I’m just under 2 weeks into the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced…
As I write this my new daughter, Azania, lays beside me serving as a constant distraction due to her beauty and baby noises.
Forgive the naivety of a new father assuming he has a couple of things figured out but here are a few lessons fatherhood has taught me about being a better entrepreneur.
Don’t Lose Your Curiosity
Anyone who’s spent time with a newborn will tell you how easy it is to get lost in their eyes and gaze. They are constantly looking around at the world and you can literally see them taking it all in. In my daughter’s case, typically with a furrowed brow and a look of scrutiny. She follows sounds, faces, and bright colors with her eyes intently focused.
Curiosity is something we are all born with. We come into the world with an inherent desire to figure out how the world works.
Look at everything like it’s the first time. Question the existence of things around you. Ask “Why?” over and over. Be willing to ask dumb questions.
Curiosity leads to learning and innovation. Embrace it.
Babies are really boring for the first few months if you really think about it. They ignore you, eat, sleep and poop. And that’s pretty much it. It’s easy to rush ahead and look forward to her playing with me, walking, talking, reading, etc…
We do the same with our businesses. We’re ready to run and fly while our ideas are still in the teething stage.
But each stage of a baby’s life is necessary. Their bodies and minds are figuring things out, how the world works and how to survive in it. It’s incredible the week on week transitions and growth the human body makes during the 9 months of pregnancy and even more rapidly after a baby is born.
Slow down your ambitions and big picture for your company. Pay your dues and experience the growing pains of building over time.
Patience allows for growth and development.
Growing up I used to take pride in finishing my required summer reading within the first weeks of break and blazing through the reading challenges in our English classes.
Then it stopped. I think I got distracted by life and responsibilities, I probably discovered girls.
Nonetheless, over the last year I’ve reinvested in my passion and love for reading. It’s paid off dividends already. I’ve come up with new ways to look at the businesses I run, the way I work and the value I can offer to clients.
The most successful people in the world are successful because they read more than anyone else. It doesn’t make you the smartest person in the world but it unlocks your brain even further. Reading teaches you to think outside of the box and open up to new ideas and ways of thinking. You’ll start coming up with amazing ideas once you do that.
I’m proud to say Azania’s library of books is already growing. We’ve already begun reading to her and flipping the pages of many a children book (some which are quite creepy if I might add!)
Pick up a book today; gain some new knowledge right now.
Be Better Than Me
My parents always instilled in me that they would have failed as parents if I did not do better than them, just as they strived to do better than their parents.
The mark of my success as a parent is also going to be in my daughter being better than me. In character, in education, in knowledge, in prosperity and in success.
Our world constantly perpetuates that it’s okay to be average. That it’s okay to just get by, to just pass, to just do enough. Many businesses also roll this out in their services and products. Let’s just be good enough, let’s just do enough to satisfy the client, let’s just do enough to still get paid.
Strive to be better. Strive to be excellent.
Whether it’s your parents, old boss, mentor, the biggest competition you face. Take their level of success and smash through it.
Responsibility is All You
This is a given, but a little life depends solely on me for her continuous care. She looks to my wife and I for food, for a clean diaper, clothing, a warm bed to sleep, to lay her down in a safe position, to get her to the next doctor’s appointment.
In the same manner the success (and failure) of your business rests solely on you!
Stop blaming external factors!
Don’t outsource responsibility to your customers for not buying enough, to the bank for not financing you, to investors for not understanding, to your team for not working hard enough.
The onus is on you to make your dream work. Good or bad, it will always, always rest on your shoulders. Own that truth!
Put on your big kid underwear and nurture this life!
Take Care of Your Family
Fatherhood immediately shifts priorities. I won’t say I had a “number” I was aiming for but my work ethic has always been rooted in providing for my family and giving them a worthy lifestyle, with a few nice things sprinkled in (GWagon anyone?)
Now, my focus is renewed even further around securing a legacy for my daughter. To living a life that will support her, teach her and make her proud.
The highlight of my day is now waking up to spend some one-on-one time with my daughter while my wife rests. Our little communication is absolutely priceless and completely dwarfs the feeling of winning a big pitch. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything else.
Balance out your life and take care of those around you. Success in your business means nothing without the value your loved ones can give you.
Prioritise those you love and never lose those moments.
Every Day is a New Chance
The questions every single person asks me upon finding out we have a new baby is “do you get any sleep at night?”
The answer is none. Hehe.
Some nights have been absolutely rough and I don’t know how my wife and I have functioned on less than 3 hours of sleep. I certainly don’t know how she’s able to care for and feed this little creature that torments our sleep!
But each day we have a new chance to be parents again. To try and to have a better day. Yesterday we learned a new technique in soothing the baby when she cries and it led to a more peaceful night for us. I’m sure today I’ll learn something new that my daughter likes or doesn’t like. I’ll keep getting the hang of this fatherhood thing.
It’s important to wake up each morning, telling yourself it’s going to be a good day. Our mentality goes a long way in impacting our success and productivity. No matter the failures and challenges of yesterday, which are inevitable and not going away, today is a new opportunity to do better, to learn something, to grow your business.
Have the confidence to know you don’t have it all figured out, you won’t ever have it all figured out and that it’s okay.
For more insights, rants and motivation tune into our weekly show, The Opportune Time, telling the stories of Joburg’s entrepreneurs, Wednesday 4-6pm CAT on jozimabonengradio.co.za.