This one is a bit personal and that’s ok, because I know so many entrepreneurs and business owners are struggling with the same things.
I’ll never forget the moment my beautiful wife of 15 years told me that “it had to stop, because this business was sucking the life out of me and our marriage.” She told me that even though I looked her in the eye that – I wasn’t really there – and she knew my mind was wandering again, drifting to what she said I thought was “really important”. That one really hurt because she should know that the only reason I was doing all of this was for her and our kids right?
I had been on a spiritual journey over the last year and discovered alot about myself, my potential and what I considered my purpose in life. It was gradual incline that started with investing my time in reading, listening and connecting with people and ideas that were positive, motivating and inspirational. It turns out that all of this self improvement stuff wasn’t a bunch of new age hooie dooie after all and it literally changed the direction of my life and my business.
Sometime in early 2014 my brother in law, Will Watrous and I began to discuss merging our operations to build something bigger. I had owned a small marketing agency and consulting firm for about 8 years and Will had done the same for a number of years as well. After months of deliberation and hundreds of hours of work, prayer and discussion we formed ImpactBrand and StructureM and set out to unite businesses, consumers and causes to change the world.
This was a Big Audacious Goal and required us to focus and work harder than we ever had before. This was ok, because for me I had been given a clear directive on what I was put on this earth to do and nothing was going to stop me. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I made my family one of those obstacles. As we plowed through concept and strategic development, put in long hours of creative thinking and began to knock out deadlines I forgot about why I was doing all of this stuff. Yes, it was for the people we could help, but it was also for my people, my family.
One thing is certain, when you marry a woman that is wiser than you are, she’ll always keep you in line. I’m sure this is precisely why Gary Vaynerchuk said in his book, Crush it that the number one thing is family. That night she told me something that crushed me. She said “I want you to cherish me the way I cherish you”. You see, in my zest to fulfill my new found purpose I had left everyone else behind. I had neglected them by placing more worth on this – higher purpose – than I did my own family. I vowed that night never to let my family feel like I didn’t cherish them above all else again.
As entrepreneurs we have to fight “purpose creep” and putting your family first is easier said than done.
4 steps that entrepreneurs need to keep a healthy business and a healthy family.
To be excellent at anything well you have to designate time to it. This includes your family. Set aside 10 minutes every single day to stop and think about each member of your family and what they need from you. Then set aside intentional time to fill that need.
This one not only pertains to your family but yourself. Meticulously plan vacations, date nights, family activities and time for personal hobbies a full year in advance. Of course things don’t always go as planned but if you intentionally plan around your family it’ll become part of the routine…and If you slip up, guess who’s gonna hold you accountable!
Do not let a priority at work take away from the time you’ve designated to your family. Period. In most cases there is rarely any task if left undone would result in widespread devastation and financial ruin. There will ALWAYS be work to do.
Share your Journey
As entrepreneurs we’re forced to grow through our experiences and we learn some pretty valuable life lessons along the way. Share these lessons with your family, let them in and talk to them about the positive things you’ve learned. They don’t need to hear about all of the negatives. Trust me, they get to see plenty of these already!
Get started on simplifying your marketing & growing your business by contacting StructureM today!
About Alan Twelkemeier
Entrepreneur and Marketing Consultant on a mission to help organizations achieve extraordinary growth by aligning their products and services with a cause.