As the year ends, we find ourselves busy with results, reports, and revisions for the upcoming year. We spend most of our time and energy analyzing what needs to be adjusted, changed, added, or deleted to keep our business growing. Even during a season of joy, friends, family, and celebrations, our attention is often focused on work. We are preoccupied with numbers, year-end wrap-ups, new partners, potential investors, and upcoming events we committed to months ago. It’s an interesting time for entrepreneurship and family as we strive to balance our attention between work and personal life.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s important to consider our priorities, especially regarding our family. Our spouses, children, parents, siblings, extended family, and friends who are like family are all important to us. We need to ask ourselves where they fall on our to-do list and what goals we have specifically for them. After all, how can we end the year well if we don’t end it well with those closest to us? The simple answer is that we can’t.
For instance, have you noticed your parents aging and showing more weaknesses lately? When you gather for your family holiday festivities, you may notice new things you haven’t seen before. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get distracted from what we should notice most. After my mom fell twice in six months and required medical intervention, I wrote a lighthearted “commercial” for the products my business innovates and sells. (You know, balancing that entrepreneurship and family thing!) However, it also highlights some actual dynamics of families across the country.
When My Mom Fell
My father is worried my mother might fall in the yard while he’s watching TV because there’s no way to guarantee it would happen during a commercial. On the other hand, Mother isn’t as concerned because she has fallen a couple of times before and didn’t like it. Apparently, she believes she has developed an aversion. “Why would I fall?” my mother demands, as if people need a persuasive reason.
A dutiful and caring son, I’m worried, too — and my solution is that they should both go live with my sister. My sister says this is fine as long as she can simultaneously move in with me. Otherwise, she doesn’t think it makes sense for my parents to live with her because she’d wind up needing rehab. “That’s just silly,” I respond. “There were years and years of your life when you lived with your parents and didn’t drink anything then.” “Right. That’s why I’m in therapy,” she says.
Are Your Entrepreneurship and Your Family Both in a Hurry?
My mother fell because she’s always running places, in a hurry because her physical therapy from her last tumble has put her behind schedule. She’s been retired for over a decade and has never been more stressed. “You need to slow down. Smell the roses,” my father tells her. (The last time my mother fell was in the rose bushes.) Her idea is that we should issue her a .38-caliber pistol. If she falls, she can attract my father’s attention by firing bullets into the house. Dad says that’s fine but wants a Tommy gun to signal back.
My dad’s brilliant idea is that my mother should always go anywhere with their dog, Nick. If something were to happen, Nick would show up at the door and bark in a “Hey, your wife just fell down in the yard” sort of fashion. Thus alerted, my father would get up and save my mother as soon as the game ended. See there! Entrepreneurship runs in my family!
Nick, the Safety Dog
Nick is a robust Labrador who actually weighs more than my mother. If my mom is holding the leash when the dog spots a squirrel, he’ll yank her skeleton right out of her body. I guess my father thinks that rather than worry about her falling, we should just make sure she does. That way, it will be for a good reason when he gets up to see where she is. He’d hate to make a trip to the door for nothing. “You’d fall because ‘Nick the Safety Dog’ would pull you to the ground and drag you through the grass,” I tell my mother.
My parents simulated an emergency by having my mother lie down in the driveway to test the theory that Nick the Wonder Dog would save my mother. This excited Nick, who licked her face, grabbed a stick, and paraded around the yard with it. “Save me, Nick!” my mom cried. Nick next pounced on a tennis ball. Surely, she would stand back up once she realized he had such an irresistible toy in his mouth! He danced up close, pretending to have trouble hanging onto it. It dropped onto her chest with a wet splat, and he backed up, staring at it, quivering. “Nick, go get your father!” she instructed. “Get help! Get help!” Now, Nick probably doesn’t believe that my dad is his father. Nor is he likely to think that anyone may need more help than having a slobbery tennis ball handed to her by a dog.
This Isn’t working!
Meanwhile, my father had grown impatient and stood at the door, watching out the window. “This isn’t working!” my mom shouted at him. “I’m here, aren’t I?” he yelled, opening the door. Nick snatched the tennis ball and ran up to my father with it. “Good boy, Nick,” my father said. He threw the tennis ball and claimed he did not try to hit my mother with it. “If I’d wanted to, I would have hit her,” he explains. “You did hit me!” my mom shouts. “On the bounce,” my dad says. Apparently, you don’t get points for that. So we’re still searching for a solution to the problem. Hopefully, we’ll find one that doesn’t involve gunfire.
The point of this creative spinoff of my family’s life was to encourage people to include the products my company produces to assist their families with the increasing needs of aging family members. Although we love dogs like the next family, they shouldn’t be what we expect our loved ones to depend on in an emergency. And our family members should know that despite how busy we are, we see them and get it. Balancing my own entrepreneurship and family challenges can feel diverting some days, but it is important.
Many ‘best practices for entrepreneurs in 2023’ blogs may include something other than this point, but taking care of your loved ones and your business is crucial. They should not compete with each other but rather go hand in hand. This article, How to Balance Entrepreneurship and Family Life in 2023 and Beyond, by Henri Al Helalay, COO of Skytex Aero, provides valuable insights on how entrepreneurs can balance their family and business life. Although the author is raising a toddler and I am currently watching over my college student, the article offers practical tips that can be applied by entrepreneurs of all ages, businesses, and industries.
“Yes, clinching a deal with a coveted client sends a euphoric rush, but so does watching my child experience the simple joys of life. The soft laughter echoing through my home, the shared stories over dinner, and the innocence of a child’s wonderment offer a profound counterbalance to the high-octane business world. These personal moments are treasures that, in many ways, outweigh a business achievement.” -Henri Al Helalay.
Tips for Balancing Family and Entrepreneurship
As a pilot, I take pleasure in flying my clients, customers, and family to different destinations for important meetings or just to take a break from their usual routine. A quick change in scenery, atmosphere, and accessibility can refresh and re-energize. Here are five mini vacation ideas recommended by Ariella Coombs from workitdaily.com for a quick check-in with your loved ones:
- Take a Weekend Trip
- Go Fishing
- Go on a Picnic (even on a workday!)
- Go camping
- Try something new together
Some Business Practices to Help in Balancing Work and Family
As you grow your business, setting the right tone is essential. The website shehandlesit.com offers helpful insights and suggestions on how to do this authentically and intentionally. Balancing entrepreneurship and family life is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Incorporating the following can positively affect your outcomes:
- Define Core Values
- Lead by Example
- Empower Others
- Recognize Stressors
- Be Grateful
By balancing professionalism and genuine commitment to these principles, you can create a productive work environment and inspire others in the industry.
Entrepreneurship and Family
In a previous blog post, I discussed some of the challenges of entrepreneurship. Another post discussed the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. Today, I wanted to emphasize the significance of being authentic, and proactive and balancing your business and family life. Entrepreneurship and Family do not have to compete but can fully complement each other when balanced.
Running your own business is a challenging task. There will be setbacks and obstacles along the way, but there will also be moments of triumph and success. However, it’s important to remember that these achievements would only be as meaningful with your family. Your business may provide you with the means to be happy, but your family provides you with the love and support to enjoy that happiness. It’s crucial to be intentional about both your business and family life. By doing so, you’ll better understand how to balance entrepreneurship and family and achieve success in both areas.