It was a blockbuster year – the first time I felt like I had made it as an entrepreneur. I felt successful, wealthy and believed (rightly so) great things, massive deals, are within reach. The bar had risen dramatically you could say. But it was also the same, and the only year, I was on autopilot as a father and husband. I took things at home for granted. I was traveling for work seemingly every week, closing deals, starting a new business and ripping shit up as a professional. It seemed good things just happened for me as an entrepreneur, so I always made myself available for the next potential client or opportunity. Make hay when the sun shines as they say. I’m a big believer in momentum, and when you have it, hang onto it for dear life. But as a result, my duties as a father, and opportunities as a husband, regrettably, and honestly without knowing, took a back seat.
At the time, when you’re in the midst of it all, it can be hard to see. But when you take a step back and reflect, it’s as clear as day.
It is a challenge we face as entrepreneurs – as Fatherpreneurs or Mompreneurs. Balancing family and professional lives is probably the biggest tandem-challenge we’ll face. Many have one; few have both. But we MUST achieve both. Because without our loved ones, why do we hustle? What’s the point? Success is not for our sole benefit. I’d argue that being professionally successful and alone is a failure.
We all want to be Super Mom or Dad. We all want to over deliver in our businesses. Most of us want to leave thriving businesses and portfolios behind for our children to take over if they so choose. We want to help others, sometimes complete strangers, achieve wealth so they can over deliver for their own families – that’s what makes us entrepreneurs. We realize it’s no fun at the top of a lonely mountain.
I daydream of hiking Kilimanjaro with my boys one day. I fantasize about buying a vacation home in the Mediterranean for my wife and me to escape to when we are not too old and grey. I want freedom later, so I’ll bust my ass now. But with that said, I can’t ignore the NOW… nor can you. There are enough spoiled rich kids in this world who grew up with presents and fancy cars from their parents as a way to make up for their absence. Let’s not repeat that.
The journey is more meaningful than the destination. And with children, focusing on the NOW sets them up for the rest of their life. My children are in their most formative years, and I can’t afford to be absent. They need me and I them. My wife has taught me this…
I’m so lucky to have the wife I do. She has context. Her dad was similar to me – a driven entrepreneur whose work took him all over the world. Wanting to make a better life for his family, he set big goals and garnered some of the world’s largest most successful companies as clients. But, like myself, it came at a cost. He was often on the road, missing those moments with his kids so many of us do as entrepreneurs, to provide them a better life than he had. Admirable.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but my bar as a father is high. I want to be the best. I want to be ALL: The wildly successful entrepreneur and the attentive and value setting father and husband. And I can be. Much of it is prioritizing. I must delegate and surround myself with talent as driven as I am.
In order to be ALL to those we love, we must surround ourselves with like-minded folks. Work hours as an entrepreneur will always be exhaustive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for your loved ones. It’s going to take sacrifice. And you may have to skip a night out, miss a workout or two, get to bed earlier and wake up earlier, but it’s all a choice. The first step is identifying the need.
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