'How are you feeling?'

I have lived my whole life as an entrepreneur. It has never been easy to Integrate business into family life and do my best to ensure that there was a father or husband at home. 

For those who live that life today, my hat's off to you, it is not easy. The same could, of course, be said of a busy career or job. The last thing I wanted was to be so invested in my businesses that I would end up with pictures of multiple former wives on my desk. 

After 40 years of running my own businesses, you would perhaps assume I had figured it all out. The truth is likely the opposite and I find myself with lots to learn still. 

A little over a week ago, we experienced a close family death. We are still dealing with various arrangements and legalities and I have been travelling.

In business, I like to make a decision and move on. I am not the type of person to dwell on the facts after absorbing and analyzing them. I would rather analyze, decide and execute and then move on. 

There is a sensitivity to operating at home like that also. In business, nobody really says “how are you feeling?” 

It is the rare EQ balance to IQ that is ever present at the business table, yet in a family, perhaps more time needs to be spent asking that question. 

My wife has been incredibly strong through this recent family loss. It is easy for me to look at her as a business partner and assume she has just “analyzed, decided and executed” and, to a certain extent, she has. 

I have been travelling overseas since the day after the family loss and I realized that in all my calls to home, it has been “business as usual." Not once did I really ask my wife “how are you feeling?” 

The truth was, I found out that she was feeling sad and perhaps a little lonely. I felt guilty for not spending more time on the phone chatting about how she felt as opposed to simply making decisions about an order of service or a power point slide show. 

Grief takes time and it affects all of us differently and, frankly, many of us in business have a habit of quickly walking through a period of grief as if we have “dealt with it." In fact, it can come back and surprise us that we have emotions and feelings we may not have resolved. 

I look forward to getting home in a few days to give my wife a hug and simply ease the burden a little more than I can when I am away.

Living as a family and raising children is not a simple decision, it is a complex responsibility that demands much more of us than we may be used to giving as business leaders, managers or employees. 

I just need to remember to change hats a little more often and be careful about what role I am in.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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