What amazes me is how so many business families have so much to be grateful for and also have so much discontent within the family.
Why is that?
Most of the families I work with have successful ongoing family businesses. Most have consistent sales and cash flow and are well beyond the stage of being worried about the business being successful. That in and of itself is a huge gift and something to be tremendously grateful for.
I truly believe we get more of whatever we focus on.
The most common list of complaints I see in the family business are:
- People want to control others
- They want more money
- They want more autonomy and the ability to set their own direction
- They don’t feel appreciated
The funny thing is that’s the same list of complaints I come across when I coach people working in public companies in corporate America!
One of the conclusions I draw is that these are fundamental complaints about business and careers more than they are complaints about the family business. The problem is when you take these career and business complaints and then layer on the family dynamic it creates this perception within people that all of the problems are a result of the family and they really aren’t.
Yes some of the complaints are legitimate family issues but the majority of them are business complaints that you can do something about. I did. I had many of those complaints and came to the decision that I needed to leave the family business and create a different life for myself.
Here’s a list of things you might try being grateful for in your family business.
- Financial security
- Employment security – I always figured they have to fire 299 people before I got fired ( I’m actually not sure if that was totally accurate)
- The opportunity to be part of history and legacy in a community
- The opportunity to add on to what my parents and grandparents had built
- The opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, something more meaningful
- The opportunity to be an owner in the company
My point is most of your family business complaints are business complaints. I haven’t been in the family business yet where family members are physically chained to the business. Certainly the lifestyle and financial security you have in a family business can sometimes feel like or become your own set of self-imposed chains.
Focus on the positives. Love your fate.
Find peace in your life. Create peace in your life by either coming to peace with everything that’s wonderful about your family business or coming to peace with leaving your family business.
Choose, and get someone to help you sort it out if you need to.