After carrying pregnancy and heading towards 9 months, every mother looks forward for labor pains and of course the delivery of the baby and live happily ever after.
I have gone through labor pains in several occasions, when I say several, I mean more than once. The most memorable is on 14th April 2007, it was induced labour. The baby was 2 weeks overdue and my husband was about to leave for a training for 2 months. We wanted him to see the baby before leaving and therefore we chose to evict him from the womb forcefully.
The period between the first contraction and the birth many things happen. Some mothers vomit and do other not very pleasant things. This period can be very short or prolonged to over 20 hours but very painful, this varies from one mother to another. The contractions at the beginning may take 10 to 15 minutes to come. Then the gap narrows to 5 minutes, then 3 minutes and as it progresses the frequency and the pain increases. These instances of contraction are very painful. I have never been able to explain this pain. It’s a very unique kind of pain. The 20 hours seem like a life time. Interestingly, after the baby is born, the pain is completely forgotten and behold, it’s celebration time.
Sales/business start ups :
I consider selling insurance and starting a business the same. Because selling insurance as an agent is basically running your own business. No body pays you a salary, you have to pay yourself. Starting a new business or a sales career is like pregnancy. You are very prepared or sometimes not prepared to start, you even have some capital. The journey begins when you open shop and you go for training. Initially you may have some money to carry you through the first 3 or 6 months, some people start making their first sales immediately because of their initial connections. These could be relatives or friends but then the tap runs dry and they start the hustle. You have to lay the foundations if your business, Relationships are your greatest assets. You must build trust based business relationships. This takes time, the most painful moment is when you are at the blink of giving up, all the money is gone, you struggle to pay bills and business doesn’t seem to peak. You start doubting your capability and wishing you kept your job. This is the 20 hours painful moment that seems like a life time. Labor pains are progressing and the energies are going down
What can you do during labor?
For today, I recommend 3 keeps.
1. Keep the focus on the baby:
The more and the closer the contractions, the more the pain. Remember how sweet it is to hold a new born baby. Focus on the baby and not the pain. I believe when you started the business you had a vision, you were very clear on what you wanted to achieve. During this difficult time, think about the overall outcome of your business after all this struggle. How much profit did you envision making? What did you plan to do with this money? See yourself doing it. Focus on your goals and not your difficulties.
2. Keep a mentor:
I have not climbed a mountain but my husband who has climbed Mt. Kenya tells me that, there is someone who holds the rope at the top of the mountain and they keep pulling you as you climb. A mentor is that person that when you throw the rope, you are sure they will hold it and keep pulling you even when the climbing get tough.
During labor, some doctors/nurses will tell you to take a deep breath, they check your cervix and they tell you how many cms you have dilated. Incase you need a c-section, they will tell you what to expect and this helps you relax and handle the pain better.
In business you need that person who can make the journey easier, they will not take the pain away from you but they will encourage you to take that deep breath that reduces the pain.
3. Keep learning
In labour, it helps to ask the doctor questions or even read to know on advance what to expect. This is same for business, ask those who have gone ahead, read books about your business, attend seminars and workshops. Keep learning and finding out new ways of doing your business. Keep an eye on the new trends. Like in today world, you cannot ignore social media. If you are selling insurance, your clientele is becoming more sophisticated, you cannot continue hawking insurance. Look for new ways to connect with your client.
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