When I think of the word balance, one of the images that come to mind is a gymnast carefully and bravely performing on the balance beam. As a sports enthusiast and competitive person, occasionally when I am channel surfing (which my wife loves), I come across a gymnastics competition and find myself captivated by the athletes and their level of focus, commitment and talent. Although I have never been a gymnast, it is apparent that becoming a successful gymnast and performing well on the balance beam requires an incredible amount of mental and physical preparation. Naturally, it also requires the athlete to have great balance. Like gymnastics, owning and working in a family business requires a tremendous amount of dedication and effort in order to achieve a healthy balance between family and business.

Working in a family business is an incredible opportunity but at times is not an easy task. The fact is, you cannot run a family like a business, and you cannot run a business like a family. The demands of family and the demands of business create daily pressures requiring each of us to make sacrifices and compromises. It is common for business owners and dedicated employees to be so focused on achieving the business mission that they neglect the important things in life such as their marriage, family and friends. Business success at the expense of family and friends can be devastating. Unfortunately, I have witnessed this on countless occasions throughout my professional career. Picking up the pieces of fractured relationships, dealing with the implications of a divorce, or coping with a chemically addicted child are some of the situations I have encountered while working in the family business arena. Conversely, there are also wonderful examples of families who have successfully managed the dynamics of family, which represents unconditional love, and business, which represents conditional performance.  My experience has impressed upon me how critical and beneficial it is to maintain a healthy balance between business and family.

How well are you balancing the demands of your business with the demands of your family? Are you taking adequate time off from the business to spend quality time with your spouse, children and friends? Is there a general feeling of contentment and achievement in your workplace and at home? Are you holding everyone accountable regardless of their relationship with you? As you ponder these questions, I encourage you to be honest with yourself and identify a few things you can do differently in the future to ensure you are able to achieve and maintain a healthy balance between family and business. 

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