I’ve been in the business of families for several decades. I’ve been in a family business for several more. I’ve seen many successes and failures. It has all gotten me thinking…
When can we know – for sure – it’s time for the next generation to begin their own journeys?
The reality is, we can’t! We can’t know for sure they are ready, well equipped, or that they will be wildly successful.
There are, however, a few things we can do to give them the best possible shot at success. Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up as I’ve witnessed many young family members leaving the safety of their parent’s home to begin their own journeys.
Give The Right Opportunities [Excerpted from Inc. Magazine]
In the work world, every job has the potential to lead to greater things. Every person has the potential, both professionally and personally, to accomplish greater things.
That's also true for your kids. Take the time to help them develop the skills they may someday want to use. Take the time to help them find and seize opportunities. Help your kids work toward their dreams – and when you can, help them open doors that might otherwise have remained closed.
Or better yet, show them how to open those doors themselves.
Help Them Explore
If you know someone doing something interesting, introduce them to your younger family members. (Tip: Challenge your younger family members to do the same. Who knows what you might discover!)
It might surprise you to know your younger family members only know you as the person you’ve been around them. They might be shocked to discover you weren’t always older, professional, and boring. If you were a young adventurer who explored Europe for three months with only a backpack and $500 – tell them about it. Played sports? Painted? Wrote a book? Rode a motorcycle cross country? Met a poet? Played an instrument? Sharing your past experiences can encourage them to get out there and explore.
Encourage Them To Dream BIG And Define Success On Their Own Terms.
You’ve had a lifetime to determine what success looks like to you. You’ve had decades to discover what works for you and what doesn’t. If you can allow your children this same freedom, you may be thrilled by where they go and what they discover along the way.
Best thing you can do to help – give them a roadmap that helps them stay firmly grounded in your family legacy, while also giving them the strength and the freedom to explore.
Take Action! Share one of your biggest learnings with a younger family member. It doesn’t matter if it was a success or a failure, share your journey with them. What happened, what decisions you made that were important to the outcome, and, most importantly, what you learned from it and how that learning still serves you today.