5 lessons from the family business looking back 15 years later

looking_backLife doesn’t always go the way you think it will.

I spent most of my childhood thinking that I would spend my entire career in our family business and hopefully someday run the family business.  It didn’t quite turn out that way and, when it’s all said and done, I love the way it turned out.  Don’t think that you can know the way life will turn out.  Stay open and optimistic and flexible about your life.

You can be miserable in the family business or any career for that matter.

I was so convinced a lot of my professional frustration was because of family dynamics.  When I got out and started doing business coaching in the business world I realized frustration happens because of style differences, value differences and being in the wrong       j-o-b.  It’s not always about a family member mistreating you.  It’s about you figuring out how to get along with lots of different types of people in lots of different kinds of situations.

If you’re unhappy do something about it or move on don’t just stay and be miserable.

I haven’t come across any family member in the family business that is physically chained to their desk.  Yet I work with a lot of family business participants that act like they don’t have a choice in the matter.  Get to work figuring out how to make yourself happy, change the situation or Move On life’s too short to SUFFER in a family business!

Make the most of your situation.

I spent 16 years in our family business and took it upon myself to learn how to be a strong business professional and leader.  I was fortunate that we had a very professionally run family business and it gave me the opportunity to build a strong identity and confidence as a business professional.  Every family business situation has its problems.  Find a way to make the most out of your situation and use it to make the most out of your career and your personal happiness.  I took my experience and decided to start a new career that built upon all the great experience I acquired.

Keep learning how to separate family and business.

This was something we were pretty good at as a family.  People often say to me, how can you possibly separate personal from business, you can’t.  Like many things that we teach it’s all about mindset.  Business owners and leaders make business decisions.  They don’t always sit perfectly with you from a personal standpoint and not accepting that is doing yourself, your family and your family business a disservice.  Sure if you think people are making decisions to cause you harm, I guess you should take it personally.  In the majority of cases I’ve seen, business owners are trying to make what they believe are good business decisions and other family members refuse to see that.

At the end of the day, get outside advisers and trusted business professionals to help you have objectivity about what’s going on.  You need to get further away than just your old family cronies that had been helping you for years.  You need new sets of eyes that have not been related to your family forever.

In conclusion, life’s too short to suffer in your family business.  Do whatever you can to begin to make the situation better or build your path to leaving the business.

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