I’ve been studying Buddhism for several years as a mindset not a religion. In Buddhism they teach that the source of all suffering can be linked back to our thinking and expectations.
Never has there been a greater set-up for personal frustration than working in a family business, a place rife with unmet expectations and family baggage!
At the end of the day, your personal success and happiness is dependent upon your own ability to manage your mind, manage your expectations and choose your own interpretations of what’s happening in your life.
Let me tell you my story quickly.
It was my dream from a very early age to run our family business. Over the course of a 16-year career in our business it became more and more evident that some of my most important values did not align with the rest of the family’s values. My management style and the family’s management style were different. There can be different approaches to managing a family business.
I had a choice.
- Stay and give in on some of my deeply held values and settle for “it is what it is”
- Stay, be frustrated, and blame others for being wrong in their values and choices
- Leave, wish them well and go create a different playground in which to work and make a living
The process of getting to choice #3 involved me continually exploring my own mindset and my own interpretations about what was happening. Life isn’t always fair. People don’t always do what you want them to do. Things don’t turn out the way you had envisioned they would turn out.
Looking back, I realize that my family was not trying to make my life miserable. They weren’t going out of their way to treat me unfairly. They were simply making decisions based upon their worldview and their own personal interests.
Sometimes the ball bounces the way you want it to bounce in the family business; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the person who has a controlling interest in the ball makes decisions you don’t agree with. That’s how this game family business goes. That’s how the game of life goes.
For your own long-term peace and joy I encourage you to get quiet on a daily basis, get clear about what matters most to you and get around people who have a common vision and your best interest in mind.
So much of your peace will come from your own mindset. Life is going to throw you curveballs every day. The more you have a calm, stable mind the more you can calmly approach the daily challenges – and the more likely you’ll be able to hit a home run.