I was fresh out of college. I had scraped together whatever money I could to buy a plane ticket to an entrepreneur conference that was being held in Chicago. I was a wannabe at this point with a new company not even off the ground, yet.
I was asked to speak in a breakout session, and even though I had done pretty much nothing up to this point, I still had enough confidence to fill an entire room.
Sitting in one of the main sessions, a successful entrepreneur was telling his story. He had started and sold companies and was transparent about his successes and failures.
He said something I will never forget. "If you're going to be an entrepreneur, do us all a favor and don't have children. Because if you're going to make your company your number one priority, the result will be more a--hole children running around that the world doesn't need."
This single statement changed me and my perspective on how I was going to live my life.
Here are a few things I do to balance being a husband, parent, and entrepreneur:
One of my early mentors was great at something I had never witnessed in another leader model. She always answered the calls of her spouse, children, and loved ones, no matter what.
Her family was always a priority, regardless of what she was in the middle of at work. They were never afraid to approach her or even physically stop into the office for a visit.
The best part was watching how co-workers and clients responded. They respected and understood why the leader's family was a priority, and often admired her for being bold in letting others know that her family always came first.
Block out important days and events
The infamous "important meeting." I don't know how many times I've forgotten an important day or event for my family members.
There's nothing worse than the look on their faces when you say, "I can't, I have some important meetings today."
I've found that these meetings often aren't that important. It's more me deflecting that I screwed up and forgot a birthday or a special event for my kids. It's even worse when the meeting gets rescheduled or you realize you really didn't need to be there.
For this reason, I've started to block off important days for my family. I put them on my calendar so I don't accidentally schedule meetings. That way, I have the day open to participate in what's important to my loved ones.
It's only stuff
It's all just stuff. At the end of the day, your business, money, assets, etc. -- it's all just stuff.
We can make more money, build new businesses, and buy more stuff. But the relationships with our family are not replaceable.
This is why I let my kids interrupt Zoom calls or stop that email I'm writing to tuck my daughter into bed. I only have one shot at these relationships, and I'm not going to let "stuff" get in the way.