Invest in Yourself


In the context of family business you need to balance the WE (the family) and the I (the individual). Know your personal dreams outside of the family business so you can be happy as an individual. The only thing you have control over is yourself, so invest in yourself.

Families that I’ve worked with that kind of get the continuity right do an excellent job of balancing the ‘we’, who are we as a family, what do we stand for, what’s our history, what’s our culture, what are our values, what’s our vision, but they also do a great job of balancing that with the ‘I’. So who are the individuals within our family, what are their dreams, what are their hopes and what purpose do they have. So I think that it’s really important for the emphasis to be balanced on that ‘we’. Most of us have worked with families where we are very familiar with the archetypal founder, the wealth creator, strong personality, very dynamic, often quite autocratic, strong leadership style, and if family members, with a leader like that, are not really secure in who they are and know who themselves are, the danger is that they get co-opted into the dream of the founder. And it’s not necessarily that the founders dream is a bad dream, it just might not be their personal dream. I like to make the analogy of being drafted, rather than choosing. And so when working with family members, we’ll ask them questions like, if there was not family enterprise, what would you be doing with your life? What excites you? What are your dreams and hopes? It’s important that family members within the context of the family enterprise know who they are as a person, know how they want to show up. I often council family members that, the only thing that you really have control over in your life is your own self. So invest in yourself. Invest in doing the work on yourself and showing up exactly as the person you want to be.

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