“There Is No Right or Wrong Way to Do This” — Alicia Jabbar on Becoming a Parent and Building a Business
“I am a pandemic parent and am candidly still discovering new depths of grief around what that has meant for me. I brought my 15 month old son to the grocery store for the first time last week.” — Alicia Jabbar
Every year, we invite people to sign up for Wise Women’s Council, a community of women that are parents while also entrepreneurs, leaders, and business founders.
As I was reflecting on all of the incredible women who are joining us for another year of connection and growth, I couldn’t help wish more of you could get to know them. These brilliant humans are changing the future of work and parenting.
We’re starting feature more of these wise women here on the Startup Parent blog to introduce you to some of the people who make up our magic community.
This week, I want to introduce you to Alicia Jabbar — a co-founder of Inside Out Incubator, an organization that designs and delivers leadership programs for women working in male dominated industries.
She is also an executive leadership coach who partners with individuals to increase their leadership capacity without sacrificing themselves. She also facilitates the Interpersonal Dynamics course (“Touchy Feely”) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Here’s our interview.
What time did you wake up this morning and what was the first thing you did?
6:30 to an alarm (thank you daylight savings). I pet my dog and stayed laying down and meditated using the Sam Harris app.
Who are all the people on your support team who help you, both visible and invisible?
I am a person who thrives with a lot of support. These are both paid professionals and a group of inspiring people (mostly women).
How many actual work hours do you have to do your work in any given week? (Give us your best estimate).
I jam a lot into my daycare hours, much of which is not work. And do my hikes where I tap into my creativity count? I would say 20-25 hours.
What is something that’s not obvious about you right away? Something that people misunderstand about you or your business?
I experience life at a depth that scares many people.
Give us a glimpse into your parenting journey: what’s it like right now? What have been some of the more challenging parts and what has surprised you?
I am a pandemic parent and am candidly still discovering new depths of grief around what that has meant for me. I brought my 15 month old son to the grocery store for the first time last week. I haven’t sat with another family who has a similar aged kid over a shared meal. I haven’t witnessed many other parents and families operating systems live since becoming a parent. I am exhausted from the amount of decisions that need to be made. I am overwhelmed by how no decision ever feels “over,” but is rather reinvented. I am in daily wonder at watching a little being learn about the world and to watch him discover how things work and relate to one another. I am comforted by his hugs and snuggles.
If you could go back and give yourself any advice about parenting, what would it be?
There is no right or wrong way to do this.
How has parenting changed you? How has business changed you?
Parenting has provided a HUGE opening to explore some of my own trauma related to how I was parented (or not). It has put a magnifying glass to the things that were already my human struggles and placed glitter upon them to make them attractive to look at with the depth of love and heart that only parenthood can reveal in you. It has forced me to be more choice-ful and disciplined in how I spend all of my resources. I’ve lost patience and gained love.
Business feels like a full expression of me as a human. It has changed the way I view the world and it’s become a place to be an advocate in action. It is a place of possibility and creativity.
How long have you been building your business and what was the origin story or what was the idea?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur in some capacity – something I only realized recently. When I first transitioned to coaching and facilitating full time, my network afforded me solid, corporate contracts. Fairly quickly I realized that the recipients of funding for leadership development within companies was a very white male profile. It left me yearning for something else because I realized how much that upheld expired systems.
Originally, we founded Inside Out to bring executive level resourcing and development to women earlier in their careers and to do it in community. We wanted to rebel against the notion that those services were reserved or attached to exclusivity.
“Parenting has provided a HUGE opening to explore some of my own trauma related to how I was parented (or not). It has put a magnifying glass to the things that were already my human struggles and placed glitter upon them to make them attractive to look at with the depth of love and heart that only parenthood can reveal in you. ” — Alicia Jabbar
If you could go back and give yourself any advice about entrepreneurship, leadership, or business, what would it be?
Trust your point of view.
When you’re a visionary, it takes time for people to follow.
Please share a specific area of expertise that is really useful for our audience. What is a skill, tip, or teachable tool that you’d like to share?
We have a concept called the “one, two punch.” The first punch comes from external places. You, like many of us, spend so much time avoiding that first punch. In doing so, you rob yourself of a lot in the process. You keep yourself small. You don’t enter into unknown territory. You minimize being surprised. Parenthood is that first punch. It’s life altering and impossible to grasp until you are in it.
The more powerful place to focus reducing pain is in the second punch, which is the punch you give yourself. It’s when you treat yourself harshly, you expect yourself to be better or do different even when you are not practiced and are still learning. It’s beating yourself up for having a certain emotion or need (or any emotion or need at all). It’s expecting yourself to know how to parent or handle something that you’ve never experienced.
Give us 3 tools, parent hacks, or business hacks that have really helped you.
Do not search Google in the middle of the night.
If you need help, ask.
Put it down and come back to it later.
The Startup Parent Podcast
The Startup Parent Podcast — Episode #001
No matter how much prep work you do, there is no way to anticipate the experience of having a baby or starting a business. Dismayed by the flawed narratives and tropes around pregnancy and motherhood, I set out to interview real people about the honest truth of motherhood, parenting, and building businesses (or careers). Here’s where it all started.
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If you're growing a business, leading a team, or figuring out entrepreneurship and you have kids, this podcast is for you. We go in-depth with founders and entrepreneurial parents about what it really takes to have babies, grow businesses, and get a little bit of sleep. Sign up for the newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox, click here to sponsor the podcast, and if you like what you hear leave us a review on iTunes.
Sarah K Peck
Founder, Startup Parent
Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Parent, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Parent Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.
She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.