This PACT Strengthens Ties Between Family and its Business

Family businesses, like any other business have a financial bottom line to attend.

Family businesses, unlike other businesses, have a family unit to consider and integrate with the family business. They are each a separate concern.

They each have their own perspective on the function and the partnering of the business with the family.

Because of the potential tension between the two entities, I have developed the PACT to create balance between the business and the family. I use PACT as I guide family businesses to successful transition their business from one generation to another in conjunction with maintaining family harmony.

What is PACT?

P stands for                Purpose. Know the purpose of the business and separately, the family. Each has its own reason for being, with its own unique strengths, and challenges. When you know the purpose of each, you can more easily know where the “borders” are between each. This has great value in many areas such as the “rights” for employment of family members and distribution sf dividends to shareholders.  These are but two areas of potential conflict between the two entities.

A stands for                Appreciation. Appreciate each entity for its own mission, objectives, and construct.  This will be of great aid when a family member demands something that steps beyond the framework of that entity or when someone or a group wants to reconstruct the business or family entity for its own purpose. Appreciate family members for their contributions and roles they take in the family and in the business.

C stands for                Clarity. Clarity is a tremendous asset to have.  Clarity reveals true intention, true motivation. When Clarity is achieved or revealed, it gives space for a new framework to be constructed, one built on clear guidelines, one based on respect and understanding, and one built on the commitment to endurance.  

T stands for         Trust is the component that allows each of us to proceed with our responsibilities and obligations without micromanagement or suspicion. Trust allows relationships to grow. Trust gives room for a business to meet demands and challenges while giving room for individual expression in the family.  

When these four principles are nurtured and developed in the family and the family business, a great pathway between the two can be built This pathway contributes to each entity’s successful venture into its future with a community of companions.

Trust is like a Spider Web, Strong yet Fragile

Trust within a family is a very important component to family harmony.  Often, because of our own assumptions, trust can break down. We feel let down. We feel betrayed.

Trust is like a spider web whose strength is like steel in terms of the stress it can handle, which has been found to withstand hurricane winds. Trust can be strong and enduring. Like a spider web, which has elasticity and pliability yet can be broken with one swoop of the hand, trust is elastic and pliable yet can be broken by one mere action.

Examine trust in your own life. What is it made up of? Is its foundation reliable? Is its foundation loyal?  Is its foundation based on assumptions? What are the elements of your trust’s foundation? Once you have discovered what your trust’s components are, ask yourself “How can trust break down for me?

Determine the elements of your trust Know what can weaken your trust of others. Know what can break your trust causing you to withdraw your trust of someone else.

Have a conversation with your family about trust. Listen to each person’s perspective. Discover the elements that both grow and weaken trust. Nurture trust by knowing and respecting each person’s parameters around trust. Your family’s trust can be like a spider web, as strong as steel and firmly flexible without disturbing its fragility.

Live Each Day as Your Best Day

When I hear people say, “Live each day like it is your last,” I envision my potential last day and think that I probably will not have much energy and may not be fully conscious while others are attending to me. I suspect that on my last day, I will be weak, infirm, and very possibly incoherent. I do not want to live each day like that!

So, I have modified this phrase to reflect a different sentiment, one with more possibility and relation to my life today. “Live each day as your best day” forces me to determine what my best is and to live by it accordingly, no matter my circumstance. Living my best originates in my values.

Perhaps you will do the same.

What is Purpose?

You hear me speak of purpose. What is purpose? Is it the doing of something for a reason? For whose reason? Is it being on track towards something? Then what is the thing?

Let me give you a hint. It is not a thing nor is it for someone else. Purpose is self-driven.  Purpose comes before doing.

Think of your qualities, those innate values that matter most to you. Discover their nature. Be fully aware of their nature and don their qualities. When you do, you can learn your purpose. Your qualities will lead you to become.  From there you will be able to shed light on and begin to define your purpose.

The online Oxford Language says that purpose is, “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” The etymology of purpose points to an old French word meaning aim or intention, design. But looking further, it seems to also have beginnings in Sanskrit meaning “the quality of being determined to do or achieve” as taken from the English Sanskrit Dictionary online. We are getting closer. Note the inclusion of quality.

Purpose requires contact with your inner voice of wisdom, of discernment of love, of understanding. Purpose involves discernment rather than decision, connection rather than combustion, awakening rather than atoning. Purpose comes from within and what is within is our qualities, more commonly known as our values. These qualities, when we hear and adhere to them, reveal our purpose, and give us the unshakable ability to attend to them, without denial. That is the beginning of purpose.   

Leave me a comment, tell me what you have discerned about purpose for yourself. 

Leading Constructive Money Conversations is a Learned Behavior

Have you ever wondered why your spouse or partner is not on the same page with you when it comes to money conversations?

Do you avoid money conversations because they break down before they even begin?

Do money conversation dissolve into personal attacks or innuendos?

Is it hard to stay on a money topic due to anxiety about hurting someone’s feelings about their money behaviors?

It’s not easy to talk about money when you have widely different opinions on money topics. 

What can you do to find common ground and allow the other person into the money conversation, safely, respectfully?

Instead of escalating into personal attacks your conversations can become oases of understanding and mutual agreements.  Start using the 3 keys that support money conversations that build common ground.

  • The first key is active listening. Active listening is being attentive to your partner/spouse’s intention with the words they are using. Focusing on their intention refocuses your attention to their needs rather than on your own agenda.
  • The second key is inquiry. You must sincerely want to know what makes you when it comes to money. What experiences with money have enhanced your life with money? What experiences have weakened your money behaviors? Ask your spouse about their early experiences with money. You are likely to learn something useful when you actively listen to their perspective rather than be ready to Sincere inquiry can build bridges of understanding about people’s motivations and triggers around money.
  • The third key is purpose. What is your purpose with money? Many people don’t know so money becomes an undefined yet very subjective part of their life. This can cause frustrating rifts as consistency cannot be defined.  Together, build your combined purpose for combined family money. Then, separately, build your purpose to your own individual money. This reduces the tendency to control others’ money. Be in control of your money while in partnership with your partner/spouse on your “together” money.

Money is an everyday tool that we need to learn to work with. It’s not something we inherently know how to deal with well. Try these 3 keys to making your money conversations more peaceful and purposeful.

Bringing Focus to Money Matters

Is Money an Ally or a Problem in Your Life

Money is a difficult topic to wrap our behaviors around. In my work with coaching individuals and families to develop healthy financial habits, it is interesting to me how often the money conversations start with not knowing what to do with their money. They often know how to spend for things, with the more money they make, the higher the price tag.

It’s like we want money to keep us from truly engaging in life. Spending becomes our way of measuring engagement. Do we not know what it means to truly engage in life. Money becomes our go to, our escape, our proof of existence, our chase.

I like to have my clients talk about how money was like growing up as they inform current habits with money. Some hear phrases from their childhood that still haunt and impact them today, phrases like “You better save for a rainy day” or “Money spent is money wasted,” or “Money is too complicated for you to understand.”  Imagine how a twenty-five-year-old, on their own, might feel about money, with early definitive comments like these whirling about in their head.  

One client, still, at age forty-three, hears childhood phrases from her mom, that make her scared to spend money. And her husband is frustrated by how tight she is with money and how often she questions the family’s spending habits. She worries that one day they may run out of money, although they each invest twenty percent of their pay, and each saves an additional ten percent.  Our perceptions of money influence our behaviors with it.

If it is not easy to have money conversations in your home, think about hiring a money coach to help you reshape your financial life. We can help you establish a healthy relationship with money. Money can be an ally rather than an adversary in your life.

Create a Stronger Future from Genetic Influences

We, as people are not isolated islands strewn about on this planet, void of past influence. No, we have pasts that influence, impact, and imprint on us. Does that mean we blame that past for who we are today? We certainly can. We can do just about anything we want. But, when we are in a family construct, there is genetic heredity to consider.

I have been introduced to a new phrase: genetic pain (and the unintended suffering that accompanies it).

Let’s look at the word; genetic. Genetic derives from the word gene, which, according to etymonline, is a Proto-Indo-European word meaning “give birth or beget.”  The word genetic, interestingly enough, didn’t come about until the 1800s. I learned from Wikipedia that the word genetic was first used by Imre Festetics, a Hungarian geneticist, as he wrote about genetic inheritance.

With this as background, I want to take a causal look at genetic imprint’s role and influence in our lives. First, I am going to go out on a limb here and assert that the vast majority of us, have a genetic footprint that will undoubtedly have uncomfortable or disturbing elements associated with it. Whether it’s by being related to someone who is not currently acceptable to cultural accepted norms, whether its physical conditions that predispose us to certain diseases or distinguishing features, or whether it is the passing down of unhealthy family dynamics. But this genetic heredity also serves as a guide, giving us the framework from which we develop and strengthen the future we want for ourselves and those who come after us.

When we come to understand the past’s influence and impact on us, we can more clearly more compassionately build a strong future.  Trashing the past will not change the past. Trashing the past will not make the present better. And if instead, screaming at the past makes the past bow to our command, then perhaps we have changed nothing. Perhaps then we have instead, just found another way to continue untenable behaviors and psychological patterns.

When genetic pain is a thing to focus on, let’s do so by acknowledging rather than blaming the past. Let’s do so by building a foundation of respect, and empathy, of adaptability and of an understanding that we are not always perfect.

The Magic of the Rocky Mountains Reminds me of Long-Lasting Families

One of the standout photos of my family’s 70,000+ photo collection is of the Teton Range in the Rocky Mountains.  The Rocky Mountains stretches from British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, passes through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado as it comes to an end in New Mexico. That is over 3, 000 miles, or just a little longer than taking Interstate 80 across the US (from San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey). The Teton Range extends for about 40 miles through Wyoming.

To me, the Rockies represent the boldness of the past, that which has already been, unabashedly on display, piercing the landscape with its grandeur. But that is not all. This beautiful mountain range also embodies a sense of steadfastness in the present, providing life in its dense forests and rocky slopes, thriving with animal, vegetation, and minerals, providing experiences for hikers and adventurers, researchers, and sightseers. And that’s still not all. This photo of the Tetons, taken as the sun quietly and brilliantly rises over the peaks, also gives me a sense of hope and wonder about what is still to come. It beckons me to consider the future.  

In this one picture, I appreciate the past for all the tools it has provided me to succeed, retool or leave behind. In this one picture, I appreciate the present with its call to appropriately respect, impact, and influence the fleeting fierceness of today. In this one picture, I hold a powerful belief in the future’s stewards, that they will use lessons from the past, discover new tools and commit to sustaining, building, and impacting from what they have been given, that which we pass on to them with love and wisdom. Together the past, present, and future cohabitate, with neither looking to overpower the other.

This is the majesty I also find in families who commit themselves to staying purposefully connected, as a family, for generations. The past, the present and the future live in harmony and respect of one another. That is magic.

Do You Turn Back or Continue When the Mind Intervenes

I have a question for you. But first, let me set up the framework for the question.

You have given yourself an objective to swim across the ocean. Nobody is demanding you to do it. It is something you want or think you want to do.  Along with your those who are casually encouraging you are those who question both the “need” to perform this endeavor and your motivation. They certainly have no intention of swimming across the ocean and don’t “get” your focus on such an intention.  After all, it is expected to take 6-8 months. How will you survive?

In your preparation, you, too, have concluded that swimming across the ocean was not something you could do unaided. You have recalibrated your objective to a swim across the Adriatic Sea, about 140 miles and doable in just over 2 days. It was done by Croatian Swimmer, Velijko Rogosic in August of 2006. I understand that he still holds the record for the longest unaided swim, in open waters. Now it’s your turn.

Your day comes to start the swim. You have vigorously prepared for this. Your initial strokes are witnessed by supporters and detractors. You are ready. As the hours tick by, your mind stays strong. Your body stays fit. 

About 40 miles into your swim, you decide to take a break. So, you paddle in the water, catch your breath, and take the sounds and sights in. It’s a beautiful clear and sunny day. You picked the right time to attempt this swim. You feel proud of what you have accomplished so far but there is a nagging thought that has seeped into you mind and won’t let go. “let’s go home.” It suggested and now is on the verge of demanding. Suddenly you are asking yourself if you can make it to the other shore, whether sharks or other predators will come after you, whether you have enough “fuel in the tank” to complete this task. Only one other person has done this swim. You are alone. Your supporters are immersed in their own lives, and your detractors are now positioned in your head. 

What will you do? Swimming back has its own challenges. What do you say to your supporters, your detractors, yourself?  You will be returning to the routine you were trying to somehow break away from. You may find yourself with new frustrations to add to those that were part of your life before your motivation fueled this objective and now doubting. You feel your body as well as your resolve weaken. 

Continuing to swim across this sea has its challenges You don’t know if you will make it. You don’t know what obstacles you still need to overcome as your body weakens. There is a battle going on in your head.

What do you do and why? How do you feel about your decision? How will you use the insights, discoveries, and learnings you experienced to embolden your life?

Let me know, I would love to hear about your decision.

When Retirement Beckons, Your Why Will Set You Free

I know more and more people who are nearing retirement. Unlike the pictures for the ads which show retirees having the time of their life, these people are frightened about what lays ahead. Instead of sensing excitement and looking forward to what lays ahead, they fear their upcoming lack of schedules, commitments, and lack of purpose. For them, retirement looks like a large, bottomless pit into which they are about to fall. 

Yes, they know they will do some traveling, get that bucket list taken care of and catch up on activities they didn’t previously have time for but for the most part, they are dreading their retirement. The loss of community is frightening, and the loss of relevancy is unacceptable.

Even with these looming fears, most retirees casually walk into their retirement without a plan or preparation beyond the dollars and cents to exhaust. Then, because very little has been prepared beyond the initial activities, they settle into mindless routines. According to Shell Oil and University of Zurich, who have studied the effects of retirement on their own retirees, within 18 months of retiring, those who were uber excited feel isolated. Those fearing retirement have their fears about their irrelevancy confirmed.

Without knowing what you want in your retirement, you are more likely to drift once your initial retirement phase has run its course. It’s natural. It’s common. Studies have confirmed this.

If you want to find relevance, significand and meaning in your retirement life, there are tools and systems to help give your life meaning and purpose in retirement.Uncover your “why” that which is found in your beliefs. Build your purpose. Support it with your “how”, which is your mission. And activate it with your “what”, those actions and intended outcomes that will bring your satisfaction.

When you live your retirement as a mission rather than a pause before the end, you will feel a life fire up within you. You will be in your relevance, significance, and meaning.  Instead of retreating into irrelevancy you will find satisfaction and personal significance. 

As one of our clients said: “The process you have, Bhaj, gave me the key to what was missing. My feelings of isolation and irrelevancy are gone. I feel significant and valuable again. I amconnected to life for life.”

Contact us to gain the feeling of purpose and meaning for your retirement.