Avoiding a 16 Car Pileup


As a parent and a business owner, I often feel like I am directing traffic at a massive (and busy) intersection. Think spaghetti junction.

I’m constantly evaluating what, or who needs my attention. That’s part of the beauty of being self-employed though, isn’t it? We have the flexibility and freedom to control our schedules as needed.

Normally I’m pretty darn good at managing everything if I do say so myself, but sometimes things go amiss.

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those days. If you have kids, I know you can relate.

I had met with Cat Stancik (one of my coaches) the week prior to plan out my goals and vision and I was fresh from a retreat with Victoria Whitfield that left me feeling energized and aligned. My plan was to get up before the kids to work on my 9 Principles of Sustainable Business Success, but my motivation was low.

Self-employment didn’t feel so beautiful that morning and it continued throughout the week.

I wasn’t sure when I would have to toss all my plans out the window and focus on my family. I was motivated to take action on my business but the chunks of time were getting smaller and smaller.

By the end of the week, there was only enough energy to handle existing client work and putting out fires. There are probably a few smoldering fires left lingering right now.

Pause, plan, move forward” wasn’t working. It was more like, “pause, plan, put out fire, pause, plan…” repeat ad nauseum.

The challenge? Even though I’m normally great at directing traffic, the intersection of family and business had become a 16 car pile up.

I needed a hard reset. The kind where the police, fire trucks, tow trucks, ambulances all come to disentangle the cars, clear the intersection and get the traffic moving again. Perhaps installing a traffic light would help to manage the flow in the future.

But the beauty of the situation is that as the owner of my own business, I get to create the flow. I can direct how much traffic comes from my business or my family life.

And when traffic starts backing up on one side, I can put more time there until I get back to a state where cars flow from each direction in turn, balanced.

I had to let go and realize that week was going to be a full stop on business to let the family flow through until the cars had cleared out. The following week I was able to get back to a more balanced approach.

When you are standing in the middle of the chaos, tt’s easy to believe that the 16 car pile-up is happening to you instead of for you, but the reality is that these moments are a great reminder of the opportunity you have because you are in business for yourself.

As the chief traffic controller, you can engineer a system that works for you.

Once I noticed the pile-up, it was in my best interest to not add any more cars to it. How do you handle the intersection? There are so many options and variations. What works for you?

Please comment below. I really do want to hear from you. 🙂


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