I Am Driven By | Above all else, learning and growing – new skills, new knowledge, new experiences. I love being presented with challenges and thinking about how I will grow and what I will learn as I tackle them. This is true in business, with my family, my friends and myself personally.
The Difference Between good And Great | People who are good at what they do seem to have a clear vision for the future and the work ethic to trek towards that vision. Perhaps they want a certain amount of wealth, so they chart a path towards that goal and work diligently towards it. People who are great at what they do seem to live more for the journey itself. Great entrepreneurs seem to be the ones that don’t start businesses just to exit and make millions. They start businesses because they are so drawn to the challenge they could never think to do anything else. They love being in the thick of the mud and grime of actually running and growing the business.
A Key Talent | Time management. It is not a sexy and exciting strength but I attribute some of my success to it, especially right now, as I juggle two very young boys, a sustainable packaging business I co-own and co-operate, a full-time bill-paying job, and a commitment to getting into the mountains with my family as often as possible.
I am a believer in Parkinson’s Law – that work will expand to fit the time allotted to it. When I was in my 20’s, I would work 80+ hour weeks, and then go out after work with friends, only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. I don’t have the luxury of virtually limitless time anymore, and I actually have more work to do in a given week than I did back then.
Each month I map out priorities across all parts of my life – EcoEnclose, consulting, my kids, my husband, my friends, myself personally. Then, each week, I organize my “big rock” and “small rocks” and think through how much time I should allot to each, always leaving enough time to get lost in thinking and strategizing on the major, meaty items on my list. Then, my husband and I talk through the household schedule – who is picking the kids upon what days, what commitments do we have throughout the week, etc. Finally, I open up my Google calendar and schedule time blocks for all of my weekly priorities.
Does my week go exactly according to plan? Never. Does it often go totally haywire? Of course. Amazing new opportunities sometimes come up that I wasn’t expecting. Employees get sick. My hard drive crashes. One of our machines goes down. But all in all, this approach keeps me focused and eliminates all of the time often wasted thinking “what should I be doing right now?”. It keeps me from otherwise wasting too much time managing my inbox, when in fact so many other things are more important. It helps me measure my progress on a weekly basis. And perhaps most importantly, it allows me to be present, fully engaged and enjoying the work I’m doing at any given time.
How I Use My Mind | I try to think and act like I already am the person I aspire to be. When we’ve been in the midst of a cash crisis in the business, rather than panicking and drastically cutting costs as the immediate step, I tried to embody the mindset of a person who was running a business that was flush with cash. Not to make irresponsible decisions as a result, but to avoid making rash decisions that would have hurt company culture and hindered the overall growth of the business.
A more everyday example – when I’m frustrated with a friend, an employee, my parents, my husband, whoever – I take a few deep breaths and try to act like someone who is not at all frustrated and who has nothing but kindness and joy towards that person. Usually, a little bit later, that actually is true, and my frustration is gone. This means I don’t waste unnecessary time with negative, counterproductive emotions.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | The list is long and ever evolving. I have countless business and social enterprise ideas – and hope to bring at least a few more into fruition in the coming years. I hope that at least one of my endeavours makes a measurable and lasting positive impact on our planet and environment.
I want to write a book about one of the many topics I am interested but not yet deeply knowledgeable in. I’d like to buy a farm where my growing kids can explore and learn to work with their hands, and I can gain a deeper appreciation for our soil, water, air, and natural resources. I’d like to learn to code to built virtual things and woodworking to build physical things. I’d like to go from being a pretty good water skier to a highly skilled water skier. I’d like to achieve at least one year of “zero waste.”
More than anything, I hope I am always learning, building, making the world a better place, and fully experiencing the journey of life.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Enter conversations with more questions than answers. And be sure to actually listen and process the responses you get.
Advice On Building Wealth | For anyone who wants to achieve a specific amount of financial security and wealth, I’d recommend that they pursue law, or accounting, investment banking, web development / coding, management consulting, medicine — a profession that requires deep training and whose value is unlikely to diminish in the professional world any time soon.
For those who would like a lot of financial wealth, but are comfortable with risk and uncertainty, and would consider themselves a success if they fall short of their financial goals but have some wild and life changing experiences in the process – my advice is to find your passion, and see if you can turn it into your life’s work.
Do this, while also being trained or skilled in one or more areas, so you have a backup if and when you need it.
Balancing high performance with happiness and contentment| Tangible wealth and recognizable titles are important measures of success in many of my circles. Being an entrepreneur and business owner is most definitely not the surest, quickest, straightest path to becoming rich or achieving that impressive, all- encompassing promotion to partner or VP.
It can be hard to face constant household budget challenges that come along with running a business, as many close friends who have pursued more predictable paths are achieving amazing financial success. It can be demoralizing at times to hear about peers celebrating a new role – a clear sign of forward progress in one’s career – when tangible progress is hard to measure in my own professional life.
When this happens, my husband and I will remind ourselves of our core values – learning, living for and in the present, independence, impact, risk and adventure – to reinforce why the path we are on is the right one for us.