If you think you are enlightened, spend a week with your family. — Ram Dass
This week’s article is an offering for Thanksgiving.
I know a lot of founders, some of them clients, who will use their success in their business as a way to avoid work on themselves and their relationships.
They often tell me that the person they are most afraid of is their spouse. Or one of their parents.
This resonates with me. I still struggle with it. And I have come up with a personal experiment that I want to share with you.
This week, in the US at least, many of us will spend an extended period of time with our family. Often reentering our childhood homes in the process.
It can feel like we revert to being children again. All the things that used to trigger us—a look from Dad, a button-pushing comment from your oldest sister—show up again.
I find myself in the same political fights with my mother that I have been having for the last thirty years.
What’s your version of this?
What if you did an experiment?
See if you can, just this one time, NOT react. Not fall for the bait.
My mom and I have this strange dynamic where she picks fights with me, and sometimes me with her, to feel alive. It’s like we can’t say the stuff we want to say—that we love and care for each other—but we can show our love, how we care, by fighting.
I’ve talked with a lot of people who have something similar going on in their family. It can feel like judgment but when you look underneath, the energy can only be described as love. You miss it when it’s gone. Even, perhaps especially, the difficult stuff.
The Power of a Pause
If you want to change the dynamic, see if you can PAUSE. See if you can say “Hmm, not sure. That’s an interesting point.” Or “Yes, you might be right.”
When I do this, my mom quickly stops trying to engage. Most of the time, anyway. And we move on to other things. Things that matter more. We have begun to relax a bit more, to enjoy our time together more. Which is important to me because my mom is 87. And I want to feel like I am there for her in her final years, even though there were times I did not feel she was there for me.
It can be strange now. Boring even. There is a vacuum that needs to be filled. People will try to find all kinds of ways to fill it. Sometimes my mom still tries to pick a fight with me. Sometimes she still tries to make me feel small.
But the equilibrium has shifted. And it can for you.
When that opening comes, what will you fill it with?
How To Go Deeper
I am convinced that more and more people are coming out of the spiritual closet and seeing their work as a vital personal journey to both abundance and meaning.
This is what I write about. For founders, for original thinkers, at all stages of this journey.
The world needs YOU, in all your brilliance and imperfection.
If you are a founder wanting to scale and sell your company, there are three shifts in identity that can help you do so with twice the impact and half the stress. Take a look at this video.
If you want to build a coaching business where you get to be yourself, help amazing people, and replace your corporate income in the process, here’s a video where I share the top three mistakes I see coaches make when trying to build a sustainable business—
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