Fatherhood has been one of the greatest things I have ever done, hands down. Watching my three sons grow up and learn about the world has taught me more things than I ever expected, and has really given me a new perspective on life and business.
As a business coach for over twenty five years, I have worked with thousands of business owners, teaching them how to navigate the business world and grow and scale their businesses to run without them. And now that I am a father, I can't help but keep a mental checklist of all the skills and traits that I want to teach my own children before they venture out into the business world on their own.
Here are my top three things that I want to teach my kids about business, before they graduate.
1. The Importance of Focus Time and Unplugging Daily.
As a parent, the topic of "screen time" comes up often in our household, but this goes much deeper than limiting the number of hours my kids spend on Netflix. Instead this has to do with understanding priorities and tasks, and setting aside real focus time to get things done. I want my kids to understand that setting aside a block of time each day to put their iPad down, and focus on their schoolwork or interests is going to make everything easier and more fruitful. I want them to recognize that by turning off the electronics, and giving themselves a moment to think and focus will serve them well in adulthood.
This is something that I teach my business coaching clients as well. The idea of setting aside blocks of time to do their high value tasks, without interruptions.
2. Time Management Skills.
As my kids get older, their schedules have gotten more hectic. There are school projects, after school activities and play dates with friends. And the more things that pile up on their plate, the harder it is to get everything done. Which is why I want to make sure that they understand the value of time management and are able to prioritize what's most important and what can be postponed or moved.
Now, a word of caution on this one. The "Dad" in me wants to say that school work comes before everything else. But as a business coach that sees far too many stressed out, burnt out business owners who work too much and neglect their social lives and families, I want to make sure that my kids understand the importance of a healthy work life balance. Because often times going camping with your family is the best thing for you to do with your time.
3. Make Time for Creativity
And the last thing that I want to teach my kids about the business world, is to make time for creative endeavors. And this can mean a myriad of things, but I want them to know that making time for things that they are passionate about is always time well spent. For me, that comes through my writing. I am able to not only share my passion with all of you on this column, but I have been able to express myself creatively by writing business books, including my newest release, The Freedom Formula.
And I encourage my clients to do the same. Some enjoy public speaking and sharing their passion with others, some express themselves through product design while others find their creative outlet through their companies branding and marketing. Whatever sparks joy in your life, make it a habit to do it often.