Are you paying attention?

by | Sep 25, 2017

Mid-September, kids are all back in school, parent teacher meetings are happening, hockey season has started, work is ramping back up. As the mother of 4 children, between the ages of 3 and 13, September is crazy.

Last night was the perfect example. Hockey for my 7 year old at 5:30, two parent teacher meetings at 5:30 and 6:30. Dinner, baths, oh and I had an online meeting at 7 pm.

It feels frantic, make food, eat food, rush to the rink, the 3 year old is taking the time 3 year olds need to make transitions, breathe, breathe…

We get to the rink and I quickly get my 7 year old dressed, he gets on the ice. Breathe, we made it.

As we are watching him play he is falling, not just a bit, a lot. And not when anyone is near him. Are his skates dull? No we had them sharpened not so long ago, are they tight enough? After about 15 minutes of me watching this, I go over to ask the coach to check and see if his skates are ok. I learn after the game that my dear son was having a hard time staying up on his skates because they were…. Yes on the wrong feet. Yes in the rush, while not paying attention, his skates were on the wrong feet. The fact that he didn’t say anything, well he’s only 7 and is a determined little guy.

After hockey we proceed to the library to choose some books to bring home. My 3 year old has found a playmate and is having a blast playing puppet show. We give her a two-minute warning. She says no. I remind her we have to go home (I remind myself I have an online meeting in 20 minutes). The boys bring me their stacks of books, which I am trying to sign out. The older two go to grab their hockey sticks at the rink (which have gone missing), I am carrying my 7 years old hockey equipment, balancing a stack of books, and carrying warm coats and scarves from being in the arena. We tell my 3 year old its time to leave, she starts to scream and cry and carry on. I am still signing out books. And then the crying stops and she disappears.

I figure she’s playing on the ramp just in the community centre outside the door or looking at the emptied pool because they are doing maintenance. No, she’s not there. Ok, she’s gone back to the rink, no she’s not there. She’s in the library, I can’t find her there either. We check outside, the older kids and I split up and search, I leave the 7 year old on a bench with hockey equipment, sweaters, coats and scarves and a large pile of books and we search. We cannot find her anywhere. Breathe.

After about 5 minutes of searching (which is forever when your 3 year old is missing), my 10 year old finds her hiding at the back of the library. She’s safe. We go home, I get them snacks and in the bath and somehow I manage to jump on my call…


In examining what happened, I realize that I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t present to what was happening in the moment, and that this is what caused the mistakes, the crises, the disappearing child.

As a business owner, I also know that when I am not paying attention, I risk making mistakes, damaging relationships and creating future problems. And yet, as business owners we are often so busy with so many things, cash flow, business growth, customer service, marketing, we often can’t keep all of these balls in the air and pay attention.

As a business owner and a coach, I have seen the direct benefit of clarity, focus and paying attention to the right things. Of noticing when you are not paying attention to areas of your business that need attention. We all have things we love to do, and things we don’t. By not paying attention to the things you don’t like to do, (finances, and marketing anyone?), we sabotage our own success.

As a mother, partner and coach I see what happens to our relationships when we don’t pay attention. Tension, conflict, misunderstanding.

I am passionate about supporting individuals and business owners to get clarity and to learn how to pay deep attention to all areas of their life and business. This simple act has transformative, beautiful results.

Meet the author


Jennifer Williams


Experience Matters: Over 20 years in employee ownership.

Leadership: Held key roles in a 100% employee-owned company during significant growth and change (2003-2013)

Consultancy: Successfully guided over 40 businesses on employee-ownership and through their transitions to employee ownership, building a robust portfolio of satisfied clients.

Jennifer also owns a family business transitioning to employee ownership and has designed Firefly Insights as a worker-owned consulting firm to support business owners like you.