Almost 20 years ago, I had my first child.
In those first few weeks after he was born, I hardly recognized my body in the mirror: my former shape was nowhere to be found.
I wanted to get my body back as soon as possible. At the same time, I knew I wasn’t going to train for a triathlon. I’ve never been the athletic type, and competing in a sporting event wouldn’t have crossed my mind.
There had to be some kind of exercise I could do that would work with my natural tendencies and current situation.
Mommy and Me to the Rescue
The local community center was running a Mommy and Me aerobics class. (Yes, aerobics — complete with tights, big bangs and permed hair. This was the nineties, after all!)
Months earlier, I had started my own business. Little did I know that some of the most important business lessons I’d learn would happen in that class.
I signed myself up, and stuffed my lumpy body into black tights (the slimming color, right?) and — to my chagrin — entered a large room with a mirror along one side.
So this was how it was going to be. Not only did I see my blobby body as I got dressed into my gear, I was going to have to watch myself as I stumbled through the unfamiliar exercises. Great.
Of course, there were babies, too. Lots of babies.
Everyone brought their newborns, and in between reps, we’d compare notes. “Is yours sitting up yet?” “Did she sleep through the night this week?” “What kind of stroller is the easiest of travel with?”
Our Fair Leader, and Her Favorite Phrase
The best part of the class was our teacher. Regina was peppy and encouraging. She was patient, too. After all, we were a group of moms trying to exercise with a bunch of newborns scattered around the room. There were more than a few interruptions in every class.
Through it all, Regina buoyed us. There was one phrase she said over and over, and it turned out to be a very important business lesson:
“Progress, not perfection.”
Regina said, “Look. You’ve just had a baby. It takes time to get back in shape. By being here, you’ve taken the most important step. And as long as you keep stepping in this direction, you’ll get there. Just try to make progress. Don’t expect perfection.”
Here’s what Mommy and Me taught me about business:
- Monitor your progress with an overview of your activities. You’ll see yourself stumble, too, and that’s OK.
- Share ideas and get encouragement from other business owners. I later joined a mastermind group, and I’m such a fan of what they can do for your business that I’ve started my own group.
- Be patient. Your business success won’t be instantaneous, but as long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’ll get there.
I’ll always be grateful to Regina and that class. Not only did she help me adopt a healthier view toward exercise, she taught me business lessons that I still use to this day.
What business lessons have you learned from being a mom? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Let’s talk!
About the author:
This post was written by Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System. Your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG! Polish up your marketing materials and make them work for you with her free Marketing Toolkit.
In 2010, she founded Big Brand System to show small business owners how a system of strategic marketing and great design makes them look professional, cohesive and successful. She believes that your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG.
Pamela is now Director of Special Projects at Copyblogger Media, where she helps people build a strong presence on the web.
Latest posts by Pamela Wilson (see all)
- How to Publish an Ebook the Easy Way - May 20, 2013
- 3 Essential (and Easy) Branding Moves for Busy Moms - May 28, 2012
- Who's Going With You To See The Wizard? - April 8, 2012