In 2022, my word was ‘spaciousness’.
And with good reason! I was a pregnant Mum of two, getting ready to welcome child number four into our blended family, and I was also at the helm of a growing business with a fully booked schedule and a small team.
I couldn’t have been happier and more grateful. But I also felt like I couldn’t breathe from the pressure (and probably from a growing baby pressing against my ribs!).
I needed to create space — space to take maternity leave and be present in my baby bubble in those very precious early weeks, and space for my team to step up and continue delivering client projects and growing the business… or so I thought.
Here are my lessons and top tips for planning to take maternity leave or an extended break from your business.
In planning for maternity leave, I had gone to market to find a Business Manager to keep things running smoothly while I was away, and to prepare to scale the business when I returned. But, my recruitment efforts came up for naught. I just couldn’t find the person I was looking for.
So, I re-strategised. Perhaps my existing team would welcome an opportunity to share the higher duties and take on the license to run the business?! I was wrong. Off the back of a global pandemic and a very busy 12 months for COMUNiTI, my team told me they didn’t have the capacity to take on anything more. Although I hadn’t planned for this, I completely respected it.
My tip. When you’re making space in your business to step back, or recruiting for any role, remember to ask yourself these two equally important questions:
When I realised my team didn’t have the capacity to keep running COMUNiTI at the pace I had been, I needed to step back and get really focused on what was most important. It meant I had to take a deep breath and let go of some things, and that’s hard for me — yep, I’m one of those A-type personalities!
My tip. When you are preparing to take leave, align the team’s priorities to your higher purpose.
After the team and I created a plan for COMUNiTI’s project delivery while I was on leave, it was clear there was still a gap. I needed to think differently about a model for business continuity and a seamless client experience.
My tip. Call on your community.
Regardless of why you’re planning time away from your team or your business, or looking to reduce your contact within the business for a period of time, I hope these tips help you make space for life, outside of work.
If you’d like to hear more about the ins and outs of my maternity leave preparations, you can listen to Episode 88 of my Podcast, Work Life By Design.