In today’s fast moving business environment, do you find yourself running so hard, that when you finally do get to spend time with your loved ones, you forget to give them your undivided attention?
I will admit, I sometimes do. On a typical day, I rise by 5:30 a.m., drive to the office, grab coffee, reply to volumes of emails, attend meetings, brainstorm, problem solve, visit job sites, the factory, head for home, workout if time, try to spend some time with my kids, girlfriend, work more on the computer, and go to bed. I get up the next morning, and do it all again. Throughout it all, many challenging and exciting events occur, and I absolutely love it!
I travel a lot to network with other business people, as well to sell my equipment. I like to pick others’ minds. When a co-worker asks why I travel so much, I explain that I need to constantly learn, in order to run and maintain a successful $30 million dollar a year enterprise. If we are going to survive, I have to be on top of education and innovation. I can’t always get that sitting behind a desk in small town, Waterford, Ohio. Working the road is just as hard as being in the office, and just as much fun. I love it too!
After 30 years of living the life I love, is there anything I am missing? My youngest daughter, Rachel, thinks so, and I am sure Amy, and Kaylee, my other daughters, do too. Rachel never came out and told me this directly, but here’s how she sent me the message:
Not long ago, Rachel texted me, to see if I would take her horseback riding after school. As I left the office to pick her up, I put paperwork in my satchel, so I could work on it while she was riding. With my mind occupied on the many things I had to do, as we were putting the saddle on her horse, Rocky, Rachel looked up at me with an anxious smile, and said, “dad, when is the last time you got to watch me ride my horse?. Will you watch?” Wow! That hit me really hard.
As I sat on a bench, she began riding. Instead of pulling the paperwork out, I placed my satchel unopened next to me. As she guided Rocky to walk, gallop, and do whatever else they make horses do, she kept looking over at me, to see if I was watching. I never looked away, making sure I kept my eyes on her the whole time. Later that night, we had a nice talk. I never turned on my computer (like I would normally do) to work. When we finished, she hugged me tight in a passionate way. She never said it verbally, but I knew she was thanking me for giving her my undivided attention, for the hours we spent together.
It isn't that I don't take every opportunity I can to spend time with my children. However, I now see that my girls also know me, as working on the computer, phone, writing, or something, when I spend the time with them. My two oldest are teens, and the youngest is just a months away from being a teen. Talk about time flying--time that one will never get back. I have made a commitment to myself. When we are together, I put up my work, and give them my undivided attention. What a difference it has made with our relationships.
The world we work in today is moving faster than it did 30, 20, even 10 years ago. I bet you are running as hard as I do, to keep up. Go ahead and run as hard as you can at work, however, when you go home to your family, give them your undivided attention. Don’t forget the things that matter the most!
Damian Lang owns and operates four companies in Ohio, including a masonry contractor. He is the inventor of the Grout Hog and several other labor saving devices and is the author of the book RACE—Rewarding And Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry.