Work comes first – always

How many of you leaders and business owners have kids? Small or leaving home or adults. The age doesn’t matter, it impacts us. It impacts our businesses.

And so it should! As we dare coming to work as humans, as all who we are, it IS part of how well we perform and the level of results we get. Family life gets in the way – or IS it maybe the way? For pushing all our buttons, exposing out sore spots and as we dare to deal with it, we become better human beings, better leaders, better business owners.

I’m NOT saying all you leaders without kids aren’t amazing. I’m just appreciating that those of us with kids have an extra challenge – and an extra practice field to learn from.

With the recent holiday season, I thought it pertinent to share these thoughts as we all push back into the routines again. Because it hurts realising that our work always comes first. Because that’s what happens – even if we say the opposite.

“I’ll just take this call”. “I just need to check a few emails”. “I’m just on a webinar (as you leave the dinner table)”. Do you recognise it? We all do.

It hurts realising that work always will come first – because the business or your role needs you.

Because we need to make money to make the (family) world go around. Because we feel more important, more acknowledged, more capable when working? Family dynamics, emotions and communication are so much harder to deal with (and we are not educated in it). So, we gravitate to what’s (short term) easier and (short term) more needed.

Ouch. With our own children starting to leave home, all sorts of emotions come up for me. Recently I had three nights in a row home alone, which hasn’t happened in the last 19 years (because I’m always the one who’s out and about). The beauty of the solitude. But also the emptiness. The ease and pain of being able to do exactly what you want.

I longed for time on my own for decades. Now I start seeing the glimpses and pockets of time appearing – and nearly (in an insane moment) miss the messy, crazy, stressful years of career, kids and life in general.

Our businesses are the same. In the messy, crazy, stressful vortex of work-life – do we stop and appreciate that we like it? Being busy, being needed, having important things to do?

The way our societies are built (and the way we choose to set the frame and ideal), work does come first for so many of us. Accept it, cherish it and work bloody hard to set your boundaries – to be efficient, and to be fully present when you’re not working. Do it for your own sake – and for the deeper connection, you in this way create with yourself and everyone around you.