Don't Forget to Do the Things That Matter Most
In today's fast moving business environment, do you find yourself running so hard that when you finally do get to spend time with your loved ones, you forget to give them your undivided attention?
I will admit, sometimes I do. On a typical day, I rise by 5:30 a.m., drive to the office, grab coffee, reply to volumes of emails, attend meetings, brainstorm, problem solve, visit jobsites, visit the factory, head for home, workout if I have time, try to spend some time with my kids and girlfriend, work more on the computer, and go to bed. I get up the next morning and do it all again. Throughout it all, many challenging and exciting events occur, and I absolutely love it!
I travel a lot to network with other business people, as well to sell my equipment. I like to pick others' minds. When a co-worker asks why I travel so much, I explain that I need to constantly learn, in order to run and maintain a successful $20 to $30 million per year enterprise. If we are going to survive, I have to be on top of education and innovation. I can't always get that sitting behind a desk in small town Waterford, Ohio. Working on the road is just as hard as being in the office, and just as much fun. I love it, too!
After 30 years of living the life I love, is there anything I am missing? My youngest daughter, Rachel, thinks so, and I am sure Amy and Kaylee, my other daughters, do too. Rachel never came out and told me this directly, but following is how she sent me the message.
Not long ago, Rachel texted me, to see if I would take her horse riding after school. I told her I would. As I left the office to pick her up, I put paperwork in my satchel, so I could work on it while she was riding. With my mind occupied on the many things I had to do, as we were putting the saddle on her horse, Rocky, Rachel looked up at me with an anxious smile, and said, "Dad, when is the last time you got to watch me ride my horse? Will you watch?" Wow! That hit me really hard.
As I sat on a bench, she began riding. Instead of pulling the paperwork out, I placed my satchel unopened next to me. As she guided Rocky to walk, gallop and do whatever else they make horses do, she kept looking over at me, to see if I was watching. I never looked away, making sure I kept my eyes on her the whole time. Later that night, we had a nice talk. I never turned on my computer (like I would normally) to work. When we finished, she hugged me tight in a passionate way. She never said it verbally, but I knew she was thanking me for giving her my undivided attention, and for the hours we spent together.
It isn't that I do not take every opportunity I can to spend time with my children. However, I now see that my girls also know me as working on the computer, phone, writing or email, when I spend the time with them.
My two oldest are teens, and the youngest is just months away from being a teen. I have made a commitment to myself. When we are together, I put up my work, and give them my undivided attention. What a difference it has made with our relationships.
The world we work in today is moving faster than it did 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. I bet you are running as hard as I do to keep up. Go ahead and run as hard as you can at work. However, when you go home to your family, give them your undivided attention. Don't forget the things that matter the most!