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Edition 358 – Flown The Nest

There’s a line in rock band Semisonic’s “Closing Time” that is actually lifted from a quote by the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca that states:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

And so it’s been with us recently as our youngest son, Fraser, moved out of home over the Christmas/New Year break. He and his partner, Jay, have determined to make a life together after knowing each other for a year.

On the morning after his departure, a pang of loss came across me as I stood in what was his bedroom and explored the vast emptiness of the space. It only seems a minute ago that we were hurtling down Narellan Road to Campbelltown Hospital, pulling up outside in scenes reminiscent of a Fast and Furious movie, after Trish’s waters broke at home.

Our staunchly independent and proud son, who made some momentous life changes over the past two years and committed to a significant weight loss and exercise programme, was now confident enough in himself, in his relationship and in his view of the future to explore a new beginning.

Whilst the joke around home at the moment is that it’s the tidiest of our two sons that has left home, leaving the messy one behind, nothing can take away the fact that it’s a significant life transition for all of us.

As parents, whilst our responsibilities of raising our sons has long passed, the change is monumental. The added contribution to conversation, the sound of popular music and the, at times, revolving door of friends entering and leaving the house is now in the past.

For our eldest son, the constancy of their time together will now be replaced by different memories, those that, as parents, we hope and pray will continue well after our time in this life has moved on.

Life is full of transitions and we should embrace each and all of them. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

In family business, whilst we often consider we’re “employing” staff, we actually go much further. If we are truly thoughtful about our roles as employers, we should acknowledge that we’re mentoring these people that enter our lives, albeit for a short period of time.

There are occasions when people walk into our businesses, almost “deer in the headlights” in terms of their lack of understanding, not only of their role in our business, but as to their place in the world. By investing our time in them, we’re helping them to forge a pathway in life, not just in their careers or their employment journey.

Similarly, there are times when those same people decide to “up and go” for another opportunity. We should embrace that change for them as, often, they can only continue their pathway by moving beyond us to some place else.

When that next happens in your business, don’t begrudge them that choice in their lives. Rather than see it as a reverse performance appraisal, take a moment to understand that if you have truly succeeded as a mentor, you will have encouraged each person that comes into your business to achieve their own, particular, level of success. Sometimes, that is elsewhere.

In my own business life, I know of at least six former employees that have branched out on their own and established their own businesses. To me, that says a lot about the role I played as mentor over a long period of employing staff – and even more about the impact I had on the lives of those people.

Be it a life transition personally, or the transition of individuals inside our businesses, embrace it. Remember fondly that period in our lives. Then, welcome with open arms the next stage of life.

This Week’s Tip

“Just as we remember those that mentored us,
we too should aspire to one day be a fond memory for others..”