I think all too often as entrepreneurs we get caught up in juggling and focusing on our business and we start to neglect what should be our primary priority–our family. Simply put, I think many of us (certainly me included in the past) have put so much emphasis on building this thing we call our business and coming up with strategic plans, mission statements, core values and ensuring we have great culture in our company that we forget about our family unit. Where is your balance? How many of us really lead our family?
It’s a tough question to really answer, often responses can be that my wife handles it, or in truth it turns out that we’re just observers instead of participants in the family dynamic. What we could be doing rather is creating a set of family core values that are important and relevant to our family that everyone buys into, values that our children can repeat to us, not because we drum it into them, but because they believe in them. We did this in our household with great effect and found that it’s led to my wife and I strategically planning where we want our family to go and grow, how we want our lives to be and it’s allowed us to mould our family and instead of allowing the world to mould it.
In short we’ve created a family culture that starts with our family values and which creates a thread that ties us all together. We’ve found this cord runs through everything we do, whether it’s work, play, school or something else. We test to make sure it lines up before we say yes. I’ll personally say as a father of four very young children it’s made a huge difference in our lifestyle. It’s allowed us to make choices that other families wouldn’t because we are looking down the road and can see the bigger picture and we know where we are going.
So while it’s great that often we are great at creating amazing culture in our companies, we need to start creating great culture in our homes. Many of us chose to be entrepreneurs because it gave us the right to be free, or at least a chance to chase that freedom. Wouldn’t it be sad if we attained that freedom at the expense of our family?
When it’s all said and done I know the only real legacy I have is my children, so I want to personally ensure that I did everything I could to make sure they were raised the right way, with the right values, with the right opportunities. I want them to know we not only lived purpose driven lives, and that we were high performing corporate athletes, but we also spent time and effort as their parents to ensure the home life was well curated, that it was important to us, and not an afterthought.
So to me, to lead, especially as an entrepreneur, means I first lead my family to success.