Rising Stars: Crafting Your Path in Propane & Renewable Energy


In the dynamic world of family-owned businesses in the Propane, Gas, Renewable Energy, and Bioheat industries, the challenges and triumphs extend beyond mere business operations. As the proud child of a successful business owner, you’ve likely encountered the age-old struggle of finding your identity and creating your path amidst the towering achievements of your parents.

Consider the sentiment shared by the daughter of a propane business owner: “My father is so good at everything he does. Everything he touches seems to turn into gold. I am not sure I will ever be as good as my father!” Such words resonate with many who navigate the unique landscape of family businesses.

Living in the shadow of accomplished parents can be both a blessing and a challenge. On the one hand, the success of the family business opens doors to a life of comfort and opportunity. On the other hand, perpetual scrutiny can make surpassing parental accomplishments feel like an insurmountable task.

Action Steps for Next-Gen Success:

  • Venture Beyond Familiar Territory: Embrace external opportunities to gain diverse experiences and insights before returning to the family business.
  • Build Self-Esteem Through Personal Achievements: Seek out opportunities that allow you to create your successes, fostering a sense of accomplishment and boosting self-esteem. Explore opportunities outside of the business, such as community organizations, industry associations, etc.

During our interactions with business owners and their families, a common thread emerges – the struggle to break free from parental shadows. Raised in family-business environments, many adult children find it challenging to establish their identity. Some harbor resentment, feeling that their parents prioritized the business over family during their formative years.

Learnings from John’s Journey:

Consider the story of John, whose father, Jim, is hailed for having the “Midas touch.” While John acknowledges his father’s hard work, he struggles to see the direct link between his father’s success and his relentless work ethic. The key to stepping out of the parental shadow lies in venturing out, creating your successes, and building self-esteem. Working outside the family business before joining it provides invaluable experience and a fresh perspective, fostering personal growth and confidence.

Key Insights for Next-Generation Leaders:

  • Diversify Work Experience: Parents can guide adult children to explore roles outside the family business, bringing back a fresh perspective and a broader skill set.
  • Define Success on Personal Terms: Parents can help the younger generation articulate their own definition of success, distinct from their parents, fostering individuality.

Guiding Parents Toward Balance:

Everyone possesses unique talents and opportunities in the realm of Propane, Gas, Renewable Energy, and Bioheat family businesses. It’s essential for you, as the next generation, to pursue your passion and define your path, even if it diverges from your parents’. Work experience outside the family business benefits the business itself and shapes you into a future leader capable of achieving success on your terms.

Key Insights for Next-Generation Leaders

  • Seek Balance: Engage in hobbies, events, or organizations outside the family business to diversify your activities and to build a life separate from the family and business.
  • Create Family-Business Boundaries: Take time away from the family and business and create opportunities to spend time with family without talking about the business. Providing space for yourself and nurturing family relationships are essential for personal and family harmony.

Key Insights for Parents:

  • Prioritize Work-Life Balance: Parents consider adopting a balanced approach to work, emphasizing the importance of quality time with family outside business hours.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate a balanced life by actively participating in non-business-related activities with your children.

Your Unique Journey to Success:

Ultimately, success is a personal journey with varied definitions. Embrace the differences, pursue your aspirations, and know that your unique path can lead to success that rivals or surpasses that of your parents.

Key Insights for Next-Generation Leaders:

  • Define Your Passion: Identify what truly excites and motivates you, shaping your unique journey.
  • Seek Mentorship Outside the Family: Connect with industry leaders beyond the family circle for diverse perspectives and guidance.

As you embark on your journey, remember that your story is uniquely yours, and success is not confined to predefined expectations. Embrace the opportunities for growth, chart your course, and know that the lessons learned and the achievements gained are the building blocks of a legacy that extends beyond the shadows of the past.

Wishing you a future filled with self-discovery, resilience, and unparalleled success!

Contact Us, and we can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas to apply to your business immediately.

Successor Preparation

NextGen leaders can feel like they are stuck between and rock and a hard spot.  Working to fulfill expectations of leadership as well as making their mark on the organization to earn respect.  Click the following links for more drill-down resources on Successor Preparation.

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.

We can help you with insights, other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.