Recently I tweeted back and forth with a successful entrepreneur that I respect regarding whether or not people can love their business like a person. My immediate reaction was “no way”. Let me preface my comments by stating I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve always really enjoyed my work. Sure, there have been tough days and tough times, but overall I’ve always loved what I do. LOVED what I do. I’ve been extra fortunate to have had some modest financial success and the combination has been extremely rewarding in a variety of unanticipated ways. However, none of them compare to the love and enjoyment I get out of being a husband and father.
In fact, it’s not even close.
So why is it glamorized in the media when entrepreneurs have no life? If you are young and single, I can see where that makes some sense. I did it. Although I think it’s a good idea to still have a life outside of work when you are single, I don’t want to be too hypocritical when I didn’t. But when I’m hearing about family men/women who are consistently spending their lives on airplanes and such, I just don’t get it. Why is that cool? I’m afraid it’s because our priorities, at least when presented to the public, just aren’t straight sometimes.
Here is a list of some of the reasons why I think people put their business ahead of their family and friends:
Make A difference
Need For Variety
‘Easier’ To Work Instead Of Go Home
Here is a list of some of the reasons why I think it is acceptable to chase these types of things ahead of your family:
So quit traveling so much. Quit working so late. Spend more time with your spouse and/or kids. Have more fun. Work is always there. It is always waiting. There will never be a shortage of time you can spend working, but if you continue at that pace, I can promise you there will definitely be a shortage of time you’ll get to spend with your family. They’ll leave or grow up. And then the time will be gone. Forever. It’s a fleeting moment, especially when they are children. There is NOTHING you can do that replaces simple time with them at home. Trips to Disneyland and NYC are awesome. Want to know what is more awesome? Being their soccer coach. Hanging out at night doing homework. Or just being around and relaxing with them. Time is what your family wants. You being physically and emotionally present is what your family needs.
I’m particularly confused by some of my friends and peers that have had some financial success. They don’t have to travel a lot and work crazy hours. Yet they do. Constantly on airplanes, in meetings and away from their families all in the name of “changing the world”, “making a difference”, “trying to get ahead” and so forth and so on. Well, I call bullcrap.
It’s great you are investing in companies all over America. It’s awesome that you are at cool conferences and with famous people. Hey, you went to the Olympics! So neat. And check you out; you are on TV, or in a big blog post, or have a huge following of fans — that is so cool. These are the things your kids AREN’T saying if you are gone a lot. These are the things your kids AREN’T saying if you work too much. They don’t really care. And they shouldn’t. Your first and primary role, always and forever, is Spouse and Parent. Everything else comes after that. Or at least it should.
After all, it’s a lot more important to be a name in your own household instead of a household name.