Family Identifies Humor as a Key Attribute for Family Business Success

file1161276033048One of the exercises we have families do is to reflect upon the attitudes and behaviors that lead to their success and conversely, their breakdowns. Business coaching utilizes many of the same ideas that are used in sports coaching. Teams get in the film room and review their performances to find ways to improve.

One family this week identified their ability to find humor in their daily work as an important skill in creating the right atmosphere for family business success.

Don’t mistake this with the overuse of humor. I’ve seen families use humor in ways that are harmful and a bit passive aggressive. These families use humor as a way to say things that they don’t have the courage to say without cloaking it in humor.

This family was talking about a healthy level of humor.  In coaching we call this the ability to embody “lightness”—not taking things too seriously.

I know many of the things you face in your family business are serious – I’m not trying to deny that. At the same time when I look back over the many challenges I faced in our family business most of them weren’t exactly a make or break moment.

Keeping a mindset of lightness is a muscle you can build over time. Brain scientists show us now how we are pattern makers. The research proves that we can build new patterns of thinking. We do that by staying mindful to our perspectives. It is a choice you make, to keep a light or heavy perspective on your daily work.

When you can learn to create lightness, you can have a team and family that learn to “roll with the punches” and that therefore can be more resilient and creative as they face challenges.

Keeping a perspective of lightness can make life more peaceful and less tiring. Make a commitment to discussing this with your family, and see if you can practice this new mindset. Remember, like any new skill it takes time to get a feel for it and make it a part of your daily life!

Don’t give up. Don’t back down if others in the family don’t jump on board. Make it your own personal mission to build new brain patterns. Lead by example. 

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