I will never forget the moment I found out I was expecting twins, the moment that I learned that I was going to go from being a mom of 1 fantastic kid to a total of 3 kids! That moment will be forever buried in my mind, not for the joy and excitement I was supposed to feel, but for the heart-wrenching fear and dread, I experienced. And the truth is the fear wasn’t because twin pregnancies have more complications or the fact that so many twins are born prematurely with a multitude of health issues. Nope, my fear, I hate to admit, was selfish – my heart sank into my heals because I was worried about the success of my career and my business that I had been working so hard to build over the past 15 years.
My assumption in those early moments was that clients wouldn’t take me seriously anymore, that people would assume that I wouldn’t have time, energy, desire to focus on my business when I had three kids at home. I assumed that 2018*, my first year with twins would be my worst year in business. But I was 100% wrong – 2018 proved to be my best year in business to date. Some of the biggest deals of my career came that year, I achieved some of my biggest successes as a mom of 3 and the biggest revenue year for my firm, a leadership coaching company, came that very same year!!!
When I ran the numbers this January and realized my accomplishment, I was shocked. I didn’t realize how much I had accomplished and, to be honest, for most of 2018 I felt like a failure- my closest friends and family heard me say frequently – “I feel like I’m failing at everything, there isn’t enough time to be 100% to everyone and everything.” But clearly, something went right. Somewhere in the most challenging year of my life, I found the best version of myself and that paid off. So here is what I believe contributed to my first year with twins being my biggest revenue year in business:
1. I made networking and visibility a priority Building a network takes time – I started strengthening my network months before the twins were born knowing I would need to lean on my network once I was ready to work again. When the twins were born, and I proudly shared the news and the celebration with those in my network. When I was ready to work again, I focused on re-energizing my relationships more than on completing assignments. I shared the projects I was working on and the projects I aspired to do in the coming months. In my priorities, my professional relationships took center stage.
2. I shared my vulnerabilities I was terrified that my clients would find new coaching companies to work with while I was busy learning to be a mom to twins. I decided to share this fear with some of my clients in advance. After sharing my vulnerabilities, I asked them to consider me for opportunities and to not “write me off” at the onset. Yes, I literally used those words. And guess what happened? Six weeks after my twins were born a client reached out asking how I was doing and offering a potential job opportunity if I was ready.
Six weeks after c-section! Was I ready? Heck no! Was my body healed? No way. But I said yes. In fact, I said yes a lot that year.
3. I said yes before I felt ready and figured it out later
My response to my client’s email …. “Yes, I am back at work already actually. Babies are six weeks old, and I am feeling ready to work. ”
I can still remember how hard my heart was pounding when I sent that email – what if I let them down, what if I blow this opportunity and they never want to work with me again. But I was starting to get back to work at that point, and I trusted that when the time was right – I would rise to the occasion.
P.S. In case you are wondering I got two huge assignments from that simple email.
4. I allowed myself to be helped at home
As a mom, I wanted to feel like I could do it all. I wanted to believe that the way I take care of my kids is best, but that belief wasn’t serving me – it was ripping me to shreds, and so I let it go. I delegated, I prioritized and I asked for help. Those that came to visit us in the early days were put to work.
“Hold one baby while I wash the other”, “Go build Lego’s with my oldest while I nurse the twins”.
My poor friends…no wonder they stopped visiting ;).
5. I took a vacation away from the kids Does this need an explanation? After nine months of being with them nonstop – my husband and I finally enjoyed a week alone. It was glorious!!!
And here are the things I should have done that would have made life better
1. I should have reflected on my successes more
2. I should have made my physical health a higher priority
3. I should have smiled more and cried less (but my hormones were in control there
Every working mom has a different path. I am just one version. I wish someone would have told me on that fateful day when I saw two little heartbeats on a blurry monitor, that I would thrive in the years to come and that I should be ready to jump in and enjoy the exhausting, nerve-racking, rollercoaster that is the life of a working mom with 3 kids.
*Twins were born January 2018