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Edition 347 – Unexpectedly Expected

In Edition 340 of Growth (Lynne – Wednesday 7th September, 2022), I regaled the story of venturing to see my mother and help celebrate her 76th birthday. We had a great two days together, reminiscing, wining and dining.

Not long after visiting my mother, she was due to undertake some tests following an abnormality identified subsequent to her gall bladder operation last year. It was one of those “let’s just check this out” type of referrals.

One Sunday afternoon recently, she called me and advised that she’d been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. The diagnosis came prior to our trip to Canada, but she didn’t want to pass on the news until we returned. In a lot of ways, it was news I’ve been expecting for years, such has been her penchant for Benson & Hedges.

It’s early stages and she’s surprisingly upbeat about her prognosis. However, the raft of tests have continued, including a recent return day trip to Newcastle from Tamworth for further scans. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy are underway and what has surprised me is how detailed the regime is – treatment – rest – further treatment – more rest – different treatment – rest – repeat.

In other ways, the news has bowled me over. We’re reasonably close and of her three children, I’m the one that keeps an eye out the most. She’s not overly maternal, but I suppose it’s the perspective that she’s my sole surviving parent and, given that both Trish’s parents have passed away, all of a sudden the thought that I’m to be the oldest living generation in my family is a stark reminder of the rapid passage of time.

As individuals, we’re all going to experience this. It’s the circle of life.

As small and family business owners, we have a choice to build our businesses around our desired lifestyle. We have complete control over what sort of life we want to lead and, as such, design our business model around what those life goals truly are. Sadly, too many of us have it all upside down. We build our lives around our businesses to the point where the business controls our lives. How do I know? I’ve been there before and not going there again.

I’ve seen business owners constantly away from home for business, yet have young children calling out for the absent parent.

I’ve observed entrepreneurs with ageing parents who live a stone’s throw away, yet rarely see them.

Too often, I’ve heard the story of the big trip overseas or travelling around Australia which remains a pipe dream, not a plan being actioned.

The only person that can change your business to suit your lifestyle is you. No one else can. Sadly, it often takes a catastrophic event such as a major health issue, divorce or sudden death of a close family member before people actually take that moment to ponder an alternative future.

If one of your reasons for starting in business was to create a better life for yourself and your family, could you objectively say that you’ve living that, every day?

This Week’s Tip

“As one former client once remarked to me, on our death beds, we’re never going to say to ourselves,
“I wish I’d spent more time at work”.