Simplicity rules: Tips from my entrepreneurial parents

October 17, 2014

Simplicity rules: Some tips from my entrepreneurial parents

I grew up with both my parents (and grandparents) being entrepreneurs. At the time, I never realized the benefits of how it allowed them to be flexible with parenting their children, whilst running a business. Despite them divorcing when I was young, they were and still are great friends…as long as they’re not living together!

What is your main goal?

To remain sane, my mom’s philosophy was and still is to take one day at a time. Whenever I’m stressed and tell her that I don’t know how I’m going to get through the week with all I need to achieve, she always says, “Take one day at a time. Everything will work out in the end.” She is [almost] always right.

She’ll ask me, “What is your main goal? What do you need to do and what do you want to do?” Once I’ve answered those questions, everything seems to fall into place. Need versus want is a powerful tool for determining what to do.

She believes in giving yourself room for things to evolve naturally. Use buffers to allow for unexpected things to happen. When everything is planned to the minute detail, there’s no room for personal growth or spontaneity.

Look for shortcuts

From my father I recently learned that he is aware and proud of the fact that he is lazy. During his recent visit to Toronto, he declared, “I’m lazy, so I always look for shortcuts”. He believes that efficient people are often inherently lazy, as they are always looking for shortcuts! He may have a point.

Keeping things simple is counter-intuitive, as we’ve been conditioned to believe that if something is too simple or easy – it’s bad.

I’ve learned that being easy is good. It allows you to spend time on the things that matter and keeps your mind and thoughts clear.

I try and live by the “keep things simple” mantra. I have my own business, two kids, and a husband who travels a lot and works long hours. If I didn’t keep things simple, I’d be toast.

Less is more

My tips for keeping staying above water are:

Set clear goals and accept that you can’t do everything at once.

Everything has its time – just not always all at once.

Take emotions (including guilt) out of tasks and issues.

Determine your core issues and what you are trying to achieve.

Less is more.

The more complicated something is, the less likely you are to want to do it.

Listen to your gut.

If something doesn’t sound or feel right, change it – cancel it – or improve it.

Multi-tasking is a myth.

It’s almost impossible to do two things really well at the same time – unless you have a hidden set of hands.

Use time wisely and make use of dead time.

Always take with you a book, notebook, load up your podcasts or something to do whilst in line, in a waiting room, on the subway or walking – make use of dead time.

What are your core values?

For most people they are related to health, happiness and wealth (by wealth, I don’t mean having to own an empire, but rather achieving financial stability as per your goals)

Take time for yourself.

Walk to a meeting instead of drive, or take the subway. Sometimes that is all that is needed to restart your engine. I walk or use the TTC whenever I can. Driving is more stressful than walking or TTC’ing, as I can read, listen to podcasts, write in my journal or daydream.

Accept things you cannot control.

For example, if there’s a problem on the train, you can’t control it – so it’s not really your problem! Give yourself extra time, in case there are delays to manage the uncontrollable factors.

Starting today, only say yes to things that resonate with your core values. Give yourself room to breathe and above all, take one day at a time.



Debbi Arnold

Debbi Arnold has been coaching small business owners for over a decade. With a strong marketing and business background, she believes in keeping things simple and relevant to your customer, business and product. Her coaching style is honest, direct and in sync with your values, personality and goals. At DA Coaching & Consulting, you and Debbi build a plan together, so that you are motivated and inspired to achieve your goals.