Managing The Inherent Tension Between Ambition And Reality

Her Corner

Frederique Irwin

February 8, 2018

During a recent Accelerator meeting, we were talking about how frustrating it can be that things never go according to plan, and that it sometimes feels like progress is so slow. We want to accomplish so much, but life has a way of getting in the way.

Out of the blue, one of the members turned to me and asked me: “How do you manage your ambition against this same problem? Clearly you want to take Her Corner nationwide, and yet that can’t be easy with three young kids. What do you do?”

Oh jeez, I thought. How long do we have here? But the question was an important one.

AS WOMEN, HOW DO WE MANAGE THE TENSION BETWEEN OUR AMBITIONS AND OUR REALITIES?

She was right. I do have three young kids. So does Kimby. That’s six kids between us. We have husbands who travel; in my case, every week. We have a lot of other demands on our time. And yet we have a huge vision and a lot of ambition to see Her Corner expand nationally.

Here’s how we handle that.

When we’re putting together our annual plan, we always make sure that one of our goals is aligned to what we want our lives to look like.

Right now, we need to have flexibility to be there for our children, and to not put too much pressure on the home front. Because if we were in a new city every week, that would pretty much cause the bottom to drop out at home.

When we see ourselves getting ahead of ourselves ambition-wise, we check one another. Recently we’ve toyed with the idea of raising some serious money to help us scale much more quickly. But then we realize what that would entail, and the pressure that would create on the home front, so we dial our ambition back a notch. There will be time for that … later.

It’s hard. Really hard. Especially because many of our advisors and role models are men. They look at business and growth differently than we do. Despite their good intentions, they do not stand in our shoes. And that’s okay. We’re grateful for their perspective. But we have to be mindful of our differing experiences.

Managed growth. That’s how we’re approaching this.

It’s a longer run way, that’s for sure. But so long as we’re achieving the goals we have set out and not ignoring the other responsibilities in our lives. It’s okay.

But while it may be okay, it’s not easy.

Again, there are also six kids in this equation. It’s always messy and not particularly pretty. But our kids are just as important as our national expansion and footprint, if not more so. So we make choices to make sure both sides of the equation stay more or less in balance.