3 Business Lessons I Learned by Dadding

My son Sam turned one today. Here are three business lessons I’ve learned as a Dad.

 

1. You’ll never be ready, but start anyway.

 

I was completely terrified to become a dad. I remember being in total anxiety that I wouldn’t know what to do and I’d get everything wrong.

Guess what?

A year in, I still don’t usually know what I’m doing and I get it wrong all the time.

My wife ever-so-gently reminds me all the time.

But failure, along the way, is teaching me how to get things right…or more right anyway.

In business, the same rules apply. You’ve got to overcome the fear, stop thinking and just start.

I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into Priest & King, but it’s not a perfect business, and it never will be — but it’s getting stronger every day.

We improve as we receive feedback, analyze results and identify weaknesses just like everyone else. I do this as a parent and I do this in my business every single day.

Wayne Gretzky said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Take a shot, if you miss, shoot again. Repeat the process and grow. It’ll be ok.

 

2. It’s not about you.

 

Before Sam was born, I was investing some serious hours getting Priest & King off the ground. 12-16 hour days was normal. I’m a passionate visionary-type, so the hard work was fun for me.

Then the baby showed up.

My wife Lindsey left her career to be a mom and help me build the business — which is a hard transition — so she needed a present, supportive husband and Sam needed a present, engaged dad.

Immediately my 12-16 hour days turned to 8 hour days — and sometimes even 6 hour days. My priorities had to shift from building momentum for our business to caring for my family. Because my life is not about me.

The result of sharing more of my time at home is a strong marriage and a son who is forming a precious bond with his father — in the midst of a cultural crisis of broken marriages and fatherless children.

This translates into a business lesson I’ve been growing into understanding recently.

I’m a brand consultant and designer. In my industry, I’m finding that my clients don’t work with me for the long hours I put in, or the elegance of my case studies or portfolio. They work with me because I put their needs above my own preferences. It’s not about what I want to get out of the project, it’s about what’s best for solving their problems and moving the needle for their business.

Business leaders, our audience/customers/clients are looking for a trusted partner. It’s not about us. It’s about them. This idea should resonate in every aspect of your brand.

 

3. You’re never alone.

 

When Sam is grown and looks at pictures from his childhood, he’ll rarely see me. That’s because I’m behind the camera, enjoying and capturing the moment.

If you visited my house between 9-5 (please don’t – my wife will call 911) you wouldn’t see me. That’s because I’m working to provide for him.

And as Sam eats his food, wears his clothes, learns how to be a man and finds his way in life, he may not know it, but I’m (together with his mom) fostering growth and guiding him as he matures.

As I’ve navigated through the many valleys of my entrepreneurial journey, I continually find the confidence that God (the Father) is working in my life the same way I’m working in Sam’s — fully present and engaged, even when it’s not obvious.

God provides for my life, for my family, and for my business. He does it because he has a Father’s heart. He’ll never abandon me, and His desire is to bless and prosper me.

Through every struggle, I’m learning to stop burning myself out to make everything happen and instead trust that my Father will lead me, inspire me and bless the work I’m doing.

The result has been peace in every circumstance. Doors opening that I never knocked on, and balance in my life that is counter to the “grind” mentality being pushed in business culture. This is my real life as a business leader. I hope you find it encouraging.

Happy Birthday Sam. Thank you for the many lessons that you are teaching your dad.

 


 

Richard Ensley

Richard Ensley is the founder of Detroit-based Priest & King, a brand strategy consultancy focused on clarifying brand messaging to attract customers.

Connect with Richard on LinkedIn for daily insights, tips, and hacks to grow your business.

 

 

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