After the birth of my second son Saturday, and while reflecting in the stillness of a brief paternity leave, I felt compelled to re-post these words I typed months ago: being a husband and father has made me a better entrepreneur.
Let me explain. While time is a finite resource – one that I value more than ever since starting the company – my resources of energy, love, and capacity to care are not. In 2019, many people (especially those around my age) view marriage, children, and the pursuit of fostering a family, as a diversion from the “true” pursuit of your dreams. These commitments are seen as settling for “less than” whatever it is you’re supposed to be. I have not found this to be the case. In fact, I’ve found my wife and my child increase my capacity to succeed. Our relationship reshapes my definition of success into something more sustainable, and ultimately, they end up being the reason I excel.
My wife has increased my capacity to love and understand
In every sense of both those words. She has opened my mind to the rewarding perspective of a deep and complex female heart that requires patience and probing. As an entrepreneur, in pitches, in client relations, in developing proposals, in managing employees, in inspiring people, in saying “no,” I have a fuller understanding and sensitivity to the idea that not everyone will see a situation and process it just like I do. She has helped me deepen my ability to LISTEN through marriage, REALLY listen, and respond to the nuance. Up to this point, this has been the greatest asset I bring to the table as an entrepreneur. I could not have unlocked that for myself. My wife did that.
There is also an obvious, auxiliary benefit of having a partner you can confide everything in – even your deepest insecurities in owning a business and day-to-day challenges. But that’s a different conversation.
My sons give me a renewed sense of wonder: a reminder of the child’s heart I’m supposed to have
The prospect of starting a business and actually doing it momentarily gives you that naïve, wonderful perspective. But when payroll needs to get run, clients need to be served, and processes need to be followed, it can fade. And it does fade. Unless you have a reminder of what wonder looks like. Often times, people look to Internet hype personalities, motivational books, other more-successful entrepreneurs to stimulate that feeling again. But in my son, every morning, whether he’s “petting bugs,” talking to his stuffed sheep, singing “The Horsey Song,” or negotiating for a “TEAT” (treat), I’m reminded of the wonder I must have to not only excel in business, but to be a human being I want to be. This wonder allows me to approach clients, complex situations, and “fires” that need putting out, with both a unique happiness and the understanding that not everything is life and death.
Lastly, my wife and my son make me hunger to do better.
They both rely on me. I’m no longer doing anything for myself and myself alone. My capacity for work, for efficiency, for creative urgency, for hard conversations, for that last cold call before my day ends has increased exponentially. I know that the family who has helped build this business, who has helped build me, relies on the good work I do and the integrity with which I do it. This is beyond income, though income is a gigantic factor. They rely on me to be moral. They rely on me to devote time to them both. They rely on me to be present and NOT devote a destructive amount of time to my business. They rely on me to make the most efficient use of that time, that finite, precious resource, because they both need me as much as I need them.
A sense of meaning.
As an entrepreneur, I can’t recommend highly enough being a husband and being a father if given the opportunity.