“I just wish my Dad was around more,” said my daughter Pam to her 7th grade teacher. When my wife, Natalie, heard this during a parent conference she said, “My husband is the only dad in the back of the room doing things like videoing her shows and recitals.”
But when Natalie told me what Pam had said, I thought to myself, “Ouch.” The reason is, I had thought by being at every dance recital with my big camcorder was enough. My daughter saw through me though. The problem was I was there in body, but my mind was on work, specifically my family’s plumbing, heating, cooling and now electrical contracting business. The video camera caught what was going on, but if you’d have asked me the details after the show, I couldn’t have told you. I was too busy thinking about the disgruntled customer I had just come from and that I needed to call back or go see after the show was over.
Vacations? Forget it. My wife and I would go someplace nice and my cell phone would ring again and again. It was not relaxing. And then there was the big backlog of work that would take me a week to get through once we got back.
One day, the stuff hit the fan. The chaos I was accepting day after day was hurting me and everyone around me. I had to get my life back. I needed to put systems and processes into place at my company that would allow my staff to handle more on their own (the way I would do it). Also, I wanted to be able to delegate responsibilities to others in a way where stuff actually gets done and doesn’t boomerang and land back on my plate.
So I went home and made my wife, Natalie, a promise. I said, “For the next two years, I will be around even less than I am now and you deserve to know why…”