I am working on a new book that will share insights not only into my own journey but why I think women, and mothers in particular, are very well equipped to launch and run startups, even if they have spent years out of the professional workforce to raise their children.
I’m currently working on a chapter I’m titling The Get-Along Rug and thought I’d share a sneak peek into the project. Hope you enjoy.
The Get-Along Rug
Dispute Resolution and Making Nice With The Enemy
In every home we’ve lived in, there has been a throw rug designated as the “Get-Along Rug”. When the kids were small and squabbles escalated to unkind behavior, there was nothing quite so effective for bringing resolution to the problem as the children sitting on the rug holding hands until they were ready to talk things out in a more civil fashion. My daughter struggled a bit more to get to a place of civility, while her younger brother would quickly change from an angry little boy into a happy child when sitting with his sister on the rug. I always assumed it was his affectionate, peace-loving nature that made him happy to sit holding hands with his older sister. It wasn’t until recently when his sister was home visiting from college that he confessed that his happiness stemmed not from any pure motive but from sheer joy in the knowledge that his sister was suffering. It was the one sure way he could gain the upper hand with someone older and bigger; he knew just how much she hated sitting there holding his hand. It was his ultimate revenge.
When we embark on the entrepreneurial journey, we are opting into a pressure cooker of stressors and challenges. We quit stable jobs, walk away from a defined set of tasks and required skills and set out to create something from nothing. We’re forced to not only learn to wear hats we didn’t even know existed, we’re often working alongside individuals who are facing just as much risk and stress as they stretch to meet the challenges of launching and growing a startup. Learning how to manage our emotions and appropriately respond to the inevitable disputes is vital for surviving the startup life. If you think marriage or raising kids are hard, try living day-in, day-out with people who don’t share the same bonds of affection and commitment to vows made in front God and mothers-in-law. According to several studies, 62% of all startups fail due to cofounder breakups. Add that statistic to the fact that 80% of all startups fail within the first three years, and you have a tremendous challenge to overcome to be one of the few startups that find a successful exit.
Mothers spend a great deal of their time negotiating tentative cease-fires between siblings, and the skills we build through the process come in quite handy when it comes to keeping a positive environment in a startup.