Making time for loved ones

On the 2nd anniversary of the passing of my amazing mother-in-law, Lesley Minney, I am reminded about how important it is to make time for family.

Around 25 years ago, when Lesley was aged 40, she discovered she had cancer. She had 3 young children at the time, and there was a genuine possibility that she would not see them grow up. But, she battled successfully for those 25 years.

She never made you feel like it was an issue to have a conversation. She always had the time and a smile for everyone. As she struggled with her own problems and pain, she would gladly listen to your problems. Then, she had a talent for giving ridiculously wise and loving advice.

She did see all her kids grow up, and she even met all her grandchildren.

Spending time with Lesley taught me a lot. My dad passed about 5 years ago, too. So, we’ve implemented some ideas in the company to focus on family time, because life is too short. You’re not going to be thanked by your children for being a millionaire if you are not there for them. But, they will thank you for being there, even if you aren’t a millionaire.

My parents had enough for us to survive when I was growing up. We never suffered, but we weren’t treated like rich kids. My wife had a similar upbringing. Our parents didn’t have a million dollars, but they gave us their time.

Here are the principles we’ve implemented to help create a company culture that focuses on our families.

Fixed working hours

  • Start at 8am and work until 4pm with a fixed lunch hour
  • Sometimes, in an emergency, I do work later than 4pm. But then again, if I finish earlier, I take the afternoon off.
  • I don’t work weekends, bank holidays, or over Christmas

Carefully select projects

  • I’m not looking for huge projects with tight deadlines
  • I accept projects that pay well, without unreasonable expectations that put pressure on the team

Regular financial reviews

  • You might take on extra work you don’t need to if you don’t know your current financial situation.
  • If you feel stressed, it is natural to work harder, to try to relieve that pressure. But if you look at the numbers, you’re probably okay.
  • Of course, make sure that you do some marketing or sales every day to keep that pipeline filling up for the future, too

Clear mission

  • I talk a lot about mission because it is so important. The messages from the world say you have to get bigger and better all the time. But that’s not true.
  • If you have your mission laid out for 1-year, 3-years, 5-years, and even a 10-year mission with a reasonable work/life balance, that’s your measurable, right there. External measures like growing the company are not important, as long as you are achieving what you want.
  • For us, it is “Changing agency owners’ lives through content through education.” As we see the fruit of that, this healthy business is all I need. Not working overtime on growing my business outside my mission.

My beautiful girls, and my future son, all of that is so much more important than spending time on business. Money and success are fleeting. You can never get that time back with your family.

Lesley, I love you so much. Thank you so much for modelling to all of us, putting family first. And thank you for putting us first even through all the pain that you struggled with. You are absolutely phenomenal. We miss you.  

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Lee Jackson

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