Being part of a family business, whether as employee or shareholder, can be one of life’s most rewarding activities. Most of us spend the majority of our day engaged in work. What could make this vital activity better than being surrounded day in and day out by people you know intimately, care about deeply, and with whom you share a common history, heritage, and goals? As Thomas Jefferson said, “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known.” When you add to this timeless truth the opportunity to create traditions, provide meaningful employment, and build wealth for future generations, it’s not hard to understand why owning and working in a family business is the ideal of so many people.
But there is a flip side to family business. Positive emotions are not the only emotions intensified when a family works together. If anger, resentment, and other negative feelings play a role in a family business, the entire experience can be an ongoing, seemingly inescapable reminder of just how tough things can get. Especially when people who know each other better than anyone also know how to push each other’s most vulnerable buttons.
The obvious question is: why are some families so incredibly happy and successful working together, while others seem to spawn anything but emotional satisfaction? There are many answers, but the most intractable family business problems generally result from one or more family member’s inability to effectively experience, modulate, and express their emotions. Here’s an example:
Consider the case of William, a young man with a good education and solid business experience outside the family firm. William decides to join his family’s business. Although he has had no trouble in other jobs, he now finds himself in routine conflict with his father, the company’s hard charging founder, President, CEO, and Chairman.
William now experiences intense anxiety when he thinks about going to his father with a business problem. Something far beyond the usual discomfort over bringing bad news to a superior; a kind of feeling that makes him sweat profusely, get clammy hands, have sleepless nights, and experience stress-related headaches. All of this makes it nearly impossible for William to communicate effectively with his father.
The inability to manage persistently uncomfortable emotions can damage personal relationships. The Family Business Road Map to Peace of Mind (FBRM) is specifically intended to help you overcome these dysfunctional emotional patterns so you can become a better communicator and have fewer roadblocks that inhibit your ability to fully realize the joy of family business.
Acquiring the skills to deal with self-defeating emotions is important, because one out of every five of us experiences a diagnosable emotional/behavioral health condition that negatively affects our lives. And over half of all visits to physicians are for physical ailments directly related to emotional stress!
Further, millions of others suffer work-related and relationship problems due to emotional upsets they feel unable to manage sufficiently, e.g., anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, panic, shame, frustration—some of which lead to unhealthy attempts to cope, including excessive alcohol or drug use. These emotional upsets can also lead to physical health ailments including heart disease, gastro-intestinal problems, as well as a host of other maladies.
Fortunately, the past three decades have seen rapid advancements in the science of human behavior. Simple, straightforward methods are now available that can often help people resolve long-standing problems much more rapidly than before.