Work-Life Balance?

Father’s Day and Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur.

“How Can You have Work-Life Balance and Be Successful As An Entrepreneur?

I was asked this question when interviewed by a publication for Father’s day. They asked for “wisdom from an inspirational dad.”

Well, Socrates said, “the only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” I would say that quote best describes my role attempting to integrate my role as a father into my professional endeavors.

There have been a lot of hard lessons along the way, and I am still learning.

Being asked to write about being a father makes me reflect on the times that I wasn’t so exceptional.

There is never a seamless integration. It’s messy and complicated. And that’s OK, because that means that you are struggling with the right things.

Transcript

Seeking Wisdom from an Inspirational Dad

I was recently interviewed for a Father’s Day article. They wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional fathers who inspire and positively influence others through their personal and professional lives. They wanted to know my insights on how I seamlessly integrate my role as a father into my professional endeavors, and how I was able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.  That my words might inspire other marketers who strive to find harmony in their personal and professional lives.

In the invitation for the interview, they asked about “seeking wisdom from an inspirational dad.”

Socrates said, “the only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” I would say that quote best describes my role attempting to integrate my role as a father into my professional endeavors. Because honestly, being asked to do this only made me think of the unhealthy work-life balance that I’ve had. And seamless integration of my role as a father into my professional life – seriously.

Here’s the deal…

I am married to an amazing woman, and we have 4 incredible daughters. One of them, especially, is a mirror of me. She acts, thinks, and talks just like I did at that age. While it makes me proud, it also pains me that she may have to learn many of life’s lessons about being a driven, type A extrovert that I did. If I could spare her the pains that I’ve experienced in the learning process, I would. Yet those lessons are what makes us what we are and teaches us to be humble, sympathetic, and gracious.

I haven’t always been able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I was driven to build my marketing agency and was very successful. But to accomplish this, it took long hours at the office and weeks away from home speaking at conferences and events around the world.

I remember the day that I was reading an article about work-life balance. While more than 10 years ago, the details are still fresh in my mind. I realized at that moment that all my work won’t impact the people who are closest to me and depend on me the most. My family were the only people in this world who would truly value and appreciate my time.

My job, as a father, is to invest in my wife and daughters. Nothing I could build would last longer than the impact I would leave on my daughters’ lives.  At that realization, I immediately left work and went home to be with them, deciding later that week to sell my agency business.

Being asked to write about being a father makes me reflect on the times that I wasn’t so exceptional. There is never a seamless integration. It’s messy and complicated. And that’s OK, because that means that you are struggling with the right things.

Instead of just building the careers of others through my training, I try to spend more time building relationships with each daughter. Encouraging each one of them in their talents by not only investing money in their interests, but attending, coaching, developing, and cheerleading. I’ve learned that it’s the everyday, simple things that mean the most; being there when they get a personal best race time, driving them to events that are hours away, or apologizing when I’ve done something wrong.

It makes for a messy schedule; it’s tiring and sometimes I grumble. Sometimes there is harmony, but that’s usually the exception. But nothing replaces the joy in my girls’ faces when dad is there to celebrate their victories, or just being there for them to talk, vent, or cry.

My father died just a few weeks ago. I looked up to him as an example, a mentor, and a confidant. He was one who never rested, there was always something to do. But he always had time to talk. There wasn’t a week that went by that my dad and I would talk at least once, in person or on the phone.

But over the years dementia took his mind away. About 8 years ago, our conversations changed, and became more infrequent. He would forget my name, but he knew I was his son.  Then, he thought I was one of his brothers as his mind went to the past, rather than the present.

At the end, I’m not sure he knew who I was, and I missed those conversations – usually over coffee – the hours that we would talk and debate. We could easily talk about things – even things we disagreed about, because I knew that he valued that time as well.  We could leave conversations open, we didn’t have to solve problems or come to an agreement. The point was that had that time together and had the kind of talks that only people trust and love each other can have. That’s the kind of communication that he taught me to have with my daughters.

What’s the secret to a harmonious personal and professional life? I found that when I invested more time into the lives of my family and was more interested in them and their needs than the needs of my clients, they were much more supportive of my work. Having that support makes the work balance easier and more efficient.

In our work lives, we value professional development and say, “always be learning.” Being a husband of 26 years and father of 4 young women – and an entrepreneur?  I don’t know much, but I’m always learning.

If you are a father – or a mother, I hope that this inspires you. Your kids don’t need a superdad or supermom. It’s not the grand gestures that they’ll remember. It’s the everyday, mundane things – cooking breakfast, eating together, reading a story at night, playing board games –  those things will build a solid trusting relationship into their adulthood.

Happy Father’s Day.

What lessons did you learn from your father? Or from the father figure in your life? I’d love to know them. Use the comments on the show page and share them. I’d love to know what you think. I’ll see you for our next conversation – on the endless coffee cup.