Parenting: The Ultimate Start-Up!
Entrepreneurial Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids
“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test.
In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” ~ Tom Bodett (American author & radio host)
When I graduated from school I was given Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go. Fitting for the path that lay ahead…
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
and IF you go in, should you turn left or right… or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
I believe that the best learning happens beyond school. And success in life is determined beyond academic test scores. I was an excellent straight A student in school, not because I had the highest IQ, but because I learned quickly how to be an exceptional test-taker! I learned what to memorize, based on the teachers cues, for example when a teacher said, write this down or wrote it on the board, it meant it would likely be on a test; and then I learned how to quickly regurgitate the information long enough to pass that test, and finally I learned to do a brain dump to store enough information for the next test! But my education did not prepare me for my path as a business owner. I did not learn how to effectively think, I did not learn how to have empathy for others, I did not learn how to overcome adversity! There were no books in my curriculum teaching that! All of my entrepreneurial education occurred outside of the classroom.
Now, as my children have started school, I have survived a chaotic start to kindergarten. But have already noticed some gaps in their curriculum. We fail our children if we foster only technical skills and textbook knowledge. So I am instilling in my children at an early age an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s this mindset that will serve them well no matter what they do in life. Whether my children follow in my footsteps as an entrepreneur or not, these skills, if applied, will make them life-smart and not just book-smart. I am cultivating success early by teaching the following:
To proactively grow their intelligence!
Intelligence is the ability to learn. It is NOT a fixed trait. Teaching my children that intelligence grows the more we learn, is a healthier and more productive perspective than believing that intelligence is a matter of biology.
I noticed, my son would protest in objection to doing his homework, “But I don’t know how to do that!”
Or when we would watch shows of amazing children with amazing talents, my daughter would sadly say, “Well I don’t sing/dance/whatever it is, like her!”
When faced with a challenge, Carol Dweck‘s research shows that children who think in terms of intelligence being fixed give up quickly. They see failure as proof that they don’t have what it takes, not as a signal to invest more effort or try another approach.
But I hope my little learners seek challenges, think creatively and thrive despite setbacks. So I praise them for their effort and persistence instead of for getting all the answers correct! And I share stories of scientists, athletes and artists who model passion for learning, not just winning, so my children see hard-working role models (other than me of course!)
To grow their money on trees!
The family is an economic unit, however, in many families, discussions about money are taboo. The details of the family finances are hidden and if there is a conversation about money, it’s about its shortage. Then children learn to associate money with worry, which does not serve them well. Teaching my children that money does grow on trees (it is paper, afterall) and is easily accessible to everyone, I believe will serve them better. But I am also teaching that we harvest what we plant and that growing money requires knowledge, attention, patience, and love!
Sometimes during dinner I mention when I receive money for helping a business owner grow their business. We talk about how that money supports the family and our expenses, such as the food on the table, the mortgage for the house, the school field trips, etc.
And I have just started letting them earn money. In our household, we decided not to link allowances to chores. Each child has chores by virtue of being a member of the family. But I wanted to teach them good money habits involving spending and saving, so they could earn more money by taking on special jobs, such as washing Nana’s car or picking blueberries from Papa’s yard.
Why not, every once in awhile, have a family meeting specifically to discuss and make decisions about family purchases? I refuse to spend entire weekend carpooling kids to and from all of their extra-curricular activities, so quarterly I give them the option of choosing one activity (swimming, gymnastics, karate, dance, etc.). This is when I brief my children in an age-appropriate way on our resources and allow them to ask questions. Or on family vacations? Each time we’ve gone to Disney World, we let them choose which park they want to attend. The benefit is that children emerge as active participants in making financial decisions instead of passive consumers who just receive all the reward.
I hope my little learners embrace their responsibility to make money grow on trees by taking smart risks with their money. So, I show them pride for having a good work ethic by tending to my crops diligently! CLICK HERE to learn how successful entrepreneurs learn how to grow money on trees.
That problem solving is fun!
Defining problems, formulating options, testing potential solutions, and deciding on a course of action ISN’T fun, but critical to success! Families that treat problems as obstacles or, worse, calamities for parents alone to fix are missing an opportunity to help children exercise some important problem solving muscles.
My children are full of why questions. So I engage in my childrens’ natural curiosity and and encourage the “why?” Then I model problem-solving strategies by reflecting the question back to them: “Why do you think?”
It’s all in the attitude. Make problem-solving fun and engage in real-world research! Double your cookie recipe and let children determine how much butter and flour you need. Ask them how they could get over the river without a bridge. Look up cloud types online and formulate a hypothesis about tomorrow’s weather. Play Clue or read Nancy Drew books or introduce brain-teasers.
And when they get frustrated and beg for the solution… I’d suggest they sleep on it. I am teaching them that difficult things take work to understand, but to have confidence in their own problem-solving skills. With a little thought and maybe additional information, the answer always reveals itself. Eventually when they get it, the look of accomplishment is priceless!
I hope my little learners lean into complexity, instead of being scared of it and draw from a diverse set of insights to find solutions to problems. So I encourage an investigative approach: teaching them to ask questions, listen carefully, critically analyze knowledge from many sources, and take action.
To be resilient by making their own decision!
Let children make some of their own decisions… AND occasionally fail. CLICK HERE to learn more.
“Don’t parent for success, parent for resiliency.” ~ Just A. Mompreneur
Developing a thick skin—critical to any entrepreneur—has to be earned one adversity at a time. So let them earn it! When they are younger, give them choices. Peas or carrots. Skating or movies. Setting the table or helping with the dishes. As they get older, they get to make bigger decisions…some of which they will regret.
We know that pain, failure and disappointment helped make us who we are. However much we may want to, we can’t shield our children from life. So let’s encourage our children to reach for the stars and if they come crashing down they will know their parents’ unconditional love will cushion their fall.
When possible, teach them to treat their problems as a series of smaller challenges that can be deconstructed, approached logically, and resolved one by one. This is the difference between children who are overwhelmed by adversity and those who say bring it on! It’s important for children to follow rules, but it’s just as important for them to be rewarded for constructively challenging norms. Indeed, questioning the status quo is a key prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur. CLICK HERE to learn more.
I am helping them develop a strong sense of self by knowing their own strengths and challenges, essential for personal wellbeing and social success. Yet finding their own identity in the face of peer pressure can be awkward and frustrating. So I reassure my children to share their opinion openly and respectfully by using phrases such as “I think” or “I feel”… even if I disagree, so they know how to stand up for themselves! And by listening and validate their emotional perspective I am teaching empathy.
There is nothing more entrepreneurial than becoming a parent. It is the ultimate start-up venture!
Even if, like me, you think working for yourself is objectively better than working for someone else, don’t ever bash traditional jobs. Let your children weigh the trade-offs for themselves. Not every child wants to run their own business, even if they have the chops for it. But to realize their own dreams, every entrepreneur needs a pool of talented teammates who find satisfaction in being part of a team that pulls together in service of one vision. So teach an entrepreneurial mindset so your children learn to depend on themselves for their own success and cast that vision of success… whatever places they go!
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ABOUT Candace Jenkins-Espinet
As a busy Mom of twins and CEO and founder of JustaMOMpreneur, a multimedia platform designed to motivate, inspire and inform mompreneurs, I juggle a million things each day and am always on a quest to redefine the meaning of “Work/Life Balance”.
By utilizing my education in Psychology, my background as an elementary educator, over 10 years of business experience, and my parenting lessons, I bring other Mompreneneurs invaluable resources, tools and information I’ve acquired on how to work smarter, not harder – so we have more time to spend on what matters most…your family! This blog is focused on providing Mompreneurs with encouragement, support and resources as they travel the journey of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Join me as I discuss how to grow our businesses, how to turn ideas into actionable results, how to maintain our relationships, how to help others, and how to organize our lives and make it all work.
You are not alone! CLICK HERE to Join my MOMpreneur Success FB Community TODAY!
P.S. Want help focusing and managing your time, energy and business online, so you have more time, energy and money to do what matters MOST? I’d love to help you… CLICK HERE for my 5-STEP MOMpreneur BLUEPRINT
Learning to Fly
Putting Mommy in Time-Out
In Pursuit of Pleasure
Last weekend, I enjoyed a kid-free weekend. I got a whole 36 hours without my kids doing my favorite thing :
…sitting on the beach,
… grooving to my music while the waves roar in the background,
… while watching the sun set over the ocean, and spotting the occasionally dolphin!
Beach therapy is just what the doctor prescribed because I’m a compulsive “doer”!
If you could see what the inside of my brain looks like, you would probably see a LIST! I am a neurotic list maker (I consider it a gift because I LOVE a good list!)
Ultimately, it’s because I am a “doer”. And please don’t misunderstand, I am not using this term in the sense of being ultra-productive. I have the compulsion to “do” regardless of how productive or not! Even by engaging in mental “doing” I feel like I am taking action. For example, anxiety and worrying gives me the sense of “doing” when really they are just distractors that fills my mind with busy thoughts.
Buddhists refer to this as Monkey Mind. Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all competing for attention. And fear is an especially loud monkey, pointing out everything that could go wrong and constantly sounding the alarm!
So stillness and silence is my daily practice of choice to calm my Monkey Mind! The monkeys are why it is necessary to put Mommy in time-out!
Do you schedule downtime?
As the Olympics are approaching, think about elite athletes who methodically schedule rest and recovery periods into their training schedule.
In order to function optimally, we sleep to rest our body and eat to recover our energy and so must we take time-outs for our mind and spirit.
As a Mom, I love using time-outs in my home! It is not seen as punishment (depending on who you ask!) I usually implement time-outs in my home to stop an unwanted behavior and calm our minds and focus our awareness on an alternate behavior, usually breathing. Taking effective time-outs will increase your productivity.
- Plan Your Time-Outs
A lot of the time, we are so busy planning our work day, that we forget about “how” to rest. Plan beforehand what you will do during your time-out so you feel restored and re-energized after your break and prepared for the next round of productive work. I usually engage in the opposite behavior, so if I’ve been sitting… I move. If my mind has been active… I do something quiet. During your time-outs, step away from the computer and move your body from its usual position and shift your attention to something else fun and lighthearted.
Eat lunch or a snack and get hydrated. Take a nap. Meditate, which is like exercise for your brain. Clean, since clutter is distracting. Read a book. Play a game of cards with co-workers. Take a short walk, allowing your brain to wander unstructured. Chat with a friend about the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Doodle. Do yoga. Garden. Daydream. Ask questions and listen for answers. Or do nothing! Whatever floats your boat and gets your mind off of work and doesn’t require much concentration, will serve you well.
Do anything except for work!
2. Adopt My 90 Minute Rule
Our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes. Afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal needed to perform our next task again. So, I split my day into 90 minute work sprints and work in small bursts with purpose and focus. So, instead of looking at my day as an 8 hour work day, I structure it into 90 minute blocks followed by 30 minute blocks. Then I assign a high priority task to each block. So if you’ve got 4 blocks, you will be able to have 4 tasks that you can get done every day much more easily.
3. Adopt My 90 Day Rule
90 day goals are so powerful. You gain incredible clarity as to what needs to be accomplished right now. You are more motivated to work on your goals since you only have 90 days. And every 90 days, you get the opportunity to hit the restart button.
Personally, I only schedule 3- 90 day plans throughout the year: January-March, May–July, September-November. I alternate these highly focused days of sales activities with 30 days of slower paced non-sales activities, or time-out activities. Within those 30 days, I am still engaged in the day to day running of my business, but instead of focusing on achieving my goals, I analyze and evaluate the last 90 days goals, then I strategize and plan for the next 90 days goals. And the most important part is I schedule a kid-free weekend where I can reboot my mind and press the reset button.
I believe the United States has become overworked, overstressed and overall an unhealthy society. In this fast-paced nation of workaholics, I have chosen to create my own rules for living MY life!!!
It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself, it’s sensible! It is NOT indulgent to make happiness a priority, it’s necessary!
Invest in yourself, so you will have more to give.
Moms typically give and give until there’s nothing left to give. Be the kind of caretaker you are to your kids and your pets and just focus it on you. Self-care is an act of survival!
We all need to be alone for a moment, in order to find out who you really are and what you really want out of life.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for… Put yourself in a time-out!
Want help focusing and managing your time, energy and business, so you have more time, energy and money to do what matters MOST? I’d love to help you… register for a FREE 30min Consultation NOW!
ABOUT Candace Jenkins-Espinet
As a busy Mom of twins and owner of JustaMompreneur.com, a multimedia platform designed to motivate, inspire and inform mothers, I juggle a million things each day and am on a quest to redefine the meaning of “Work/Life Balance”.
By utilizing my education in Psychology, my background as an elementary educator, over 10 years of business experience, and my parenting lessons, I bring other Mompreneneurs invaluable resources, tools and information I’ve acquired on how to work smarter, not harder – so we have more time to spend on what matters most…our family! This blog is focused on providing Mompreneurs with encouragement, support and resources as they travel the journey of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Join me as I discuss how to grow our businesses, how to turn ideas into actionable results, how to maintain our relationships, how to help others, and how to organize our lives and make it all work. You are not alone!
After being challenged by my mentor to spend an ENTIRE hour and half doing something just for myself that I enjoyed…I was stumped!
Something I enjoyed? Something just for me?
As of lately, my idea of fun included laying in bed alone and taking a nap! Restoring for my energy… definitely. Fun? I wasn’t convinced.
This simple homework assignment changed the trajectory of my life. I decided to drastically increase my fun quotient!
But sadly, I did not know what truly gave me pleasure anymore! While I was truly grateful for the perks of being able to work for myself around the schedule of my family, I somehow lost focus of the bigger picture and spent day after day enthralled in the “drudgery” of being an entrepreneur and the “drudgery” of being a stay-at-home mom.
I believe that the most important work I will ever do are in the walls of my home. So when I decided to become a Mompreneur, my objective had always been to become a profitable entrepreneur WITHOUT having to sacrifice any family time.
I was convinced that I had done everything “right.”
I established clear “work hours” and “Mommy hours” but faced with all the demands of my growing business, I was perpetually distracted. I would often return to my family, experiencing them not as a source of joy, but as one more demand already in my over scheduled life. I was beyond overwhelmed, and subsequently short-tempered with my family.
I believed that being a Mompreneur meant I was putting the needs of my family first. But after three years, I began to realize that I had fallen back into the rat-race trying to build my business. My days recycled themselves and a pattern began to form. A pattern I wanted to change!
I reevaluated my priorities and scrutinized my days and I discovered what was missing was the fun, pleasure and excitement in my day to day life!
I decided to open myself up to experiencing an abundance of fun! And so my journey began!
- I Gave Myself Permission…
The waiting was over! I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until my one day off. I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until summer vacation. I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until I could retire.
My mother was a hard-working woman! She taught me the value of an excellent work ethic, but she also taught me how to settle. She worked faithfully in the same job for over 30 years. Over the years we talked about her vision for retirement. She wanted to spend her days laying on hammocks on the beaches of the world.
Sadly, she passed two weeks before she retired.
Losing my mom last year gave me a new perspective. The ultimate measure of life (in this realm), is not how much time we have but how we choose to invest our energy with the time we have. And at the end of our lives what we will value the most is what we did with our families and the memories we created.
We always think we have time.” – Buddha
I gave myself permission to stop waiting to experience joy and fun!
2. I Scheduled a Daily Moment for Pleasure…
How frequently are you experiencing a deep sense of joy and satisfaction? How many hours each week do you experience activities just for pleasure?
Engaging in activities, where pleasure is its own reward (not love, money, or recognition), results in us perform at our best when we feel positive and pleasant emotions such as enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity.
In my pursuit of pleasure, I decided to make activities that cultivate positive emotions priority and I implemented a daily moment of pleasure into my schedule!
Whether I indulged in a hot bath, orchestrated a dance off with my kids, watched the sunset, or guiltlessly devour a piece of cake, I chose to give myself one moment of unadulterated pleasure every day!
3. I Added Joy to THE Process…
Building a business means discipline and consistency, so if I have to repeat the same process day in and day out, I want it to be a process I enjoy doing.
Travel enriches and expands my heart and soul.” – Just A. Mompreneur
Making sales presentations, tracking marketing efforts, and preparing P&L statements didn’t scream fun! But NECESSARY! So, I decided to put my experience as an entrepreneur, years of business management and my addiction to planet porn (browsing the internet through photos of beautiful travel destinations) to good use by pursuing a business in travel. I figured, if I have to make sales presentations anyways, why not inspire and encourage others to have more fun, create more memories, and be a participator NOT just a spectator in their life.
I am excited about my new adventure as a travel agent!
As a Mompreneur, I still work hard…but now, I play even harder!
Candace Jenkins-Espinet in Pursuit of Pleasure!