Wait? My baby is my business coach??

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

My little boy wore shoes for the first time today. Well, to be fair, he has worn them before, but he just sat and screamed until I took them back off him. Today he put them on and just toddled off on his merry way… until he fell over, then he got up and toddled off again… and promptly fell over again.


The kid spent more time splayed on the ground than upright today, but he had an amazing time nonetheless!



His resilience was pretty inspiring. Every time he stacked it, he either jumped back up and kept going or rolled around laughing. There were no tears, no tantrums- just persistence to keep doing his own thing.


I thought he’d eventually get annoyed and want the shoes gone. He can run around really nimbly in bare feet so surely it would just be easier to rip those bad boys off and go back to what he’s comfortable with and successful at? But nope, he wore those shoes for hours even though they made his activities quite a bit harder.


Well didn’t Wee Man serve me a life lesson today? Turns out he is wise beyond his single year.



Well didn’t Wee Man serve me a life lesson today? Turns out he is wise beyond his single year.

I’ve had a tough week. Unlike Wee Man I have had plenty of tears and tantrums out of frustration. My resilience is low. I knew starting a new business would be hard, but it is SO much harder than I thought.


I’m a big time perfectionist. I love to know that what I’m doing is right and that I’m demonstrating expert skills. Generally if I can’t tick those boxes, I just opt out rather than risk failure.


When I was 7 I did one gymnastics class and when I saw I wasn’t going to be Olympic level I walked out never to return. Same went for dancing classes, music classes, and difficult school subjects. If I couldn’t excel, I’d bail.


My short lived golf and ballet careers


So fast forward to me today. I’ve spent 15 years in a career that I excel at. I am an excellent HR practitioner thanks to my hard work at uni and in my professional roles. I took chances that thankfully paid off, but at every step I had supervisors, colleagues or mentors around me reassuring me that I was doing things ‘right’. There was comfort in that. Just like Wee Man in his bare feet, I could manoeuvre pretty comfortably in my dependable HR career.


...at every step I had supervisors, colleagues or mentors around me reassuring me that I was doing things ‘right’. There was comfort in that.

Then whammo; my comfortable, dependable career that I took such pride in was whisked away. Despite my best efforts (and a really unfortunate global pandemic) returning back to my comfortable expert ‘safety zone’ no longer seems feasible.


So I took a chance, like I have before, and started Zest. But unlike my previous gambles, I don’t have people I respect and trust telling me that I’m doing the ‘right’ thing. I have me and a Google Chrome browser with 24 pages open searching for things like ‘how do I write a marketing plan?’ or ‘how do I price my consulting services?’ and ‘what on earth is SEO?’.

It’s uncomfortable, terrifying and I don’t feel prepared. I know I can’t do this ‘right’ and my immediate response is to opt out…


And I realised today that I’m Wee Man trying those shoes on for the first time. He sat and screamed because the shoes felt weird and uncomfortable and cumbersome. He hadn’t seen them before and they were a bit scary and daunting. He didn’t know what shoes were for and why they’d actually be really helpful one day, or that one day he was going to put them on and they’d be totally fine. His response was to yank them off and throw them away… to opt out.

But with the passage of time and some familiarisation, today Wee Man decided today was shoe day. He was reasonably terrible, but he didn’t care. He took the knocks on the chin and kept going. He tried to do all the stuff he could normally do faster or with less tumbles, and persisted with them (stupid shoes and all).


Not once did he ask to take the shoes off. Not once did he crack it (ok, he actually did lose it, but that was because I put mayonnaise instead of tomato ketchup on his dinosaur pasta… #ToddlerDramas).


He just saw every fall as experience. Learning how to manoeuvre with some weird bits of foam strapped to his feet. Figuring out how fast he could go, how far apart his legs need to be, how high he needs to lift his foot to get over stuff.


And watching him today was the kick in the pants I needed. I can sit on the floor and carry on about the discomfort and search for a way out; or I can suck it up and do my best and learn something new every time I fall on my face.


I can sit on the floor and carry on about the discomfort and search for a way out; or I can suck it up and do my best and learn something new every time I fall on my face.

After his initial shoe meltdown, I just left Wee Man’s shoes at the door. He would often wander over and look at them. Pick them up and play around with them on occasion. Sometimes he’d try to try them on before throwing them away again. He had to get familiar before he got brave.


So for the next week I’m going to be kind to myself and just get familiar. I’m going to watch the webinars I’ve saved. I’m going to keep Googling and adding useful bookmarks. I’m going to continue networking and asking silly questions of kind people and accepting help from generous ones.


And when I feel a little braver and a little more ready, I’m going to go for it and persevere through all the tumbles, hopefully with a few laughs, just like my gorgeous Wee Man did today.




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