Adapting Your Business Plan, Adapting Your Role: Entrepreneur, Wife, & Mother

Entrepreneurship Offers Women a Unique Opportunity to Find BalanceGuest post by Elizabeth Groh, Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Faculty Development for Tempe, AZ-based Western International University

Life is marked by those moments of epiphany that change our course. Mine came at an altitude of about 3,000 feet in the back of a news helicopter.

I’ll never forget that night: I was sitting mere inches away from my male colleague, trying to maintain a shred of privacy. Although reporters and photojournalists are used to working closely together, this was too close for comfort. Surely, I thought, even with the noise of the chopper blades, he could hear the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of my breast pump underneath my overcoat.

That’s when I realized: something had to give. I could balance mom duties with work duties. But did I want to? Or need to?

At that altitude, I suddenly saw life more clearly. Our newborn daughter, Christina, had changed me. I no longer craved a life that was 24/7 “on call” for someone else. If I was going to be “on call,” it would be on my terms – focused on my family. I needed a new plan.

So long, W-2 world. Hello, entrepreneurship.

That was 21 years ago. Since then I have come to appreciate how the world of entrepreneurship offers women the unique opportunity to tailor their professional lives around the changing life cycles of womanhood. That has proven true from days of diapers – to pee-wee soccer – to college campus visits – to now caring for the needs of aging parents.

Entrepreneurship opens the door for women to maximize their God-given gifts as consummate multi-taskers, pragmatic problem-solvers, and intuitive leaders. While the roles may change over the years, those gifts remain assets we can draw upon no matter what the calling may be.

Take multi-tasking.

Yes, as a much younger work-at-home mom, juggling was my forte in my new post-journalism business of real estate sales/investing. I could write an offer in one hand and hold a bottle in the other.

Fast forward to my “sandwich generation” years and I may find myself dealing with the parental health scare du jour while texting a teen about a research project…all while sitting on the floor of a vacant listing during a home inspection.

Owning my own business allows me to tap into those strengths of multi-tasking and creative problem-solving. But the gift of entrepreneurship is far greater.

We don’t “own” a business. We “own” a mindset that empowers us to confidently adapt our business model to whatever life throws at us (good or bad).

I have embraced that entrepreneurial mindset of “owning” control of my business model. That is why, as our nest empties, I am redirecting my energies towards giving back as an assistant professor and department chair for Tempe-based Western International University. That is a path designed to lead me through these “giving back” years I choose to create in this new season of life.

So, as your life’s story evolves as a woman, embrace change as your constant. Be willing to let go of a model that may have worked well for you in one season, but may work against you in another. If you harness your entrepreneurial drive wisely, you can tailor your business to drive through the waves of life’s seasons instead of being tossed around by them. That is the true gift entrepreneurship offers women of all ages – and in all stages of life’s journey.

The content herein is that of the author and does not reflect the position or opinion of Western International University. Elizabeth Groh, MSJ is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Faculty Development for Tempe, AZ-based Western International University. She owns a real estate brokerage firm in Oklahoma City and has been a real estate entrepreneur for more than 20 years, both in sales and investing. Beth and her husband Jeff have three children ages 21, 19, and 16 and are actively involved in the community through their church and its parochial school.

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