Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms
BY: Tracy Higginbotham
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
It's 5:00 A.M. on a typical school day. I rise from bed to do my daily yoga regimen. The house is enveloped in darkness until I turn on my television to hear my instructor tell me in her calming voice to open up my heart to the energy of the morning. I feel my soul breathe in the peacefulness of a new day. As I finish the invigorating workout, the room begins to brighten with a glow of early light. A new day has started and I feel blessed.
As I walk up the stairs to my sons' room, I feel the same rush of emotion I did when I checked on them as babies sleeping in their cribs. Except now my older son's six-foot three-inch body dangles off his bed and my younger son's mop of long brown hair hides his face. As I gently kiss them good morning, they roll over and sigh contently, knowing they have a few more minutes of peace before their school day begins. As I open up their window blinds, their room becomes illuminated with a golden glow that warms and energizes my soul.
The morning soon becomes chaotic as these big lumbering bodies rush around the house trying to make the school bus stop on time. As they run out the door, the soft colors of early morning are gone and replaced by the clear light of day. They are off to school and I settle down at my home office to run my business.
Gracing my desk are three sentimental objects -- an American Eagle Award given to me as a United States Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion, a photograph of me holding a lacrosse stick with my older son and his teenage lacrosse friends, and a photograph of me with my two sons. All three items remind me every day how powerful my choice was to become a woman entrepreneur.
They say women are more likely to become entrepreneurs if they had female role models. I fit that statistic perfectly. My mother owned a clothing boutique as well as a ski shop with my father. My aunt owned restaurants and a real estate company. I remember how happy they were running their businesses while finding time to spend with their families. For the late 1960s, they were pioneering women, balancing work and family for the first time in generations. Their independence and zest for a more modern life than women before them must have sparked an entrepreneurial spirit in my soul that lay dormant until I became a mother.
One early morning, I started to awaken my sons with my morning kiss, when something deep inside me awakened too. I realized I didn't want to rush my sons out of bed anymore to bring them to a day care center just to rush to my events management job, where I would wish my day away because I wanted to be with them. I also knew I loved my profession. In that moment, I flashed back to my mother and aunt working in their businesses. In that golden glow of morning, the dormant entrepreneurial spirit awoke in me. I looked at the rising sun and knew I was going to start my own event management company. It was the dawning of a new day in my career and in my life.
Starting a business can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I knew I could count on my eight years of event planning experience, education, female role models, and passion for my profession to provide a solid foundation to launch my company. My first clients were individuals who had worked with me before and trusted my abilities. Their confidence, combined with a strong purpose and determination, gave me all I needed to begin. I knew I couldn't let this golden opportunity pass me by. I knew I could create the life I desired.
Shortly after becoming a woman entrepreneur, I realized I needed to surround myself with women who were taking the same risks. I discovered an organization of women who met monthly to discuss the pros and cons of being business owners. Open communication, exchange of ideas, and unshakable support from these women ignited my early business success. One year later I had developed a deep passion for aiding and inspiring other women entrepreneurs and became the organization's leader.
One of my favorite members in the group was a boisterous, older female who once said, "To be a smart woman entrepreneur, you must set a course for your business, but if the road starts to naturally bend in another direction, you must follow the curve and see where it leads you." After ten years of running my company and nine years as the leader of this growing organization for women business owners, I remembered her words and created my second company, this one dedicated to promoting women entrepreneurship all over New York State. I announced the news at a gathering of 500 women at an event that celebrates and applauds women for taking chances. This was my chance -- my chance to help even more women make the same choice I made looking out my sons' window one golden morning.
The eagle statue on my desk reminds me every day that I work on behalf of women entrepreneurs everywhere, helping them to move toward their own bright entrepreneurial future. It also represents a strong belief by the business community that I have made, and will continue to make, a positive impact on women entrepreneurship in the future.
The photograph of me holding the lacrosse stick with my sixteen-year-old son and his West Genesee friends was taken after they challenged me to a lacrosse contest with their junior varsity goalie. I was wearing my favorite pink shirt that stated, "Well behaved women rarely make history." The photo is a token of the challenge I took on with these young men, hoping they would see that girls and women can do anything boys and men can do. I wore it proudly and won their respect even though I lost the contest.
The photograph of my two sons reminds me that I will never regret the personal and professional decisions I have made to be the best mother I can be while being the best woman I can be. When my life is over, I hope a sun is rising on the eastern horizon, more women are achieving business success because of my dedication to them and their companies, and my two wonderful sons appreciate the power of women to make the right choices for their lives -- important choices that create a ripple effect that change the world.
As another day ends and the glow of the setting sun now shines on my desk, I look out the window and feel peaceful knowing tomorrow brings another golden opportunity for me to awaken my sons to a glorious new day and to shine more rays of inspiration and hope to women entrepreneurs everywhere. Life is golden.
Another day has ended and I feel blessed.http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul/2010/05/A-Golden-Glow.aspx?source=NEWSLETTER&nlsource=49&ppc=&utm_campaign=DIBSoup&utm_source=NL&utm_medium=newsletter