY® restaurants for sponsoring my post about summer fun with my kids. Check out the Kids Eat Free program at any LA area location! Just purchase any two subs, two sides and two drinks, and you can get a kid’s meal FREE!
I admit that I’m not the outdoorsy type. I mean, I like the idea of the great outdoors and the images it conjures of good health and fun times. But when it comes down to really getting my hands dirty and soaking up nature in all it’s rawness, well, let’s just say I’m more of a “spa in the shade” type of gal.
Because of the aforementioned good health, fun and exercise benefits of participating in lots of outdoor activities, I’ve always been a proponent of having my kids attend summer camp each year when school lets out. Camp can be expensive but luckily for us, my husband’s job allows my kids the opportunity to attend a terrific camp in Bel Air for free. It’s a wonderful gift, and I do not for one minute take it for granted. This summer marks my oldest daughter’s third year at the camp and each year she seems to love it more.
As we took a week-long break from camp (and work) to go visit family in another state, I took a moment to reflect on how my daughter’s camp experiences parallel the challenges I face on a daily basis in running a small business.
It’s Good to Break Up the Monotony Once in a While
My daughter is switching to a new school next year for 2nd grade – one which none of her friends from preschool, kindergarten or 1st grade will be going to. Even though she’d previously attended the same camp for two summers in a row, I thought that instead of going to camp this year, she should maybe spend the summer continuing her bonds with the kids from her elementary school, since she wouldn’t be seeing them on a daily basis anymore come fall. But I’ve learned to pick my battles wisely with my kids and I only really insist upon issues that relate to health, nutrition, respectfulness or safety. So my daughter chose to go to camp and that was fine by me – especially when I realized that the friendships she resumes each summer add a refreshing change to her normal routine and enriches her social circle in a way that will probably serve her well as she gets older and more interested in expanding her horizons.
As entrepreneurs, especially those of us that work at home, we tend to spend a lot of time in our own heads. We are constantly brainstorming, wearing all the hats in our business and taking care of the organizational details that keep a business running smoothly. Thinking about my daughter’s yearly change of scenery at camp was a great reminder that taking a break from our businesses every now and then is a very good thing.
As our vacation week was getting closer, I began to feel anxiety about being out of commission for a week, but it was nice to acknowledge that taking myself out of the fray for a bit could help me approach my writing, ideas and routine in a fresh (and less frustrated) way when I returned.
Don’t Worry About What You Don’t Know – Sometimes Enthusiasm and the Desire to Jump In is All You Need
Most summer camp experiences just wouldn’t be complete without regular dips in the pool. My daughter just turned 7 years old and although my plan was that she would be swimming like a fish by now, she is still quite timid when it comes to getting in the water. A couple of months before camp, I kept fretting about those pool days and wondered if I should just plan to show up poolside each time and keep a watchful eye out. Luckily my husband’s voice of reason prevailed and he assured me that our daughter would be fine, as the pool days for the older kids included swimming instruction and strict supervision by the counselors and lifeguards on duty. Well, lo and behold, my daughter’s eagerness to be with her friends, join in the fun and learn a new skill, helped her overcome her fear and she is becoming a good little swimmer.
Running a small business often requires us to learn new skills on the fly or move outside of our comfort zones in order to serve clients in the best possible way. Sometimes we get stuck and lose out on new projects because we think we have to be perfect at something before we take action.
But as I learned from my daughter, sometimes it’s the action that comes first and the doing – imperfect and all – that propels us to the next level.
Your Level of Adaptability Can Make the Crucial Difference Between Being Productive and Reaching a Dead End
Clearly, there’s been a lot of positive association with my 7-year old daughter’s camp experience. My 4-year old daughter’s experience, however, has been a bit different. She opted not to return this year after having decided that her first time at camp last year did not go so well. Since she will be starting kindergarten soon and will no longer be at home all day with me, I allowed her to forego what, in my opinion, is a great learning and recreational opportunity (which she could have for FREE). I was a little disappointed at first, as her attendance at the camp last year freed up a large part of my day to get chunks of writing and work done.
Then I decided to look on the bright side.
This is basically her last year as my stay-at-home baby. I could be frustrated and try to squeeze in playtime between work – or look at this summer as a special bonding time with just the two of us before she’s off to school, teachers, homework, and all sorts of extra-curricular activities.
As independent business owners, circumstances in our businesses can change, sometime quite frequently, and in unexpected directions. We can pout about how things just never go our way – or we can choose to take a step back and look at the situations in a strategic way, in terms of how we can use the changes to our advantage.
Ultimately, I think that’s a big part of what being an entrepreneur is all about: treating our businesses as an adventure – one in which all the twists and turns are viewed as exciting tests of our adaptability and resilience. Learning to consistently embrace and project that attitude is my learning adventure for the summer.
What about you?
What do you feel are the most important qualities to develop when running a small business and being an entrepreneur? What did I leave out? If you have kids, what business lessons do you learn from watching and interacting with your children?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to leave a comment, okay?
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*I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
What My Kids’ Summer Camp Adventures Taught Me About Running a Small Business is a post from: tMediaCompany.com
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