Yesterday morning we had our vet meeting as we do every Monday at 7 am, and we got into a discussion on marriage, and the business of life from work, kids, and all things in between. In the nutty chaos of life, we can find ourselves simply crossing paths in the hallway, eating supper standing, and going to bed without taking time to nurture relationships within our own walls.
Recently I was working with a young manager who had to work through letting go of a key team member. It was a painful, process for the young man and we had spent hours on the phone discussing, learning, and growing throughout the entire process. I was talking to him on a day right after in which he had delivered the news to the individual on the change he was having to make given their repeated long term actions. And it was in that phone call, I was reminded of my own similar situation from a number of years ago. This young great manager has a huge heart, a warrior spirit, and a desire to help grow people, much like myself, and he had poured himself into helping this person. But it wasn’t working, so he had to do what was best for all the other people and the organization. Which is very painful for an emotional, caring, heartfelt person. And it was in that phone call with him, in that very moment, I realized that he had likely immersed himself into this situation for months, and in the process had also likely neglected his relationship with his family. So, I asked him, “How’s your wife doing?” He paused, and said, “She’s good.” And I said, “Are you sure?”
And in those responses, I began to share with him a similar story of myself in his shoes in which I had poured myself into a person and a situation so deeply, that at the end of it all, while sitting in line at a carwash, and talking to my parents on the phone about the long term situation and current steps I was going to have to take, my mom told me, “Nels, you need to also not forget about your family. You give so much of yourself to everyone else, but you can’t forget your family needs you.”
At that very moment, I was reminded of the fact that my mom was right, and I needed to be intentional about placing some renewed focus on my family and ease back on working so diligently and intentionally on helping others after a serious and very difficult business situation.
These very serious and troubling business situations can cause us deep pain, and when the dust settles, we need to realize the neglect we likely caused to our family. In that phone call with the manager, I finished it with, “Go home and hug your wife long and hard, and tell her you love her and you are sorry for the neglect. She has felt your pain, she has lived it, but likely not said much, but just let you do as you need to do.”
As people working in business in pursuit of dreams, as parents living a life to help make our kids into the best version of themselves, as entrepreneurs building and growing businesses, there are strong visceral desires to be successful in all areas. It is in these daily grind processes we work to be the best in many relationships, but our single most important relationship, our marriage, becomes the least important. And not on purpose, but simply by the daily flow. We must work to make our marriage relationship at least as important as your business, or your kids, or your dreams. You want to hustle every day of your life, and that is beautiful, but as go-getters, it takes the same diligence and intention to not destroy your personal life and marriage. And when businesses get in serious trouble or leaders immerse themselves into their people too deeply, marriages take a back seat and are often destroyed.
We must remember my mom’s words, “Nels, you need to also not forget about your family. You give so much of yourself to everyone else, but you can’t forget your family needs you too.”