• Nayana Sen

3 Tips for Ambitious Moms that Want More Out of Life

I am a working single mom. There are challenges and solutions that come along with being a working mom that I want to address in this post. I want to note that I am lucky that I have the support of my family, otherwise there is no way I can honestly do all the things that I want to do and those that are required of me. I am ambitious and driven, but I have learned to manage my own expectations of myself.

First things first, all working moms do not have the same needs. I am addressing the challenges of working women that don't necessarily have a financial safety net of a successful partner. Some of us have to provide for our children and also take care of ourselves on our own. I am lucky to have a job that pays me well and provides healthcare. I count my blessings every single day for a stable paycheck and security. Having said that, I am not going to stop wanting more out of life or myself. I am of the mindset that if you have the capability to do more, why settle for less?

Let's talk about the top 3 challenges ambitious working moms encounter, and how to keep that ambition at a healthy level. Tip: Be kind, especially to yourself.

Photo of Nayana with former SBA Administrator, Linda McMahon

Challenge 1: Are you confident?

Confidence is the difference between dreaming and taking action. Here I am after coordinating a major event for former SBA Administrator and WWE co-founder/former President/CEO, Linda McMahon. I was uncomfortable in my own skin, and standing next to a very accomplished woman. I look back on this event in my life and wish I felt more confident in my appearance or myself in general. I should be looking at this and remembering that I put together a national event for a U.S. Presidential Cabinet level appointee. To be clear, I am proud of the work I did on that event, but it didn't lead to a promotion. The lack of a promotion was reason for me to want to restart a business. Being around other successful entrepreneurs all the time also plays into wanting that for myself.

I went to meet a counselor for advice on how to get my business started. I wanted to focus on soft skills like time management for busy c-level professionals. I spoke to this executive, who said "you as a government employee are going to teach executives like me time management? That sounds ridiculous." He honestly destroyed my self-confidence before I could even get started. It took me a lot of time to come to this conclusion, and I wish I could go back in time to tell him. I am a woman that manages all my responsibilities including full-time job, homeschooling in a pandemic, family time, business, blog, and podcast. In addition to that I find time for self-care, friends, musical interests, and networking. Plus, as you can see from the picture, my assignments aren't exactly child's play. He probably has 3 women like me managing his life, so that he can be the busy executive that doesn't need time management training. Well, they do say the best revenge is success.

The lesson I learned there is maybe that wasn't the right target market for my training business. Also, I can't let anyone talk to me like I'm an imbecile again. Being spiritual or focused on being a good person doesn't mean we have to take anyone's abuse. If you are lacking in self-confidence, then you have to change that immediately. The thing I told myself was if I felt insecure about something in myself, I will either change it or change my thinking about it. What I discovered was that I was so insecure about myself that I was holding myself back in every way possible. I started my podcast addressing this very issue because confidence is key to change and personal development.

We can't let anything stand in our way in life, especially something that can be easily changed. If you feel insecure about how you look, it is something that has to be addressed. If you are looking to level-up in your life and career, then how you feel about yourself matters. You must take the steps needed to make sure your confidence level is at its peak. This is non-negotiable if you want to accomplish bigger things in your life. Ambition without confidence is an empty promise to yourself. You can want big things and pretend like you're going to get them, or you can say I am going to figure out myself first.

Challenge 2: Too much ambition, too little time to execute.

Time is not manageable, but you can use your time better. How well are you managing your allotted time? The hardest part of being a driven woman is you want to do everything, but you can't. You have to seriously decide how much time you have to commit to something new. We are used to multi-tasking as working women, but it is not sustainable in the long run. I have told this story many times, but I tried to start an online wedding planning business immediately out of graduate school. I had a toddler at the time, worked full-time at a new job, had a new house, was recently married, and I had no connections in the wedding industry. I just wanted to start a site to help busy women plan their wedding. I miscalculated the amount of time it would take to make that work. I was overwhelmed and it almost cost me my health. I also partnered with my dad to build the system, but he was struggling with his own health issues. Learn from my mistakes, please. Learn how to use your time well before you take on entrepreneurship or anything else.

Entrepreneurship sounds sexy and can give you financial freedom, but it is not the same as having a job. In the beginning you may actually make more money working than with a business. If you can't get the entrepreneurship drug out of your system, then find something that works in your existing life. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have tried to start the wedding planning business. I wouldn't have started anything. I would just be okay with having a job and toddler. I worry about this now as well, that maybe I am taking on too much. I am at a different point in life now, and while homeschooling on top of work is real challenge, I have learned how to use my time better.

Challenge 3: Desperately trying to make things work that just don't work.

Desperation is not attractive. Are you clinging to something that isn't right for you? Ambitious women want what they want, but we have to be careful not to seem desperate in our efforts to obtain what we want. There are 7-billion or more people on this planet at this given time, you can find another partner, another bank, another place to live, another client, another job, and so on. Keep this perspective on everything. You do not need to compromise your self-worth to get to where you want to go in life. Sometimes no matter how hard you work or how much time you've invested, the efforts will not give you the results you want. You have to know when it's time to let go and move forward with something else.

In addition to knowing when to move on, you have to maintain a sense of detachment from your goals. Don't cling to the idea that life has to be a certain way for you to be happy or successful. If you're desperate for something to happen, then there is a good chance that it will remain elusive. Don't worry, in the end, the things that are meant for us, will not miss us. In the meantime, enjoy becoming who want to be. Take time to focus on yourself and find the things that make you happy.

Life is both too long and too short, to be anything but happy.

I think if you're like me, the thought of making sure your kids are provided for creates a sense of desperation to be successful. Your kids need your love more than they material things. You could give them every single thing you never had, and they could still grow up not feeling loved. Happiness and the ability to remain positive in spite of your circumstances is the antidote to looking desperate. In other words, as Ariana says, "Thank you, next."

Cheers to your growth and mine. Now go get after it!

Cheers to your growth and mine.

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