Before I dive into more meaty topics, I want to take a quick second to talk about balance and perspective. No matter what your chosen business niche, business model, or revenue approach, the context under which you operate must always remain consistent and balanced. What do I mean by that comment?
This is best illustrated with a story. On Saturday night, as a diehard New Orleans Saints fan, I had cooked up a big pot of spicy shrimp etouffee in celebration of the team’s pursuit of a [hopeful] 14th straight win over the Dallas Cowboys. My kids were running / crawling around having a good time as I sat down with a cold Guiness to watch the first half. If you saw the game, you know they didn’t do very well in the first half, and I was a bit frustrated.
As the second quarter passed the halfway point, my wife came down the stairs with my two-and-a-half-year-old. Apparently he was feeling a little warm, so she wanted to check his temperature. We all know that small children seem to get sick frequently, particularly when they’re around other kids a lot. Well, a minute later all I heard was “Oh my goodness, 105.2.”
Snap. My focus on the game immediately vanished, and nothing mattered except running to help her. You see, he had been coughing a little and had been sick to the stomach earlier in the day, but he was acting energetic and normal. But this sudden and immediate inflation of temperature was, to say the least, concerning.
After trying everything we could think of to bring down the temperature, to no avail, we called the doctor. She quickly evaluated the situation and recommended we take him to the emergency room. So off we went…
On the drive there, my stomach was in my throat. You see, he had H1N1 a couple of months earlier, and the stories of kids passing away from secondary pneumonia after catching swine flu started bouncing around in my head. What if this turns into something severe? I quickly began to regret everything I did all day that did not include spending time with him. Maybe I over-reacted, but when it comes to your own kid, you can’t make mistakes with their health. And you most certainly cannot take it for granted that you can get around to being with them “later when I’m less busy”.
Today he is much better, and it turns out this was a false alarm. But the message came through loud and clear.
Aspiration is great, but never neglect those who are closest to you. Balance work and family fairly whenever possible. Businesses and ideas come aplenty if you’re a real entrepreneur, but you only get one shot at getting it right with each kid, each member of your family.
Too often we hear of older entrepreneurs who look back on their life and regret that they saw their children grow up in photographs. They regret not being at more events and special ceremonies. They feel a need to “make up for lost time” with the very people with whom you should never let the time slip away.
So go out there and prosper, but by all means, cherish those closest to you and share your time, attention, and success. It will mean more in the end than even the fullest of bank accounts. Take a moment today to think about something fun you can do together. And most of all, never behave in a way you’ll one day regret.
As always, thank you for your gracious time and attention.
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