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The Wixii™ Project: Wendy Barry

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The Wixii Project: Wendy BarryName:  Wendy Barry

Location: Colorado

CompanyJP Lizzy

Professional Industry: Entrepreneur

Job Title:  Owner

WIXII-ISM™ FROM WENDY: 

“When I was a new mom, I wanted to do everything correctly and I worried that the role of mom had to look/feel a certain way.  I realize now that it is a beautiful opportunity to carve out a role that works best for you and makes you the happiest.  That looks different for every woman but as long as you follow your own dreams and listen to your own needs, your whole family will thrive.”

WENDY’S STORY:

Meet our featured Wixii™, Wendy Barry.  She is in her early 40s and mother to 3 children: twin son and daughter (ages 11) and daughter (age 6).  She received a B.S. in Psychology from Creighton University.  She currently owns and operates, JP Lizzy, a handbag accessory company for busy women with children and careers.  She is an active member of her community and loves running.

WENDY’S CAREER PATH:

I graduated from Creighton University with a degree in Psychology and pursued a career in Human Resources.  My favorite job was creating the HR function in a start-up environment.  I loved the idea of building something from scratch, and I got to hear other department managers talk about their pieces of the business (operations, marketing, etc.).  I was pregnant with twins at the time and my position ended as bed rest began.  My babies were born at 27 weeks on THE September 11, 2001 so needless to say, my priorities quickly adjusted.  We were extremely blessed that John and Emma, although only 2lbs, developed into healthy and thriving children.  When life settled down a bit, I found myself craving a work-life mix.  I wanted to stay home, yet I wanted to learn something new.  Ideas for new businesses were constantly jumping to mind.  With the support of my family, I launched JP Lizzy (named after my twins John Patrick and Emma Elizabeth) in 2002.  As a consumer, I saw the need for a company that designs beautiful bags for the busy lifestyle, and once I started exploring, the doors kept opening—I was quickly connected to a local manufacturer, relevant trade events, etc.  The journey of entrepreneurship has been a fun one filled with constant learning and new opportunities.

WENDY’S MINDSET AND WORK-LIFE MIX:

I am an optimist, planner, and opportunist.

My 3 children are all in school full-time.  Before that, I stayed at home with them while I launched my business.  My days are now a mix of being wife/mom, entrepreneur/business owner, house cleaner and squeezing in a workout when I can.  My priority is being a mom so if my kids need something, everything else takes a backseat.  On average, I spend about 20 hours per week focused on JP Lizzy.

Describe a “day in your life” from waketime to bedtime:

I get my kids ready and out the door for school.  They attend a private school across town so I drive them to school, return home to work, go for a run, work some more, run an errand and pick them up from school.  A true mix of activities.  I love having the flexibility to drive them to and from all of their activities, check email, make dinner, do laundry, tuck them in and watch a movie with my husband or work some more.  I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work.

How does your current mindset/attitude empower and/or frustrate your ability to thrive in your work-life mix?  How has your mindset/attitude toward life changed over time?

You learn a lot about yourself as a new mom.  Before I stayed home, I had no idea how much I thrived on checking things off my to-do list and how accomplished that made me feel.  I’m the person who puts “take a shower” on her to-do list so I laugh when I think back to the days when even that didn’t get checked off.  I’ve learned to break even the smallest tasks/projects into pieces and this enables me to stay on track and also gives me those mini bursts of excitement when something is finished.  Thank goodness maturity also brings with it self-acceptance and patience so what was once really important, is less so.

Please share specific tips for effectively managing your time and schedule.

The phrase “chasing shiny objects” can definitely be used to describe me so discipline and a strategic plan are my 2 best friends for managing my time.  I look at each week, insert all of the activities for the kids and then time block in what can be used for exercise, work etc.  This helps me manage my time proactively so that I can insert meetings, coffees, etc. at times when it is least disruptive to my schedule.  I have a strategic plan that includes weekly to-do’s that all roll-up to accomplish my 12-month goals.  This helps ensure that I work on tasks that are meaningful to meeting my vision as opposed to the tasks that are most attention-demanding (email!).

Please share your favorite efficiencies and timesavers.

Oh how I wish I liked to grocery shop and do laundry but since they are my least favorite tasks, I reserve time to do them only 1x week.  It takes some pre-planning, but so far it seems to be working.  My kids are growing up so fast that it makes me want to find ways to spend more time enjoying them and less time doing the other household stuff.

What do you currently find most challenging/concerning about your work-life mix?  What areas do you most needs support?

I find it difficult to say no.  I tend to feel rude or ungrateful so I say yes and then regret it.  I’m sure there is a way to politely decline without being hurtful so I just need to determine what that is and then consistently put it to use.

Are there changes your workplace or you could make to better manage your work-life mix?

Unfortunately, I tend to operate with a mindset that it is “all on me” so better managing my work-life mix is a work in progress.

What advice would you give an earlier version of yourself?

When I was a new mom, I wanted to do everything correctly and I worried that the role of mom had to look/feel a certain way.  I realize now that it is a beautiful opportunity to carve out a role that works best for you and makes you the happiest.  That looks different for every woman but as long as you follow your own dreams and listen to your own needs, your whole family will thrive.

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