It strikes me that the older I get, the more successful I become, and there is always more work to be done. While I am in a great position at the office leading my business, even the higher- level priorities that I have set for myself–vision, branding, innovation– seem to consume much time. When I am serving on my church board, corporate boards, and the Entrepreneurs Organization, I seem to be busier than ever. In fact, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Everyone reading this is likely pulled in many directions on a day-to-day basis. You work, you serve, you coach your kids’ Little League game, but what happens when you go home? Is it, “honey, I’m too tired to make decisions, you decide,” or you are so spent from working hard all day that you vegetate on the couch?
Or, have you figured out that the only legacy we really have in life isn’t with regard to our companies, but to our children and families?
I realize as I look at my own four children that they want me to lead them, and while it is important to lead at the office, and it’s imperative to give back to the greater community as a whole, it all means nothing if we neglect our own children who are just begging for our leadership and our time. I was with my two-year old son today who simply just wanted to be everything daddy; if I brushed my teeth, he had to brush his; if I worked at my computer, he had to sit on the floor and work on his; and, if I sat and paid attention to him, he was in complete rapture. He looks to me to set the moral compass of the household, to teach him right from wrong, to teach him how to treat his siblings, and to teach him how to treat women and even how to have faith. He also looks to me to teach him how to give back, and how to work hard and to help other people. Quite simply he needs me, and the amount of time he will need me is quite fleeting and will pass quickly. Eventually, he will make all the decisions himself, and I can only hope I’ve given him the important tools he needs.
For those who work hard, I encourage you to do so, but not to the extent that you come home unable to lead your families. For those who sacrifice themselves on various boards giving back to charities, not-for-profits and Little League, I definitely believe they are worthwhile causes as I do the same, but not at the cost of being unable to function when you get home. The cost isn’t worth it. There is no greater work you can do, than the work you do at home. Otherwise, if you aren’t careful, you might come home to find that there is no one left to lead.