One day while I was frantically trying to get an RFP done for the programming side of my app for For Dyslexia, my son kept begging me to build Hogwarts out of legos with him. He was too young to do it on his own, so we had started building it together after school. But this afternoon I didn’t have time because I had a deadline to meet. I don’t have trouble with business demands exceeding my capacity. I just put them in line according to priority and start working. But when my 7-year-old twins make demands on me that I can’t meet, it often leads to a meltdown which translates into a big stressful shouting match. Yikes.
So I have a hard time dealing with the emotions of others on top of the logistics. Detected.
While I was in the Founder Institute , the accelerator for tech startups, I couldn’t spend as much time with the twins as they were used to. TV got used a lot as a babysitter during Skype meetings. The kids didn’t have a bath one time for 4 days. (But they did go swimming one of them….). They ate hotdogs for dinner more than once. I usually couldn’t sit down with them for a meal for more than 15 minutes. And deep down in my heart, I worried about this, even though my head kept saying it was OK.
Then my son said to me one day, when he saw me rushing around the house, “Why don’t you drop out of that thing you are doing.” He meant my company. I had to stop and laugh. Just drop out of being an entrepreneur. Fat chance. So I explained to him that I was trying to help a lot of kids that had dyslexia and that it was too important to just drop out. I felt good about what I was doing right after I told him. It made the guilt go away. In a quick exchange, my son had helped me to make sense again of what I was doing.
There are 2 other instances that come to mind when my kids have been great in helping me define what I’m doing.
One day I was preparing my pitch for the Mentor Session. I was very nervous about delivering it. The last time I stood up to pitch, my mind went blank. The twins had been watching me for the past week walk around the house mumbling to myself, pitching to PhotoBooth on my mac and having conversations with myself in the shower. On this particular day my son asked me three questions. What does your company do? Why do you think it’ll work? How do you know how to do it? Brilliant. After I answered all of his questions, I told him he should become a Business Angel. :^) As Adeo says, you’ve got to be able to explain your business to your grandmother or it’s too complicated.
The second instance occurred one day while we were driving in the car to Madrid. I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. And my daughter said something that made my heart swell. She said she wanted to invent something. The sole fact that my 7-year-old, daughter nonetheless, wants to invent something when she grows up makes it all worth it. For me and for her.