Hello All In community! Today’s wisdom comes to you from Tammy Kling, best-selling author and CEO of OnFireBooks. Her sharing of real life and real struggle helps us to know that we are not alone. Thank you Tammy!

This is a question I’ve been pondering a lot lately, after spending a year chatting with super entrepreneur and author Stephanie Breedlove about her groundbreaking new book, All In: How Women Entrepreneurs can Think Bigger, Build Sustainable Businesses, and Change the World.

As an entrepreneur myself, I completely understand the myriad of challenges entrepreneurs face. As a woman, I truly believe our challenges are unique, due to the complexities of raising kids, juggling activities, bills, marriages or a love life if you’re single, personal relationships, and extended family. Most days I can do anything and everything on point, dressed to the nines, but when I look back at my pictures I may see that I hadn’t thought to brush my hair. There’s always something that suffers in the life of an entrepreneur and for me it’s definitely hair and makeup.

I’d rather spend that extra ten minutes reviewing our business plan or creating an inspiring message to send to my team. If you’re a business owner following your dream, you understand the focus and long nights and passion that comes with being an entrepreneur. But are you really all in?

Work and Home Life Should be Complements Not Competitors

I ask this because when I first met Stephanie, I felt as if my business was in conflict with my family life. I’m all about my family, and I began having a dialogue with myself about selling the company. Even though I truly love what I do, I felt an internal struggle about being a CEO focused on leadership and clients, and a great mom with my kids at the top of my priority list. Stephanie allowed me to think differently. “Being an entrepreneur offers you the freedom to live the life you want,” she reminded me. “It’s not a barrier to the life you want.”

That point in itself is accurate, and yet I have an inner conflict that tempted me to give up. Stephanie challenged me to examine my own beliefs about what being all in really is: When you have both a career and a family, you will have to make choices. However, choosing one over the other isn’t one of them if you desire both and are willing to be all in. She shared her own challenges along the road to building her company and how you’re not really all in if you’re just all in when things are going smoothly. Entrepreneurs are “all in” when the going gets tough too. If you own your own company there are going to be difficult times, lean times, and moments when it doesn’t seem like you’ll be able to pay the bills. You’ll have to juggle disappointment, lost clients, employee conflict, and other challenges, including balance, but in the end you’ll also have a lot of victories. One of the deepest truths Stephanie taught me is that if you look at all the challenges at once, you’ll get overwhelmed and be tempted to give up. Entrepreneurs need to take things slow, and build out a plan that involves not having everything all at once. By nature, she points out, entrepreneurs are visionaries and idea generators but it’s that same trait that can cause us to get over extended, and stressed. Don’t do too much at one time.

The Eye Opening

It was small kernels of wisdom like this that opened my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking. All In is recommended reading for every entrepreneur whether your company is small, mid-size or large. Stephanie points out startling facts that I didn’t know about entrepreneurs even though I’ve been one for fifteen years. Check out these statistics: “Growth in the number of women-owned businesses is impressive, and mainstream media regularly reports that women entrepreneurs are thriving. Some are, yet a peek under the surface reveals an issue with significant economic impact: Women are not starting or building growth-oriented, job creating businesses as they should be. Although women own roughly a third of U.S. businesses, these businesses generate only 3.8% of total U.S. revenue and employ only 6% of the workforce (U.S. Census Bureau). 96.2% of revenue and 94% of employment are generated by firms owned by men.” Wow! Staggering numbers. We have amazing opportunity before us, and I am committed to making a difference in progress through my own journey.

Stephanie shows women how to think differently, to live all in, and to believe that you can build a fulfilling life where work and family are complements not competitors to one another. As an ‘all in’ entrepreneur, it is important to involve my children in this amazing journey, helping them to build entrepreneurial traits and leadership skills. I often ask them; are you all in? This is a concept that applies to each one of us in our lives, businesses, friendships, and marriage. For me, being all in means doing more than just the bare minimum, presenting my most excellent self every day, and fully showing up. I want to be all in, in every moment. I don’t want to skate by.

What does all in mean for you? Whatever it is, do it with all your heart.

By Tammy Kling
Best Selling Author and CEO, On Fire Books

Know someone who would love this? Please share.