Growing a family and a business is never easy, but one woman who seems to have done an extraordinary job of doing both is designer and mother of --count them, SEVEN children -- Cortney Novogratz.
This week on Secret's To Your Success we headed to her fabulously eclectic New York City home to get the busy working Mom's tried and true tips for balancing a hectic work and home life in style.
All rights reservedGiving Birth Does Not Equal Career Death
A great deal of women who want a family put it off or enter into it with the fear that it will spell the end of their professional lives. Cortney explains that the opposite can be true.
"I feel like you almost get inspired to do more when you have kids...if you have a great career, having kids only inspires you and makes you look at the world differently so you bring something fresh and new to the job."
Remember: Having a family opens up your mind and heart with new ideas that you can bring to work. It also makes you more capable and organized than you have ever been before.
Create the One-Year Plan
With the multitude of stresses in home life and work it's easy to feel the challenges are insurmountable. To avoid this, Cortney has instituted a deliberate short-term perspective when looking at her life goals.
"One thing I've learned even with raising my kids or thinking about my business over five years, I can only focus on one year as it comes. And look at one year as a growing experience in motherhood, in being a wife, in being a career woman. Otherwise you'd be overwhelmed thinking, 'Who could do all that?'
Remember: When you have a lot on your plate, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks of time.
Partners Ain't Partners
Just because he's your partner in life doesn't mean he necessarily should be your business partner. While Cortney enjoys working closely with her husband in their interior design business, she admits that not all relationships are built for it.
"I think you definitely think you have to the read the signs; Are you both up for it? What are you both bringing to the table? What roles are you going to take on? And, what are you both expecting to come out of this business adventure?"
Remember: Make sure you have the same expectations, vision and complementary skill sets. Just because you love your partner doesn't mean you have to work together.
Working From Home -- But Where's the Office?
If your office is being set up at home, it's important to create a little area to call your own. However, you must come to the realization that with children around, nothing is really off limits. To make sure the family doesn't 'color in' your important documents, store them on a very tall shelf that's out of reach from little hands.
Remember: Create your own space but realize that it's their turf too, so store essential materials out of harms way.
The Family That Works Together, Stays Together
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you necessarily will have more time to spend with your family. To ensure that your kids (and your big kid, the hubby or partner) don't feel left out or ignored, be sure to include them in your work.
"I definitely try to involve them more and say, for example 'What do you think of this color of fabric?" And that way I've noticed my three year old doesn't start grabbing it and run away. He'll say "I like it; it's blue" and then run off."
Remember: When kids and partners are shut out they want more and feel like they are in competition with your work. The more you expose them, the more they gain an understanding, are aware of what you do and feel included.
Seven in the City: How?
Just because it's not the traditional work/life situation doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for it -- if it's what you really want. It's been said that raising even a single child in Manhattan is difficult and expensive, yet Cortney and her husband have managed to raise seven and still grow their business because it was their version of their ideal family life. In order to create your version ask yourself, "What do I REALLY value?" It may take sacrifice and lots of hard work but anything is achievable if you want it enough.
"If you're creative you can have any lifestyle that you want. It definitely is expensive to live in this city, so we definitely can't quit the hustle, but that's also what keeps us alive and fun. What you put into life is what you get out of it".
Remember: Do what you love and it doesn't feel like work.