Regardless of whether you were formally educated or learned from the ground up, whether you work for a company, joined the family business, or started your own, to be successful you need to know that the one constant of education, in all its forms, is that it never stops. You are always learning something. And if you are lucky enough, you get to learn from those who came before you, just as my father taught me about the life lessons he’d learned over the years we worked together.
I believe the best life lessons I was taught came from working with my father rather than just visiting him or hearing stories from him in a casual context. I discovered how he dealt with our business in the past, because he went through the same things I was going through, and set a high standard for me to follow in the process.
He didn’t talk about past glories or spilled milk. The past was just that—the past—in his eyes. Instead, he talked about the lessons to be learned, such as forgiveness and giving and the continuity of self-improvement.
In family business, a big part of your education is in how to work well together as a family, which is an exponential lesson you will never stop perfecting. To be a husband and wife is hard work; to have children and raise them is hard work; to actually continue that relationship and closeness is hard work, and to do that across different branches of the family through multiple generations is hard work—and that’s not even factoring in the family business on top of all that!
Recognizing the need for continuous education helps us as individuals show up each day knowing that there’s more that we can learn and improve on – it’s accepting that things can progress and get better. Both the family and the business benefit from this perspective, as it requires a certain degree of humility, eagerness, and meekness. We all have our strengths and experiences to share – we can learn from the strengths and experiences of others in return.
Think of each day as a new day in the classroom; what will you learn? How will you apply it for the better to your business, family and personal life? When you take this approach, you’ll not only positively enhance your business, but yourself and those around you.