Being involved in the family business can be incredibly challenging on a number of levels. Getting to work with family businesses all over the country exposes me to the countless ways in which the family business can drive someone crazy.
I’m on a mission to find tools and new practices to minimize family business suffering and make those tools available to family businesses everywhere.
One of the most common sources of suffering is the expectations we put upon ourselves and others. When we can let go of those expectations we can dramatically reduce our suffering.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I have high expectations for my life and for others around me but part of my journey was to realize I wasn’t going to get my expectations met within my family business and that was okay.
Everyone has different expectations, different values, and different ways of going through life. I think one of the most difficult things to realize is the family business may not work out just as you had imagined or hoped for.
Within every family and within different generations there are different expectations of the way work should be done or business should be conducted. Just because you think things should be done a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else in the family is going to see it that way.
The sooner you figure this out the better. It’s also important for you to get to a mindset of not making others wrong for having a different opinion of how things should be done.
There are lots of different ways to run a business. Some methods are generally better and more widely accepted “best practices” for running business. But unless you own the business you don’t get to run the business the way you want to run it.
I can’t tell you how many next generation sons and daughters bend my ear to tell me how the way mom and dad are running the business is just flat out wrong. I agree with much of what they have to say but I point out that the business has been successful in spite of being run the way it’s being run.
Sometimes rather than beat your head against the wall it’s better to realize that people are creatures of habit and many times don’t want to change. Your continued badgering and criticism isn’t going to make them relinquish control of the business. In fact it’s probably going to have them become further entrenched in their stubbornness and resistance to change.
Surprisingly, when you can let go of the expectation that they should do it your way you become more peaceful and Zen in your approach and ultimately they begin to be more open to what you have to say.
It’s funny how life works that way. Sometimes the harder you want something the more elusive it becomes. When you can lighten up, loosen up and let go of your preconceived expectations many times things seem to work their way out.
For some people, like myself, you realize your path to the life you want involves you creating your own business and your own opportunities and not becoming jaded in the process. Sometimes when you’re willing to go out on your own and create your own path you later get invited back into the family business.
Let go of the expectations you have for others. Lead by example and create your own opportunities and peacefully pursue your own happiness.