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We CAN Have it All! Celebrating Women’s Small Business Month

We CAN Have it All! Celebrating Women’s Small Business Month

October is National Women’s Small Business Month. This is truly a meaningful concept to me, being that I am: 

  1. A woman
  2. Running a small business 
  3. Showing my commitment to this community with my most valuable resource: my time. I’m doing this via my role as a Director at Large for NAWBO Chicago (National Assn. of Women Business Owners).

“When you get in touch with your dreams, you live with a little more ease, and a lot more grace”
– Cyndi Thomason, Motherhood, Apple Pie, and all that Happy Horseshit

I wanted to share a bit about my journey with my own community of entrepreneurs. I specifically want to share my story as it relates to what drives me with such passion to support women business owners.

My entrepreneurship journey

I never thought of myself as setting out to be an entrepreneur. However, looking back now, I see that the idealism my dad lived by influenced my decision to become a small business owner. He was a farmer in rural Minnesota. My dad did a good job at farming, but an even better job at self-education. He learned how to leverage investments and the stock market to provide him with a successful framework for life. He was such a risk-taker and big thinker. Now, I realize that many of his traits (begrudgingly) rubbed off on me.

This fact was on my mind when I became the mother to 2 young kids. I was working a corporate job and flying around the country a lot, schlepping a breast pump through airports and having to push vending machines out of the way to get to an outlet that I could use for the pump. I was done with that life! It was hard being away from my babies, and even harder on my marriage. My hubby had to manage life at home without his wife, AKA the source of food for those babies. He had his own job and responsibilities. So he readily agreed to me starting my own business (from home!), which made me more available to our kids. I left my corporate job after 2 months of trying to secure business for my new venture, which led to two clients.   

The five balls we juggle in life

At that time, I certainly realized that as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, I was juggling multiple balls in the air. I was not, however, prepared for the realization that the results would be different if I dropped one ball versus another. In fact only recently, when reading Cyndi Thomason’s book “Motherhood, Apple Pie, and all that Happy Horseshit,” was I able to realize that the balls had names and were made of different materials.

Cyndi puts thought to action in identifying the 5 balls that we all try to juggle in life:   

  • Work 
  • Family 
  • Health 
  • Friends 
  • Spirit 

Some balls are rubber and bounce when dropped. Other balls are made of glass and if dropped, might end up scuffed, damaged, or even shattered. It took me years to figure out that the Work ball was the most resistant, rubbery, and bouncy of all the balls. Health, on the other hand, is probably the most delicate. If you don’t take care of your health, the road to revitalization can be difficult and occasionally impossible. Family, friends, and spirit are the balls that may or may not bounce.  They will definitely get bruised and beaten along life’s path, and they may or may not recover from their journey outside the juggling circle.

Reflecting on my mompreneurship journey during Women’s Small Business Month

I remember having my third child when my business was still relatively new. I was texting and emailing from the hospital bed, worried about all that I had been unable to prepare for. The baby was born, and I rested for one whole week before I was back at work. I allowed myself no time or plans for taking care of my work responsibilities while I gave birth. To say it was a stressful time is an understatement.

In the years that followed, I made so many mistakes regarding which ball to let fall from my juggling circle at which time. I am so deeply grateful to say that now, 16 years into business, I am still able to juggle all five of these balls, and while some of my balls are a little more beaten and worn than others, they are all still in the air! With some grace and forgiveness from my family, my staff, and my community of small business clients, I have learned to juggle all the balls in my life, and I am eternally thankful.    

I wish this same peace of mind for other women out there celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month! May Cyndi’s and my stories of juggling all the balls resonate in your own life and help you make choices that support the whole you. The one that is brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.

You know the rest of this poem, right?

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. 

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. 

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us. 

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone. 

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others. 

Angie Noll