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Author Ken Esrig

Author Ken Esrig signs his new book for a fan

When you where a child you had many choices. You could eat the brussels sprouts on your dinner plate or get into a fight with your mother. Not much changes when you are in business.  No one likes to fill out forms, write checks, argue with utilities or for most of us, eat something we do not like.

Think about these types of things before you go into business. If your business is something you enjoy doing, your family may ask you to stop working to spend time with them. If you are happy in you career or your business, the choices become more difficult to make.

One word of advice, always choose your family. I always made the decision to choose my family first, but in over twenty years in business, I never lost a deal or client because I was picking my children up from school or watching their events. This was my goal. I grew several companies while attending to my families needs first.

You have to work to support your children you may argue, but I can show you another way. Lee Iacocca wrote in his book, “Iacocca” that he was a workaholic and was in London at a meeting prior to his daughter’s birthday party.  He ran into Harrods department store, purchased his daughter a sweater the way I recall, and boarded the Concord for a four hour flight back to the USA. He then rushed to make the party.

He was late for the party and missed it completely.  He wrote that  he cannot remember what the meeting was about, but he never forgot that he missed his daughters birthday party, and neither did she.  I recently had a client who had built a large company and had made millions of dollars over the years. He told me that he had worked everyday and missed his children growing up completely and was now trying to make up the time.

My wife tragically passed away at age forty and I raised my children as a single parent. I always set my work schedule around my family life regardless of what was happening around me. I was able to do it for one reason and one reason alone. I made it my goal, and my priority.

I learned that every meeting has two or more players with different schedules. When setting time for meetings, put your family on your calendar FIRST! When the meetings are to be scheduled be open about your family obligations and accommodating to others.  Most people who want to meet at 8:00 am will be fine waiting until nine after you drop your children off at school. If they are not flexible then your sacrifice must be decided.

Do you want to do business so badly that you miss one on one time with your children or can you find someone who will work around your schedule. There are 24 hours in each day and the people I have worked with have always found time to meet with me at a time that works for us both.
Even if you love your work, do not lose sight of what is really important in the end, you and your loved ones. If you chose the right career or start the business that is right for you, then you will be able to accomplish it all. I acknowledge that there are times when this may not work. As with all goals and priorities, it is up to you to make them happen.  If you are having so much fun at work that you would rather be working than anything else then you have made 100% the right choice for you.

However, money does not grow up and leave home. Money can give you comfort and security, but never love. Successful people learn to balance the two goals of life, working hard and being successful.  Who are you working for?  A business that fits you should also provide opportunity for your family.

In 1989, I came home to Florida from a corporate trip to Washington D.C. to tell my wife  that I was up for a corporate promotion to a regional vice president’s job. I left corporate on a Friday morning and had to be back in D.C. on Monday for the final interview.  When I returned, I called my wife and told her to find someone to watch our daughter as we needed to talk about work.

My wife was seven months pregnant with our second child and it was late November. We talked for hours about how I would go to work in Texas on Sunday nights. I would come home on Thursday for our 8:00 am Friday morning corporate staff meeting and then the work continued on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. We would live in Reston, Virginia, near the other corporate vice presidents and she could raise the children.

My wife made one comment that cleared it up for me. “What is in it for me?”, she asked, “I will be alone in Virginia with two babies and a husband in Texas or corporate meetings”. I declined the opportunity and within a month or two I had resigned my hospital CEO and assistant corporate vice president job to be a family man.  I have no regrets.

Make decisions that are right for you not just what seems sparkly and glamorous. Be your own person and insist on a quality life for you and your family.  I had no where to go after turning down a big corporate promotion. I found a job that turned out to be a disaster, so I started my own consulting company. I was completely broke but had a plan for my life, my family and my career. Within three years i was making millions of dollars and had five related companies.

Find out how you can have it all. Join me for a seminar or one on one mentoring session and smile all the way through life.