There are many facets to us as individuals. Be intentional about the roles that you want to be playing. Your goals and identities will evolve at different life stages.
So I think, you know, one of the things in the world of family business that we always reflect on is the complexity, right, there’s the complexity of the overlapping systems of family and business and ownership. But the truth is even as individuals, we have complexity, and you want to have some complexity, right, there’s different facets of our life, we play different roles. We may be a mother, we may be a business leader, we may be civically engaged, so there’s lots of different places where we play a role, and I think there’s a lot of value in being intentional and thinking about, what’s the role that I want to be playing? What are the constraints that I have right now in my life, and if I think about it at the different time horizons, so kind of when you’re a younger person, say in the 20’s – 40’s, I think about that a little bit as a building phase, right, so you’re building, you may be building a family of your own, you may be partnering with somebody and potentially be having children, you are hopefully building skills in terms of your professional role and building capabilities, and exploring at the same time. So I think, one wants to give yourself a little bit of flexibility when you’re younger to take some risks and you know, we think well this is the path I’m supposed to be on and maybe in a family business context that may happen more so because there is a path that’s available to us, but I think it’s important to question it a little bit, to explore and to try and then to assess honestly with ourselves, is this the right fit? Am I developing the skills that I need and I want for my own professional career growth, and what does the business need? So finding the right balance between those two, sometimes competing goals. And also, what does the business need me to develop for the future? So the business is not a static entity either, so if we’re thinking about the skills that we want to build, it’s useful sometimes to think about that looking around the corner. How can I be building in a way that’s helpful to me personally, what interests me, and also thinking about where is the business going and how can I add value, if that’s the place that I want to play in terms of my work role, right, my professional role. And then on the wellness piece, I think again, it’s really valuable when we’re young to think about building skills and good habits around that so that as we get older, we have that inner strength and that capability, and I would say that for women in particular, we do tend to, I think that’s the place where we may often cut out, sell ourselves short. Because it’s so challenging already to balance all the demands of building a family, etc., and then building a professional role, and a sense of competence in that area that often the self-care, the wellness piece, that’s often the one that will sort of take a back seat. And I think that’s regrettable if we think about kind of the next tranche that I think about, from your 40’s to your 60’s, I think about that as the kind of, expanding and strengthening piece of it. Your family is expanding, your kids are getting older, they have more interests, maybe I have teenagers, they’re in my house all the time, I feel like my family circle gets larger and that will only become more so as my kids come to an age where they will be partnering and so there will be new spouses in the family, new children, etc. so there’s a growth and an expansion in the family system at that age. Similarly in the business sphere, hopefully when you are between 40 and 60 is really when you’re hitting your stride and you really have great competence professionally and you are in a position to really grow into the role that you want for yourself, hopefully the business is growing as well, so there’s parallel growth and again on the wellness side, it’s really important to grow, I think once your kids are a little bit older it’s really important to invest in other interests and other passions, how can I be engaged in my community, how can I grow the sphere’s where I play roles so that I have a little bit of that richness in terms of things that might interest me. And again, continuing to take care of ourselves from a physical health, emotional health spiritual health piece, that’s really important. So that again, you kind of move into that next third phase of 60+, hopefully that’s the enjoyment stage. So your enjoying your family now, your kids are hopefully launched, so they’re a little bit more stable and you’ll eventually have some grandchildren to enjoy as well, and that’s a wonderful thing. And then in the business, right, hopefully you’re in a place where you can continue to engage and be a very active role and then transition into mentoring and even as you are engaged and having an active role in terms of leadership, that you have a lot of knowledge and experience to impart to the next generation, so there’s that generativity or mentoring phase that I think is really valuable and enriching, before the organisation. And working with retired CEO’s these days, a lot, it’s fabulous, I listen to them tell stories about how much they get out of the experience of sharing their knowledge and experience with the younger generation and how fulfilling that is for them. So I would really encourage folks to explore that ability. And again on the wellness piece, this is where the dividends pay off of that long term commitment to taking care of ourselves, physically, etc. so that we have the strength and the capability to truly enjoy and to pursue you know a variety of things, whether it be travel, you know new hobbies, new exciting opportunities that you want to be physically and healthy in order to really do that for as many years as possible.