“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Spencer Johnson, Who moved my cheese
I have just finished reading the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg.
I was curious when I started reading because really the only feedback I had heard about it was Sandberg was preaching that women need to try harder (“lean in”) which was easy for her to say with a huge salary and a nanny.
That wasn’t the message that I got from the book though.
I am definitely guilty of being over modest about my achievements and sometimes allowing self doubt to hold me back. Sandberg explores the reasons why women are more likely than men to act this way as well as looking at how even in the 21st Century attitudes can inhibit women from aspiring to senior business roles.
In the first chapter of the book Sandberg explores the quote above and it really resonated with me: being afraid could be something as simple as being too embarrassed to speak out in a meeting where everyone else is agreeing.
This year I have made a resolution to look out for times when being afraid stops me from doing something and then challenge myself to overcome the fear.
There are two small people in my life, and while I love spending time with them I also love the work I do (and earning money is always good!).
When I first started exploring the possibilities of working part time in North Devon I realised that a) there wasn’t
much any part time accountancy work that I was interested in and b) I would have to drive at least 40 miles to find it, making the exercise pointless.
So my only other option was to start my own business, but could I really have my cake and eat it – work only during school hours and only during term time?
I was very lucky to get some fabulous advice from another Management Accountant/ working Mum who has built her business on that principle; she said that it is possible IF YOU ARE HONEST ABOUT IT.
So, when I meet people in a business context I am completely upfront about the hours I work and why. I do work during the holidays, but more from home and usually after bedtime. My clients can try to contact me any time if they have a problem, and I will try to help them as best I can (although the mobile phone service round here sometimes makes that difficult).
And it’s true! I think my clients, all of whom are parents themselves, actually quite like it. They know that I am really committed to their businesses, they like the results and they like the honesty.
It’s not all plain sailing; I definitely focus more effort on my clients than I do on cleaning or gardening. But most importantly, I don’t think my children have even noticed! They have so much fun at school and I’m still available to go to school activities when required… or maybe it just means that they are used to living with me! That and the fact that my husband is a hero with a hoover.