The Bootstrapping Journey: Are you taking care of your family?

by Vijay Peduru on June 29, 2009

Work-Life-Balance

I wish that real life can be like reel life, where the hero just takes care of the villain and for a break just takes care of the lead actress every now and then. In real life, when you bootstrap a business, your family needs to be taken care of along with your business. If you are young and single, you don’t have to worry, but if you are like me, married and with two kids, family needs to be taken care of.

What if you get all the money in the world, but you lose your family? A true entrepreneur makes a difference in the world… but even in this case, charity begins at home first. So, the question is: How do you manage your family while taking care of your startup?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Notice and Manage Your Moods: If you throw a tennis ball at the wall, it will bounce back with the same force back at you. It is the same with your moods. Your moods affect you and the people around you. If you are angry, the people around you become grumpy. You say something to your wife angrily and she replies back angrily. Her only intent is to hurt you, since you hurt her. The same applies with kids. They may suppress it if they are young, but the natural reaction to strike back angrily is there.

So, the first step is to be calm in every situation. How can we be calm? I use a technique called the “1 second delayed response” All living beings including humans act by instincts. If something happens to us, we respond back immediately for e.g. If someone pinches us, we respond back with a shout or a hit immediately, but we as humans have one thing which no other species on earth has.. the ability to think. So, when something happens to us, before we respond, we can think… Just before you respond, think that you want to be joyful and calm. If you hold that thought for 1 second and focus on just that, your response will change. This whole thing about being calm and about managing moods is to make sure that we can think and act effectively most of the time in our life. If you are angry and upset , you would not be able to think and act effectively and this will affect your startup.

2. Spend quality time with your family everyday: We need to take a break from our activity to get our creative juices flowing. Even Winston Churchill used to engage in paintings when he was at war. Help your kids with their homework and you may discover something new. I discovered that I loved Math. I didn’t like math from my childhood, but I found that Math helps me think a lot and it was fun. You can also read to them for 15-20 minutes a day. Just to be with the kids wholeheartedly calms you down a lot.

3. Accept Failures With Grace: Children are drilled in school not to make mistakes, but that doesn’t apply for life and entrepreneurship. In Entrepreneurship, making mistakes is part of the game. It is good you teach kids this habit, before they enter school, so it is ingrained in them. Hey, they can break some things, it is fine.. the things are replaceable, but a habit developed for a lifetime is priceless.

4. Act Consistently: Don’t worry about teaching good manners and habits. If you force it, they won’t listen to you. So, what should you do, Easy.. You act the way, you want them to act. Remember, if you change, your kids change. I always remember this quote

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

Once you master the above four qualities, apply the same to your startup. After all, the startup is your child, too… isn’t it? Replace family with your team. If you are thinking of starting a startup, first start and practice in your family, then it will be way easier when you start a startup.

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