Success is a national value and the standard by which lives are measured. Everyone wants to succeed because the antithesis is failure. Although there are undoubtedly varying degrees of success, the concept remains constant in all walks of life. Everyone’s dream is to “make it,” especially in the area of familial relationships. Success is the perceived norm, the hope and the dream—even for those who have failed repeatedly.
Everyone has a family structure, although the composition of the American family has changed radically from the image of the 1950s family. The model of a bread-winning husband, a full-time, homemaking wife and two children is very atypical (about eight percent). Families have grayed, moved, shrunk, fragmented and blended. Adults are marrying later, choosing singleness as a lifestyle, or living together as domestic partners. Women are a permanent part of the marketplace, and a redefining of roles is still fermenting. This is a nation of single parents, latchkey children, runaway children and childless couples. Sheer numbers now create an acceptance unknown a generation ago.
Family relationships impact every area of life, especially one’s career. It is a universal factor that determines a person’s location, productivity, creativity and happiness in the marketplace. In other words, “What’s good for the family is good for business.”
A disruption within the family has repercussions far beyond the family unit. Divorce, depression, extramarital affairs, grief, anger, hostility, bitterness, insecurity, loneliness, emotional trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, stress and financial loss all eat away at the productivity of a business or organization. Businesses lose billions of dollars each year because of absenteeism, illness, extended coffee and lunch breaks, mad dashes home, staring out the window, endless conversations around the water cooler, accidents, mistakes, personal telephone calls, resignations, and transfer of negative feelings to clients or fellow employees resulting from family trauma. Thus, every business, large and small, has a vested interest in the quality of each employee’s family life.
Likewise, an individual who wants to be successful professionally cannot afford to neglect his or her family. The two are inextricably entwined. What happens before one pulls out of the family driveway will profoundly impact one’s performance at the workplace. “Leaving it at home” is impossible. And all businesspeople should remember that their spouse is their biggest client. What does a divorce cost where you live? Treat a spouse like you would your biggest and best client.
How does one balance work and family? Space does not permit a discussion of those principles, which help ensure, not guarantee, success. But most principles are well-known and doable. If one climbs the ladder of success and takes his or her family, many of these rungs are absolutely essential:
- Look for ways to celebrate and strengthen family.
- Take the initiative in doing your very best.
- Say warm words.
- Do thoughtful things.
- Spend a reasonable amount of time together.
- Communicate regularly and honestly.
- Physically touch.
- Put relationships before things.
- Be sexually faithful.
- Become one through accommodation/compromise.
- Solve conflicts, not win fights.
- Establish priorities.
The list goes on. The truth is, most people know what has to be done to succeed at home and at work. What they often can’t do is make themselves practice what they know they should. Therein is the bottom line: Failing to do good can destroy your family and career as surely as doing bad.
It is O.K. to be successful. Climb the ladder of success! Climb fast, climb far, climb high! But when you get to the final rung of your career, perhaps the greatest proof of your love for your family is that you will turn, and they will be right there beside you. If they are, you will be glad, your family will be glad and your material handling company will be glad.
|Meet the Author
Charles Petty, Ph.D., is a professional motivational speaker based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and located on the Web at www.charlespetty.com.