In my last blog post I mentioned the fact that nurses and teachers are my heroes, and it’s true. After giving birth three times, my appreciation of nurses has grown exponentially. Having a good nurse makes all the difference in the world when it comes to those times when you really need to rely on someone to help you push through. Most of my maternity nurses were very sweet, but there was one who was tough as nails. At one point I seriously wanted to slap her, but in all honesty she was probably the best nurse I ever had. This was my nurse for my first baby. I think her name was Joan.
When I got to the hospital to deliver my first daughter I was understandably nervous and excited, but I was also a little bit cocky. I had read all the baby books, been to all the lamaze classes and had watched all the way-too-graphic birthing movies. I knew what to expect. I knew and had practiced all the breathing techniques and I definitely knew all my drug options of which I had fully planned to take advantage. However, when the time came during my labor to ask for my epidermal there was a mad rush of other emergencies in the maternity ward. All THREE anesthesiologists were unavailable to give me my meds. How could this be? This was not one of the contingencies I was prepared for. The pain was quickly intensifying and panic set in. All my preparation went right out the window. I stopped my “hee, hee, whhoo, whhoo” and started something more along the lines of “What the ****!”
If it had not been for nurse Joan I’m not sure I would have made it. She did not indulge my pity party for one minute. Instead, she told me with all the tenderness of a pit bull to calm down and get to work. I thought she was out of her god-forsaken mind, but she was the salty old veteran and I still had a baby to get out, so I did what she said. I hated her the whole time I was in labor, but I could not have done it without her forcefulness and she knew it. The more I resisted, the longer it would have taken and the harder it would have been. It was painful for sure, but in the end both baby and mommy were happy and healthy and our new family was born.
There comes a time for most entrepreneurs when things go off course. When you first start out you have all the excitement and enthusism of a puppy, but when you are hit with the unexpected, you panic. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure of yourself. You may think you have more than you can handle and you will never be able to make it past your current obstacle. This is the time to call on your inner Nurse Joan. Here’s what she would say:
1. You are not the first entrepreneur to traverse these waters. Just as millions of women have already given birth, there are many who have gone before you in business who have navigated the doldrums and gone on to success. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they overcame challenges.
2. You need to find a focal point. If you try to conquer everything at the same time you will surely feel confused and overwhelmed. Prioritize your most pressing issues and focus on one at a time until you knock each one off your list.
3. The best antidote for panic is action. Keep moving. Pick your most daunting problem and take at least 3 actions a day to address it.
4. Do a cost-benefit analysis. Ask yourself what is the cost of not following through? What are the rewards of fulfilling your vision? If you had not envisioned a better life before you started down this path you probably would not have begun in the first place. Sometimes you just need a reminder of your big picture to re-motivate yourself.
It takes courage and maturity to continue in the face of adversity. We’d all like to have someone come and hold our hand along the way and whisper in our ear that everything will be ok. But that doesn’t always get us the results we want. Sometimes what we need is a little tough love. You may not like it when you are in the throws of labor, but you’ll be thankful for it when that beautiful new baby is placed in your arms.