Pregnancy and the woman entrepreneur – the invisible benefitsSummi Gambhir
Working during pregnancy isn’t easy. But when have entrepreneurs ever believed in taking the easy route.
Managing pregnancy while managing (and growing) one’s own business teaches women to be master jugglers and that, for me, is the true essence of entrepreneurship.
Running and managing a growing business calls for dealing with innumerable minute tasks, interspersed by several big tasks. These are all expected to be accomplished in a single breath or often, even without a breather. When shuffling between high-level strategic considerations (like working on a pitch for the next really big client) and operative tasks (like calling the banker for a duplicate copy of a statement for a statutory audit in progress), one feels like a skilled juggler tossing several dissimilar batons in the air and catching them in clean movements.
Talking of my own experience, I am evolving as a juggler – initially an amateur, with the batons either dropping or being caught, rather clumsily, in the nick of time. Of late, I seem to be getting better at the act and have now moved to a state of unconscious juggling with a great deal of finesse and élan.
From ensuring timely intakes of my medicines and supplements; to making it for mid-week ultrasound appointments and to my doctor; to planning the work routine, including managing investor calls with participants from across seven different time zones with a difference in clocks spanning 12 hours; to ensuring timely submission of documents for recent investor funds received, while signing off on a redesigned site experience – the master juggler has come of age.
In the midst of this rather complex routine, I take some time to reflect and make sense of how the early mixed emotions gave way to the natural and confident juggler. I also ask myself, if this ‘act’ is limited to my pregnancy or if it here to stay. I realise that a series of conscious changes have made me a different person – better equipped, more aware, and more balanced. Here’s how I think my pregnancy got me to be a natural master juggler:
Increased focus and efficiency
Being pregnant, one knows there will be periods of unavailability or shorter availability. This necessitates sharp planning against organisational priorities and laser focus in meeting goals. The more focussed and prepared you are, the less likely you are to miss something or encounter surprises along the way.
I have taken this learning, and prepared a rolling three-month plan defining organisational goals; a clear plan of action to meet these, and desired measures of success. I have found this extremely helpful, as there is clear articulation and understanding of priorities, dependencies and a roadmap to guide us in meeting our goals and objectives.
Appreciation for discipline
I have always been a restless person with high levels of energy and no space for naps or post-meal ‘breaks’. When I was first advised that during my pregnancy, I would need to slow down and even take the occasional break every few hours, I was quite dismissive and even defiant. I soon realised that I was in denial of what my system was demanding of me. With this awakening came the fear of how I would cope with the reality of the new demands.
Pregnancy teaches women (including and especially entrepreneurs) that discipline in managing a routine that adjusts to their ‘changed’ needs can actually make them more productive and effective. You build a routine, which leads to an improved sense of timing and proportion around personal engagements and work commitments. You start to see a marked qualitative improvement and today, I can admit that slowing down a tad was not so bad!
Avoidance of burnout
As women entrepreneurs, we often try and be the superwomen we mistake ourselves to be, juggling personal and professional responsibilities at a feverish pace. We may not entirely realise we are actually burning the candle at both ends with adverse longer-term effects.
Pregnancy teaches women entrepreneurs that there is much at stake, if health-related considerations are overlooked. This awareness leads to implementing some easy and quick lifestyle changes.
With these learnings and many more to come, I am making the most of my pregpreneur journey. In the process, I believe I am giving my child an inside view of effective multi-tasking. Every woman entrepreneur’s world revolves around two key priorities – her family and her business. She has the opportunity to gain from her pregnancy – a new discipline and new way of leading life. The impact of these fundamental changes last way beyond the birth of her child and the success of her business.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)