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What Olympic Moms are Teaching Mom Entrepreneurs

Susan L Reid

One of the best things about the Olympics is that it draws a large female viewership.

Fifty percent of the people watching the Olympics this year are women. No doubt, women are getting far more out of the Games than just the fun of watching a sporting event.

Mom athletesBecause of this, advertisers are marketing directly to women by spotlighting female special interest groups. One such group is mom Olympic athletes.

While the exact number of “mommy” athletes at the Games is unknown, the U.S. team has 286 women competing this year. Of that group, 20 are moms.

As a small business coach and consultant to entrepreneurial women starting up businesses worldwide, I work with many mom entrepreneurs. The biggest challenges I face with these women include helping them:

  • see beyond their role as mom,
  • understand that being a mother does not mean they have to give up on their dreams,
  • see that they don't have to wait until after their children are grown to follow their aspirations,
  • and understand that it's never too late and they are never too old to start up a business.

Mom Olympic athletes provide inspiration to mom entrepreneurs by exemplifying three important messages:

1. You don't have to give up your aspirations to be a mother.

Ryoko TaniChina's Xian Dongmei was the first mother to capture a gold medal at the Olympics (in judo). Melanie Roach of the U.S., a 119-pound weightlifter, finished sixth in her event. She is the mother of three, and one of her children is autistic. Japanese judo icon Ryoko Tani has won medals at five different Olympics, her most recent time as a mother.

The 2008 "mommy" athletes are showing women entrepreneurs worldwide that motherhood does not mean you have to give up on your entrepreneurial dreams, and telling daughters around the world that it's okay to keep growing, striving, and being who you are.

2. Ambition is not a dirty word.

These women athletes are teaching us that it is perfectly all right to be ambitious, determined, and impressive on a grand-scale—to take what you do onto the world stage and compete with others to be your personal best.

What’s more, these athletes show us that being ambitious and competitive does not make you a bad wife, negligent mother, or selfish person. On the contrary, the mom Olympic athletes know that it's important to be strong, courageous, and willing to go after your dreams. They show us that honing your talent and making a contribution to the world means that you are honoring yourself as a woman.

3. Don't put an age limit on your dreams.

The oldest male athlete competing in the Beijing Olympics is sixty-seven-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu, a dressage rider for the Japanese equestrian team. Fifty-six-year-old Libby Callahan is the oldest female. A retired Washington D.C. police officer, she finished 25th in the 25-meter pistol.

Dara TorresAmerican swimmer Dara Torres, forty-one-year-old mother to two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Tessa, is the oldest Olympic swimmer ever. Dara won three silver medals in the 2008 Games, missing gold by one one-hundredth of a second. And she's not done yet. Feeling as if she has "unfinished business," Dara hinted in an interview with CBS News that she's considering swimming at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

What do Hiroshi, Libby, and Dara have to say to mom entrepreneurs? Don't put any limits on yourself. Dreams are ageless.

So, next time you think you have to put off your dreams because you have children, think of the "mommy" athletes of the 2008 Olympics. See yourself as they see themselves. Remember to honor your aspirations, put yourself and your ideas out into the world, and accept no limits.

Follow your dreams, and don’t give up until you’re the best mom entrepreneur you can be.

Copyright © 2008 by Susan L. Reid

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Copyright ©2008 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses, and is the award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success. If you are ready to take the first steps in owning your business, then get instant access to your own free PDF copy of “Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion” at 

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