Reflecting back on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years you may be thinking I have had all the family I can handle. No doubt, these are wonderful family holidays but within the realm of the family business it is very easy to get “over-famlied” and conclude “I need some space; I don’t need more of the same crap I get at work at home”. The ambient stress, frustration, resentment and acrimony with parents, siblings, cousins, in-laws or children can drain your enthusiasm and consume your patience, blocking your ability to apply your skills and talents towards the productivity of your family’s business. As a result, you may be looking at going back to work like another opportunity to stick your hand in the garbage disposal. If family relationships have drained your New Year family business enthusiasm it is time for you to consider new perspectives that will relieve relationship pressure and potentially reinvigorate Family Dynamics and Harmony.
“To set the foundation for a new perspective allow me to ask how your feelings of pressure, frustration, stress, resentment, etc are working for you? Caution, don’t contend these thoughts are not your feelings or that you are simply the victim of family or business circumstances and these feelings have been forced upon you. Please allow me to remind you your mind may be your only true possession. Within the double hierarchy and standard of both family and business, your mind (opinions, conclusions and feelings) may be the only thing you truly control. When told to shut up, your lips may have to shut due to a dumb, insensitive or resentful parent, sibling or manager but your mind can continue to shout at the top of your lungs. Therefore, own your feelings.
To validate the value of a trying out a new perspective, may I suggest you reflect back on last year and ask yourself, “How did I feel most of the time?” If the answer is in the proximity of “Crap!,” you may want to consider a new approach. Exercise your exclusive right to control your mind, which will you to feel good, happy, enthusiastic and in-charge of your feelings.
It has been said that conclusions leading to resentment, stress, anger and bitterness are like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. However, let’s acknowledge a basic characteristic of human nature is a tendency to develop limiting, debilitating, even self destructive conclusions. I Q alone does not drive success in the family business. Success is also dependent upon E Q, (emotional quotient) which we will define for this discussion as the ability to understand and manage emotions. Internally we all have a tendency to reject responsibility for our thoughts, conclusions and perspectives and default to a woe-is-me, I’m-a-victim, comfort zone. This human nature tendency often disguises the fact that we have control of our minds. Unfortunately even though we have control over our thoughts does not make it any easier to adopt a new perspective for the New Year. In light of this challenge that we all face daily, allow me to give you some suggestions on how you could possibly dump the emotional crap and seize a happy, enthusiastic, “more than an over comer” perspective for the new year.
In search of a new perspective and professing methodology from those far more knowledgeable than either Dr Merlot or I, may I first suggest that you do an emotional self examination. Ask, “What are my feelings about my family and our business?” As you ponder, get up close and personal with those feelings by naming them. Call them out: “hurt, anger, jealousy, envy, hopelessness, rebellion,” etc. Don’t let these emotional virus’s hide in your psyche and eat away at your joy, happiness and productiveness! Call them out to a line up. Make them stand in the light of objective evaluation. Understanding the enemy is half the battle to victory.
As you examine these vermins to happiness and fulfillment, you don’t have to ask if these feelings are true because if it hurts, if it depresses, if it angers; it is true. However, in order for you to objectively evaluate your feelings you must understand that feelings are not reliable. Your perspective of what has or is occurring may not be reality. With this understanding, ask a very adult, very mature question, “Were the circumstances and conclusions leading to my feelings true or were my feelings a function of my interpretation. And, “Are my feelings an old tape that is being replayed because I have not been aware that circumstances have changed?” If you conclude your feelings do not reflect reality, give yourself an E Q “Booh Yaah!” and adopt a New Year Perspective of “I can handle this; I am living the dream; I am looking for opportunity!” Fundamentally divorce your old feelings and marry new ones that reflect reality, reflect your responsibility for that which is under your control, your emotional well being. Name this new perspective and claim the new feelings at every opportunity, with faith, that as you walk your talk you will positively impact your surroundings which will impact your circumstances and future. Seed time and harvest! If you plant the seeds of a new responsible, positive attitude, the harvest will come.
On the other hand if you cannot acknowledge your feelings are not misinterpretations of reality regardless of the reason, ask yourself, “Are these feelings helping me or hurting me?” Although your father may be a demeaning control freak, your sibling a jealous dweeb or your direct report an insecure tyrant; what is the real handicap? Are your circumstances or your reaction to those circumstances the real handicap? Fact is that you have no control over others and you have a formidable challenge controlling your reaction to them. So stop dwelling on their impropriety and jettison any of those victim feelings that are an impediment to either your family relationships or business performance. Again name those positive feelings you pursue and covet and claim them! Call out those productive, invigorating feelings you want to intercede and counteract the otherwise handicapping circumstances you are encountering.
You might say “That’s too simple a path for me to get out of this emotional hole.” Well, if you need another excuse for your woe-is-me, I’m-a-victim, comfort zone, stay where you are and let me know how it works out for you. Remember it takes two purposeful, determined, self serving combatants to have a bad relationship. If either party chooses to make a bad relationship better, it will be better. If you are tired of last year’s exhausting perspectives, please consider the mind cannot hold but one conscious thought at a time other than possibly Dr Merlot. If you don’t believe me, try thinking about two bad things at a time. Also recognize, what you are thinking about will drive your actions, more commonly referred to as self fulfilling prophesy. In addition to driving outcomes, what you are thinking about will create new emotional tapes that will change your perspectives.
Is creating New Year perspectives an easy undertaking? Of course not or life would be filled with movers, shakers and great day makers. Achieving a positive, productive family business New Year perspective is similar to you losing those ten pounds; it takes commitment and self disciple. Working your mind to removing just one negative perspective will be more productive to you and your family than any time you spend sweating on a treadmill. If you understand you can exercise your mind just like your body, you can seize a New Year perspective and positively change how your Family Dynamics, remove working relationship impediments and energize your business. “
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