One of my friends from way back is Lance Cummins, a fellow business owner and musician. How far back? Well, you may have heard me talk before about my first album way back in 2000 that was so bad that it never got released. Lance was in the studio that day. In fact, I recorded some tracks for his album the same day. (His album got released but since these were the days when we were still duplicating cassette tapes, good luck with finding it.)
Lance is inspiring to me because of his focus on his family life and balance. He lives a few hours away, but we have gotten the families together a few times in the past few months. I watch the things that he does with his family and incorporate them in my family. I hope that he does not read this and send me a bill. I parent different today than I did a year ago and am focused on getting better and better. He is a big part of that.
Guys, if you are a business owner, your business will eat you and your family alive if you are not very careful. I have been conscious of this for decades. The pressure is just intense. You simply cannot afford not to have a strategy for dealing with the collateral damage that comes with the responsibility of a business.
I was reminded of that just this week. I have about three very high conflict situations going on at the moment where legal threats and such are being thrown at me. While I tend to go long periods without such distractions, they are an unfortunate reality of business. It is very tough to let that go after business is done for the day, without it impacting your life and family.
Of course, while I am talking about this from the perspective of an entrepreneur, the pressure I am talking about affects everyone and every family to some extent. If you like me are interested in intentionally taking steps to improve your family, I am happy to recommend Lance’s new podcast Family Focused Entrepreneur.
By the way, just for fun, I will tell you a few of the things that we are doing differently as a family right now. First, we made a decision to start traveling more. I think travel and reading may be the two most important things you can encourage in your children to help them think well because those are two primary ways they are exposed to diversity in thought. We are actually taking that to a bit of an extreme in that we are going as a family to Europe for 10 days this summer. However, this past weekend, we just went to Savannah and did Civil War history. I want the kids to understand exactly why the South made that decision to go to war, why they thought they could win, why they were wrong, and the very high price they paid for being wrong. We also watched Gone With the Wind this week which obviously fits the theme.
While not every family has the time or resources to travel a lot, the second thing that we are doing is a lot easier and costs nothing: we are making family dinner an important part of the day. Marla is a great cook and we have always eaten together at night. However, these days, we are making an event of it. Every night we discuss a book we are all reading together (currently To Kill a Mockingbird) and we also talk about other topics. This week for example, we discussed our business strategy, whether AI is a threat to humans, Stephen Hawking’s beliefs and contributions, how to be attractive to the opposite sex (much to the kids’ dismay), the Civil War, and a mishmash of other things.
What Lance says in one of those podcasts is very true. If you want something to improve, you have to intentionally take steps to improve it. It is a lot harder to do that with a family than a business because business is all about very definable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). However, you can define goals in a family, too, with some work. Check out his blog/podcast and learn with him. If you have thoughts about ways to improve your family life and balance, post them below.