Thursday, November 3, 2016

Happy leaving day! (and respect)

Six years ago this past October 31st, I left my dad's business. The closest analogy I have for doing this is: it was like jumping out of a plane, without a parachute, trying to figure out how to break the fall and not splat on the ground. It has been, and still is, lots of hard-earned, learn-from-challenges-and-your-mistakes fun.

Truth is I should really be saying "happy birthday!" as the past six years have seen me grow up from a naive, insecure individual (I should also add immature to that list), into a person I have great Respect for (capital 'R' intended) when I look in the mirror.

I would probably say that respect is the single most important part of this process. I say this because to achieve respect, you need to overcome so many inherent, and at many times inhibiting, perceptions of yourself. From feelings of insecurity and lack of self-worth, to the feeling of deserving others' love and appreciation. This is no easy feat, and it takes perseverance and hard work, much of it on yourself and on healing those past scars. But once you recognize and accept your abilities—some call this "being comfortable in your own skin"—do you begin to value your achievements in life and the challenges you have overcome. That's when respect starts to build in you.

For us leavers, though, there is another aspect to respect and that is the respect of our family, and in my case the respect of my father. Six years ago that respect did not really exist. I think a lot of our run-ins and arguments, during my time in the business, stemmed from me trying to gain a foothold in the realm of mutual respect (only to be kept/pushed out of it). Today, though, the picture is much different, and is one of mutual respect: We see each other on the backdrop of our accomplishments in life.

With the clarity of vision granted to us by hindsight, I can honestly say that the burden of getting here was completely my own. The person standing in front of my dad six years ago, is not the person standing in front of him today. Building my self-respect has earned me his, and it was something that I had to do on my own and for myself.

Happy leaving birthday!

Monday, September 12, 2016

There are no shortcuts

There just aren't.

There are certain things you must go through and experience before you can become what you want. This is true to pretty much everything in life. Working hard is part of the process; falling down again and again, only to pick yourself up is part of the achievement itself, and really, is the success.

With that in mind, don't get too upset if your plans take a little longer to happen; and don't stop learning your lessons and staying focused and positive. It's not a question of "if", its a questions of "when".

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How good are you?

When you think about this question, is the first thought one of comparison? Do you compare yourself to someone else? Do you measure yourself based on someone else's success or failure (as perceived by you)? Maybe you don't really know... Maybe the stories you choose to tell yourself when you try to measure your worth are biased tales of inferiority and failure.

If you are not being successful at measuring yourself, here's a little tip that can help: Firstly, stop doing the "measuring" all by yourself—if you are digging the pit of inferiority and failure, it's hard to see the light. Instead, let others do the measuring for you. The only thing you need to do is be attentive to the little queues they leave. Here are examples:
  • People asking for your advice/opinion
  • People asking for your company at lunch
  • People who notice you are away
  • Your colleagues complimenting you on a job well done

If you stop ignoring the little things, which tend to happen every single day, you will see that you actually mean something to someone(s). That you are liked and respected and meaningful. And the more you notice these signals, the easier it will become to answer the question!

So, how good are you?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Micro tears

Do you know how muscles are built? When we exercise and strain a muscle, we create little micro tears in its tissue. The more we exercise it and the more resistance and strain we add, the more tears we rip through it. The damage triggers the body into action and it quickly works to mend the torn tissue. In doing so it builds a stronger, bigger muscle—one that is ready to take on even more weight.

I've realized recently, that life is the same way. As we take on new challenges and explore new directions, we exercise our "muscle". We stretch it into making sense of the new, unknown experience, straining it to figure things out. These are our micro tears; some are more significant than others—leaving the business, for one—others less so. But all, in some way, rip our tissue and we must mend it. Unlike the body though, that "automatically" repairs the muscle, we need to choose to mend it. And the only way to do this is to choose to learn from the experience. Learning makes us stronger and more resilient, better prepared for our next challenge.

Looking back over the (nearly) 6 years since I've left the family business, I've recognized that as hard as it was to leave, and the incredible turmoil it had created in my life, the stronger I have become. Learning is about finding the silver lining and leveraging it to become better—as hard as it may be.


I know I haven't posted here for a very long time. I think it was the fact that I had moved past the actual leaving "event" that I was emptied of content. Recently though a friend and fellow leaver, poked me to start sharing again, and that sparked the flame...

So, I'm back!

I don't know where the blog will go from here, but I think sharing my experiences with my family post-leaving can serve this community well, so that's where I'll start. Stay tuned.