Most women experience times in their lives when things just don’t work our the way you planned. Don’t get me wrong, most women I know are masters of planning weeks, weekends, meals, holidays, kids projects and birthdays and still manage to remember picking up birthday cards, renewing car licences and picking up the dry cleaning over and above cooking, cleaning and holding down a job.

Being an education consultant I have the pleasure of working alongside my husband. We consult to a variety of education providers which means our work is not traditional and rather niche as we provide an end-to-end service that includes marketing, student recruitment, digital marketing, academic quality assurance and academic governance consulting.

Most business owners or consultants in South Africa will tell you that business has been a bit of a roller coaster and that we have experienced some interesting economic- and political conditions in South Africa with everything from the #FeesMustFall protests, the cabinet reshuffle, an economic downgrade to junk status, leaked #GuptaEmails and even a few family restaurant fiascos. Yeah, I’m not lying, it;s been a crazy time.

We’ve had some ups and downs as most consulting businesses do and we’ve attempted to compile a business model that gives us the flexibility to concentrate on a variety of different projects, get some time to write and even have time during the day to have lunch with the little ones at home and help out with homework.

We recently started a series of workshops aimed at individuals within our sector and had secured a great venue, finalised the presentation material, ran the marketing- and social campaigns and secured our first bookings.

The day before our first workshop we arrived at the venue early, had new branding and posters set up, set up the presentations, confirmed number for catering, set up for breakfast, got the good coffee, set up directional signage and planned the logistics around the kids the following morning which would be a very early start. Now I should mention that the following week we had experienced a taxi strike and that travel to the venue had taken me more than two hours, but never had I imagined that this little crisis would play itself out again on the day of our presentation.

That afternoon when we arrived home we prepped for the following morning, made arrangements for the nanny to arrive earlier and made sure the kids were packed, prepped and ready for an early start. I didn’t make a big issue out of a social media message indicating that a second taxi strike was iminent and would start the following morning.

The following morning ran smoothly and we made good time to the venue, set up breakfast, set up the coffee machine and presentation, straightened up hair and make up and waited for our guest to arrive. 10 minutes past the scheduled start and no guest at the door as yet, I started setting up my iPad to check for e-mails. And there they were, notifications from confirmed guests that they had decided to not take the risk with staff travelling during this planned taxi strike…. I made a few additional calls and more visitors confirmed the same… Fear of travelling during taxi strike. Funny thing being that both hubby and I had travelled these routes and no taxi strikes in sight. We were bummed but understood – even though the disapointment had turned into an extra muffin or two over coffee.

Although I took it as a setback and fealt rather disappointed that we had experienced this false start, today, a few days later I realised the following:

  • Don’t let minor setback dictate your perception
  • You cannot control everything – fake news on social media and taxi strikes are going to be the order of some days, don’t let it get to you if it impacts your plans
  • Find the lesson or the bright side in every setback – in this case it was a great dry run for what we would and would not do the next time
  • There will be more mistakes and false starts but there will also be more successes and improvements
  • Cut yourself some slack – I am a perfectionsit by nature which means I tend to micro-manage projects when it comes to work and marketing opportunities. Stressing yourself out sometimes means you don’t get to experience the success in the same way as your co-workers
  • Take care of you – during the build up to the event I had been experienceing flu-like symptoms but held off on visiting a GP and opted to self medicate. On the day I had reached the point of full blown laryngitis and could hardly speak. Don’t get so focussed on work that you don’t take care of yourself.

My point is cut yourself some slack – things go wrong and might be disappointing. Lift your head up and focus on the next milestone and take the lesson home. Clearly define and write down your goals and ambitions and break them up into manageable chunks (or ask for help). Don’t lose focus of your home and loved ones and make sure you spend some quality time with your spouse and kids, have enough time to eat healthy meals and snacks, drink enough water and get to bed at a reasonable hour (even if it is just for the few days after the set-back). Next time might just be better because of these small things.

Take care mommies.